By Sam McGuire, Football Whispers
It’s that time of the year again. In just seven days guys will be posting pictures of FIFA 18 that their imaginary girlfriends have bought them accompanied with a note the non-existent other half has written claiming there’s beer in the fridge and she’s out with her friends so he’s got the night to indulge himself in the new game.
That’s not one of the reasons to be excited about EA’s latest installment of one of the biggest franchise games ever. However, we’ve got you covered and have asked our friends at Football Whispers to list seven things they’re most looking forward to in FIFA 18.
The Return of Hunter
Alex Hunter was a breakout star of FIFA 17. Gamers got emotionally invested in the kid and it’s easy to see why that particular mode has quickly become one of the unique selling points for FIFA.
It was, for many, a look behind the curtain at what it takes to be a top player these days. The intense training, the rivalry with others and the pressure to deliver when the opportunity comes your way.
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In FIFA 18 you get to play abroad with Hunter. Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and LA Galaxy are all clubs listed as potential suitors for the striker. Ever wondered what the nightlife is like in Hollywood if you’re a star? Now is your chance to find out. There are also cameo appearances from Cristiano Ronaldo, Dele Alli, Thierry Henry and a few others.
It will definitely be the first port of call for many when they load the game up.
Improved off the pitch realism
EA Sports are once again using the Frostbite engine for FIFA 18 and the improvements on last year’s game are noticeable.
The biggest change comes to the in-game environment. Fans in the stadium are more vocal and act as you’d expect when the opposition score. You can now celebrate with the crowd meaning you can literally silence a stadium with a goal. They’ve also added new celebrations enabling you to do Paulo Dybala’s gladiator mask when he scores a goal.
Instead of a one size fits all, which is how it’s felt in previous installments, EA have given every team a unique offensive and defensive philosophy. Every game will be a different tactical battle this year.
You’ll be up against teams using a high press, sides looking to dominate possession and others who will simply look to go long.
EA have also tweaked player instructions so there shouldn’t any examples of Andy Carroll trying to slalom his way past five or six defenders.
EA have looked to address the issues with FIFA 17’s dribbling with a major revamp. There’s been an overhaul which allows players to “inject more creativity into 1v1 situations.” Instead of it being a roulette you can have an idea of how you’ll beat an opponent whether it be with pace or with skill.
They’ve also improved the crossing feature. It’s supposedly now more measured so you can stand a ball up to the back post if you have men over or drill it across the face of the goal if you have men arriving from midfield. The likely outcome of this is fewer people looking to just play the ball back across goal for a tap-in.
Individuality of players
FIFA 18 will incorporate improved player personalities. EA have tried to bottle what makes players in the real world so unique and bring it to life in their game. The developers have already highlighted “Ronaldo’s signature sprint, Sterling’s turns, and Griezmann’s technique” as examples. One would assume it’s an attempt by them to make it as real as possible so you aren’t purely relying on the name on the back of the shirt to tell you who the player is.
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Ultimate Team legends
Ultimate team legends used to be exclusive to just Xbox but this is no longer the case. Gamers on PS4 will now be able to piece together teams made up of original Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, Pele, Rio Ferdinand, Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten and Dennis Bergkamp.
You’re literally able to turn your dream teams into a reality. Imagine a forward three made up of Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi…
Quirky new features
The ability to make ‘Quick Subs’ has been added. You can prepare up to three in-game changes before kick-off in the tactics screen then, whenever the ball goes out of play, you can make a substitute with just two taps of a button. It may take some getting used to and players will no doubt waste the odd sub after five minutes or so but it’s definitely a time-saving feature.
This is perhaps only bettered by the revamped negotiation process in Career Mode. You now meet with the player you’re interested in buying in person, in your office, and thrash out a contract with his agent. It may become a little tedious down the line but right now it’s new and it adds to the realism. You may even find yourself secretly be hoping the agent starts shouting “Show me the money” at you!