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FIFA 18: 8 simple things EA can do to make their next FIFA the best one ever

Here's how to ensure the beautiful game becomes that little bit more beautiful

FIFA 18 may be a few months away but EA will be working around the clock to ensure its the best one yet.

FIFA 17 was plagued with weird glitches, horrendous referee decisions and strange gameplay mechanics – all things FIFA 18 fans want to see the back of.

Now, as FIFA 18 gets closer and closer, we’ve pulled together everything EA can do to make their beautiful game that little bit more beautiful.

Remember, if you want to keep in up to date with the latest FIFA 18 news, read our absolutely everything you need to know about FIFA 18 

Let’s kick off.

Graphics 

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Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled as the FIFA 18 cover star earlier this week – along with some in-game footage of him in action.

Whilst early signs are encouraging, it’s important the Frostbite Engine is better used than it was in FIFA 17.

We want greater detail and animations from crowd members – not just hordes of the same-dressed person waving their arms up and down.

Gameplay is also prone to glitches – whether it’s players vanishing off the pitch or keepers carrying balls into their own nets.


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Animation, especially during celebrations, is clunky and could do with being smoothed out.

Given the fact that Ronaldo has been heavily motion captured, it suggests this is an area that EA is already addressing.

Free kicks

fifa-0

The new FIFA 17 momentum free kick system just doesn’t work as well as it should.

We’d want to see the reintroduction of the traditional power / curl mechanic to add more feel to set pieces.

Having greater control of the run up, though, really works.

Commentary

There’s always room for improvement here, despite valiant efforts from Alan Smith and Martin Tyler.

Too often they can be heard repeating themselves and blurting out dialogue that’s not relevant to what’s happening in-game.

We’re almost certain that EA will add thousands of lines of dialogue to FIFA 18.

The Journey

manuuu

The Journey mode was no doubt a success – borrowing from a host of successful RPG elements.

We’d like to see all progress from players’ FIFA 17 Hunter carried over into the new game.

Going one stage further, a feature to allow you to create your very own character – in a similar way to the Mass Effect series – would be welcome.

Fans were also frustrated that some decisions and actions would result in an abrupt end to the story, rather than continuing down another path.

Let’s hope Season 2 is less linear and allows for true player choice.

Match atmosphere 

What PES 2016 lacked in licences it made up for by capturing the spirit of the game.

Matches, especially internationals, felt like the huge spectacles they are – while stadiums all felt different.

While EA goes some way to address the build up, through decent commentary and player highlights, a more interactive and stadium specfiic crowd would work wonders.

We want them to thow stuff on the pitch if that’s what they do in real life. Or scream and chant their team’s song.

Surely it won’t be too hard to implement?

The omission of the Camp Nou in FIFA is felt more by fans every year

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The omission of the Camp Nou in FIFA is felt more by fans every year

Accurate ratings

By now, most FIFA 17 players have realised there are some low-rated players who perform well and above their scores.

The most popular example is Jack Butland – the 83-rated Stoke City keeper who’s often preferred to the likes of Hugo Lloris and Gianluigi Buffon.

Players need to reflect the ratings they’re given to ensure balanced gameplay and a stable FUT market.

First order of business… make Ahmed Musa less of a beast!

pogba-fifa

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Shed some light on “momentum”

‘EAAids’, ‘scripting’, ‘momentum’ – call it what you want but it’s been a massive talking point in FIFA 17.

It refers to an alleged game code that recognises when a player is losing and adjusts the gameplay to give them an advantage.


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Whilst EA has denied any such mechanism exists, there are countless examples where there’s simply no other logical explanation for a goal not being given, or shot finding the back of the net.

Gamers want more transparency – be that a reintroduction of the FIFA 06-style momentum bar – or an adjustment of this ‘code’ (should it exist) to minimise unnatural in-game events.

Manager likeness and ‘dead’ eyes

EA have done a fine job with the managers in FIFA 17, but there’s still work to be done.

A lot of this comes down to the eyes – which look dead and lifeless.

And it’s not just FIFA that struggles. NBA2K 17 has the very same issue.

FIFA 17

So, why does it happen?

“There’s a certain amount of eye animation being driven by the game itself,” said Anthony Tominia, who runs 2K’s MOCAP Studio in San Francisco.

“The game is saying, ‘What is the target?’ Well, the target’s usually the ball – so it’s doing everything it can to keep the head and the eye centred on the ball.

“But at the same time we’ve realised there’s this throwback to like Polar Express or something, where there’s those dead MOCAP eyes.”

Tominia continued: “We’re trying to supplement that, and dedicating parts of years to just doing facial capture.

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“So, we’ll put helmets on people and have them play basketball in real-life, getting the expressions, and then that becomes an engineering task of figuring out how much of this animation can we show without destroying the target of where the ball needs to be.

“That’s a huge undertaking that’s currently taking place, and hopefully in the next couple of years it’s battled out.”

What platforms is FIFA 18 on?

FIFA 18 is on Xbox One (Scorpio), PS4 Pro, Xbox One, Ps4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Nintendo Switch.

Eurogamer noticed publisher EA SPORTS confirmed two different FIFA video games will be shown at EA Play 2017 during E3: FIFA 18 and “EA Sports FIFA on the Nintendo Switch”.

Now small print on FIFA 18’s reveal trailer has revealed some key differences between the game and the Nintendo Switch version.

The new video (below, at 0:40) includes a line of text that reads: “Frostbite game engine technology and The Journey: Hunter Returns mode are available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC platform versions only. Not all features available on all platforms.”


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There are still thousands of gamers who play on last-gen technology – especially given that a new console costs upwards of £200.

It’s not the first time last-gen gamers have had a parred down version of a blockbuster game.

FIFA 17 was massively parred down for Xbox 360 and Ps3 – as the hardware wasn’t able to use the newer Frostbite technology (It was powered by Ignite – the FIFA 16 engine on last gen).

FIFA 17 looked the part, but the Frostbite Engine is capable of so much more

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FIFA 17 looked the part, but the Frostbite Engine is capable of so much more

So, will it look better on current-gen platforms?

In short, yes – but don’t expect a huge improvement. It’ll be powered by the same engine.

Speaking to Dream Team Gaming last year,  Frostbite Studio Director Jonas Skantz revealed: “I can assure you that Frostbite continues to be a true differentiator.”

“With more and more games powered by Frostbite – whether it is FIFA, Battlefield, Mass Effect or others – our development teams can spend more time building new groundbreaking gameplay innovations.”

FIFA 17 was the first game in the series to be powered by Frostbite – which replaced Ignite used the previous year.

While graphics took a noticeable boost this year, especially facial and player animations, FIFA 18 will see more subtle improvements as it’ll run on the same Frostbite 4 engine.

Player models looked impressive – but expect polygon count to be increased in FIFA 18

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Player models looked impressive – but expect polygon count to be increased in FIFA 18

Expect player movement and animation to look sharper – not to mention greater detail and likeness.

Other peripheral graphical tweaks, such as improved crowd detail, will also be present.

PS4 Pro owners and PC gamers will once again receive the best-looking versions of the game.

The former will once again capitalise on ‘Pro Mode’ – allowing for increased detail and more stable framerate at above 1080p resolution.

Pro Mode offered tangible improvements in FIFA 17, but this year, EA will have more time to push this even further and make greater use of Pro’s substantial GPU grunt.

What about Legends?

EA Sports has ditched Legends  in favour of multiplatform Icons.

Icons will be available on all platforms – and the first one is Brazilian Ronaldo.

You can find out more information about FIFA 18 Icons here

Will it play the same as FIFA 17?

FIFA 17 has come under fire for some aspects of its gameplay – but as FIFA 18 will be powered by the same engine, we doubt much will change here.

Input delay – the time it takes for a button press to translate into an on-screen action – has led to some negative feedback in FIFA 17.

There have also been claims of ‘EAaids’ or ‘scripting’, which refers to the game dynamically adjusting online matches to favour weaker players.

Whilst the former issue is a result of the game’s severs compensating for ‘Ping’ or connection strength variance between online players, we’d expect to see action taken over ‘EAAids’.

Whether this will be the re-introduction of a “momentum” bar, as in FIFA 06, or just a tweak of the alleged in-game code remains to be seen.

Either way, fans want something done about it.

When they release a trailer?

EA Sport have released the trailer for the new game here – you can watch it here.

When will it come out, and will there be a demo?

FIFA 18 launches on September  29.

For those wanting early access, the demo usually lands a week or two before the game launches – but expect EA Access members to get first dibs.

Will Cristiano Ronaldo still be the best player?

It’s been an incredible year for the Portuguese, so he’ll definitely remain the game’s best player in FIFA 18.

Some believe he may have a stats downgrade, though – especially with regards to his pace and dribbling (which we’ve mocked up below).

Ronaldo will likely be the best player in FIFA 18 – despite him getting slight downgrades in pace and dribbling

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Ronaldo will likely be the best player in FIFA 18 – despite him getting slight downgrades in pace and dribbling

Lionel Messi, who has been in blistering form of late, will keep second spot.

Who will be the cover star?

Cristiano Ronaldo is the cover star – marking the end of an incredible season for the 32 year-old.

On the news, Ronaldo said: “It is a real pleasure to be on the cover of FIFA 18, It’s a great feeling and I am grateful to have been chosen.”

Ronaldo is the new face of FIFA 18 – despite claims that Paul Pogba was in contention

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Ronaldo is the new face of FIFA 18 – despite claims that Paul Pogba was in contention

Will The Journey feature again? (SPOILER ALERT)

Absolutely. 

According to EA CEO Andrew Wilson, The Journey Season Two will feature new characters and story-lines and will ‘build on the foundation created with story mode this year’.

Alex Hunter’s debut was largely well-received by critics and fans alike.

The Journey was a success – but Season 2 needs to flesh out the characters more and offer more player choice

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The Journey was a success – but Season 2 needs to flesh out the characters more and offer more player choice

One of the issues with The Journey was that player choice did not affect the story as much as many would like.

As a result, expect improved dialogue wheels with actions that genuinely affect Hunter’s fate.

The EA-published Mass Effect series saw a similar evolution of the dialogue wheel – eventually allowing your character to interrupt NPCs mid conversation.

This feature would be a welcome, and easy to implement, addition.

Will free kicks and penalties stay the same?

Penalties won’t change much, but free kicks could see an overhaul.

The new “momentum” system that governs the set-pieces is incredibly hard to master and has been panned by FIFA players.

As a result, we’d expect this to revert back to the more “traditional” shot power and curl mechanic.

Penalties can be hard to master – but can be prone to erratic goalkeeper AI

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Penalties can be hard to master – but can be prone to erratic goalkeeper AI

The system works wonders for penalties, though – allowing for much more control over shot placement and power.

Goalkeeper AI during spot kicks is often found wanting, so expect EA to address this.

What will be the best new feature?

Dynamic weather will almost certainly feature in FIFA 18.

Need For Speed (2015) and Battlefield 1 -are both powered by the same engine and make use of unpredictable in-game weather systems.

Speaking to Metro last year, EA DICE’s Patrick Bach explained why weather is so much more than just a ‘pretty effect’.

Image result for battlefield 1 rain

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Battlefield 1 uses a dynamic weather system – which affects gameplay

“We often talk about these different dimensions in Battlefield, where you have the rock, paper, scissors and then you marry that with the destruction and you create unpredictability from different angles. And with the layer of weather we actually change the way you play in a very drastic way,” he said.


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“So, if you have the tactics of being a sniper and it starts to rain then you probably have to change tactics. And the same with fighter planes, once the fog rolls in it’s like, ‘Okay, this is not as effective anymore, so I probably need to go back on the ground’.

“It’s not only a pretty effect, it actually changes the way you play the game.”

Dynamic weather would add a whole new layer of tactics to gameplay in FIFA.

Image result for need for speed 2015

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The latest Need for Speed is powered by Frostbite and, like Battlefield, features a weather system that changes on the fly

For example, weather taking a turn for the worse could negatively affect player ground speed, passing accuracy and injury probability.

Players could fall over more easily, goalkeepers could be more likely to fumble fast shots… the list is endless, and would all help add an extra level of realism to the game.

How much will it cost?

FIFA 18 will cost around £49.99 – but given the demand, some outlets may undercut this.

We expect the cheapest the game will go for at launch to be around £45.

When will pre-orders start?

FIFA 17 pre-orders have kicked off now.

Pre-order now to get incredible offers, including three days early access with the Ronaldo (Deluxe) and ICON (Super Deluxe) Editions. Plus, kick off your FIFA Ultimate Team™ season early with special bonuses and items.

You can find more information by visiting the FIFA 18 website 

What is in each package?

Icon Edition 

  • Play from September 26th with 3 Days Early Access
  • Up to 40 FIFA Ultimate Team Jumbo Premium Gold Packs (two per week over 20 weeks – worth up to $120)
  • 3 match FUT Team of the Week loan player (one three match loan player for 20 weeks)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo FUT loan player for 5 matches
  • Ronaldo Nazário FUT Icon loan player for 5 matches
  • 8 special edition FUT kits designed by FIFA soundtrack artists

Ronaldo Edition 

  • Play from September 26th with 3 Days Early Access
  • Up to 20 FIFA Ultimate Team Jumbo Premium Gold Packs (one per week for 20 weeks – worth up to $60)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo FUT loan player for 5 matches
  • 8 special edition FUT kits designed by FIFA soundtrack artists

Pre-order for PlayStation 4,  Xbox One, and  PC

Standard Edition 

  • Up to 5 FIFA Ultimate Team Jumbo Premium Gold Packs (one per week for five weeks – worth up to $15)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo FUT loan player for 5 matches
  • 8 special edition FUT kits designed by FIFA soundtrack artists

NOW SEE WHO COULD BE FIFA 18’S HIGHEST-RATED PLAYERS.