With the Xbox version of FIFA 18, it’s apparent that EA was sick and tired of being upstaged by Konami’s Winning Eleven series. The Vancouver-based dev team decided that enough was enough, set their sights on ousting WE from the top of the soccer game food chain. When you take into account the FIFA licensing (that WE doesn’t have), I’d say : MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
EA decided to create two fairly different soccer products for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 this year. Of particular interest is the Xbox 360 version of FIFA ultimate team 18, for it contains a gameplay engine that is the future of soccer gaming – at least in EA’s eyes. EA has ventured out on the limb pretty early with FIFA 18’s 360 engine. Is FIFA 18 for the Xbox 360 too far ahead of its time, or is this first-model-year SKU worth digging into ?
Player attributes have been moved much more to the forefront in FIFA 18, which means the stars really shine out there. The system that defines what makes a licensed player good (or bad) has been made more resolute, and includes tendencies which modify base attributes : the market of “fifa coins” increase again in importance in Fifa ultimate team economy. So markets of fifa 18 coins like Spanish with “monedas fut” or Italia with “crediti fifa 18” are the most important in Europe for gamers of FIFA 18.
The increased resolution creates an A.I. system which has tons of variety, as each and every player is a bit different from another – there’s no carbon copies here.
EA’s next-gen catalog is, for the most part, an early-adopter’s dream. The first titles in EA’s big series are usually retail betas of items that we won’t see until the Xbox 720 releases in three years. Autosculpt, EA Sports Lab, and UCAP are just a few of the items that will become commonplace in EA games, see gameplay comparaison FIFA 18 vs PES 18
FIFA 18 is as “brand new” as a title can get, as it has been completely overhauled with gameplay features that will surely make it into the next few iterations. The biggest change in FIFA 18 – and the one that really separates the next-gen SKU from the previous-gen entry – is that ball and player physics are now two separate entities. In previous FIFA games (and the current Xbox version), the action is animation-driven, which means that the ball is always drawn to a character’s foot. There are no arbitrary ball movements, since the ball is seemingly tethered to a player’s foot, which means that predictability is right around the corner.
The dependent ball physics of past titles are particularly troublesome and predictable when it comes time to take a shot on goal. The goalie has the same few angles to cover and shots to save, as these are tied to the ball coming at him. Experienced players can memorize these few goalie moves, and change their shot taking technique to “trigger” an animation that causes the goalie to miss. For instance, a quick lateral move inside the box almost always registers a goal in FIFA 17 :
The dependent ball physics system in previous games has been scrapped in favor of a system for FIFA 18 that gives the ball a “mind of its own”. In FIFA Ultimate Team , you can play the ball into space, and it will react much more realistically to speed and weight. The ability to touch the ball one direction and run your character a completely different way has huge benefits, as skilled players can play a ball ahead and run in an unorthodox path to the pill in order to confuse the D.
But perhaps the biggest benefit of independent ball physics is when it comes time to take a shot. The sliding power gauge is nearly the same (tweaked a bit for character skill), but shots can now end up in any portion of the net, based on the player’s strike and the physics imparted on the rock. This creates interesting situations where goalies can be beaten by an odd bounce (as in the real sport), a rocket shot that they might tip but not fully save, or by a curving blast that is simply misplayed.