Electronic Arts (EA) revealed in their Q3 earnings report that digital sales are on the rise and FIFA was played by over 40 million people in 2017.
Every year, as the newest editions of sports franchises come out, I wonder what each developer could possibly add to an existing game to justify the purchase for gamers. EA has a strong history of excellent results with its FIFA franchise, and it’s definitely become the leading soccer simulation game in the field. Last year’s release was notable for adding a more cinematic career mode, following the character of Alex Hunter. FIFA 18 doesn’t add anything as large as that mode to its bevvy of options and game modes, but it does bring Alex Hunter back for the second year of his journey in the professional soccer leagues.
Every year the graphics improve, although at first the graphical enhancements aren’t necessarily grabbing your attention right away. It’s more like smaller tweaks which improve the overall package in a gradual way. When delivering a top-notch sports simulation game, as much as the controls have to successfully mimic the way that a sport is played, it’s just as crucial to deliver authentic looking graphics and presentation. As someone who lives in North America, I liked the new broadcast overlay for MLS, as it made the broadcast presentation feel a lot more authentic and natural as the announcers discussed the MLS teams. Graphically, the game boasts additional stadiums making their first appearance in a FIFA game, including the home of the LA Galaxy, StubHub Center in LA. It’s in the finer graphical details that the game really shines and brings to life the on-the-pitch and off-the-pitch game of soccer. The experience is truly immersive, with area-specific fixtures and banners making their appearance. The crowds that pepper these stadiums also look more realistic than ever before, with more unique and individual crowd reactions being injected into the proceedings. The home crowd will chant and get louder as an attacking play occurs on the field.
The successful “Journey” mode from last year returns with Alex Hunter touring the world. It remains a truly immersive experience, the cutscenes are well acted and put together, and the storyline is an enjoyable one. Players can make impactful choices throughout the gameplay, which shape the journey that Alex goes on. It’s a compelling career mode, which feels much more in-depth than your typical career mode found in a sports simulation game. I’m a devout fan of MLB The Show, and I would love to have a more cinematic career mode present in that game series. It adds an extra dimension that once experienced, I can’t imagine not having it anymore. For the player who enjoys additional customization, Alex can also be customized with new hairstyles, tattoos and more.
The traditional career mode, without the cinematic depth of Alex Hunter’s Journey, is back as well. This year, there’s more inclusion of news clips and other cinematics to mark the rise of your player.
Football Ultimate Team (FUT) mode returns to FIFA 18, and brings some of the biggest legends in the game with it. Not only are classic players like Diego Maradona, Pele, Ronaldo Nazario and Ronaldinho included, but they are represented with three separate versions, which show how their styles as players changed over the years, as well as their stats/attributes. It’s a clever choice to include players at various stages of their careers. It would be cool to have this available in more sports games—to be able to represent stars of the past at various points in their illustrious careers.
With some enjoyable changes and tweaks to all of the action that is represented off of the actual soccer field, the game still boasts a lot of changes and adjustments to gameplay on the field. FIFA 18 boasts more than 15 new skill games, which are fun exercises to get better at gameplay.
New to the game is a change to how substitutions are done throughout a match. A context-based substitution prompt comes up, which allows players to make changes without having to pause and leave the match. As a fan of the game who’s still at times a neophyte when it actually comes to the finer points of soccer, substitution was a mechanic which I didn’t always understand how to implement and use properly. I found the inclusion of dynamic quick subs to be a big benefit, as the substitutions offered in the prompt make sense based on the gametime situations that are occurring on the field.
The gameplay animations are more accurate and realistic than ever, with the updated real player motion technology. Motion capture techniques and new animation selections have been implemented and improved and make the game look much more accurate and fluid visually. The dribbling mechanics feel a lot more natural and overhauled from FIFA 17, and are immediately evident when starting a match. The crossing controls in the game have been updated and overhauled as well, making them far more responsive.
Returning from last year’s version of FIFA is the ability to use the Women’s national teams for a Women’s tournament. It’s additional depth to the amount of teams and countries that are represented.
FIFA 18 doesn’t boast big changes to its winning formula like FIFA 17 did with the inclusion of “The Journey” mode with Alex Hunter, but it does take what worked in previous years and continue to tweak and alter to make the overall product crisp and concise. The gameplay and broadcast themes are authentic-feeling, and the graphics have never been better (or at least not until FIFA 19 is released next September). EA makes a compelling case for players to reach into their wallets and purchase this year’s new release of FIFA 18.
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EA just wrapped up their Gamescom 2017 press show, but if you missed it don’t fret as CGM has all the big announcements covered.
EA’s show opened with a look at Fifa 18. The latest installment of the beloved sports game looks great running on the Frostbite engine.
Madden NFL 18 is set to come out this week and it was mentioned during the show that the game will also be running on the Frostbite engine.
An extended look at the forthcoming Star Wars Battlefront II was shown off, specifically the space dog-fighting mode known as Assault.
New hero ships, class based ships, and objective based gameplay were shown during the live gameplay demo. Some notable ships include Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon and Darth Maul’s Scimitar.
Overall, the game looks stunning and recreates the epic high-octane feel from the movies perfectly.
EA Gamescom 2017 also saw a new trailer for Need For Speed Payback, with a real-life BMW M5 taking the stage.
The new trailer for the upcoming racing game will feature police vehicles that have been upgraded considerably from previous entries. One particularity interesting vehicle shown off was the Rhino—a super reinforced armoured police cruiser.
Fans of the Sims series will be delighted to know that the Sims 4 will be hitting consoles sometime this November.
Furthermore, The Sims 4 will be getting a Cats & Dogs expansion come this fall. The highly anticipated expansion was announced after EA brought celebrity dog Jiffpom to the stage during their conference.
The Sims on mobile will also soon be getting a international release, which should give fans of the long-running franchise the chance to play the game on their favourite smart devices.
One of the more surprising announcements during the EA Gamescom 2017 show came in the form of a brand new original title known as Fe.
Fe puts the player in a beautifully and artistically realized world. Players navigate this natural wonderland that is teeming with wildlife at their own leisure—which Zoink Game’s Creative Director Andreas Beijer explicitly mentioned being a key design choice element for the upcoming title.
New content for Battlefield 1 was also shown off which included a first look at the In the Name of the Tsar DLC.
Additionally, a new mode known as Incursions was shown off. Incursions will feature 5v5 firefights that promises to deliver a more intense and intimate Battlefield experience to players.
The competitive mode will have a closed Alpha sometime in September, those interested can sign up at the official Battlefield 1 website.
Finally, a complete edition of Battlefield 1 was also unveiled, known as Battlefield 1 Revolution. The title will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
EA starts off the incoming barrage of E3 press conferences with a mix of expected announcements, exciting gameplay reveals, and brand new IP’s for players to get hyped about.