Not only is FIFA 18 a whole new game compared to its predecessors, but it's the first on a Nintendo home system since 2012. That's five whole years.

So the reality is, whether you're a beginner or a diehard FIFA player, you might find yourself a little lost when you boot it up and try winning matches.

But fear not, for Pocket Gamer is here to help. We've got stuck right in the last week to bring you these tips and tricks to help get you off to a flying start.

Get your tactics right

Before you even think about playing a match, you should get familiar with the range of tactical options. So pick your team and head on over to Team Management.

Formations

You can safely stick with the default options if you want. These are based on how your team actually plays, and chances are they have a manager that has a good idea what he's doing.

Think you can do better? Cool. There are a few ways we can approach this but you have a decision to make first. Do you want to build a team around 11 players, a single player, or your favourite formation?

That's important to consider, because whatever the answer is, you need to find a way to compliment it.

Winning eleven

So you have a favourite team of 11 players in mind already? Great! The next part is to pick a formation that serves them well. Consider where they'll play best and see if there's a formation that works.

If there isn't, don't panic - you might have to swap a few players out to bring more balance to your team. That doesn't mean your favourite has to be out of the equation though, you can just make them an impact sub instead.

Star player

Building a team around your favourite player is just as easy. Consider how you want them to play, and then pick a team and formation that supports them.

Pacey players will probably want to play on the counter, so you'll want midfielders that can break up play while target men might prefer a team with a solid range of passing to get the ball to them as often as possible.

Favourite formation

If you have a favourite formation in mind, all you have to do is select the best players for each position. Easy peasy.

The only trouble you might have is if your team doesn't have a natural option for a specific position. In that case, have a look at your player's stats and see if you can find someone who can do a job, transfer a new player in, or slightly tweak your formation.

Don't neglect your subs

Nope, you're still not ready - you need to pick your subs. And don't just blindly pick the next best players. Just like with your primary team, you need to ensure balance.

First, consider who you're most likely to sub. After a few games this will become obvious to you, as certain players drop in energy way faster than others. You also might have an impact sub already in mind - chuck 'em in.

You also need to ensure you have cover for every single position on the pitch, as injuries or red cards can strike when you least expect it. Players that can slot into a few different positions are pretty valuable, so try and stick a few of them on your bunch.

Oh, and also consider situations you might find yourself in. There might be times when you're desperately holding onto a lead, so will need defensive reinforcements. Conversely, you might need goals in another game so have some attacking flair in the mix.

And finally, there are times when you'll need to inject some strength, pace, or passing into your mix so make sure you can account for all of these situations in your team and bench.

Who takes your free kicks and penalties?

Again, you probably won't even consider this before you get into a game. While you can change this when it comes to actually taking the spotkick, isn't it better to just be prepared?

This is incredibly easy though, because you can just check the stats of your players and choose the best player for each situation. Solid passers are the best free kick takers, and those with the best shot are natural penalty takers.

However, you should also consider their position. Is it wise to have your right back take a left corner, when they have to run the length of the pitch to get back in position if it goes wrong? Do you want the best passer taking a short free kick, or should you use someone who an put some pace on the ball? Think about this stuff.

Ready to play

Once you've got your tactics straight, you're ready to kick off. Take a deep breath and prepare yourself mentally because you'll probably have a bit of a rough ride before you're familiar with FIFA 18's version of the game. Here are a few tips to help you get started though.

Style of play

We'd recommend playing a very balanced style of football for the opening few minutes, until you've figured out how your opponent likes to play. Once you've got a pretty good idea, adapt accordingly.

If they're aggressive, and try to break up play as quickly as possible so they can launch an offensive, you might want to sit back and absorb pressure while you wait for an opening. Counter-attack is perfect for this, as your whole team will get behind the ball. Win it back though, and everyone will rush forward to try.

You might also face a team that likes to pass it about a lot and hold onto possession, trying to break you down slowly while they look for an opening. To tackle this, you might want to go high pressure so you can limit their passing options and increase your chances of winning the ball back.

If you can't figure it out - and there are a bunch of teams that vary up their approach consistently - just play a style that suits you best, and don't be afraid to adapt your approach if it's not working. Just always pay attention to your opponent's playing style and try to counter it.

Attacking or defensive?

This is more of a circumstantial setting, and should be pretty straightforward. Generally though, the higher your attack setting, the more your team will throw themselves forward and neglect defensive duties. The same can be said in reverse for defensive settings.

If you've nicked a goal and really need to hold onto the win, stick it on defensive and maybe edge it up to ultra then park the bus as the match gets closer to the end. You might want an attacking output earlier in the game, but as it reaches the close the other team will probably go all out to equalise. Obviously the same is in reverse if you're desperate to equalise or score the winning goal.

But don't just go defensive or offensive if you score or concede a goal - it might not be necessary. If you're dominating, just stick to whatever setting you're already working with. Don't just settle for that one goal unless you really need to.

How does FIFA 18 want you to play?

FIFA 18 is, for better or worse, the closest to real football FIFA has ever been, so you might actually find you have more success if you play it like a footballer rather than trying to game it like before.

If you don't know what that means, here are a few tips.

Pace isn't as important as it used to be

In fact, I'd discourage anyone from relying on pace - this is a far cry away from FIFA 15. Defenders can easily catch up to you and muscle you off the ball, and you'll be easy to read for oncoming defenders.

Given that tackling is way more effective than before, winning the ball back is super easy for them if they know where you're going to be and when.

Pretty much every action you perform while sprinting will be out of control as well. Passing and shooting will be erratic, and holding players off the ball won't be as effective. Release the sprint button.

But strength and passing is better than before

Strength and passing were often overlooked in previous FIFAs, but they've found their place in recent additions and never more so than in FIFA 18.

I've had way more success in matches when I play patiently, passing the ball about smartly and looking for openings for my teammates to exploit.

Target men aren't as useless as before either. Now they can actually hold the ball up as they wait for others to come into play. Play to the strengths of your players.

Don't be afraid to pass backwards or sideways

No one likes to do it, because it feels negative. But there's no point losing the ball by smashing it into your opponent's legs, is there?

If there's no decent forward option, pass it backwards to give your team time to push forward and find space. In fact, it's quite possible to launch an attack right from the back in FIFA 18.

Oh, and sometimes you're just going to have to switch play. If you're completely outnumbered on one side, hoof it off to the other and try and hit them on the break.

Finesse that shot

Keepers are strong this year - they're very capable of stopping pretty much every shot imaginable. So basically, finessing your shots is more important than ever - particularly at range.

You want to curl or slip it past the keeper at every opportunity, and there's no better way to do it than to finesse. Exploit it.

Defend cautiously

Sure, tackling has been immensely improved but that doesn't mean you want to go lunging in. Much like in actual football, it's often better to jockey players where possible.

A good rule of thumb is to leave the hard work to the AI and bring a forward player back to defend. For example, if they're charging down the flank, let your fullback cover them while you try to win the ball back with your winger. That way, if you mess up you'll have cover.

Vary up your dead ball approach

First consider where the free kick is being taken from, then the strength of your team. If you have a tall and beefy forward or centre back, loft a ball to them and try and stick it in the back of the net. Alternatively, you might just want to try and smash it in the back of the net.

Vary up your approach though - if you keep doing the same thing your opponent will get wise to it and counter it. That's particularly the case with corners and penalties.