The Journey: Hunter Returns, if you hadn't guessed from the name, sees FIFA's dedicated story mode, and its titular star Alex Hunter, return again.
Here in our FIFA 18 The Journey: Hunter Returns walkthrough, we'll take you through everything you need to know about the season-long story from start to finish, from FIFA 18's Journey rewards and objectives to the essential story mode decisions so you can continue Hunter's meteoric rise and pick up some handy bonuses along the way, too.
FIFA 18 The Journey: Hunter Returns Walkthrough
The Journey this year is split into six Chapters, plus a short Prologue at the start. Below you'll find our walkthrough pages for each step of the way:
The Journey: Hunter Returns Walkthrough:
- FIFA 18 The Journey: Hunter Returns Prologue
- FIFA 18 The Journey: Hunter Returns Chapter 1 - The Life
- FIFA 18 The Journey: Hunter Returns Chapter 2 - Back in Business
- FIFA 18 The Journey: Hunter Returns Chapter 3 - A New Galaxy
- FIFA 18 The Journey: Hunter Returns Chapter 4 - The Great Equaliser
- FIFA 18 The Journey: Hunter Returns Chapter 5 - Knock-Back
- FIFA 18 The Journey: Hunter Returns Chapter 6 - Win Together, Lose Alone
Aside from those specific pages, read on below for a more general explanation of how The Journey works, plus our tips to bear in mind as you play.
What you need to know about The Journey: Hunter Returns - rewards, length, available clubs
Whilst we haven't been able to play through The Journey enough times to decipher the outcome of every single decision and performance, we do know the overall structure and several different conclusions to the story of Alex Hunter. We'll start with the basics:
- What do you do in The Journey? - The Journey involves a combination of training exercises, matches, conversations, and cutscenes, with a bit of Twitter feed checking thrown in. You'll split your playing time roughly 50-50 between training and matches, whilst conversations only happen sporadically, such as after man of the match performances or at significant milestones and story-driven moments.
- Does Alex Hunter improve over time? - Yes, in fact it's the main hook that keeps you interested in playing for longer, outside of the story itself. As you train and perform well in matches, Hunter's individual attributes like Short Passing, Finishing, etc. - and thus his Overall rating - will gradually increase. Each time your Overall rating goes up a level, you'll also receive a number of Skill Points to spend on individual Traits. Unlocking one of these will either increase a particular attribute by a few levels, or grant you a Trait much like those on standard players, like Swerve Passing or five star Skill Moves.
- What clubs can you play for in The Journey? - In Hunter Returns, you have the choice of either playing starting off by playing for the same club you started at in the original Journey, by importing your old Alex Hunter, or you can choose your Premier League club by starting a fresh save. Bear in mind though that, minor spoilers ahead, this won't be your club forever!
- How do you 'win' or 'lose' The Journey? - We'll go into this in more detail just below, but in brief there isn't a clear case for 'winning' or completing The Journey in one specific way. Generally, your goal is to balance popularity with your manager, and popularity with your 'followers'. Keeping them both happy will mean you can continue along your journey for as long as possible, with the greatest possible outcome for Alex (ad this time his friends and family, too). Making them significantly unhappy will result in reduced playing time and, ultimately, the end of the road for Alex Hunter, so basically just try to win everything to get the best ending.
- How much do your decisions and conversations affect the story in The Journey - Honestly, not very much. Generally different dialogue options will affect that cutscene in which they occur, but have next to no repurcussions down the line. The only thing to bear in mind is your manager's opinion of you and your follower count - hitting certain numbers of followers trigger unlocks to your character's appearance, and keeping your manager happy keeps you in the first team (although this can be done with good performances alone). Otherwise, we found that whether you gave a diplomatic press interview or told your bratty rival where to shove it didn't do anything for the story at large aside from make that cuscene dialogue play out a little differently.
- How long is The Journey? - The Journey lasts around 20 hours at most, which includes performing each training session and match manually without simulating anything, and achieving the longest possible story arc. The Journey will finish at the end of the season - in late May - at the latest.
- Can you fail The Journey? - Yes. If you performances dip too low - say you get a few 6/10s in a row - then regardless of your standing in the first team, you'll start getting hints that you need to buck your ideas up, before your manager eventually tells you that enough is enough and you need to reload an earlier save to progress.
- What rewards are there for playing The Journey? - The Journey offers players a handful of rewards, which are earned simply by playing through the story one chapter at a time. You'll receive set FUT loan players depending on the chapter, along with a Danny Williams card and Alex Hunter card, permanently, for your FUT squad near the end of the Journey. Check out the individual pages linked above for each chapter's specific rewards.
- Can you get injured in The Journey, and what happens if you do? - Yes you can, however if it happens by accident then it never actually rules you out for a game. There's also a certain scripted event that affects the story, but we won't dive any further here - read through our chapter guides above if you want to know!
Looking for more on FIFA 18? We've gathered all our individual guides together in our main FIFA 18 tips and guide hub, and if you're playing the game's campaign-like story mode, we have a full Journey: Hunter Returns walkthrough. There are also lists of FIFA 18 wonderkids and the best young players, FIFA 18 player ratings, the best strikers, best wingers, best midfielders, best defenders and best goalkeepers. Elsewhere, we have details on five star skillers and skill moves listed, how to score free kicks, penalties and set pieces, and the FIFA 18 best players by position. Fan of Ultimate Team? we look at FIFA 18 Chemistry explained, the new January 2018 and original OTW Ones to Watch cards, along with best Chemistry Styles for each position, and finally how to earn FIFA Coins quickly and for free.
Other advice you should know before playing The Journey: Hunter Returns in FIFA 18
Throughout The Journey, you'll find that you're incentivised to do a couple of things: keep the manager happy, and get more followers. It's not made totally clear why you'll want to do that though, or how exactly those things are affected, so we've put together a few tips on getting a happy gaffer and healthy fanbase, alongside some general tips for success in The Journey story mode.
- Social media followers, manager happiness, and money are all linked together. Fiery responses in publicly-broadcast dialogue will get you more followers, whilst cool options in any situation the manager is aware of will make him happier. A happy manager is key to getting more game time, which you'll need to do if you want to play every game and get the longest possible playthrough, whilst followers are key to unlocking specific cutscenes.
- It's possible, however, to achieve everything without worrying about our dialogue. Whilst training performance only affects your manager's impressions of you, match performance affects both. Training well and racking up the goals and assists on the pitch will make both your manager and fans happy - in fact we split our reponses evenly between fiery, cool, and balanced, and still maxed out manager happiness and picked up sponsorships through solid performances on the pitch. Letting your football do the talking is all you need to do.
- If you find in-game performances tough - and they can be at times - then you can of course tweak your chances of success by going for cooler responses in dialogue options, keeping your manager happy enough to play you. Manager happiness is much more important than followers, ultimately, as he's the one who decides whether you're kept, sold, played, or left on the bench.
- As a general tip, it's worth noting that the in-game camera angle can be changed. We thought the 'Be a Pro' angle was the only one, which is incredibly awkward to deal with at times, until we logged on on a different PS4 to see the camera angle was back to the normal one, as if you'd selected to play as a team instead of just Hunter. Pop into the settings to change it.
- Some will find playing as Alex Hunter in matches it much easier than playing as the whole team, when it comes to getting a good rating. You might be used to playing as a team, but it's worth learning to adapt to playing as just Hunter. Aside from just being a nice breath of fresh air from standard FIFA gameplay, controlling just Alex allows you to significantly affect how often he gets on the ball and affects the game. You can drop deep to win it back from the computer which is still focused on posession on higher difficulties, and likewise build up play through you by calling for it and working it forwards. Teammate decisions can be a little wonky, but it's still much easier than relying on a 71-rated Alex Hunter's AI to get him into good positions for your pass in team-control mode.
- You can instruct other players to perform most actions you could if controlling them as a team normally. Threaded through balls, lob passes, airial through balls, shots, closing down players, and more are all available as commands to your teammates through 'shouting' at them as Alex Hunter. Simply press the button you normally would if controlling them to instruct the AI to perform an action. Mastering this is enormously helpful for success on the field.
- That being said, playing as a team can make life considerably easier when it comes to working with your Strike Partner, as you can control them and the team a little better in the build-up phases to set up the right assists at the right times.
- Spend skill points wisely. It's unlikely, if not impossible, that you'll earn enough skill points to unlock everything. With that in mind, think about your playstile and your position. Hunter's Penalties, for instance, start down in the 40s or 50s - is spending precious Skill Points to level that up to the mid 50s worth it when you could be adding extra pace, stamina, passing, and five-star skill moves?