FIFA 22 is finally here and the latest iteration of the world’s leading football game takes no major step forward, but is subtly improved.
EA appears to have nuanced areas of the game for a more comprehensive experience as opposed to anything resembling a complete revamp or new direction, but still, the strengths of FIFA remain front and centre.
talkSPORT is going to break down some important areas of the game so you can get up to speed and know what to expect.
If you took a break from FIFA for a couple of years and put on FIFA 22, you’d slot back in seamlessly in many ways. That familiarity is a comfort to some, but there are some small differences that go a long way.
This game is much slower and considered. The flashy tricksters and speed demons of years past take a backseat to cohesion and smart build-up play. On previous FIFAs, holding down the finesse button and aiming for the far corner was basically a guaranteed goal, but the free-scoring exploits of the last title have been reigned in.
The goalkeepers don’t suffer from quite the same level of butter-fingers as titles past, but in a congested area or under intense pressure, even the best in the game are still prone to an error or two. What they do have working for them is a far greater obstacle in one-on-one situations. More often than not, the goalkeepers win.
It’s a slower game than last year’s instalment. Fast players are still fast, but the approach more closely resembles the tactical affairs you see on TV every week.
‘HyperMotion’ is the tool EA have implemented to drastically drive forward their realism this year. It’s a new motion-capture technology that EA has used to add over 4,000 new animations harvested from real-life matches.
In the way players receive the ball, react when they shoot in various scenarios, the way they backpedal; there are many different ways these motions unfold depending on the situation and that makes for a more engaging experience.
If you’re like me and you love a speed demon, explosive sprinting mechanic makes the world of difference. Using the analog to push the ball forward with your first touch can devastate defenders and in the hands of a fast and skillful winger really opens the play and creates space.
But, be warned, the AI will race clear of you, too. You’ll be scampering back after them, trust us.
The best players in the world have remarkable models in the game. The graphics of the pitches to the action are all top draw and durable too, the only qualm you may have is when building your own man. If your hair is to be shaven or cut short in places, it looks like a bit of a Homer Simpson stencil.
Still, the fact you can build a club on this game and enhance the stadium to your taste is really nice aesthetic.
If you played FIFA 21, FIFA 22’s career mode is strikingly similar and it has been for a few years in layout. The major addition this year is the aforementioned ability to create your own club.
You can create your own badge, stadium and tweak the board’s expectations to be more in line with your own beliefs whether that’s going gung-ho for success or bringing some talented youngsters through.
You get a random group of players generated, replace an existing club and then you’re off to races. It’s a cool idea that is probably long overdue, but one that could do with some expanding to become a favourite.
That’s managing a club, but as a player, you now have tasks to build a relationship with your manager, essentially building love in return for making the starting XI. That’s kind of how it works, we guess?
The skill tree for a player is more expansive than ever and it certainly feels like the journey it should be for a young, talented player.
FIFA players had pined for street football to return for years and with Voltra, they kind of have it, but not quite.
It’s a fun playground for players to explore the skills the game has to offer and if you’re into this sort of thing, some of the plates have almost supernatural powers in this setting.
Voltra Arcade is available at weekends and has you competing online in fun Mario Party-esque minigames. It’s slightly puzzling that you can only do this at weekends to be honest, but still fun
Precious little has changed here and one has to imagine it’s because for EA, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Ultimate Team remains the cash-cow for this franchise and apart from a few cosmetic upgrades, it appears the same.
The only real addition worth noting is EA fully implemented Preview Packs that let you look inside one loot box every day before you buy. Still, it’s a slippery slope.
FIFA is still the market leader in this space and the gameplay does feel very rewarding. That’s basically the heart of the game and on that basis well-worth playing.
You can still get your fill with career mode either as a player or a manager and if you have cash to burn, Ultimate Team remains a joy. Overall, the game hasn’t taken any major steps forward, but it feels fresh when you play it and that’s a big nod to the gameplay.
If you want to check out the fastest players on FIFA 22, click here. If you want to know the highest rated players, click here.