Title: FIFA 18
Format: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Release Date: September 29, 2017
The Grade: A-
FIFA 18 Haiku Review
Alex Hunter’s back
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
Lots of refinements
What is it? “FIFA 18” is the world’s premiere soccer video game sim. Every year Electronic Arts cranks out a new and improved version of one of its most popular titles. This year’s model builds on the success of “FIFA 17.”
Highs: EA’s yearly sports franchises are always solid games, but few have had the high consistency of the FIFA series. “FIFA 18” is no different, taking what worked so well in “FIFA 17” and adding a myriad of refinements to make yet another excellent title.
Alex Hunter and The Journey have returned, bigger and better than ever. EA has decided to make Alex a larger presence on the world stage after sticking with the Premier League last season. So he’ll be hobnobbing with soccer players from around the world including Thierry Henry, Thomas Muller, and Cristiano Ronaldo. This gives the story told through The Journey some gravitas and provides an international feel. NBA player and soccer super fan James Harden even makes an appearance, showing that the sport is loved world wide.
Strong story telling and features new to The Journey are sure to be a hit. Chapter based goals and new playable characters keep things fresh. Players can also customize Alex’s appearance, changing up his looks on and off the pitch to give him more personality. The Journey continues to be the highlight of this series.
Career mode has been enhanced as well. A more immersive transfer negotiation process makes it fell like you’re actually having a legitimate back and forth. News clips add a sense of realism, making events that unfold during your career feel truly newsworthy. But the feature I like most in career mode this year are the new training drills. The drills are fun to run through and a clever way to enhance player attributes.
“FIFA 18” offers several other subtle but welcome refinements. New animations reflect players real life movements more accurately and dribbling and crossing mechanics have been tweaked for better accuracy. Most noticeable is the overall feel of the crowd on game days. Fans are more responsive in their reactions and chants, they even move more like individuals. It all leads to an incredibly realistic experience.
Lows: FIFA Ultimate Team has added a few minor features but isn’t significantly different then last years model. Considering that this mode stood pat last year in “FIFA 17,” that’s a bit of a surprise. To be fair, FUT isn’t in need of an overhaul. But unless you’re already familiar with it, there’s not much incentive to get new players engaged with this feature.
A bit more troublesome is the repetitive gameplay dialogue. I love Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, they’re fantastic announcers. But no matter how great your voice is, unless you’re James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman or Scarlett Johansson I don’t want to hear you say the same things over and over again.
The Grade: EA’s FIFA franchise is just like this year’s cover boy, Cristiano Ronaldo - fast, sleek and darn near perfect. With a great career mode, a more customizable and international Journey for Alex Hunter, and a bevy of refinements, “FIFA 18” is a must buy for soccer aficionados.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.