FIFA 18: The Immersion Problem

There’s been a lot of talk on the blog recently about FIFA and microtransactions, which after reading I thought “Hey I know, I’ll do a blog about FIFA”. That’s because we here at I Can’t Believe It’s Not Blogger can’t stop, It’s a serious problem but for now respect our addiction. Seriously though microtransactions are obviously bad but they’re not fully to blame for a why game series is getting worse or why a game on its own is bad. Even in FIFA, the microtransactions can be completely ignored, even more so if you’re a career mode player as they’re not a part of that mode, yet. I feel the main problem with FIFA has been around for a while, it’s been more noticeable in last few years where the game hasn’t changed too much and that problem is immersion, or as I like to call it, The Immersion Problem. 

pep looking sad lol

For most career mode players it’s the same story, much like Guardiola in real life you start playing, do a couple of season’s, get bored then start again but with a different team and the cycle repeats. This metaphor will be complete when Guardiola inevitably starts his own real life “Road To Glory”, possibly with Cultural Leonesa. It’s become a lot harder for players to stick to a career mode save, a point supported by the fact that our most popular article is 5 Career Mode Challenges to make the game less boring. I’m going talk about reason’s why I think Career Mode is boring in 2 parts. The gameplay part where you play against other AI controlled teams in the league and cup competitions, then everything else, which is the stuff you do in between playing games.

Gameplay

gameplay doesn’t have a lot going for it, to begin with, it hasn’t really changed in the last 3 years so that’s an immediate and obvious reason for it being boring. Thing’s like driven pass and the goalkeeper’s low punt have been added, but when you have something like this which amounts to “players kick the ball but harder” it’s impossible to market this as a change or an addition because, for the most part, they’re already in the game. Except for the goalkeeper punt but a lot of players have no idea how to do it. Specifically this year for FIFA 18 they have this on the website. “All-new crossing controls bring greater options to how you send it into the box. Whipped to the spot, arching deliveries, and pinged crosses to the back-stick will shake up your attacks in the final third”. This is literally already in the game, FIFA 17 had this depending on what combinations of buttons you pressed. So this tells me that they’ve changed how they look and marketed it as a feature. Looking at some crossing tutorials on youtube it seems like the only changes are, the low cross is now a double tap instead of a triple tap of the button and that crossing is overpowered this year.

Gameplay not changing is part of what makes it boring, so what is it that breaks immersion. There are plenty of weird oddities in gameplay that completely break immersion. They only have to be small, like for example when a goalkeeper doesn’t catch the ball when under no pressure. Being able to catch a ball is the most basic thing a goalkeeper needs to be able to have or do, behind having arms and hands. So when a cross comes in and there’s no one around why the keeper palm it out for a corner. This doesn’t happen in real life so when it happens in FIFA you become immediately aware that you’re just playing FIFA. I’m not sure if this still happens but there was this thing that could happen when you passed back to the keeper. Sometimes he would just leave it or walk past it and let it roll in for an own goal. When AI players manage to spin 180 degrees and play an excellent pass in 1 second. It’s things like this that break immersion, they may be small things but the game of football is usually quite fluid, and when it isn’t it’s not for these reasons. I could keep bringing up examples of gameplay that break the immersion like refs calling fouls for nothing or the long shots that hit the target more often than not these days but you get the point.

giphy

Everything Else

The bits in between playing matches is where it should be easy to maintain immersion but this year come the interactive transfer negotiations. Easily the biggest problem with immersion this year and ever actually. More on that in a minute but let’s go back a couple of years to when the player training was introduced. It’s not a bad feature but I personally can’t help but notice that you only train 5 players a week. That’s not how training works, sorry it’s a silly thing to get annoyed about but it’s so stupid. Then there’s the, now meme, David Alaba transfer to Juventus that happens every game now. Other than those tiny things it’s actually not too bad in terms of being immersive, until this year at least, let’s talk about the interactive transfer negotiations.

aaaab

“One of the biggest innovations in the mode this year”, the developers think an animated cutscene without voice acting that is the same everytime is innovative. I can’t begin to fathom why they think this is innovation, those that have seen the cutscenes surely agree, if you like them, why?

‘You can choose to participate in immersive, real time transfer and contract negotiations” How can a cutscene without voice acting be immersive? Their lips still move but there’s no speaking. Most people don’t bother with the cutscenes now and just delegate the whole thing to the assistant. The best part about these cutscenes is that if you can’t agree on a deal the other guy has a go at you and your manager looks sad.

Conclusion

One half of the game is an obvious pay to win, cash grab of a mode and the other half is a mode with dumbass additions that take you out of the experience completely. Both are then sewn together on gameplay that more often than not looks ridiculous and stupid than it looks good. I haven’t even talked about the journey, which has the least realistic story which seems more like fanfiction than anything else. I’ve been quite harsh on this game but it comes from a good place, I want it to be better than it is. It has the potential to be great and it has been great for a long time, but it’s slowly turning into the Call Of Duty of sport’s games and that’s as damning as it get’s.

If you don’t agree with any of the points I’ve made that’s fine go and play the game instead of reading this, but thanks for reading, if you did.

 

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