EA Sports misses the mark on gameplay in FIFA 18

The Concordian gives FIFA 18 a yellow card for its bad gameplay. Screenshot.

Bad ball control actually makes this year’s soccer video game worse than last year’s edition

FIFA 18 gets a yellow card for bad gameplay this year, and it’s almost a straight red. EA Sports’s newest edition of the soccer video game is, surprisingly, worse than FIFA 17.

The most frustrating part of this year’s gameplay is the player’s ball control. Bad ball control, or as soccer fans like to call it, bad touches, was a problem in FIFA 16. Although EA fixed this in last year’s edition, it’s back. Every player seems to be bad at controlling the ball in the game, including Juventus superstar Paulo Dybala, who is one of the best dribblers in the world.

Ball control is at its worst when a player receives a strong pass in the midfield—the ball bounces off his feet and goes flying in front of him, which leaves the ball open for your opponent to take. Yet even when your opponent takes the ball, they can’t control it and lose it right away. It’s a never-ending cycle that has teams alternating possession in the midfield, making gameplay terrible.

The game’s realism is one of its rare bright spots. Screenshot.

To avoid playing a sloppy game in the midfield, playing out wide with wingers and fullbacks is the best option. Crossing is a lot better this year. EA added three new crossing styles to the game: a driven cross, a high cross and a scoop cross. All three are effective at finding an open man in the box to blast a sweet volley or a powerful header past the keeper.

Tackling and physical play is also different in FIFA 18 compared to FIFA 17. In last year’s game, EA integrated a physical gameplay that benefitted stronger players who were able to easily out-muscle weaker opponents both on and off the ball. In FIFA 18, all players are weak and go down easily. It’s stereotypical for soccer players to go down with the slightest of touches, but this is a video game, and seeing your player drop to the ground when you’re trying to score with him is infuriating.

Presentation is probably the best it has ever been in the FIFA franchise. The FIFA 18 website promotes new, immersive stadium atmospheres, which feature fan-made signs all over the stadium, team-specific chants, pre-game traditions and new player-fan interactions during goal celebrations. It’s probably the best part of the game, but the good-looking presentation only masks the bad gameplay.

Fans of the franchise can only hope EA will update the 2018 edition through downloadable patches to improve the gameplay.

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