7 essential FIFA 18 tips: new defending, Career Mode advice, Ultimate Team web app and more
First, a note from Ben: “I’ve played 900 games of FIFAs 17 and 18 over the last year. Just to reaffirm that, in old-school Vidiprinter speak: Nine. Hundred. Games.
“While I’m still way off competing for six figures at eSports events, the sheer wealth of time spent in Career and Ultimate Team modes, coupled with behind-closed-doors access to the EA Canada development team, have enabled me to pick up some sneaky advanced tips – tips which I’m now going to share with you.
“These should aid players of all abilities – from two-button novice to perennial Weekend League contender.”
New defending requires ditching of old habits
There have been claims that FIFA 18’s defending model is broken – mostly by FIFA 17 players unaware of the new ‘hard tackle’, which is halfway between a standing tackle and a slide.
In fact, once you master that new tackle, it’s much improved. The key is to hold down the tackle button for slightly longer than a second before making a challenge, rather than repeatedly tapping it as with previous years. Think of it as charging up a Street Fighter move; it’s about reading the game in advance, rather than reacting to it.
There are also ways you can increase your chances of making key blocks in and around the box, Burnley style. One is to deploy a 4-4-2 (2) formation with two CDMs taller than 6ft 2in. Positionally they’ll help shield your centre-backs, and their sheer size means outstretched legs deflect numerous goalbound shots away. It’s like a Tony Pulis dream.
Also experiment in using the right stick, rather than L1/LB, to switch between players. This takes the choice of who you control out of the AI’s hands, instead placing it in yours.
Want more goals? Turn handballs back on
Tucked away in the Settings menu is an option which, when changed from default, will immediately increase the number of goals you score. Handballs were introduced in FIFA 11 but ‘removed’ a year later after fans complained that the engine couldn’t differentiate between deliberate and accidental. Except they weren’t removed at all – merely switched off unless the game owner decided otherwise.
To flick them back on, head to Customise, then Settings, then Games Settings, then Rules. ‘Handball’ is the fourth option down. Most offline FIFA players set the difficulty at a level where they have more shots than their AI opposition, meaning more time spent in an opponent’s box in any given game – and therefore more chance of ball striking hand.
When it does, you earn a penalty every time – we’re seeing one in every five or six games. The downside is you’ll occasionally concede one too, but it’s definitely a change that benefits human player far more than AI.
Height is the most important keeper attribute
Some advice given to FFT by lead gameplay producer Sam Rivera ahead of FIFA 17’s release remains true this year – particularly in the case of those gangly guys between the sticks. “Two specific attributes [are critical],” said Rivera. “They are the player’s mass – how big they are – and their strength attribute. We combine those values to determine how strong the guys are. The bigger the player, the better he’ll be.”
There’s a simple reason Asmir Begovic and Jack Butland are considered FIFA’s most overpowered Prem keepers: at 6ft 6in and 6ft 5in respectively, their height enables them to reach shots and crosses that their stats suggest should be beyond them. Fraser Forster, at 6ft 7in, is also a colossus despite his 78 OVR.
From the other major leagues, Costel Pantilimon (La Liga, 6ft 7in), Michael Esser (Bundesliga, 6ft 5in) and Gianluigi Donnarumma (Calcio A, 6ft 5in) are all worth consideration for your Career Mode and/or FUT squad.