Another year, another instalment of EA Sports’ mega franchise. Year on year, EA enhance and improve their most popular franchise, and 18 is certainly no exception.
Unless you’re my girlfriend or my mum, you won’t even have a clue how excited I am for launch day in around 2 weeks time. Ask either of them two, and they’ll say they’re fed up of me mentioning it. It isn’t even as a hint for Christmas or anything like that – oh no, its already pre-ordered. The top of the range, best of the bunch, crème de la crème, Icon Edition. Some people say I’ve spent too much, but trust me, the amount of money I spent on FIFA Points last year was too much. And to rub salt in the wound even more, all I got back from it was Legend Sheringham and Team of the Season Stindl. Here’s to a better pack luck this time round, right?
Anyway, enough about last year, with the demo already released at 6pm yesterday, 12th September, the FIFA hype train is rather quickly chugging down its tracks. The Top 100 rated players have been released and the upload event where YouTubers go to record their own footage has been and gone. The last stage was the release of the demo, which I personally think is rather bloody good.
The demo lets you loose with the bog standard Kick Off, letting you choose from 13 teams to play as or against. With the likes of Chelsea, Juventus, PSG, Real Madrid and both Manchester clubs in there, there’s plenty of high profile names to control. Now powered by the Frostbite engine, graphics are better than ever. I played my first game as Juventus, and the first time I saw Gianluigi Buffon, I was amazed at how real he looked.
Dribbling with the ball feels completely different. I’m sure I said this last year, but it feels more ‘flowy’, a lot better in my personal opinion. An all new crossing mechanic makes lobbing the ball in feel so much better than before. Where the ball used to shoot over the boxes and barely bounce within the stadium, this year, the ball curls inside the box ready for the target man to finish. Many YouTubers have said that there is an emphasis on pace this year, and it certainly does play an even bigger role in getting past the opposition’s defence.
Also on the demo there is a sneak peek preview to what’s in store for Alex Hunter in his second season. The Journey, if you weren’t aware, is EA’s recent addition to the series, which brings a more choice based RPG element to the game. Alex Hunter, the player you control as he embarks on a career in football, is even verified on Twitter. A virtual person, verified on Twitter. The new chapter, titled “Hunter Returns”, follows the player as he develops momentum in the footballing world, attracting attention from overseas clubs. You choose what to say, and each game comes with goals which will improve your relationships with the manager, the players and the fans. Hunter’s second season is certainly shaping up to be a very interesting one.
However, by far the most eagerly anticipated game mode, and the most successful (and also where the majority of my money is going to) has to be Ultimate Team. The powerhouse of a game mode attracts millions of players worldwide, and this year looks to be no different. Xbox Exclusive ‘Legends’ are binned off as EA takes FIFA over to a PlayStation focus. Its a shame, but ‘Icons’ are replacing them, and there are more players than before in the category. Back in the ’17 instalment, ‘Legends’ included Pele, Roberto Carlos, George Best, Teddy Sheringham to name but a few. This year, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo Nazário, Thierry Henry, Lev Yashin make an appearance. It is unknown whether all ‘Legends’ will come back as ‘Icons’, but Pele makes a return either way.
The release of the demo has only got me more excited for the release on the 29th September for the Standard Edition, and 3 days earlier on the 26th for Ronaldo and Icon Editions. With the Ronaldo Edition, you will also receive 1 Jumbo Premium Gold pack over 20 weeks, a 5 match Cristiano Ronaldo loan card and 8 Special Edition FUT Kits, designed by artists from the soundtrack. With the Icon Edition, you get an extra Jumbo Premium Gold pack a week, one Team of the Week 3 match Loan Player over 20 week and a 5 match Ronaldo Nazário loan card.
Just 2 weeks until the Special Edition release date – the countdown is on. Let us know who you’re most looking forward to using in the comments section.
See the Top 100 Ultimate Team players here – https://www.easports.com/fifa/fifa-18-player-ratings-top-100