Every year we always know that the usual suspects are going to turn up, FIFA is one of those, but this year saw the franchise return to Nintendo with a version for the Switch.
Quite eager to see how this version turned out, especially since it was the first year that Ultimate Team (FUT) had been included on a Nintendo console. What intrigued me the most about trying this version was that in previous years, the last one being FIFA 13 for the Wii U, was pretty basic, nothing really special, the Xbox and PlayStation versions would always eclipse the Nintendo versions.
This is where the Nintendo Switch version has a test to pass, having played the PlayStation 4 version extensively as well, I can say that it is a joy to play, the gameplay being smooth, animations are brilliant, but I digress, we’re here to talk about the Switch version.
First thing I noticed when I started up the game and got to menus, were the options that were available to me. FUT was there, brilliant I thought, I personally love FUT, takes me back to my card trading days at break times in school…. Anyone got a Shiny to trade? There was a career mode, Kick off and local and online seasons. For what is being classed as a portable version, it does have a fair depth to it.
One noticeable absentee from the lineup was The Journey. Due to the Switch not being able to handle the Frostbite engine, a new engine has been created for the Switch to allow FIFA 18 to run, which also meant that this version wouldn’t be able to have The Journey. (Could they do this for Battlefield?) Sad Times.
How does the game feel to play I can hear you shouting. Well, I will say that the game plays OK, I’m finding that the game doesn’t have that sharpness that other versions have. Passes going in totally the wrong direction to where I’m sending them.
Goalkeeper animations are a little rusty and wooden at times and look like they’re from 2/3 years previous, I have found that Goalkeepers do seem really easy to beat, especially from distance with the ball not moving very fast, hopefully, this is something that can be patched as I’m finding myself shooting from distance and scoring really easy goals, which is just encouraging me more to do it, who doesn’t like a 30/40 yard screamer?
However, I will say that for what the game is, it is decent. I have happily taken this into work with me to enjoy on my breaks, and I think this is what is going to appeal to most gamers for this. The portability aspect, going on a long car journey (when you’re not driving) you can sit back and relax and enjoy some games in your career unless there are 2 on the road trip with a Switch and FIFA and you can go all out on Seasons! Nice.
That being said though, you do get the feeling that you’re holding a full console version in your hands, yes there are always going to have to be limitations but as EA has shown, there are workarounds for this.
A disappointment I can’t ignore on this version though is FUT. Squad battles which have been included in this years Xbox and PS4 version is missing from the Switch version. A mode which I very much enjoyed as it has helped me to build a decent side there and it would have been nice to have seen this here. Especially as it’s the first year that FUT has been included on a Nintendo console, it could have helped players to build up, get used to packs as well as create more transfers, because at the moment, the last time I checked there were only 35k transfers on Switch compared to the 6 million on PS4. This is probably to be expected, however, I would have thought it might have been higher, and the asking prices because of this are at least 3x the price on the PS4 version, which is a bit of a sting in the tail when trying to get a decent squad together as it has taken me a lot longer to try and get some players together.
The career mode included is the same as FIFA 17, again, because of the lack of Frostbite the new negotiations haven’t been able to be included, so it’s all done through email, same as previous versions.
The game looks decent, it does have a fair bit of crispness to it, but it just lacks the edge and some of the textures are a little bland, an example of this would be the crowd and the grass, little things, but it is the attention to detail that matters.
However, I will say when you look at it, you can see where this version fits into Nintendo’s philosophy with the Switch, easy to pick up and take with you on the go, not feeling like a 6-hour marathon on something? Well, this is going to be just for you, play just one or 2 games to pass the time, and after that, pop it back in your bag/case if you’re out, back on the dock whatever you want to do, the world is your oyster.
Final thoughts on this, would I recommend it? If you’re a FIFA fan and would love to be able to play a decent version of the game, then yes. The game does lack some serious depth and options, and probably won’t keep you entertained for hours unless Career mode is your thing. FUT for me was disappointing, but I’m hoping when it comes to next years version we will see a lot more options, modes and changes to improve the game overall.