FIFA 18 on Nintendo Switch20
FIFA's history on Nintendo consoles is crumbling, with past versions are often poised, and the dates shadows of the games on PlayStation and Xbox. Unfortunately, this trend continues along with the FIFA 18 on Switch, a passable on-pitch experience that is sadly stripped back and devoid of so many of the features that make the franchise so attractive currently.
FIFA 18 on Switch is the best when playing a straight-up match, but this is mainly because it provides some other functionalities. Mechanically it has more in common with last year's game: the pace and control is similar, and as such, dribbling isn’t as responsive as it is currently on PS4 and Xbox One. Players feel very heavy and are very slow to turn too, so the sluggishness is even further exaggerated.
In contrast, the ball feels very light, like one of those cheap footballs you had as a child. Hit it sweetly and it’ll rocket towards the goal, but it loses momentum quickly and long-range shots are much faster than expected.
That's to say, if you shoot on the target, expect it to enter because the goalkeepers are woefully inept. They often encounter the most simple salvation, and anything from the distance seems to blindside them as they stand rooted to the spot as the ball sail past into the net.
Obviously, it still feels like FIFA - the controls are mapped the same way and as such the method of attacking, defending and scoring is much the same across all versions. It is true that the prospect of playing a proper football game on the go is exciting, but when the experience is so bad, forgiving its shortcomings is not enough.
Except for the matches themselves, many of the features in the full-fat FIFA are cut back or lost entirely. The Journey - FIFA's single-player story mode - is absent, and while its inclusion isn’t to everyone’s taste, it certainly adds depth and variety to the overall package. However, the Career mode is there, but it is more in line with last year's effort. That means this year's headlineadditions, such as the transfer negations, are missing, and once again. it feel a bit stale from the get-go.
FIFA Ultimate Team is included, but similarly lacks of some of the newer features. Squad building challenges and single-player draft make the cut, but their goal is to the seasoned FUT veterans who are already familiar with the modes intricacies - who, in all likelihood, have enjoyed the better overall experience the game offers on other consoles.
FUT's entry-level mode, Squad Battles has been ignored, which is a crazy decision. Familiar with their own FUTs finer details by taking on teams built by other players without embarrassing yourself online seems to be theperfect mode bringing in new players on Switch, and its absence is confusing.
Likewise, due to the lack of features and hardware limitations, multiplayer is a mixed bag. The most damning of these is that you can not play online matches against friends - which is obviously Nintendo's fault. Playing against mates is one of the main reasons for the success of FIFA, and no bragging rights at stake, competing against randoms online just doesn’t have the same appeal.
Of course, if you have enough controllers, you can still play against friends locally, by either connecting multiple consoles or huddled around a TV, and the effect is very good. You can also split Joy-Con and play it in tabletop mode, but the reduced number of buttons severely limits how you play, with skill and finesse shots glaringly absent. Considering FIFA 18’s focus on the attacking, the inability to execute these fundamental plays impacts the experience dramatically, so it feels more like a failed experiment than a viable way to fully enjoy the game.