The dust has barely settled on the 2016-17 season but already football fans are looking forward to the season ahead, both in the real world and on FIFA 18.
FIFA 17 was a huge success overall but as ever there have been certain features that fans of the franchise have criticised over the past season.
Following the release of the official FIFA 18 trailer featuring the latest cover star of the game, Cristiano Ronaldo, Squawka has come up with a list of 11 things we want to see on the game’s latest iteration.
FIFA 18: The Journey
The Journey was EA Sports’ major addition to FIFA 17 and caused a wave of excitement in the build-up to the game’s release: for the first time ever, there would be a story mode on a football game.
It sounded like a great idea and in fairness, for a first attempt was largely a success. However, after all the initial hype, barely a word has been uttered about the Journey in recent months as other modes such as FIFA Ultimate Team have taken centre stage.
Earlier this year, EA confirmed that a second edition of the Journey will be included on FIFA 18 with a host of new characters promised, but here are a couple of things we’d like to see altered.
Create a player mode
Playing as Alex Hunter was fun and all, but if you really want to immerse yourself in a story mode it would be far more satisfying to create a player in your own image.
Other sports games, such as NBA 2K, have incorporated such an element into their story modes and it would be great, albeit unlikely if you could do likewise on The Journey.
Opening up the Journey to teams from other divisions than the Premier League would also be a huge hit.
Make it last longer!
It made sense for EA to limit The Journey to just one season originally given it was largely an experimentation to gauge its popularity among audiences.
Now that it has been well-received they should extend it as one season just isn’t enough. As soon as you’ve properly got into it the game it is virtually over and greater longevity would be a welcome addition.
An element of The Journey that excited fans of the game was that Alex Hunter’s destiny seemingly lay in your hands.
As it turned out, it didn’t really seem to matter how you handled interactions with the media, management or teammates, the outcome largely stayed the same.
It would be great if your interactions actually had an impact on the player’s career trajectory rather than just reaching the FA Cup final anyway.
For instance, be the model pro and work your way to the very top or conversely, channel your inner Mario Balotelli and become a manager’s nightmare.
Skip cutaway scenes
Admittedly the whole point of the story mode is the story itself but at times The Journey was really dragged out with lengthy, monotonous cutaway scenes that you had to sit through.
An easy solution would be to skip the scenes you aren’t that bothered about.
FIFA 18: Career Mode
Now if there’s one thing on FIFA 18 that needs a whole new revamp, it is the career mode – which over the past few years has really been left behind.
While FIFA Ultimate Team has become the go-to place for most avid FIFA players, there is still room for a career mode if significant improvements are made. The whole things needs a bit of a refresh as well as it feels like we’ve played this game for years…
Playing against the computer on FIFA 17 quite simply is not that fun, particularly when compared to the free-flowing style associated with online matches.
No matter how good your team might be, you often find yourself spending more time chasing opponents looking to gain possession than doing anything with the ball yourself. It is all a bit tiresome.
There aren’t really any tactics at play either as every team is seemingly intent on recreating Barcelona’s tiki-taka style of play which isn’t exactly a true representation of how the game is played in League Two.
Another gameplay issue that has divided gamers over the past season has been in regards to set-piece changes, most notably to penalties which underwent a major overhaul for FIFA 17. This is another area that developers might wish to look at.
A factor that really hurts career mode is transfers as there is no realism attached the transfer market. If a club has enough money in its transfer and wage budgets, they can sign whoever they want.
Seeing Lionel Messi wear the red and white stripes of Stoke City or Cristiano Ronaldo pulling on a claret and blue Burnley shirt may be a novelty at first but after a while it will become slightly irritating.
Being pestered by constant invitations to take charge of a country early on in your career is also pretty unrealistic.
Another issue with career mode is that the youth setup is virtually non-existent which makes it difficult to promote young players into your first-team.
Bringing in U23 or B team leagues where the players can actually develop and enhance their attributes at your club would be a great way of ensuring that academy products can bridge the gap to senior football.
This is quite simple, either scrap them altogether or make them far more immersive and detailed like they are in The Journey, as at the moment they are largely just a waste of time.
FIFA 18: Ultimate Team
This is by far the most popular mode on FIFA and it isn’t hard to see why given the variety of gameplay and the sheer detail that has been put into it.
The addition of Squad Building Challenges this year was excellent and if EA have another ace up their sleeve similar this year, then we are all in for a treat.
If we’re being really picky, though, there are a couple of minor adjustments we’d like to see, such as more detailed player statistics for online seasons, being able to quick-sell multiple items at once and actually make buying packs worthwhile.
Co-op draft mode
However, if there were one major change we’d like to see with Ultimate Team it would be the introduction of a co-op draft mode enabling you to play against your mates in a draft mode mini-league.
The draft is one of the underrated joys of Ultimate Team as it gives you the opportunity to play with some ridiculously rare player cards that might otherwise be unattainable to get hold of.
Imagine how smug you’d feel if you managed to assemble an elite team on draft mode and beat your mates with it. This needs to happen!
Other additions we want to see
Bring in the Chinese Super League!
Last year EA made Japanese J1 League playable on the game, which was great, largely due to the addition of a couple of shiny new stadiums and some eye-catching kits for Ultimate Team.
If there is one league in world football that gamers want to be integrated this year, it would have to be the Chinese Super League given the influx of talent into the league over the past year.
Aside from playing with familiar faces in unfamiliar teams, the inclusion of CSL players would also come in handy on Ultimate Team if you want to create a side using one nationality, such as Brazil.
Introduce a new 5-a-side mode
In the not too distant past, people had the option of playing FIFA, FIFA Street or both but that two games were cut down to one as the onus of developing skills in FIFA took over.
While FIFA Street wasn’t a completely polished product, the idea behind it was great and we would love to see a similar format brought into FIFA 18.
A 5-a-side Futsal mode would surely be hugely popular given how that form of the game has risen in recent years with more people nowadays playing a condensed version of football than the real thing.