Developer: Electronic Arts
Publisher: Electronic Arts, EA Sports
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series S and X, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release: 1st October 2021
Price: $79 - JB HIFI
Now we all know that the general consensus around sports games is that they are the same year after year. Well for the first time in years FIFA 22 feels like a genuine improvement. Don't worry, I’m not here to tell you that FIFA 22 is a reinvention of the FIFA franchise, because to be honest, without reinventing the sport, I don't really see how that's possible. However, there are across the board improvements and as a whole the game really benefits from them.
One of the biggest surprises for me was the addition of a genuine storyline, upon booting up the game you find yourself dropped right into the middle of an entertaining and immersive story, I won't give any details for the purpose of remaining as spoiler free as possible. But what i will say is that this story is both interactive and packed full of cameos from both ex football stars such as David Beckham to Boxing superstar Anthony Joshua. Now i know what you're thinking right, ugh not more forced celeb cameos, well surprisingly these cameos don't feel forced and actually add to the immersion of what EA are trying to make you feel with their storyline. While FIFA have dabbled in these storylines before, this one just felt different.
Gameplay wise FIFA feels both familiar and a big step up from last year's version. FIFA’s new “HYPERMOTION” technology actually plays a big part in this, it gives players a very realistic feel, movements feel smooth and purposeful rather than the usual scrambled mess of animation files being mashed together. Things like tackles and aerial duels no longer feel clunky but feel rather physical and look just like the real thing. For me, FIFA22 has a slight Pro Evolution Soccer vibe to it with the movement of HYPERMOTION, I don't know, I just found myself a few times comparing the gameplay to Pro Evolution, something I've not done before.
One of the more noticeable changes however comes in the form of a deemphasis of pace, Pace has long been the holy grail in FIFA, especially in Ultimate team where opponents would stack their team with lower rated players with the highest possible pace rating and they would blow past your 90 rated defenders with ease as they simply couldn't keep up. Well this time round, the game seems to have been slowed down not a massive amount, but is a noticeable improvement. This takes that emphasis away from the paciest players and shifts it more towards ball movement and passing. In my opinion, this is a massive improvement to the overall enjoyability of the game.
I've been playing FIFA on an almost yearly basis for about 25 years now, and during these 25 years I've spent probably 80% of my time playing career mode and 20% of my time split between ultimate team and couch co-op. Career mode is one of the game modes that features some of the more meaningful improvements. For instance, rather than just taking over your favourite club as a manager, you now have the option to create a club from scratch and insert them into any league you wish. I did this first as I