Enlarge (credit: EA Sports)
Last year’s FIFA 17 was something of a new beginning for the long-running football franchise.

The move to the Frostbite engine—originally built for Dice’s Battlefield first-person shooter series—offered greater visual flexibility, along with new kinds of gameplay.

The latter took the form of The Journey, a narrative-led mode telling the story of Alex Hunter, a kid trying to make it into the first eleven of a Premier League outfit. FIFA 17 was surprisingly progressive game, but when compared to Konami’s renewed Pro Evolution Soccer series, it came up short.
Still, if FIFA 17 was the fresh start, this year is the consolidation. FIFA 18 brings back The Journey, and promises to fix numerous mechanical flaws. However, as FIFA developers EA Canada know all too well, it’s hard to please everyone when dealing with an audience the size of FIFA‘s.

Does EA go for realism, as PES 17 did, or does it continue down a path of flashy goals and cheap thrills?

“One of the challenges for us is that there is no stereotypical FIFA user,” FIFA 18 producer Matt Prior tells me. “There are people that just play FUT [FIFA Ultimate Team], people that only play multiplayer, people that just play in leagues etc.

Balancing the game for everyone is a challenge.
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