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FIFA 18 release date approaches: The FIFA 18 demo is here

Not long until FIFA 18 is on retail shelves

FIFA 18 is just days away now, with a release date of 29 September 2017.

But what can you look forward to in FIFA 18? Below we outline the FIFA 18 features, but you could just try it for yourself. The FIFA 18 demo landed on PS4, Xbox One and PC servers on 12 September and is available to download now. It clocks in at just over 7GB, and is surprisingly generous in its content, letting you play with 13 teams in four stadia.

FIFA 18 Demo teams:

  • Atletico Madrid
  • Bayern Munich
  • Boca Juniors
  • Chelsea
  • Guadalajara
  • Juventus
  • LA Galaxy
  • Manchester City
  • Manchester United
  • PSG
  • Real Madrid
  • Toronto FC
  • Vissel Kobe

FIFA 18 Demo stadia:

  • La Bombonera – Argentina
  • Santiago Benabeu – Spain
  • StubHub Centre – USA
  • King Fahd Stadium – Saudi Arabia

Read on to find out more about what FIFA 18 will feature, when the full game launches on 29 September 2017.

FIFA 18: Features

You may think there’s only so much you can tweak a game where the rules of the sport it’s based on have barely shifted in over 100 years. That’s true to a degree, but EA usually has an innovative trick up their sleeves beyond just a squad numbers and kits update.

FIFA 18: The Journey returns

The first bit of news we have about FIFA 18 is that it will see the return of the brilliant story mode: The Journey. “FIFA 18 will build on the foundation we created with story mode this year, bringing players back to The Journey with Season 2, featuring new characters and new storylines,” said EA CEO Andrew Wilson.

“Our development team in Vancouver is delivering deeply innovative new experiences across this year’s game, including an Ultimate Team, and creating the most emotionally immersive and connected FIFA we have ever produced.”

The Journey was brilliant but flawed – you can read a deeper assessment of why I think that over at our sister site Alphr – but it’s unsurprising that the mode is coming back for second helpings. EA revealed that it had been played more than ten million times, which isn’t bad going for a new game mode.

The story will pick up where it left off last time around, but as the trailer above suggests, Alex Hunter is unsure as to whether to seek that big money transfer, or stick it out at whichever club he was at last time in your game.

FIFA 18: Other changes

But EA Sports isn’t stopping there. Play on the pitch gets a few tweaks too. Here are a few notable improvements.

Stadia with atmosphere

EA has made a big deal about getting the feel of stadiums right – so that a rainy away day at Blackpool feels different to the hazy sunshine of a match in Rio de Janeiro, for example.

But it’s more than that: the fans are better animated, and will behave as inderviduals rather than as a single painted texture. Fans will rush towards the player who has scored the last minute winner, for example.

Dribbling is better

Animations for dribbling are now modulated frame by frame. This theoretically means that it will feel a lot smoother, rather than like you’re waiting for a cutscene to finish every time you try and shimmy past someone. Time will tell if that’s accurate, but people who’ve had hands-on time with the E3 preview seem to think it’s more than just hype.

Substitutions are smoother

Making a substitution in past FIFA games has been a bit of a pain. You have to pause the game, go through a couple of menus and manually replace a tiring player. It breaks the flow, and half the time you might just decide to stick it out with your current players to keep things simple.

FIFA 18 hopes to fix that with a little help from artificial intelligence. If your players are underperforming, tired or yellow-carded, the game will flash up a suggested substitution when the ball goes out of play. If you see one you like, just tap the corresponding button and your man will be off the pitch before you know it.

FIFA 18: Leaked legends?

First things first: they won’t be called Legends anymore. They’re “icons” – as far as we can tell, that’s because they’re no longer exclusive to the Xbox One version. So celebrate PS4 owners, you can finally put van Basten in your Ultimate Team.

If you’re a fan of Ultimate Team mode, you’ll be aware of legends: extremely rare cards with former professional footballers that can really add pep to your team – not to mention making your opponent jealous. EA has been steadily adding these to the game year-on-year, though sadly only on the Xbox version.

This year could have one of the most exciting additions yet: Brazilian legend Ronaldo.

FIFA 18 release date and format

EA has announced that FIFA 18 will launch on 29 September 2017. It’ll be on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Beware though, not all versions are created equal: last time around, The Journey was missing on PS3 and Xbox 360, and the same is true this year, because those editions use the old engine. The Switch version also won’t get The Journey, so you’ll have to weigh up the decision of whether it’s better to have a great story mode, or the joy of instant two-player mode wherever you go.

This is a page in progress, and we’ll update it with more information about FIFA 18 as we get it.

Images: Hector Alejandro, Marco Verch and Christopher Johnson used under Creative Commons

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