FIFA 18 Nintendo Switch Review: Portable Soccer at Its Finest


EA Sports

  1. Game: FIFA 18
  2. Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
  3. Publisher: EA Sports
  4. Developer: EA
  5. A complimentary copy was provided for this review.

It’s time for yet another year of FIFA action. The annual soccer (or football) franchise returns for its 25th installment. Powered by the Frostbite 3 engine, this installment aims to be the most graphically pleasing of the franchise. The use of this engine also allows things like The Journey to be a thing. The Frostbite engine also promises more interactive crowds and other elements to take place on the field. Of course, that only applies if the Frostbite engine is a factor.

FIFA 18 on the Nintendo Switch does not feature the Frostbite engine but instead features an engine built from the ground up for the console. Most of the features listed earlier were made casualties on the Nintendo Switch, including The Journey mode. However, that’s probably not the reason you’re curious about the Switch version, is it?

Outside of The Journey, FIFA 18 for the Nintendo Switch is fully featured and isn’t missing anything major over the other versions. The Switch version is able to make up some ground by being portable and offering a plethora of different control schemes. You have the option of playing handheld, docked, tabletop, you name it and the Switch does it. EA Sports was able to deliver a portable FIFA title like no other. There’s really no way to get around it: this is the definitive handheld FIFA experience. All of that is fine and dandy if you’re planning on playing it handheld, but is it worth it if you’re playing a mostly stationary version?

Like I said before, FIFA 18 is fully featured outside of The Journey. You have the usual suspects showing up here in Career Mode, Kick Off and the FIFA Ultimate Team. For many, the biggest draw of the FIFA series is the Ultimate Team so it’s important to note that the mode is fully intact here. Whether there will be enough people to go around that play it is an entirely different situation altogether.

FIFA 18, Nintendo Switch

Clint Dempsey in FIFA 18.

FUT remains as addictive as ever. The mode is centered around collecting characters and building your dream team. For a large number of players, this mode alone is worth the price of admission and you’ll find no arguments there from me. I can foresee myself spending several hours and long nights on the different challenges offered in this mode.

Many of the modes remain unchanged from last year’s installments which is good news if you liked things the way they were. It’s bad news if you were expecting some growth from last year. If you’re strictly a Nintendo console owner, then this doesn’t matter to you since this is your first FIFA title in several years. One thing that does stand out is the seamless transitions on the field. You don’t have to pause the game very often or mash buttons to skip a timeout or throw-in. Everything plays out in real-time on the field which helps add to the realism.

The presentation of the game continues to be unrivaled as it brings back the familiar names you know and love, most notably Martin Tyler. FIFA 18 does a marvelous job of making it feel like you’re actually playing a true soccer match. Other games have started to catch up recently, namely NBA 2K18, but FIFA continues to be the clear winner in this category. It doesn’t appear to have the quick sub options the other versions have – if it does, I’m blind and haven’t seen how to do it yet.

The visuals seem to have taken a hit on the Switch version when compared to the Xbox One and PS4 versions. Since a lot of the FIFA action is pretty far away, you may not notice any issues. However, once you score a goal and the camera zooms in, that’s when you might run into some problems. The game is certainly not ugly but it could be better. FIFA 18 on the Switch runs at 1080p while docked and 720p while portable so you’re not missing out on any pixels. In terms of framerate, I didn’t see any noticeable hiccups during my time playing. I did have trouble at times with playing the game handheld due to the screen being much smaller than a TV. It definitely is something you’ll have to get used to.

Bottom Line

FIFA 18, Nintendo Switch

As it stands, FIFA 18 is more than worthy of holding a spot in your Nintendo Switch library. The portability options make it great on its own and maintaining many of the same features as the other platforms definitely make it worthy of a purchase. However, you might be struggling to put this version over the Xbox One or PS4 version and I’m with you.

If you’re a fan of the narrative being told in The Journey, then it’s a no-brainer that you should get the other versions. If that mode doesn’t matter a whole lot to you, then you won’t find many better options than this one. You can tell a lot of work was put into this version and it’s much appreciated. If you’re looking for a good soccer game on the Switch, you have to look no further.

Score: 9/10


  • Strong performance
  • FIFA Ultimate Team
  • Portability
  • Many control schemes
  • Excellent commentary
  • Several modes to keep you locked in for several hours


  • Appears to have last-gen visuals
  • Missing a key feature: The Journey
  • Modes haven’t changed a whole lot over last year
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