Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch
(Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
FIFA 18 landed just a couple of weeks ago and whilst he dust may still be settling for many it is proving to be popular with many having soared to the top of the charts in many places. Whilst typically I would play this game on either Xbox One or PS4, this year I decided I would try out the game on Nintendo Switch. Despite there being some obvious differences between this Switch version and the other versions, there was an appeal about being able to play anywhere that really connected with me. But have EA scored a stunner this year?
There is an obvious difference in the way the game plays in FIFA 18 in comparison to both FIFA 16 and 17. Whilst I may not be able to articulate this in the best of ways, there is a noticeable improvement in the speed of the game. Whilst player touches can be a little heavy and acceleration can feel dampened the overall game play experience feels like it has hit the sweet spot in the speed department. Of course, this is subjective and everyone appears to prefer something different, hence why this area varies so wildly on an almost yearly basis. Either way, so far so good in my opinion!
The different game modes available in game once again provide plenty of variety to mix up how you can play with new features added to FIFA 18. The Journey returns this year with a brand new story following Alex Hunter, your character from FIFA 17. The story line for this version of the journey is good and whilst it is not a reason alone to buy FIFA 18, it is quite enjoyable to just see how the script plays out in this game mode. Unfortunately, for Switch players, The Journey has not been included in their version of the game. Not a huge loss in my opinion but just one clear distinction for anyone keeping score!
Ultimate Team is where most FIFA players spend their time and that has returned with a bang! Gone are the Legends that used to be exclusive to Xbox and in come the FIFA Icons that are available across all platforms. This is a nice update which means legenedary players such as Thierry Henry and more will be collectible for your Ultimate team, no matter what platform you play on. For Switch players, once again there is an omission; Squad Battles. Speaking honestly, I have never used this game mode in FUT so this omission means nothing to me and I would hazard a guess that I am not in the minority but once again this is something else for those people looking out for the differences.
Switch Vs Everything Else
Clearly the Switch version is where you can see the most differences and whilst the ones highlighted so far do not make an impact on my game play experience, the final difference is what many consider to be the deal breaker for the Switch version. You cannot play online matches against friends! It’s not very often that I do this but I know this is a big reason that anyone plays FIFA, bragging rights in this game are important to a lot of players. This one omission could be a good enough reason to grab a copy of the game on Xbox One or PS4 but there are plenty of benefits to the Switch version that could be enough to make up for its misgivings.
Obviously, the main benefit of the Switch is its portability. Being able to play a console version of FIFA anywhere is a huge plus, especially if you are an offline player. The added bonus to this is being able to play multiplayer games using local wireless. This means you and your friends could be playing a game of FIFA against each other anywhere, without an internet connection. Imagine playing a FIFA tournament on a long train journey or in the park on a hot summers days! Detach the Joy-cons for quick play with a friend or if everyone has a Nintendo Switch console and a copy of the game join larger games between friends. This could just be the most social way to play a FIFA game ever!
So, of course, you can slate the Switch version for what is doesn’t have but the same could be said for the other versions of the game. It all comes down to personal taste!
My Small Gripes
As with every FIFA game, there are some small gripes with the game play that are inescapable. FIFA 18 is no different. Whereas in previous version, defeneder AI and player changing have been big frustrations, I find this year’s game has more problems with player movement and, well, still the player changing provides some frustration.
My issue with player movement centralises around the midfield. When attacking on the break there is an apparent gap between strikers and midfield. Maybe this is a realistic element of football that I have never noticed but it does mean it can be quite difficult to get out of your own area when your opponent is applying pressure. Some may say this is an unfair disadvantage, I may say the same thing depending on what result is showing on the score board! Either way, this feels like an easy area for improvement in a future patch.
Player changing is also still a little inaccurate. When defending, I find myself panicking more often about which player the game changes to rather than the defending itself. Make one wrong move and you can completely open up your own defence and gift your opponent a chance on goal. Losing under such circumstances has never felt closer to daylight robbery…unless you’re playing at night!
These are small issues and will most likely vary depending on the individual but the bottom line is don’t expect a flawless experience in FIFA 18.
In summary, FIFA 18 makes some improvements but still has other areas it could improve on. Depending on how you want to play will depend if you buy the Switch version or not, just make sure you are aware of the differences before you buy the game for your chosen platform! Ultimately, the game play experience is fun for veterans and new comers alike across every platform and there are plenty of game modes for you to get your teeth stuck into. Having bought the version on Nintendo Switch, I am not regretting my decision and would urge other football fans to grab a copy of FIFA 18 this holiday season!