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Opinion

Forced Fun – FIFA 18

Football's meant to be fun?

Welcome to Forced Fun, a new series in which we place our grumpy old man of gaming, Tuffcub, in front of a bunch of video games he really doesn’t like and hold his cat hostage until he plays them. This is a scientific experiment as although Tuffcub has a ferocious dislike for these the games he has never played them, and we think he should at least try these games so he can justify his hatred. This week we’re starting with FIFA 18, because of that World Cup thing that everyone’s been banging on about for the last month.


Football. I don’t understand it, I have no idea who any of the players are unless they’ve made an advert for aftershave, and I really don’t like the game. The one caveat is arcade football games such as Sensible Soccer, which I bloody love, but will FIFA be any good? Well If I ever want to see my cat again, I guess I’m going to have to find out…

And We’re Off

  • The game starts be asking me to choose a language. “English” is the default option, as represented by a Union Jack. I bet that annoys the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish gamers. Does it ask this every time?
  • This intro movie features lots of people who I don’t recognise, apart from Ronaldo. I know Ron, he’s just had an airport named after him hasn’t he? See? I know football facts.
  • The game has already started and I have to take the penalty. No instructions, nothing, not even a screen showing which button to press. Obviously I miss the shot.
  • Made four passes but gave it away on the fifth. Now chasing after the ball and pressing L1 to change player but it doesn’t seem to be focusing on the one I want.
  • Got the ball back. Different buttons are different kicks, nice of them to explain that. This is why games should come with paper manuals.
  • Why does every woman in the crowd have exactly the same face?
  • I intercepted the ball, apparently. No idea how I did that.
  • Checking the menus again and found Basic controls. Oh dear lord this looks like a fighting game, there’s so many combo button presses.
  • Wait. That’s just the first menu. This is ridiculously complicated, how am I meant to remember all this? There are thirteen different variations of what the buttons do depending on what is going on. This is ridiculous, what happened to pass, shoot and tackle?
  • I lied. There’s another menu with eleven more combinations of controls, one of which is push left stick up, tap L3 three times and then R3 three times? No one can remember 21 different menus worth of button presses.

  • I Kicked the ball out. The manager looks unimpressed.
  • The other team, Madrid, have scored. I’m playing as Madrid as well. Why does Madrid have two teams? That’s like Manchester. I know they have two as well, which all seems very greedy.
  • I took another shot. “Optimistic” says the commentator, “Yeah that was a long way out, what a waste” says the other. Thanks guys, really encouraging, why don’t you two pop over to my flat and I’ll sit you front of Titanfall 2 and tell you how crap you are at that?
  • I still don’t know how to tackle properly, the trainer says to press circle, but my players just seem to do a little skip.
  • Other Madrid have scored again. This is really putting me off ever visiting Madrid.
  • Someone with a terrible headband is doing a little hand jive to celebrate his goal. Poor fashion choices and the Macarena? It’s 2018, what are you thinking?
  • Why does everyone in the crowd look a bit odd? I think I’ve worked out why: No one blinks. They have a fixed stare which never waivers. It’s like being watched by the Stepford Wives.
  • The Commentator is still going on about the previous goal. “He is feeling that special delight at the moment” he says. The screen shows Headband Boy wearing an expression that says “My entire family has just died in car crash.” it doesn’t seem to match the commentary.
  • Other Madrid are replacing a player. Another shot at the enemy’s goal. Saved again. I think I need to be closer.

  • I have a corner. I know what those are. My cat would be impressed at this.
  • Missed it. Does it matter how hard you press the buttons? That used to be how football games used to work, the longer you pressed, the bigger the kick.
  • Other Madrid have four players all lined up being defensive and I can’t seem to get past them at all. Clearly this is cheating as I haven’t got a chance. This game really could be improved with a grenade or rocket launcher.
  • I think I’ve just been offside. I don’t know what offside is, but there was a white line down the pitch in the replay and Ron was in front of it.
  • Another kick at the goal and Ron messes it up and the ball flies above the net. Ronalado is rubbish, why does everyone say he is good?
  • GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAALLL! Yay! I was much closer to the net this time and Other Madrid’s goalie fumbled the save. Ha!
  • Bald manager chap is looking happy, but his clapping animation is terrible. Actually quite a lot of the animation is terrible, apart from the actual football bits. I can imagine the conversation at EA, “We haven’t got a clapping animation, we can use this motion captured Walrus instead.”
  • Final whistle. It was 3-2 to Other Madrid, but we’re all Madrid, so I think I can say I actually won.
  • I’m expecting an advert break to follow these replays and euphoric music.
  • The game has pre-selected some settings. I’m an amateur, with classic controls and have been assigned Huddersfield. I would have preferred something a little more local, but I guess that will do.
  • Oh, now it tells me where I can find online help on how to play the game. Bit late for that EA and I’m not going to browse the web to find out how to play a game. Show me in the actual game!

It’s A Game Of Two Halves

  • Aha, a new menu. There’s lots of menus in football, aren’t there? I can see the story mode, let’s give that a try.
  • I have to chose a club to sign with. I’m going to choose Chelsea only because that’s who my husband supports and he will kill me if I choose someone else. Also they’re quite local, and I’m still not sure why the game gave me Huddersfield. What was that about then?
  • This is a bit RPG isn’t it? Have to chose my position now, Attacking Midfielder sounds good, as I always play Tank characters who are all about attacks. I don’t do support.
  • A ‘previously on’ recap. There’s some sort of rivalry thing going on, family drama, Dad has turned up. It’s like Eastenders and the animation is just as awful.
  • We’re in Rio. The chap I thought was the rival seems to be my friend now? It appears we’re going to being playing against some children. This is more like it.
  • Thought I was winning but just realised Alex starts facing towards my own goal, so I’ve scored three own goals. Stupid Alex.
  • This is not going well and is actually quite boring. Why do I get the idea that the game is judging me?
  • I lost. To children. But only because I couldn’t stamp on the little gits.
  • Back to RPG mode and it is time to chose a personality. Going on my comment above I think the obvious one is ‘Fiery’. “Cant’ wait to get back” says Alex. That’s not fiery is it, Mary Berry is more bitchin’ than Alex.
  • It’s credit sequence time, with graffited credits and a Stormzy track. I feel totes urban.

  • Paused mid-credits to make coffee and the game seems to have crashed so I restart.
  • Oh great I have to play the kids again. You’re getting it this time… dammit they scored.
  • 3-4 to me! Yass! That’s the first game of football I have ever won. Take that children of Rio!
  • Is the other guy my brother? Back to the credits and I won’t pause this time. Music by JunkieXL, I like him.
  • I seem to have a nice flat and fake Twitter feed all about football. However there are no tweets of cat pictures, so not realistic.
  • Back to the RPG bits, time to customise my look. There’s some nice t-shirts and Alex wears hi-tops. I approve of this and there’s a pair almost identical to the ones I have. At least I look good now.
  • On with the story. Chapter 1 and a London Geezer is telling me what to do in training. He’s a proper geezer, and I know this because he’s just used the word ‘Gaffer’.
  • At last the game gives me an option to learn the basic techniques, its the first “Key Decision” I have to make. Oh, the option was on a timer…
  • OK this is confusing. I thought I was playing as Alex? I can still swap between all the other players. How am I meant to further Alex’s career when I’m barely playing as him?
  • Scored! Yay! I win, 1-0.
  • Another cut scene in the changing room that was quite funny. Time to meet the media, Rio Ferdinand is going to interview me.
  • Oh dear, this is making me cringe. Why is Rio trying to be Oprah and asking abut his dad? The actor playing Alex is good, but Rio is appalling. It’s like the acting in a PS1 game, I keep on expecting him to pass me an lockpick and tell me I’m now the master of unlocking, it’s that bad.
  • Gareth is not my brother then. Right. Rival bloke is back. It appears something happened in the last game which they are referring to. No idea.
  • Oh is this Gareth? Who was my mate then? I’m confused.

  • Back to the flat and fake Twitter is getting bitchy but there’s still no cat pics. Disappointing.
  • On a plane and the Geezer is back, as are the two funny characters from previous cut scene. No idea who they are, but they can act so I will assume they’re not real footballers.
  • Now we’re in LA. Doesn’t Beckham play here? Maybe we get to meet Posh Spice, that would be ace!
  • Hang on, I’m playing against Other Madrid again. Why are Other Madrid playing Chelsea in LA? This is very confusing.
  • Some sizzling chat with Ron in the tunnel. Not.
  • The commentators are being real bitchy about Alex before the match starts. I didn’t know football was so catty, it’s like Drag Race with terrible haircuts.
  • Time for some revenge against Other Madrid. The game is showing me the line up for both teams and the thought occurs to me that fictional Alex must be replacing an actual footballer. I bet he’s a bit miffed.
  • This is much harder than the previous matches. “Great defending,” says commentator. Go me!
  • YASSS! Alex has scored! Woo! Offside?? Argh. I really need to know what that is.
  • Half time and it’s 0-0. The commentator is saying something about this being a semi-final, but I have no idea what for. I’ve not played any other games why have I got a semi? Fnar.
  • Second half was tense and now we’re into extra time, still 0-0, so I’m quite proud of that. Alex has had a few shots at goal.
  • DAMMIT! Scored a goal again but was offside. I have now Googled it and know what this is. In my opinion the game should just stop you from going offside, that would make things much easier.
  • Extra time is over and there’s still no score either side, but I almost got a goal. I may be enjoying this.
  • Penalties. I’m predicting I will be rubbish at this.
  • As predicted Alex fluffed his penalty. In my defence its because I don’t know what the controls are for this part of the game.
  • Rubbish, Other Madrid won. Football is stupid.

The Final Whistle

Well that wasn’t horrendous I guess. The actual football bits are almost fun, assuming you know what you are doing, but some of the presentation is very poor and they really, really shouldn’t ask footballers to act. Burying the tutorial half an hour into the game seems a very odd decision, but at least there is one, even though I didn’t get to try it myself.

I think this would be fun after a few drinks down the pub and a chum to play against, but I don’t think I’ll be paying it by myself ever again, I think I will… pass. Aha!

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6 Comments
  1. ron_mcphatty
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    Nice feature! TC, I feel your pain, as soon as I read your L1 player switching woes I knew I’d enjoy the article. Seems like FIFA games are needlessly complicated to pick up and play, you either know how to play them or need an elder sibling or parent to pass down their ancient teachings. Who originally knew how to play football games we may never know. Good luck getting any help from your mates by the way, they’ll probably just cream you 10-0 and laugh in your face while they demonstrate perfect ball control, immaculate through passes and impressively curved shots, meanwhile the best you’ll manage is maiming one of their players with a 100mph slide tackle. Bastards.
    Sounds like story in story mode is a bit thin? I don’t think it’ll be enticing me into buying FIFA any time, well, ever. Good effort though TC and nice to see your prejudices confirmed, that must be very gratifying. I hope Fez crops up in this feature at some point though! Pixels are so pretty :)

    Comment posted on 16/07/2018 at 10:24.
    • MrYd
      Member
      Since: Mar 2011

      I was reading that thinking “Why would you inflict football on anyone??” before thinking “Make him play something full of pixels next!”

      It’s that or something with Improbable Boobs to confuse the poor man.

      Comment posted on 16/07/2018 at 10:35.
  2. Avenger
    Member
    Since: Oct 2012

    lol, don’t put him in front of a Xbox. He might have a seizure.

    Comment posted on 16/07/2018 at 13:20.
    • Andrewww
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      Why, is the Xbox a similar usability nightmare..? Tell me more..! ;o)

      Comment posted on 16/07/2018 at 17:25.
  3. Andrewww
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Very good read, I recently had to play some FIFA with my son, and my experience was quite similar… :o)

    “This game really could be improved with a grenade or rocket launcher… ” How true..!

    Comment posted on 16/07/2018 at 17:31.
  4. Tony Cawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    Good article TC2, I approve and look forward to the next episode.

    Can we get a little insight as to which game that might involve?

    Comment posted on 16/07/2018 at 19:12.