FIFA 18 on Switch: How does it compare?

With the release of FIFA 18 on Switch, Nintendo gets its first home console FIFA in five years.

It is missing some of the features that have made PS4 and Xbox One versions so popular, but the game successfully delivers modern FIFA at home and on the go – and that’s quite something. You would however be forgiven for having second thoughts about investing in one of Nintendo’s pricier titles, so here’s a look at some of the ways it compares to other versions.

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Switch Features
The biggest tick in the Switch’s favour of course is its portability. It’s the thing that sets this version apart from its home console competitors and it’s the one thing they can’t match right now.

The only problem with this is one of the best features I could imagine when the game was announced is fundamentally flawed. Playing single player FIFA on the go is great, as is connecting to consoles for multiplayer or playing with two pro-controllers. The issue comes from the classic shot from the adverts, with two players grasping a JoyCon each as you might in Mario Kart or 1-2-Switch. In FIFA however, these little controllers aren’t built for the complexity of the game and its an awkward experience at best. It’s significantly jarring to be with so few buttons.

Not a problem if you have already invested in extra controllers, but it does detract from the dream of quick and easy multiplayer action.

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Ultimate Team
FIFA’s relationship with Nintendo consoles has traditionally been a rocky one. FIFA 13 for WiiU was seriously lacking major features, and vastly inferior to its equivalent on Sony and Microsoft’s consoles. Since then we haven’t had a single FIFA game on any Nintendo home console, so expectations for the Switch version are understandably cautious.

One of the biggest complaints with FIFA 13 was the lack of Ultimate Team in its WiiU version, and players will be happy to hear the popular feature is present in FIFA 18 for Switch. A few things are absent, such as Squad Battles and Weekend League.

The most notable omission is Champions mode, the competitive online tournament that pits you against the best of the best. From this, players can dream of reaching FIFA’s Interactive World Cup, a major eSports tournament which this year had a prize of $200,000. Players compete at the highest level and are divided throughout the competition between PlayStation and Xbox. But not Switch. Not yet anyway.

Considering both the popularity of FUT and the growth of eSports, it does seem like something Nintendo and EA will have to address in future iterations.

Online Multiplayer

Whilst you can play multiplayer matches online and engage in Ultimate Team, one of the biggest hang-ups of the Switch is still issues with online play. Namely, you can’t play FIFA online with your friends.

The console is still lacking in online service, and has no invite or party systems that would allow for match-ups with friends lists or invites. It’s a bit of an oversight, and one that extends to the whole system rather than the game itself.

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The Journey
Last year, FIFA 17 introduced “The Journey”, a full single-player story mode with a good few hours of narrative woven between games. The reception was mixed, with so many players buying the game purely for competitive play, but it was a quality inclusion to make that annual release worth the upgrade.

Unfortunately this content, as well as its FIFA 18 sequel, is absent from the Switch version. EA explained the reason for this omission was due to the Switch version’s custom-built engine, as oppose to the Frostbite engine. Whilst this might not be a massive loss for many players, it is just another mark against the game on Nintendo’s console. An immersive but segmented single player experience would be perfect for the Switch. A game or two and a few cut scenes seems tailor made for your morning commute, and it’s a massive shame that this content was omitted.

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Career Mode
Again, a chunky single player campaign is perfect for the Switch, and thankfully this one did make the cut. Career Mode is included in the game and plays well enough, but predictably there are a few omissions. The newly introduced transfer negotiations for instance are missing, which doesn’t ruin enjoyment of the game in the slightest but does make it feel more outdated.
Gameplay
Overall FIFA 18 feels and looks remarkably better than any handheld in the series. Compared to the PS4 version, the controls feel a little sluggish and the pace is noticeably slower, but not so much to strip enjoyment from the game.

If you’re a stickler for the latest graphics and mechanics, you should absolutely look to Xbox and PlayStation versions. But if the idea of endless FIFA on the go, round your mates house or in bed appeals to you, this isn’t going to disappoint.

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PS Plus: October Games revealed

PlayStation Plus games for October are here, and it’s a big month for freebies.

First and foremost is undoubtedly Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain. The huge open-world design, clever stealth action mechanics and striking graphics make this well worth a download if you haven’t quite got round it. The hours of gameplay for this game alone is well worth the cost of a month’s subscription if you aren’t already a member, and if you are this is a pretty generous freebie.

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Next up is a double helping, with the Amnesia: Collection, including The Dark Descent and its sequel a Machine for Pigs. Exploring the games’ dark, intensely creepy halls with no idea what to expect is a memorably horrific experience – and with Halloween next month that’s no bad thing.

PS Plus members can also download the following for PS3 and Vita:

Monster Jam Battlegrounds, PS3

Hustle Kings, PS3

Hue, PS Vita (Cross Buy with PS4)

Sky Force Anniversary, PS Vita (Cross Buy with PS4 & PS3)

Plus the social party game That’s You! Is still available for free until 24th October, so get this in the basket while you can.

SanDisk announce 400GB microSD

SanDisk have just announced what they claim is the world’s biggest microSD card, boasting 400GB of storage and transfer speeds of up to 100MB.

For Switch owners feeling the weight of big blockbuster releases and Nindies alike, the new card must look pretty tempting. Until now the largest of SanDisk’s cards was the 200GB, with many opting for 64 and 128GB options to boost the console’s memory.

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If you’re outgrowing your Switch and finding yourself clearing out old games to make way for Super Mario Odyssey or Skyrim, you might well have your eye on the new release. If that’s the case, your new storage boost will set you back a whopping  £224.99 – a high price to pay on top of the Switch, its growing library of games, accessories, an external battery for travelling and (if you’re anything like me) every amiibo you can get your hands on..

But a 400GB card just two years after SanDisk’s 200GB is a great sign for this part of the industry. With the expectation on phones and tablets to store high quality images, large app data and HD or even 4K video files, the demand is there for increasingly huge storage capabilities.

This can only be good news for consumers, as innovations in storage lower the price of the cards all the way down.

PS Plus: August Games & Price Rise

It’s a double serving of PS Plus news this week, with new free games for August announced followed by news that Sony will be raising the subscription price by £10 a year.

Annual subscription will now cost £49.99, up from £39.99, starting from the end of August. The monthly cost of PS Plus will also increase by £1 up to £6.99 and quarterly by £5 up to £19.99. If you already have a quarterly or annual subscription, you won’t notice the price hike until your next renewal, and you can still buy these subscriptions at the old price up until the 31st – which will be stacked on to your current membership.

It’s a surprising move, especially since just this month Amazon Prime users could pick up 15 Months of PS Plus for less than £30, but it follows similar increases late last year when the US PS Plus price increased from $49.99 USD to $59.99.

Meanwhile, normal service resumes as the PlayStation blog revealed August’s free downloads.

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The most notable entry is the explosive third-person shooter Just Cause 3, a big open world sandbox full of stuff to blow up in the most crazy and creative fashion. You might well have avoided the game on release as so many console users complained of frame rate issues and slow loading screens on release, but many of these problems were significantly improved in patches over the past 18 months since release. It’s a really fun, over-the-top action romp that is well worth a download.

Next up for PS4 is Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s stand-alone expansion content Freedom Cry, where you follow brotherhood assassin Adéwalé in his mission to free slaves. It’s a much smaller game in terms of length, map size and content but its way more emotionally engaging than the average AC title and certainly worth blasting through in a few hours.

There are also two PS3 titles and two for vita, plus the bonus game in That’s You which is available until October;

Just Cause 3 (PS4)

Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry (PS4)

That’s You – PS4 (bonus title)

Super Motherload (PS3)

Snake Ball (PS3)

Downwell (PS Vita)

Level 22 (PS Vita)

Sims 4 Coming to Consoles

The Sims 4 is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 17th November.

Maxis’ popular life simulator is coming to consoles for the first time in eight years. Making its way to a new generation of systems, the Sims 4 looks to offer the same experience to console players as PC users. This differs wildly from the norm with Sims games, where typically console users would see a vastly stripped down port with smaller neighbourhoods and fewer careers or hobbies to explore.

Writing on the PlayStation Blog, senior producer Michael Duke described this as the first time in the history of the franchise that you can experience the same content as the PC version.

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“The only limit to what you can create is in your imagination,” says Duke. “The current generation of hardware has enabled us to translate code to PlayStation 4 without any major system changes, so that it is no longer about which platform has the superior version, but where you like to play.”

For Xbox One players, EA Access subscribers can play The Sims 4 for free from 9th-17th November for a free trial of the game, and progress will carry over to the main game should you decide to purchase the full version.

You can pre-order the special edition now and receive a bundle of content with The Sims 4 Deluxe Party Edition, which includes:

  • Unlocking Early Access to the Full Game, up to three days in advance of the worldwide launch on November 17
  • Life of the Party Digital Content, featuring the Flaming Tiki Bar and sleek, stylized outfits for your Sims
  • Up All Night Digital Content, featuring the Laser Light Show, fun decorations, and outrageous party costumes
  • Awesome Animal Hats Digital Content, featuring a collection of fun animal hats for your Sims to wear and show off

Nintendo Switch Online App Launches

Nintendo have launched their official Nintendo Switch Online App, a smartphone app that brings online features and voice chat to the Switch though your mobile.

The brand new app launches today on iOS and Android, but it won’t actually be any use to you until we get some games that support it. The first of these will be Splatoon 2, which is released on Friday 21st July, and many more games are set to make use of the app’s networking functions going forward.

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The app itself is free to download and the service is completely free for the rest of the year, with Nintendo looking to charge an annual subscription charge of $19.99 from 2018. That fee includes access to online multiplayer, voice chat and free classic Nintendo games, with a model similar to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold.

We’ll know more about how well the app works with the launch of Splatoon 2 on Friday, but already there are some concerns. The most significant drawback is the revelation that the app will only function if it is open, meaning voice chat and other functions will stop completely if the phone is locked or if you need to access other apps. There is also the issue of headset use, whereby traditionally online multiplayer gamers would expect to receive both gameplay and chat audio through their headset. The reality with Nintendo is currently flawed, without any clear way to compound audio from your mobile and Switch console without looking to third party dongles.

If you’re curious about the new features, the new app is available to download now and there will be plenty of opportunity to test it with Splatoon 2 released at the end of the week.

RuneScape coming to Mobile with Cross-Play

Runescape is coming to mobile devices with full cross-platform PC play.

The free-to-play MMORPG began in 2001, and has over 200 million player accounts. Both RuneScape and the classic Old School RuneScape will be available to play on smartphones and tablets, with cross-play that allows players to save their progress across platforms.

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The games’ developers Jagex have been looking to make the move to mobile since 2013. In addition to offering an improved experience for existing players, Jagex are hoping the move to mobile will appeal to a new audience and also draw in lapsed players.

The cross-play aspects gives players total choice of platform without isolating themselves from PC or mobile players, which Jagex point out is unprecedented in western MMORPGs.

Both games will be full optimised for iOS and Android devices, with RuneScape Old School set for a 2017 release but no date as of yet for the modern version.