Screenshot of FIFA 18 Game Cover

What is FIFA 18?

FIFA 18 is the latest football simulator game in the series published and developed by Electronic Arts. Released in late September 2017, it can be played on all consoles, as well as Microsoft Windows powered PCs. As the 25th game in the franchise, it builds on the popularity of the previous titles, while using the Frostbite 3 engine. The game has Cristiano Ronaldo as cover athlete and on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One it has a unique story-based mode called The Journey: Hunter Returns.

Key facts about FIFA 18

  • FIFA 18 is the best looking game in the series, with stellar presentation for all platforms.
  • The game features unique modes and provides players with alternative gameplay.
  • FIFA 18 is responsive, rewards offensive plays and has predictable game mechanics.
  • Critics have complained about the game being slower and less fluid than its competitor PES 2018.
  • FIFA 18 tournaments attract more professional players and have bigger guaranteed prize pools.

Gameplay of FIFA 18

The FIFA 18 gameplay hasn’t changed much compared to the one featured by the previous installment in the series. Developers have focused more on improving ball movements and creating the impression of authenticity on the pitch. For this purpose, they have expanded the number of licensed stadiums to 52 and cover 12 countries. All in all players can compete on a total of 82 stadiums and the players better resemble their real-life counterparts.

The gameplay of FIFA 18 is further enhanced by the commentary provided by Allan Smith, Mark Tyler and Allan McInally. Players can customize their starting formations and use legendary players in the Ultimate Team mode. At the opposite end of the spectrum they have the option of competing in the lower German divisions. The national football teams of South Arabia and Iceland are available and EA sports have renewed the license with the Turkish Super League.

Football hasn’t changed a bit since the game was invented more than a century ago. It would be unreasonable to expect EA Sports to bring sweeping changes to the FIFA 18 gameplay. Those who have played the last couple of games in the series will notice the incremental improvements. As for the new features, players will be able to make use of the Quick Subs to replace players faster. Off the pitch, the Career Mode allows players to see what happens in the transfer market.

Screenshot of FIFA 18 El Classico

Plot of FIFA 18

FIFA 18 and football simulators in general are not supposed to be story driven videogames. Having said this, the latest installment in the franchise developed by EA sports has a strong single player. At the cornerstone of its story is Alex Hunter, a young and ambitious player. He prepares for a preseason tournament in United States where he plays against Cristiano Ronaldo. With his spirits lifted, he returns to England for the beginning of a new Premier League season.

The plot of FIFA 18 is centered on his transfer to Real Madrid, one of the most important milestones for any young player. Things take a turn for the worse when the fans lose confidence in Alex and blame him for his decision to leave the club for Real Madrid. Unfortunately for him, the transfer doesn’t pan out and the young footballer is left with a heavy heart. Opportunity presents itself shortly after, when his dad who works for LA Galaxy tells him about the possibility of joining the American team.

EA Sports wanted to attract more American players and this explains their decision to tweak the FIFA 18 plot in this way. After a successful run in North America, Alex returns to Europe where he gets a handful of tempting offers. Players get to choose between three major European squads to compete in the select company of football superstars. Unfortunately for Alex, bad luck strikes again and he suffers a knee injury ruining his season.

Players also get to assume the role of Danny Williams, Alex’s friend before returning to the central character. They have to win a major trophy to prevent the manager from being fired. In the final chapter, Alex receives a phone call and a very tempting proposition.

Screenshot of FIFA 18 Roaring Crowds

Development of FIFA 18

Development of FIFA 18 began immediately after the 24th installment in the franchise was released. EA Sports announced its intention to have the new game available on all consoles in January 2017. The decision to use an internally developed game engine took some players by surprise. Everyone was expecting the trustworthy Frostbite engine to power the new game in the series. Developers made sure that the football simulator would run on the newly released Nintendo Switch consoles.

There are significant differences between how the game is played on PCs and Nintendo’s latest console. Some of the FIFA 18 game modes are also available exclusively on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In all cases however, the graphics witnessed a significant improvement from previous iterations. A lot of time was spent on creating a game that outshines its predecessors in terms of visuals and animations.

The manner in which players connect with their peers to get into local matches has also changed. EA Sports wanted to make sure that this expansion has something special to offer. Even though it doesn’t affect the gameplay or the game modes, the addition of less known football clubs made sense. The Forest Green Rovers players had their faces captured for this game to celebrate their promotions.

Screenshot of FIFA 18 Football Icons

Where can I download FIFA 18?

EA is one of the world’s largest publishers of video games, so their website is an important source of entertainment. Players can find dozens of sports simulators here, as well as games belonging to other genres. The list includes classic titles such as Star Wars Battlefront, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Dragon Age Origins and Crysis 3. As new releases are made available, players can have the opportunity of buying more titles at a discounted price.

What are others saying about FIFA 18?

FIFA 18 was positively received by the critics and players, without setting any important milestones. The lack of innovation has been criticized for more than a decade, yet EA was hard to blame given the unchanging nature of football. Some players were pleasantly impressed with how the new game looks and especially the sound effects. The commentary is every bit as good as it was in FIFA 17, hardly a surprise, since the same commentators were used.

The lack of excitement was also the consequence of critics regarding EA’s take on football simulators as inferior to PES 2018. Their main competitors have scored higher thanks to the more fluid games and the smoother transition from defense to offense. In both cases, the developers wanted to encourage players to switch to a more aggressive football. There are plenty of in-game rewards for those who make this transition, but the differences are subtle and downright negligible for casual players.

My Rating of FIFA 18

When the first FIFA games hit the stores more than two decades ago, I was utterly impressed. Many years after the first game in the franchise I was able to focus on the positives and noticed the gradual improvements. The graphics got better ever since and FIFA 18 is once again the best game in the series. Having said this, this type of incremental progress in terms of visuals and sounds is not enough to keep a franchise fresh. In his defense, EA has to deal with the sheer limitations of football simulators.

FIFA 18 is easy to recommend to those who haven’t played any football simulator before, as well as those who took a lengthy break. However, if you have high expectations from the new installment, it’s likely to be disappointed. The narrative is stronger, but this can only carry you that far, since the emphasis is on multiplayer. PES 2018 is probably better even though the differences are not all that significant. All in all, FIFA 18 can be fun right but any review score in excess of 7/10 would be excessive.