Only a few weeks off from a true portable football experience for all ages!
Back in July, I got my first glimpse of FIFA 18 for Nintendo Switch and I was quite hopeful after seeing the game running on the hardware. Sure, it wasn't impressive on the television, but nothing beats the feeling of a true portable FIFA. Electronic Arts kindly invited me to their business area at Gamescom, where I got a full look at the game. The results are, no joke, even more impressive than I realized.
The first standout element that stood out to me was the controls, though histroically it is one of the things FIFA thrives on. Good physics and controls go hand in hand with great football video games. The team at EA Bucharest took the blueprint of FIFA on other systems and faithfully translated it to an engine suitable for Nintendo Switch. The advanced control scheme, which gives you access to fake passes among other moves, is fully intact on Switch. Even nicer is the fact that these controls have been adapted to the Switch's multiple control schemes.
This can be felt when you play with the Joy-Con on their side. While you lose some functionality in the process, every button is used to perform an action and make the game competitive. You move yourself around with stick and the six buttons allow you to tackle the most important moves. This way of play is perfectly suited for an introduction to FIFA. The game is set up to make grasping the controls quick and easy. It is also possible to switch to a two button mode, allowing you to start a game that is instantly pick up and play. Of course, more hardcore players can use the Joy-Con Grip or Pro Controller for more competitive and in-depth options.
The demo also had most of the shipping game's modes available. I spent an hour in the Career Mode and went through it as a player, bringing him up from the youth leagues to the starting eleven. Next to this, I went for Seasons, where I could play against the various club and national teams on offer. Finally, I did some tests in the Kick Off Mode and compared the various options on display. The Switch experience is just as you would see anywhere else, with all of the essentials included except the cinematic story mode.
Naturally, the key feature and a selling factor is FIFA Ultimate Team. Sadly, due to the way the test units were set up, a final verdict wasn't available. I've seen the ways you can play with FUT teams and they seem functional, though we'll need to see how grindy it will be in the end. I can't wait to FIFA anywhere I go. The pure joy of playing it in the handheld mode makes me a believer and actually root for this version's success. Some will dismiss it and recommend the games on the bigger systems, but none has this kind of potential.
FIFA 18 on Nintendo Switch has so much going for it. After spending time and tinkering around with its options, it seems clear that they want to give Switch owners as much of the experience as possible. The ability to play the sport everywhere is powerful and helps to digest a daily dose of football. We are only weeks away from its release and I couldn't be more excited. Bring it on!