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PC | PlayStation 4 | PlayStation 5 | Xbox One | Xbox Series X
Genre: Sport
Developer: Electronic Arts Official Site: https://www.ea.com/games/fif...
Publisher: Electronic Arts Classification: PG
Release Date:
1st October 2021
FIFA 22 Review
Review By @ 05:00pm 27/09/21
FIFA 22 is a significant step forward for the series. EA’s delivered welcome changes across most of the game’s modes in one way or another. That, combined with the introduction of HyperMotion tech for next-gen consoles, makes this year’s entry one of the most authentic, enjoyable football sims in years.

With over 4000 new animations added to the game, FIFA feels seriously different thanks to the aforementioned new technology. And it’s safe to say that’s for the better -- janky animations are few and far between in matches, with realistic reactions from players looking more the part than ever before. As someone who’s watched a lot of football over the years, it’s nice to see natural reactions finally achievable in the game. It’s a significant step up from the days of the ‘Ignite Engine’, and I’m hopeful this is just the beginning for the technology.

HyperMotion isn’t included in last-gen versions of FIFA 22, so those with a PlayStation 4, Xbox One or even a PC will still be stuck with the older gameplay technology. It’s a bummer (especially on PC) because the game plays significantly different across systems now.

With that said, FIFA 22 encourages incisive build-up play. The game actively rewards players who apply patience to their craft rather than executing classic Burnley ‘hit and hope’ tactics. Combined with the new animation work, linking a few passes together to score a beautiful goal feels (and looks) fantastic.

"Frustratingly, the creation suite does have its limitations … the lack of sponsor options takes away from the immersion...”

My favourite mode in the series, Career Mode, finally gets its due in FIFA 22. Create a Club is the big new addition for Career Mode vets who want to inject a bit more personality into the mode. The creation suite is generally quite good, too, allowing you to pick from a decent amount of kit designs, colouring options and crests for your new team.

Frustratingly, the creation suite does have its limitations. You can’t add any sponsor designs on created kits (potentially due to legal reasons), making them look more Sunday League than Premier League. You still get the official league badges on the side of the jerseys, but the lack of sponsor options takes away from the immersion.

The biggest crutch in the creation process, however, is that kit numbers don’t follow league designs, making them look seriously out of place. I’d have hoped we’d have options to go all-in on designing and customising kit designs, but it seems the developers are taking baby steps rather than giant leaps for the mode. I do feel this is a solid foundation to work from, though, with more improvements to (hopefully) come in future entries.

Even so, the stadium editor is a particular highlight. This has evidently taken cues from Ultimate Team’s FUT Stadium, allowing you customise the colours of stands, seats and banners across the stadium. You can also customise music that’s played for the team walk out, goal celebration music and crowd chants. I particularly liked being able to make it feel like the stadium was my own design – down to the way the grass was designed and the colour of the lines on the pitch.

Related: From the Coach’s Mouth -- FIFA 22 Developer Interview

Players in your created club are randomly generated, with age and overall dependant on how you pick your squad. You can fill the team with youth, experienced players or a bit of both – it’s entirely up to you. You can also set board expectations of the club, whether that’s being a high-spending franchise or a club focused on producing world class players. Players will then automatically generate and you’re good to enter the regular season. It’s worth highlighting the club’s stadium can be customised at any point throughout the season, whereas the kit can only be changed at the start of a new season.

This all comes together to form one of the best Career Mode experiences FIFA’s ever had. It’s an absolute joy to fully tap into a creative journey that feels more personal than ever, and while there are notable limitations in some respects, I hope that this is a start for the mode. It’s brilliant.

Player career has seen some change, too. It’s more of a lite sports RPG, following the skill system that’s in Volta and introducing player levels. You now have three main objectives to accomplish in each match, whether that’s achieving a match rating of 7.5 or over, scoring a certain number of goals or completing a particular number of successful dribbles. There’s an option to ‘expand’ an objective in each match, pushing out the requirement a bit further but giving your player a big XP boost in the process for achieving it.

"You can elect to put points into pace and crossing, for example, which will help develop your player...”

Influence and XP is a big part of the player-career in FIFA 22. Managers now have expectations that must be met, and you earn their favour by completing objectives outlined in each match. Completing these will allow you to break into the team as a sub or a first XI player, with any contributions on the pitch netting you XP that’ll allow you to level up.

Levelling up gives you skill points to use in the skill tree. There are a variety of different types of attributes you can pour points into, with each focused on a certain aspect of a player’s game. You can elect to put points into pace and crossing, for example, which will help develop your player into becoming a proficient winger.

Archetypes and perks come naturally through skill point allocation. Archetypes are the culmination of a skill set and will give a big boost to certain attributes when unlocked, whereas perks are unlocked as you level up. These give you certain bonuses and advantages on the pitch when activated, like better finesse ability and long shot technique.

Player career has been in dire need of change for some time, and these new additions make it feel meaningful again. Much like the Create a Club mode in Career Mode, I hope to see more work done in this space in future entries – it’s been really refreshing to properly enjoy this side of Career Mode again.

"Signature abilities are added in this year, with each having a notable impact on the game in some shape or form...”

Volta Football’s renewed focus on an arcade-style experience is both a blessing and a curse in FIFA 22. Signature abilities are added in this year, with each having a notable impact on the game in some shape or form. These abilities can be called upon throughout a match, though they have a cooldown timer so it’s always worth considering when and where to use them.

A skill meter has been included this year, too, allowing you to score more than one point when netting a goal. The skill meter fills up as you make use of skill moves to outdo your opponent, with the gauge allowing you to score up to three points at a time if you’re skilful enough to pull it off.

Even with these additions, it seems as if the developers have left Volta to do its own thing, not actively innovating or reinventing the mode. And while that’s fine, every time I play Volta I can’t help but feel like the mode has so much more to give.

Ultimate Team keeps marching on, unsurprisingly, bringing a handful of new improvements to the experience. Division Rivals has been slightly altered to reward play, whether you win or lose, while new stadium options have been introduced for those wanting to tinker with how their VIP suite looks. Drop in, drop out co-op has been added to FUT, though you’re forced into using pre-made squads as opposed to your own FUT teams, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Finally, FUT Champions, the ultra-competitive mode in FUT, has seen a bit of a refresh. Games are now split into Play-Offs and Finals, with entry to the tournament now granted by earning enough Championship points in Division Rivals.

FUT will always be FIFA’s most popular mode, but it’s not something I’ve ever been that keen on. The new additions are great for those wanting to compete at the top level, but until the game’s predatory microtransactions take a backseat it’ll never be something I’d like to actively involve myself in. As always, steer clear if you want a more balanced game mode to play.

Although it has its shortcomings, I’ve been really impressed with FIFA 22. EA has delivered one of the most in-depth career modes to date, and the new additions across the game’s other modes are most welcome. I do hope to see more iteration across the board, but the gameplay this year feels top notch. It’s a huge step forward for the series, and a proper showcase of what the new consoles are capable of.
What we liked
  • HyperMotion is great
  • A well-realised Career Mode
  • Gameplay is changed for the better
  • Volta is still fun, even if it’s insignificant compared to the rest of the modes on offer
What we didn't like
  • Predatory tactics in FUT, as per
  • Volta’s lack of notable additions has it falling behind the pack
We gave it:
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