Republic of Ireland international David Meyler was shaking his head in disgust. It wasn’t a stray pass or a wayward shot that had upset the Hull midfielder.
It was his rating in Fifa 18. Meyler couldn’t believe it – only 55 for speed! Three days later, he finished shaking his head.
Meyler isn’t the only professional footballer to react strongly to his Fifa 18 ratings, which seems like an incredible statement to make about a video game. But that’s the nature of Fifa’s stature these days – it is a cultural landmark.
Like Theo Walcott or Jack Wilshere, FIFA never seems to run out of potential. This year is no different, with minor tweaks and additions that keep the series looking fresh.
FIFA 18 places the emphasis more on patient defence than before, punishing players who press too hard, while dribbling and crossing seem to have undergone overhauls too. Finding someone in the box takes a little more control and direction.
The action on the pitch will always dictate FIFA’s success, but there’s far more to the series than core gameplay now.
A few years ago, EA started introducing elements of drama to the series that represented how people really engage with football – through their favourite players, the big names, the attachment to certain clubs and footballers.
The Ultimate Team has become a huge part of the series, allowing players to build their own teams through a ‘trading card’ system. It is Panini meets Panenkas.
This year, EA have introduced Ultimate Team Icons, which basically means players can now have famous players from history on their ultimate team.
Not only that, but in some cases the players have three cards, each one from a different stage of their careers. If you land Pele at his peak, then – well, let’s just say he’s even faster than David Meyler.
Beyond that, there’s a continuation of The Journey, the story of EA creation Alex Hunter as he plays out a professional career.
This year, Hunter gets his chance to play abroad, for clubs like Bayern and Atletico, while real-world football stars like Rio Ferdinand and Thierry Henry make appearances too.
It’s very clever of EA to make a ‘second season’ of The Journey featuring the same character. It gives the story some added weight and keeps us invested in FIFA as a whole.
We’ve run out of good things to say about FIFA these days. We could probably predict reviews for the next four years. Like Ronaldo or Messi, there’s a point where you stop being surprised at the consistency.
In saying that, they really should give poor David Meyler a break - he’s at least a 56 for speed.
From football goals, to life goals. For this reviewer, it has long been an
ambition to adventure through one of gaming’s greatest worlds, Morrowind, with his cousin Alun.
A single-player RPG released 15 years ago, Morrowind remains our favourite game. With the release of Morrowind for the Elder Scrolls online recently, we finally had that chance to explore Vvardenfell together.
Morrowind Online isn’t the same game as the one we played years ago, but that didn’t matter to us. It was close enough.
We explored Seyda Neen on the coast, hunted some Bull Netches, jumped on giant mushrooms, explored dank caverns and drank some illegal skooma, all while being called an outlander.
If none of that means anything to you, then Morrowind Online may be just another average MMO, albeit one with entertaining combat and very accessible systems.
But if Morrowind is part of your gaming vernacular, then you and some friends should jump at the chance to call each other inwahs on the shores of Balmora.
Morrowind was never the most forgiving of places, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a world more cruel than Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.
One of the biggest gaming success stories since Minecraft – and the creation of Irishman Brendan Greene to boot – is a winner-takes-all competition where death comes quickly and cheaply.
Battlegrounds has sold over 13 million copies on the PC. While Xbox owners have already had a console version of the game confirmed, now PlayStation owners can start to get excited too.
The CEO of BlueHole Studio, the Korean firm who develop and publish the game, has revealed a PlayStation version is in the works too.
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