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Best FIFA 18 Xbox Black Friday Deals
The long-running gaming rivalry between Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer is just as partisan as Arsenal v Spurs or City v United. At least 90 % of football sim fans make their respective buying decisions a long time before either game hits the shelves: PES season ticket holders decry the opposition as all-style, no-substance, while Fifa disciples mock their foe’s licensing issues and off-key presentation. There’s little reasoning with either side.
The 2017-18 editions of the big two reveal those preconceptions to be built after half-truths. PES 2018 does have problems with publisher Konami’s insufficient riches comparative to EA’s, with Man Blue, Man Red and North East London duking it out for top-flight honours. Yet its on-field action is an impression more substantive, the smoothest passing system observed in a gaming especially worth praise.
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Nearly all fans do care that major top flight clubs can be found and correct, with traditional faces, kits and – increasingly – stadia. Photograph: Electronic Arts
However in a sport whose very foundations centre on vanity and bragging rights, where Sunday League pretenders attempt stepovers in pro-aping luminescent boots, it’s snobbish to dismiss the stylings of Fifa. On the pitch it’s very good if nearly excellent, and off, it dwarfs all contemporaries, Pro Evo included.
Nearly all fans do care that major top flight clubs can be found and correct, with real faces, kits and – increasingly – stadia. La Liga and MLS join the Premier League in having TV-accurate presentation overlays. Devotees of Ultimate Team, meanwhile, share stories of spending 200+ hours in the mode building teams and completing squad building challenges, furthermore to time spent playing matches. I understand, because I did accurately that in Fifa 17. Fifa’s omnipresent card-trading mode is again bolstered this season with offline-only squad battles, where defeating celebrity- or community-created dream teams earns mammoth in-game rewards. At £50, the exhaustive depth of the mode represents more-than-respectable value.
For the purist who considers on-pitch action paramount, Fifa does turn to resolve some longstanding gripes. From a player-control perspective, which means a totally reworked crossing mechanic; simplified to an individual tap of the square button on PS4 for a default ball in to the box, and a double-tap for a minimal cross. Default, however, can be an understatement; players truly whip the ball through the region this year, creating havoc for defenders and meaning a fast-winger/strong-header combo can often be devastating.
Also upgraded are off-the-ball runs, low shots, a fresh halfway-house standing tackle and goalkeeper awareness. After years of accusations that net-minders are broken, nowadays there are times where they feel too strong, emphatically repelling deliveries in to the six-yard box (likely a design call implemented to avoid that new crossing system from becoming too deadly) and palming low shots away with such ferocity that throws-in near to the corner flag stockpile in record numbers. Better that than way too many goals conceded through flaky glove work, though it won’t be considered a surprise if the first patch downgrades the Hulk fists.
Off-the-ball runs, low shots, a fresh halfway-house standing tackle, and goalkeeper awareness are improved Photograph: Electronic Arts
Welcome changes are introduced from an AI opponent standpoint. Recent Fifa reviews have repeatedly criticised too little tactical variety from computer-controlled teams, and it’s addressed by each of the game’s 700-plus sides being given two of 12 possible play styles. (One attacking, one defensive.) It doesn’t completely remove the issue, and continues to be a location where PES outperforms Fifa, but at least ensures career mode matches against possession-heavy Arsenal, Vardy-targeting Leicester and stoic, defensive Burnley no more feel identical.
Other career mode changes mean subtle Mourinho-style tinkering instead of wanton Redknapp-like reconstruction. A big deal was manufactured from Fifa 17’s Frostbite implementation, and the engine now feeds into careers by method of face-to-face transfer negotiations; make an effort to buy a new player from Real or Chelsea and you truly get to sit back with Zidane or Conte to seal the offer, using click-wheel conversational choices.
It’s a regular smile-raiser at Premier League level; less so when controlling Exeter City and being met with a number of suit-wearing genero-heads. Even Fifa’s licensing doesn’t stretch to fourth-tier managers. Transfers are much improved generally, with a fresh bespoke hub helping you to manage all incoming and outgoing moves in list form, rather than needing to trudge through labyrinthine menus to get any deal done.
Ronaldo’s star turn is a lttle bit excruciating in Fifa 18. Photograph: Electronic Arts
One area of Fifa to which PES does not have any answer may be the Journey: Hunter Returns. Where fictional prospect Alex Hunter’s predictable-yet-fun story rode a voice-acting rollercoaster in Fifa 17, season two finds both scriptwriters and cast on mature, Tuesday-night-ITV calibre form. Tomiwa Edun (Hunter), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (mum Catherine) and Lisa Solberg (I won’t spoil it) offer understated-yet-polished performances opposite footballing names such as for example Rio Ferdinand, Thierry Henry, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
OK, Ronny’s bits are excruciating, however the tale is merely about believable possesses agreeable diversions from matches and cut-scenes: a Fifa Street-like mini-game in Brazil, an exercise session with Solberg’s character in LA and – down the road – neat player-choice factors when selecting a fresh club and famous strike partner. Plus these times, your cut-scene decisions condition the mode from a cosmetic standpoint.
Hunter’s hair, tattoos, everyday wear and kit accessories (tape, wristbands, those aforementioned luminescent boots) can all be customised with a smart, GTA-influenced wardrobe selection screen, and several of the items – for instance a monstrous leopard-print hair-don’t, cloned from Paul Pogba’s Juventus days – are just unlocked by developing Hunter’s personality in some direction.
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable mode lasting between 12-15 hours, according to key choices – the same length as much a full-priced game beyond the sports genre, again hammering home Fifa 18’s strong value proposition. Whichever side of the footballing gulf you plant your neon footwear, there’s no question that EA’s b