In case you didn’t know EA have released a free patch for FIFA 18 which installs a ‘World Cup Mode’. I’ve spent a little time with it and I thought I’d let you know my thoughts.

Now when I first heard about this my immediate reaction was ‘WTF EA DOING SOMETHING FOR FREE?!’ (Especially after the Battlefront 2 controversy), and I thought it would be some half-assed tournament template but I’ve come to realize I was wrong!

The update brings an entirely new category on the home page which opens up your World Cup tournament. The entire thing has been branded to the Russian World Cup, nice little images alongside some new stadium information before each game (Location, capacity etc,). To the start the tournament you simply pick the teams you wish to play with and play through the tournament. The update also comes with some updated player faces and other game patches.

Now, essentially this is just a branded up tournament which has the national teams pre-loaded in, but there are definite differences that I noticed – For one I’m scoring some crazy ass goals; for some reason certain players feel different to normal FIFA, and the ‘outside of the box’ and ‘skill’ shots seem much easier to pull off, and this is a good thing. It definitely makes it feel more flashy and grand, to match the event it’s representing. To help with the sale of the new mode, there’s been some added commentary (Although it’s essentially them saying “The World Cup is a big deal” in different ways).

As normal, fatigue carries over from game to game so there’s the added element of player management and game planning (And not just holding R2 for 5 games straight) – Last is the clear difference in difficulty to normal international games. All of the teams are that little bit better, a bit tighter in defense or more willing to cut into the box. You’ll definitely notice it in the bigger games (For example Spain Vs Portugal) and have to change your play style to compete with these bulked up international squads.

So yes, this is a jazzed up tournament, but the small differences here and there do make a big difference. It’s obviously worth a go as it’s free and it’s sure to feed into your World Cup hype. I personally am trying to plan an entire weekend focusing on this mode plus the real World Cup!!With the