FIFA 17 is a wonderful football game but it’s not without its problems.
Now gamers have latched on to another issue – one they feel needs sorting out in FIFA 18. The AI.
Throughout FIFA 17’s lifespan, EA released a number of patches to refine the game. One of these seems to have negatively affected the AI’s defensive positioning.
One gamer wrote on the FIFA sub Reddit: “Defensive positioning is completely broken. I love using slower, stronger CBs but I can’t handle the times where it’s like ‘OK through ball to Sadio Mane, I’ll just let my left back track him… and it’s Jose Fonte’.
Another wrote: “All the games I’ve lost have been because of the AI on defense.
“For some reason every time a forward comes towards them they don’t try to defend and either run away or back up until the point they are at the keeper.
“I am seriously at the point of just selling this game and switching to PES. Seriously, why does this keep happening? Can anyone shed some light on this?”
When the game first launched, there were calls for EA to lower the AI assistance as it was a found the most effective way to defend was to let the CPU do the majority of the work.
Although there’s no direct link between this and these ‘defensive issues’, it’s certainly probable, especially given how much EA has tinkered with the game code over the past 12 months.
Two years ago, FIFA 15came under fire for having issues with players being too fast – making it far too easy to dribble past defenders.
In FIFA 16, this was recognised and pace was drastically changed to give the AI more of a chance – however some felt it favoured the team without the ball.
FIFA 17 feels as though EA is still trying to find the right balance.
From experience, when you’re in the lead, the AI seems work in your favour and help win the ball. However, if you’re chasing a goal, your CPU teammates are more passive and seem to be prone to error.
Thankfully, EA has made some fundamental tweaks the gameplay for this year’s edition – adding a feature called Dramatic Moments.
“Our goal as producers is we’re always looking at football and always trying to put the context of football in FIFA,” he said.
“This is a very good example I’ll give you — one of the new features we have is called Dramatic Moments, and people have asked me ‘How do you create dramatic moments?’ It’s not just about spectacular stuff, forcing it to happen.
Basically what we are doing is we are spending more time making sure that the football concepts and contexts that create variety in real life are also in FIFA and tuned in the same way.
“So my example – if you’re playing Ronaldo, he’s a very good shooter – should he hit the left top corner of the goal every single time he shoots? He’s not going to be able to do that — why not? Because there are different factors with each shot. He could be under pressure – maybe a guy is on his side trying to push him off balance when he tries to take the shot.
“Maybe the ball is too far away and he needs to stretch, or too close and then he cannot get proper contact.
“Maybe the ball is bouncing, maybe the ball has a spin, maybe he’s moving too fast instead of having the proper speed for the perfect shot, maybe he’s using his left foot instead of his right foot, maybe the weather conditions are bad… there are many factors that are going to prevent him from doing that perfect shot every time.
“So what we do in FIFA every year is try to understand those factors and tune them in a way so you can have that experience.
“Now it’s up to the user to create that situation, to get in that perfect spot for that shot, and this is where the bits combine.
“I have space for a set-up touch and can then run to the ball and hit a perfect shot, or perhaps I know Ronaldo’s right-footed so I need to dribble this way so that the ball ends up in the right position.
“All of this doesn’t mean every single shot is going to go in if it’s in a good context, but there will be more possibilities for that shot to go in with that good context than if I just press shoot whenever.
“Our aim is not just to have a fun game, no, it’s about translating the context, our concept is to bring real football into the videogame.”
EA is planning a huge Ultimate Team showcase at next month’s Gamescom expo in Cologne.
“Ordinary we don’t announce much about Ultimate Team around this time because we’re in the run up to Gamescom – that’s our big FUT showcase,” he said at a FIFA 18 event in London.
Gamescom is Europe’s largest gaming convention, taking place between August 22-26.