It’s a staple for the typical ‘lads’ night in. Crack open a couple of cold ones, turn a pack of Doritos into a sharing bowl, and whack out a couple matches of FIFA… or at least that’s what I am told. I’m not a ‘lad’ so I never had the experience.
Either way, the latest instalment of the EA footy franchise, FIFA 18 is out now for the Nintendo Switch. Is FIFA 18 for Switch worthy of that cold, frosty, and probably alcoholic beverage, or is it a complete red card? Find out after the break… see, I can make sporty references!
Developed by EA Vancouver and EA Romania
Published by Electronic Arts Inc
Released: 29th September 2017
Review copies provided by Nintendo
At it’s core, FIFA 18 for the Nintendo Switch is a full on FIFA game, for the most part. If you have played a FIFA game before, you can pretty much get right into a game without any issues. Previous FIFA games for Nintendo consoles tended to add some gimmicky features such as motion controls or slow motion, or just had a completely watered down experience.
With FIFA 18 on Switch, you’ll be able to achieve solid passes, aggressive tackles, and potentially even score some goals… if you aren’t me of course. The paid up JoyCon and the Pro Controller offers the full range of controls, making the game fairly simple to play. This was actually the first FIFA game I have ever played, so at first the controls took a tiny bit of getting used to, but after a good ten minutes I could easily control my players. If you are wanting to have a multiplayer match however, I would not recommend splitting the JoyCons otherwise you will have very limited controls seeing how you will be missing about six or so buttons. Instead I would recommend a pair of JoyCons each or using multiple Pro Controllers.
Though the game may not look as polished as the version on PS4 and XBOX ONE, FIFA 18 on the Nintendo Switch still looks pretty good in both docked and undocked mode. Aside from some questionable crowd models during cutscenes, the visuals are fairly crisp and it plays so smoothly as well, which is pretty impressive considering it isn’t running on the Frozenbyte engine the game was originally developed for. True, some of the animations run a bit fast, and some of the physics seem off, but unless you are bothered by the smallest inconsistency, it runs pretty well.
As I’ve never played a FIFA game before, I am pretty impressed how much detail is put into some of the gameplay. From what I have played, the commentary has been pretty spot on with some great remarks from commentators. The gameplay itself is also pretty detailed too. If you wanted, you could just set up your own quick matches or tournaments with your own players and such, but if you want a more detailed experience, then there are a few modes worth considering.
In career mode, you can either choose to manage your own team, or start your career as a pro player. Both routes offer the same base experience of having to play multiple matches in a row, but each route has a few differing objectives. When managing your own team, it is up to you to pick and choose the best players and tactics for your team. While managing your team, you’ll also have to manage your funds, if you get too low on money, you may have to sell some of the players you don’t really need. Oh, did I mention you can also simulate matches as a manager if you don’t have enough time to play one yourself?
Of course, many would rather be a pro footballer rather than a manager. There are fewer things to do as a pro player for obvious reasons, you’re just managing yourself rather than a whole team completely. Other than playing matches, your other main priority as a pro player is to keep your manager happy, and to do so you have to complete daily objectives such as keeping a clean slate… if you’re going to do an illegal tackle, just make sure to do it when the ref’s back is turned. You also may have the opportunity to check out your future prospects by requesting a transfer to another team, though I wouldn’t want to disappoint my local Bournemouth team, unless the price is right of course!
Another mode which is worth trying out is the Ultimate Team. The popular FIFA mode has finally made its way to a Nintendo console, perfect for creating your dream team both at home and on the go. You start with some essentials, a couple handfuls of low ranked players, a team badge, your own team kit, a ball, and a stadium, and then it’s your job to build your team up to be at the top. This is done by playing matches and earning coins. You can use the coins to buy and sell players with other real people, or just purchase the packs from the store. You can use real money to purchase FIFA Points to use instead of coins, but luckily you are not forced to use micro transactions and can pretty much unlock everything by playing the game.
Unfortunately this is where the quality of FIFA 18 starts to tip, and that’s in the form of missing content. The Ultimate Team mode has quite a few features missing which are present on other consoles. For one, Squad Battles is missing. In this mode, you are able to take on squads from the community, as well as pro FIFA players and even actual football players, assuming you don’t have the Switch version of course. Daily challenges, which is pretty self explanatory, is also missing, as well as FUT Champions where you can compete in weekly tournaments.
There are several online modes in FIFA 18 for Switch, and it runs pretty well. The only issue however, is the fact that it only has random matchmaking. Unfortunately there is no way to invite your online friends and set up a private match. You can, however, connect up to four consoles together locally assuming they all have a copy of FIFA 18.
FIFA Ultimate Team isn’t the only mode which takes a hit with missing content. The main game is also completely missing ‘The Journey’, FIFA 18’s own unique story mode where you can participate in negotiation deals with other players. A huge part of FIFA 18 is missing from the Switch version, the reasoning? The missing features apparently will only work with the Frozenbyte engine and it may be too much for some players.
Overall, FIFA 18 for the Nintendo Switch isn’t a bad FIFA experience. It offers some decent gameplay with some detailed mechanics. It also runs pretty well both at home and on the go. However, the lack of some crucial gameplay modes really makes this Switch FIFA outing feel watered down.
If you are a football fanatic and you couldn’t care less about the missing modes, then by all means purchase the game, however, if the prospect of playing FIFA on the go doesn’t quite trump the disappointment of the missing Story and Ultimate Team modes, then I think it may be best to stick with FIFA 18 on a different platform.