Konami presented with “Pro Evolution Soccer 2018“: Great playability, realistic graphics and perhaps the best ball feeling in a football simulation so far. It will be hard for EA Sports. Last year, “FIFA 17” stagnated, and despite the switch to the Frostbite Engine – apart from the “Journey” mode, set apart little new accents. But good thing sometimes wants to have time. “FIFA 17″ felt like a transition, ” FIFA 18 Test”, on the other hand, is the next evolutionary stage of the series and scored with refreshed technology and first-class stadium atmosphere.
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“FIFA 18 Test” is once again waiting for a true TV mood. On the one hand, this is due to the numerous licenses. With more than 600 teams and 80 – partly licensed – stadiums, EA Sports has been driving heavy license guns. Although venues such as the Dortmunder Signal Iduna Park are missing, “FIFA 18” has a more coherent effect compared to its competitors.
This is due not least to the graphical implementation of the different venues. Light and image effects provide an individual look in different weather conditions. Especially beautiful: sunshine now plays a role within the matches. “FIFA 18 Test” illuminates certain areas so brightly that one sees the ball heavier. This sounds like a design flaw, but it is very good for the mood and the immersion.
Alex Hunter is back
The second part of the story mode “The Journey” also benefits from this improved authenticity. This time Megathalent Alex Hunter goes abroad and is looking for his luck there. Once again, the six-chapter campaign is presented as an excellent soap opera. EA Sports builds more celebrity stars in action and thus provides for some Aha moment. Through decision-making and dialogue sequences you influence Hunter’s career and his reputation with fans and coaches.
However, there are no real differences here. Ultimately, it does not matter if you act “hot” or “cool”. Only the training games to build up your character make your life easier, but you can also simulate it. The most important new feature is the multiplayer option, so your “The Journey” can also be tackled in pairs. Overall, the story turns out to be a whimsical football entertainment with a good portion of “good characters, bad times”.
The usual suspects
Otherwise, “FIFA 18” is waiting with its well-known mode selection: Ultimate Team is still EA Sports’ Groschengrab, with which you place your dream team with the help of playing cards. The most important innovation here are the so-called icons. These are previously exclusively published on Xbox legends. These are now also used on PC and Playstation and in the course of various stages of evolution. Ultimate team will eat a lot of hours again.
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The same applies to the career mode, in which you choose to work as a player or as a manager. Here, EA Sports is easily implementing the transfer system and integrating interactive negotiation sequences. The computer managers are more active this time and steal a star with an exit clause from the squad. The career mode feels a touch of authentic and, above all, more lively than before. The women’s national teams, which are still presented at ” FIFA 16 “, are, by the way, hidden again in the tournament options.
Crucial is on the pitch
However small the changes in the game modes may be, so different is the “FIFA 18” compared to its predecessor. The developers screw the game back, but at the same time at the animations and the dribbling. All movements appear much more fluid and by skillful change of tempts, you now also allow opponents to get off without tricks. In addition, the computer teammates act much more agile. They offer themselves better and so “FIFA 18” finally also allows fast short-cut tickets, without her standing anyway alone. In addition, the Flankenspiel is reworked and the wing play is strengthened by active international strikers, who always orient themselves to the center.
At the same time, the two-game game “PES 2018” remains somewhat handier. In “FIFA 18“, it is more a matter of space cover than the direct search for tackles. Very nice: You simply run the leather from the ball-bearing player with physically superior kickers or push them into the sides.
The internal defense showed some gaps in the test. The defenders are expected to enter active areas and go to the ball. These holes reveal talented kickers such as Ronaldo or Messi. A hit from the penalty area is therefore the order of the day. Experienced players quickly shoot far too many stalls and will be happy as well as annoyed about the unimagined freedoms. On the defensive, EA Sports has yet to make an urgent effort in the coming weeks.
In recent years, there has been a lot of criticism for the current offshoots of the “FIFA” series. With the coming part, EA Sports does however very much correct. The game feels much different than its predecessor and is at the same time closer to real football than all other parts of the series. “FIFA 18” scores on the pitch with many small and big improvements – especially the downplayed gameplay, the improved fellow-player AI and the varied offensive game.
Of course, there are some weaknesses in the defense, but overall, “FIFA 18” makes a huge leap forward. Combined with the usual strong license package and the far more accessible game modes the duel with “Pro Evolution Soccer 2018” clearly goes into the extension. Both these are first-rate football simulations this year and so the choice between “PES” and “FIFA” is now more difficult than ever before.