FIFA 17 was one of the slickest games that EA Sports have produced in the franchise's 24-year history. From the gorgeous Frostbite engine to The Journey (FIFA's biggest new game mode since Ultimate Team), 17 brought a number of major improvements to the table, and left the competition in the dust.
There are still those who prefer Pro Evolution Soccer's more realistic gameplay, but at one point, FIFA 17 was outselling PES 2017 at a 40:1 ratio in the UK. EA Sports' dedication to driving the series forward paid-off in a major way, but the game wasn't flawless, and there are a number of big improvements to consider for FIFA 18.
EA have already confirmed that The Journey will make a return, and while details are still thin, FIFA 18 will surely bring the usual annual upgrades in graphics, physics, and general gameplay. Improving upon FIFA 17's greatness should be a simple case of fine tuning these small details, but if EA decide to tackle some of the series' bigger issues, FIFA 18 could be the perfect football game.
EA Sports have struggled with FIFA’s officials forever, and despite all the advances that the series has made over the past few decades, they just can’t seem to nail the referees. As always, FIFA 17’s referees were absolutely bewildering at times, pulling cards from their pockets at seemingly random intervals, botching offside calls, and awarding penalties for even the most minor collisions.
In fairness, it could be argued that FIFA 17’s terrible referees are an accurate reflection of modern officiating, and therefore add an extra layer of realism. This is a game, however, and games need to be fun. Nothing ruins a match like a referee flashing a red card for a glitched physics collision or halting play for a seemingly perfectly-timed sliding challenge, and while getting the referees right is clearly difficult, this shouldn’t really be a problem anymore.
FIFA 18’s referees need to be less like Uriah Rennie, and more like Pierluigi Collina. There’s no real excuse for such frustratingly bad officials in a modern football game, and tweaking them will remove what many fans consider to be one of FIFA’s biggest historical problems. Fans are used to dodgy officials screwing their team out of points in real-life, but in a video game, everything needs to be fair and just.