FIFA 18 on Nintendo Switch: A Promising Start
Nintendo and FIFA aren’t two names that you see together very often. When Electronic Arts (EA) first announced FIFA 18 for the Nintendo Switch, it wasn’t a shock that some people were doubtful at the prospect of a possibly dumbed down FIFA on a handheld device. Also, it wasn’t surprising that EA was silent about the FIFA and Switch until recently.
EA has been saying that FIFA 18 will be a “proper FIFA title,” so you can understand the apprehension people may have had over its upcoming release of the Switch. Some people thought that it might be another one of those handheld ports that would end up a lesser version of compared to the PS4 or Xbox One. After all, it isn’t the first time that EA had released a handheld version of one of their games with an older engine and updated roster. On the other hand, FIFA fans like that FIFA 18 is coming to the Switch.
A Hopeful Entry
EA promises that FIFA 18 for the Switch will be “custom-built.” The game isn’t going to be some mediocre port of the existing PS4 and Xbox One versions just mashed into the tiny screen for the Switch. For the few folks that have been able to get their hands on the early test builds can attest to its original, bubble wrapped freshness. While FIFA 18 on Switch isn’t as smooth as their standard EA Sports Ignite engine, it certainly is good enough that EA was able to include all modern FIFA features into this handheld title with little trouble. On the other hand, there was some expectation that the Switch engine would be a little bit weaker, but it has done better than most fans thought.
What’s even more surprising is that FIFA 18 is running on a very smooth 60FPS with 720p and 1080p as resolutions depending on the Switch docking. The game’s graphics look fantastic! The level of detail from the faces of the players to their uniforms is so surreal that you’ll hardly believe that you’re playing a handheld game.
The Planned Wealth of Content
The most important part in FIFA 18 is that they are not missing a single mode from their mainstream FIFA releases. As mentioned earlier, many people feared that this was going to be a downgraded version of FIFA 18, but EA has been able to maintain the game’s integrity. Modes, such as the popular FIFA Ultimate Team lead on the Switch (yes, card packs anywhere and everywhere).
The Switch version will have specially designed modes just for Nintendo’s newest platform. Two Switches can connect locally or online so that they can participate in Local Seasons with a total of four players (two players on each console) in a sequence of matches. The new Switch Kick-Off lets players randomly queue for local multiplayer matches or randomizes a solo match where you can just get in the game without setting anything up.
Unfortunately, some game modes like “The Journey” may not make it into the game due to EA’s decision to use a different engine. Many cut scenes were made in-engine with the Frostbite engine used in consoles. Recreating the cut scenes in a new engine would be impractical. Perhaps, it could open up the possibility of a “Season 2” Journey mode. EA should treat this as an opportunity to make their mark on Nintendo’s new platform by taking the plunge to making lots of great methods for fans to explore.
The novel Nintendo Switch controller is taken into great account by EA, designing the game around solo play Joy-Con and dual Joy-Con pad configuration. It’s even set up to enable proper Switch Pro Controller usage without any difficulties transitioning from the default.
To the Future of FIFA
FIFA 18 is shaping up to be a lucrative title for the Switch. The hands-on testing at EA Play seems to prove it’s steering in the right direction. With the whooping sales of Nintendo Switch’s since its release, a grand title like FIFA 18 can only improve Nintendo’s reputation. Only time will tell if EA can push through a complete FIFA for the Switch, or if it will be just another half-baked game that over promised and under delivered.