A new season approaches, and that can only mean one thing. A new edition of FIFA is around the corner.
The latest release from EA Sports will bring something for both online and single player users, with Ultimate Team once again taking centre stage. RealSport take a look at the latest features in FIFA 18.
FIFA Ultimate Team: Icon Stories
The most exciting feature revealed so far is Icon Stories in Ultimate Team. It was revealed in June that the Brazilian Ronaldo (O Fenomeno) will be an ‘Icon’ in FIFA 18, but it’s presumed he would be joining the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, and Franco Baresi as a part of the Ultimate Team Legends. But it has since been revealed that there will be ‘Icons’ on FIFA Ultimate Team, available on both Xbox One and PlayStation, unlike the legends who are exclusive to Xbox. These icons will have three Ultimate Team cards, each at a different stage of their career, meaning Ronaldo has a 90, 96 and 94-rated card which will undoubtedly be worth ungodly amounts on Ultimate Team.
Lev Yashin, Rio Ferdinand, Diego Maradona, Thierry Henry, Pele and Ronaldinho all featured in the trailer alongside Ronaldo, whilst Ruud Gullit, Roberto Carlos, Jay-Jay Okocha, Patrick Vieira, Peter Schmeichel, Carles Puyol, Alessandro del Piero, Michael Owen and Deco will also be available as Icons on FIFA 18.
FUT Squad Battles
For those players who do not play online, there has always been a feeling that something had been missing from the FIFA experience, and Ultimate Team in particular. This year, a new ‘Squad Battles’ mode has been introduced, allowing players to challenge other Ultimate Teams off-line. In Squad Battles you will be able to lock horns with squads of pro-FIFA players and celebrities. The ultimate way to improve your squad and your ability. Check out the video below.
First look at Ones to Watch
Ones to Watch will return to Ultimate Team after being a success last year. It's been revealed so far that Romelu Lukaku, Alexandre Lacazette, Leanardo Bonucci, James Rodriguez and Douglas Costa will have the prestigious black cards that have the ability to improve over the season, if the player chalks up Team of the Week appearances. Which will look to emulate the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Sadio Mane and Ousmane Dembele of last year and give their FIFA cards a serious stats boost.
Frostbite pack openings
Frostbite, the engine behind The Journey, has been put to use on pack openings on FIFA 18 Ultimate Team, with some players having a personalised animation. Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘Sii’ celebration, Antoine Griezmann’s Hotline Bling and the wave of Dele Alli have all been revealed so far.
FIFA comes to Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch was released in March, and Nintendo fanatics will be delighted to see that FIFA 18 will be available on the console. EA have claimed that FIFA 18 on Nintendo Switch ‘delivers the most technologically-advanced portable FIFA experience ever’, and with the ability to play at home. All your favourite modes are on there, including Switch kick-off, Ultimate Team, Career Mode and Local Seasons. The prospect of opening Ultimate Team packs on a plane, train or at the pub is the stuff of dreams. However, The Journey, FIFA's story mode, will not be available on Nintendo Switch.
Critics have said that FIFA 18 on Nintendo Switch doesn't have the same feel as the game on other consoles, but it still superior to the FIFA 17 edition on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The new gameplay features are there (see below), but the gameplay engine is not Frostbite, and therefore play is slightly more sluggish.
EA Sports have upped the ante with this version of Fifa by making it more realistic than ever and enhancing some key gameplay features.
Team styles and player positioning
Team styles and improved player positioning is the focus this time around, with players now supporting a target man, anticipating through balls, making more sensible movements out wide and now able to execute a double "give and go". There are various team styles to utilise; catenaccio (park the bus), direct, counter attack, quick passing and harass all styles to try and combat your opponents.
Real player motion tech
Real player motion tech has been improved this season, so that when you control your favourite players you can feel their signature style. Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann, Raheem Sterling, Arjen Robben, Yaya Toure and N’Golo Kante have all had their real-life movements uploaded onto the game. Players will be more intelligent when beating defenders, either diligently controlling the ball past them or exploding beyond their man.
New Crossing Controls
Crossing has become increasingly difficult on recent FIFA editions, so it is great to see that deliveries into the box have been given an overhaul for FIFA 18. There are now searching crosses allow a striker to run onto the ball, whipped crosses meaning the forward can meet the ball at pace, lobbed crosses which can be used to target space at the back post and dangerous crosses which are fizzed across the six yard area.
The Journey continues…
FIFA 17 was all about Alex Hunter in Journey Mode, and it will come as a relief to FIFA fans that he will be returning in FIFA 18. Transfer speculation looks to be the theme this time around, and it appears that you will decide where the starlet will head next.
FIFA fans have wanted a completely customisable player to use in Journey mode, and whilst this is some way off, Alex Hunter's looks (hair cuts and tattoos) can be altered in The Journey: Hunter Returns.
Frostbite comes to Career Mode
The introduction of The Journey last year has had an impact on Career Mode for FIFA 18. The Frostbite engine will feature in Career Mode as you meet with other clubs' representatives and players over transfers, and present them to the media.
New skills games are on offer to train up your players, and you will be able to make quick subs in-game.
Career Mode preview
FIFA 18 will be released worldwide on Friday 29th September 2017 and will be available on Microsoft Windows, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
How to get early access
If you're eager to get your hands on the game early you have a few options.
It is assumed that the FIFA 18 Demo will be dropped on September 15th, two weeks before the game is launched. This has been the case for the past two FIFA releases.
You will be able to play as Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, LA Galaxy and Toronto FC. The first part of The Journey: Hunter Returns will also be at your disposal.
EA and Origin Access
For early access to EA releases, you can subscribe to EA access for £3.99 ($4.99) a month. For FIFA 18, you will be able to play the game eight days before the game's official release, but for only 10 hours of gameplay. Origin do exactly the same for PC releases of EA games.
Judging by FIFA 17, you will have full access to all game modes except The Journey, but you will still be able to sample the start of Alex's Hunter path in his second season.
Editions of the game
If you pre-order the Standard Edition of the game, you will receive up to five FIFA Ultimate Team Jumbo Premium Gold Packs (one per week for five weeks), a Cristiano Ronaldo FUT loan player for five matches and eight special edition FUT kits designed by FIFA soundtrack artists. (£49.99 on Amazon.co.uk, $59.99 Gamestop)
Pre-ordering the Ronaldo Edition will give you three days early access, and up to 20 FUT Jumbo Premium Gold Packs (one per week for 20 weeks), a Cristiano Ronaldo loan player for five matches as well as the eight special edition FUT kits. (£69.99 on Amazon.co.uk, $79.99 Gamestop)
The most premium edition is the Icon Edition which entitles you to three days early access, a Cristiano Ronaldo 5-match FUT loan & a Brazilian Ronaldo Icon 5-match FUT loan, 40 Jumbo Premium Gold packs (two per week over 20 weeks), 20 Team of the Week Loan Player Packs (One 3-match TOTW loan player per week over 20 weeks), and the eight special edition FUT kits. (£89.99 on Amazon.co.uk, $99.99 Gamestop)
What are you most looking forward in FIFA 18? What needs to improve from FIFA 17? Let us know in the poll and comments section or hit us up on our social media channels.
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