With FIFA 18 set to release on September 29, 2017, EA has actually kept rather quiet about the new features that will be in the game. In past FIFA releases, EA usually focuses a large amount of promotional content on the new features players can expect in the new game, but little has been released about FIFA 18. However, at FIFA Encyclopedia we have done a lot of research on FIFA 18 and are happy to report that there appear to be some significant new features that will change FIFA's gameplay. In this article we will focus on the top 6 important new features we have found that will actually impact gameplay. We will also discuss some new features EA has talked about that won't necessarily affect gameplay, but will add to the new experience in FIFA 18. 


1. "Dynamic" Quick Subs

One brand-new feature in FIFA 18 is the ability to quickly make a substitution without impacting the flow of the game. That is -- you can simply press a button mid-game or in a cutscene to initiate a "quick" sub that will be applied during the next appropriate timeout. In the information EA has released so far, it appears that you will have to set-up your preferred quick-subs before the game actually starts, but hopefully they will allow you to save these selections so you will not have to make them again every game. Although this is a small change that will not have an enormous impact on gameplay, don't downplay the potential for this to be a pretty game-changing feature in some situations. FIFA is a very psychological game and the loss of momentum that comes when a player abruptly pauses to make a sub can be critical. Not to mention, there is some evidence that EA has actually programmed in "momentum" to the game -- all in all, this feature could have a pretty significant impact on gameplay.


2. New Crossing Controls

This feature could be one of the most important new features in FIFA 18. For years, players haven't had too much control over crossing or the kind of cross their player executes. Only recently did EA add some control over crosses -- allowing players to generally specify the height and power of their crosses by including "low crosses" and "driven crosses", activated by pressing the cross button twice, or three times, respectively. In FIFA 18, it appears that the entire crossing system is having a pretty huge overhaul, and EA is adding a number of different crossing types. In FIFA 18, a player will be able to select whether they'd like to use a "Dangerous", "Searching", "Lobbed", or "Whipped" cross. Of course, these four methods of crossing are vastly different in many ways, allowing you to strategically take advantage of attacking situations in which the perfect cross could be the difference between a goal and a cross sent flying into a sea of defenders miles away from your striker. For example, the "Searching" cross appears most effective when you have several forwards running into the box but no clear frontrunner or forward who has gained a step ahead of his defender. In this situation the Searching cross allows you to swing a cross ahead of all of them but just out of reach of the keeper, allowing your forwards a chance to beat their markers to the ball at the last possible moment. For more information on the new crossing system, including real-life examples, check out our full article on the subject.


3. The Journey: Hunter Returns

FIFA 17 debuted 'The Journey', arguably FIFA's biggest new game-mode since Ultimate Team was released. 'The Journey' was an interactive story mode in which you watched, and played as, Alex Hunter, a 17-year old rising football star. The Journey allowed you to take Hunter from a young footballer with huge aspirations as he navigates from boyhood kickabouts to more serious teams, all the way to (hopefully) a decorated Premiership star. This was FIFA 17's newest spin-off of Career Mode, with clearly more potential to draw players in and make the game more unique from year to year. This is exactly the reason why we at FIFA Encyclopedia feel that the continuation of The Journey is a game-changing feature. One common (and probably legitimate) complaint about FIFA is that it doens't genuinely change much from year to year, causing many players to question why purchasing the latest version each year is worth it. The truth to this is that although EA works hard to make meaningful changes to gameplay each year and make things more realistic, there's only so much you can do each year. Some could argue that graphics don't change from year to year, or perhaps that gameplay is relatively the same, but if you look at FIFA's progress over the past 10 or 15 years, the change is undeniable. EA simply keeps up and sometimes tries to get ahead of existing vide-game technology. The Journey is a great way to keep dedicated fans satisfied by providing them with a brand-new piece of content to immerse themselves in with a new edition of FIFA each year. Considering FIFA 17's version of the Journey Lasted 12-16 hours, that is some pretty considerable 'campaign-style' content for FIFA players to look forward to each year, and we hope FIFA 18 takes a step in this direction.


4. Dribbling Overhaul

Anyone who's kept up to date with FIFA over the past few years may groan at this -- another dribbling "overhaul". It seems like every year EA centralizes much of their marketing for the new game around some kind of huge improvement to dribbling. However, it is difficult to argue that dribbling does not get at least a little bit better with each iteration of the game, and FIFA 18 is set to take perhaps some of the biggest steps towards improving this aspect of the game. EA claims the following about the new dribbling in FIFA 18: "New dribbling mechanics allow the best players to inject more creativity into 1v1 situations. Take more defined touches, make tighter turns, and explode into attack more dynamically than ever before." While this may sound like more marketing-speak, it appears that these changes are the result of a pretty significant technical advance. In the past, FIFA's game engine only allowed you to change direction or action while dribbling once every step your player took, but FIFA 18 takes this down to once every frame by utilizing EA's powerful new Frostbite Engine. This is a massive difference and appears to make a marked difference in gameplay. At times, FIFA can be frustrating in it's dribbling responsiveness and it can seem like players simply do not keep up to your overall dribbling "plan" and do not turn at the crucial moment, or fail to cut back right as the defender is committing. Early reports from those who have tested FIFA 18 seem to point to this dribbling overhaul making a huge difference in this regard. Of course, this change also has an effect on how your players respond to your movement controls while off the ball, taking us to our next point:


5. Player Movement - New Player "Archetypes"

FIFA has often utilized real data gathered from studying the movements of some of the world's best players in order to make the game more realistic. For example, many popular players have their own style of taking free kicks emulated almost exactly in FIFA -- such as Ronaldo's trademark dipping shot. In FIFA 18, EA takes this one step further by applying this data to player movement both on and off the ball. You can sprint with Ronaldo and it will look, well, like you're actually playing as Ronaldo! Of course, in order to have this kind of specific movement captured in the game for each player, EA will need to collect a whole lot of data from countless players, so they will likely start by only gathering data for the most popular players and adding it to the game. This update will do a huge amount in terms of improving the overall aesthetics and realism of FIFA 18, but it may also seriously improve the overall gameplay. Capturing the unique nuances of Ronaldo's movement (or other specific players) may allow players to take full advantage of his movement to gain an advantage over their opponent. For example, knowing whether a player is right-footed or left-footed goes a long way to choosing the best shots in FIFA, so if you understand how a player moves and how they are most effective, this knowledge could be incredibly effective when paired with these player movement updates.


6. Exciting Moments

It's no secret that there are context-specific "moments" programmed into FIFA that provide more exciting goals and gameplay. For example, when a player is running towards the goal and a lobbed pass gets sent in to him overhead -- this is typically a very difficult goal to score both in real-life and in FIFA -- but FIFA allows a player to take advantage of this specific "moment" to score a fantastic goal sometimes. This functionality was built in because in the past, truly spectacular goals were really only scored by some of FIFA's best players. You'd see them in YouTube montages and find it difficult to replicate their goals as a casual player without endless experience with the game. At some point, FIFA began to rectify this with big, exciting "moments" that allow even the casual player to pull off spectacular goals, some even modelled after amazing real-life goals such as Dele Alli's incredible volley vs Crystal Palace. It remains to be seen which moments will be included in FIFA 18, but hopefully it will allow for some more beautiful, montage-worthy FIFA goals for even newcomers to the game. 


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