FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer. The video gaming worlds El Classico. Okay, that may be taking it a bit far but for years fans have been battling and debating about which game can truly be called the ultimate football game. On one hand, PES fans will argue that FIFA is just a huge marketing gimmick whilst FIFA fans will throw PES’s licensing issues straight back at them. But has FIFA improved its game enough this year to beat PES?
My first experience with FIFA 18 was the demo and it was exceptional. The game felt different to 17 and it actually felt like I was playing a brand new game. The changes that were made to the crossing mechanic has made it easier to cross the ball more efficiently from different locations on the pitch. And with the added emphasis on physicality, tall and strong strikers with great heading abilities are now important more than ever. Goalkeepers were especially poor and this was emphasised even more when the game came out and online games were ending 6-5. Was this a problem? Many were complaining on various platforms but I do believe that the majority of the userbase were actually enjoying the game because of the skill gap that now existed. No more was the game easy for people that weren’t as good. You couldn’t just use LT+RT to dribble through the whole of your opponent's team.
But it wasn’t to be like this for long. EA released their first patch a few weeks into the game’s release and its reception was like Donald Trump’s inauguration. While some loved the new changes which made defending a little less manual and improved goalkeepers thus drastically reducing scorelines of online games, others complained about EA always wanting to change their game to please the few. In other words, they want the game to be kept the same with only fixes to bugs and for the complaining players to “git gud”.
And it isn’t only online gameplay that some players are disappointed with. The lack of proper changes to other game modes is a huge problem that EA need to do something about for the next instalment of FIFA. Career mode has been completely deprived of changes. The only noticeable change is new cutscenes for negotiating deals, but for me, these are extremely disappointing. The novelty wears off after a few negotiations and the fact that the cutscenes are completely silent due to players, managers and agents not having voices is just weird.
One mode that does seem to have received a lot of developer time is The Journey: Hunter Returns. The mode returns and continues off from where FIFA 17 finished. The mode is a lot more like a story this time around, with decisions that the player can make allowing the story to differentiate each time. The inclusion of some big names including Rio Ferdinand and Ronaldo make the mode a lot more interesting although you may find Christiano’s acting a bit uncomfortable. It’s clear he may need a bit more acting lessons from Joey Tribbiani.
FIFA will always be my game. I just can’t see myself moving over to PES and that is thanks to Ultimate Team which EA knows is their main money maker. The addition of Squad Battles has brought even more gameplay opportunities and the changes to the AI making them competitive and more human like has meant that even single player is more enjoyable. There are definitely areas EA can improve the game but here’s to hoping that EA can patch up their mistakes in the next update.
I genuinely thought that FIFA 18 was going to be the pinnacle of the FIFA series, but one patch later and I'm not so sure. Here's to hoping EA can patch up their mistakes in the next update.
Still the best overall football based game
The AI have been revamped and are actually fun to play against
Ultimate Team. One of the main reasons FIFA does well
Overall gameplay feels too much like FIFA 17
Lack of information regarding changes made after release
Lack of proper changes to other game modes