FIFA has ruled the roost when it comes to football games in the last decade, but last year the title did everything in its power to change that. EA Sports released a game that, with each passing update, added more and more glitches and broken mechanics.
The skill gap was reduced to the point where good players were reduced to spamming through balls to their 98 pace forwards. In addition to that there were no major updates or releases that actually made the game an appealing purchase to fans.
FIFA 21 was so bad that many streamers and fans vowed not to buy FIFA 22 and instead play Konami’s eFootball, a free rebrand of Pro Evolution Soccer. Should you do the same? Read on to find out everything you need to know about FIFA 22.
(FIFA 21 had a lot of bugs and glitches, can we expect better from FIFA 22?)
Is FIFA 22 a washout?
Unlike Norwich City – who are unsurprisingly odds on relegation favourites with this online betting site – FIFA 22 isn’t terrible and pointless. It is a much improved game from what we played last season and if you have a next gen console, is certainly worth playing.
There are the customary issues and bugs that we get with every FIFA release but nothing serious enough to force you into playing eFootball, which is a really, really bad game. EA Sports have sought to counter some of the criticism that last year’s game received by making this latest release much more realistic.
Let’s take a look at some of the big claims made by EA in their game trailer and see how they translate into the finished game itself.
The main feature that EA Sports seem keen on promoting to players is the implementation of HyperMotion technology into this latest release? What is HyperMotion technology? You may well ask.
Well it is a technology only available on next gen consolers that combines full-team motion capture with advanced machine learning to produce new animations. In FIFA 22 this translates into over 4,000 new animations that are meant to make the game feel more realistic and less arcadey.
How this plays out in the game is that the lines between game footage and real-life footage are further blurred. In addition to this, HyperMotion technology appears to have made the game slower and more methodical which is good news for critics of pace spamming.
To the old cynics out there this may well sound like a glitch nightmare waiting to happen…
(Here’s how HyperMotion technology looks on new gen in comparison to old gen consoles that do not feature it.)
Tactical AI Improvements
One of the big claims that FIFA 22 makes is that the AI has been significantly improved to be more tactically aware. What this means is that every AI player in your squad has been drilled to within an inch of their digital lives to follow the tactical instructions of an inverted wing-back or an inside forward.
In basic terms what this means is that you can expect to see your centre back sticking to their position and not going wandering in crucial online games. Although the fact that FIFA saw fit to demonstrate this by releasing footage that shows a full-back dropping 10 yards to play a striker onside is worrying.
In addition to this, the improvements to the AI have made it considerably harder to score as creating overloads is now a much trickier prospect. Goalkeepers also seem to be one position that has been inexplicably boosted with League Two ‘keepers more than capable of pulling off a string of world class saves in any given game.
More Flexible Tactical Options
FIFA has never been realistic and if you think it has been, you’re only kidding yourself. For realism you would be far better turning to Football Manager, the PC game that takes realism to the next level.
What FIFA has always excelled in is the cartoonish, fast-paced and fun action that most of us want from our console football gaming. In their wisdom though the developers have decided to ditch that in favour of more realism this time round which means a far greater tactical flexibility.
There are more nuances to team tactics, game plans and individual player roles in this latest edition of FIFA. Does that really make the game better though? Not in our opinion, especially as we all know that within weeks of its release everyone will be playing the same overpowered formation as each other.
We’ve always known that FIFA isn’t a game for the football purists and the amateur tacticians so perhaps EA Sports should have refrained from attempting to imitate a more cerebral title like FM.
(Are more in-depth custom tactics on FIFA 22 a real game changer or, will everyone just be playing a 4-2-3-1?)
Last season there were no major changes in FIFA game modes which was seen as somewhat of a disaster by the fanbase. Whilst FIFA 22 doesn’t introduce any ground-breaking new game modes it does come with a number of tweaks that are sure to please fans such as:
Ultimate Team: Unfortunately FIFA 22 still features loot box mechanics, something that shouldn’t be too surprising when you consider that EA made $4 billion in revenues from ‘Live Services and Other’ income.
Away from that gripe there have been changes made to reward players for time spent online rather than just match play. There is also an Elite division for the world’s best players and FUT Champions now features playoffs.
Career Mode: Wondering whether to rebuild Arsenal from the ground up or start out on a lower league odyssey with Stevenage? Well, what about creating your own club, customising their kit, crest and squad before going on to create their own history?
In FIFA 22 you can do just that which adds a much needed injection of fun into what has been a fairly limp career mode in recent years.
Pro Clubs: There are much more avenues of customisation in the latest edition of Pro Clubs which should go some way to getting you more invested in your player. It remains to be seen though how HyperMotion will change this game mode. Hopefully its introduction reduces the temptation of player’s to make their pros tiny speed merchants.
If you were contemplating playing eFootball instead of FIFA this year, don’t. It is a really, really bad game that makes last year’s FIFA look like one of the best games ever made.
All of which doesn’t mean that FIFA 22 is an amazing game, but it is a serious improvement on last year, albeit with some major areas of concern. Hopefully the early release bugs and glitches can be remedied fairly quickly in the first update leaving us with a more than playable title.