FIFA 22 Review (PS5): At Sixes and Sevens

We regularly make this point when reviewing sports titles – the iterative nature of their releases often leave fans left wanting. One of the biggest perpetrators of this has been EA Sports, so is FIFA 22 any different?

Well yes and no. The latest release in the franchise brings with it plenty of cosmetic changes, along with a few quality of life ones. The same goes for the gameplay which has been refined quite a bit and could be one of the bigger overhauls we have seen in recent years.

All of this yields a mixed gaming experience, with FIFA excelling in some areas and falling short in others, while the spectre of microtransactions and paying to play feature too.

Having chalked up several hours on the PlayStation 5, here’s our thoughts on FIFA 22 and whether it has evolved enough to warrant a purchase.

Cameos aplenty

Fire up FIFA 22 and there is a new tutorial process. Instead of putting you straight into a game, as has been the case in previous iterations, we start on the streets of Paris, where players can create their own avatar.

While there is a decent amount of customisation, it is nowhere near the breadth of options available in the Career Mode, which we found a little baffling.

One area where there is no confusion, however, is the star power that EA Sports has leveraged, with the likes of David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Anthony Joshua and Lewis Hamilton all featuring in the tutorial.

As such, it clearly takes some inspiration from The Journey mode that featured in past FIFA titles, blending cut scenes and interesting tutorial scenarios in order to freshen up the experience.

To be honest, while we appreciate the effort, it does not fully unpack the new nuances involved with the gameplay and you only truly lean how things work once you get into a game. As such, if the goal is to orientate new players on what to expect, it does not quite do the job, with quite a few holes.

An example of this is the two or three player defending and attacking scenarios, which do not match up with the actual in-match experiences. Perhaps this is simply a symptom of being a tutorial, but matches provide a steep learning curve as a result.

Give and take

Let’s focus on the actual gameplay now, and here there is some definite give and take. This as there are some elements we really like that EA Sports has introduced, such as the sprint burst mechanic which is quite useful and realistic when trying to juke past a defender.

The same goes for first touch and overall control, which are impacted by the weight and speed of pass that one delivers or receives from a team mate. As such, raking switches of play are not always gathered in full stride and passes fizzed into a target man can easily bobble out of control, all adding to a bit more realism.

While those elements are noteworthy and welcome, some are less so, such as the sprint mechanic that almost seems to level the playing field. As we noted in FIFA 19, when EA Sports tinkered with this mechanic too, speed is speed and the faster a player naturally is, the more of an advantage they should have.

In FIFA 22 this is simply not the case and a fast player who thinks they have a clean break with 10 metres between themselves and the chasing defenders can very easily be tracked back.

The same goes for reactiveness, which seem a little sluggish compared to the computer AI. While skill level and stats of a player might influence this, for most of the time we used Liverpool FC to play the game, which has players in the mid to high 80s for the most part, so surely skill level and sharpness should be high.

As such, it can lead to a frustrating experience at times, with players not reacting as intended or desired.

This mixed bag means things certainly look better on a next-gen console, but the gameplay can prove vexing. It’s therefore a step forward and a step back too.

Looking at some of the other elements added to FIFA 22, the Volta arcade where players can take part in small format games and challenges can prove fun, while the ability to create your own club may appeal to many. That said, you ultimately want to take control of the club you support over building one from the ground up.

One thing we also liked in Career Mode, which took inspiration from The Journey, is a more interactive experience for players you take on, as you get in-match targets and goals to achieve, as well as locker room interactions with other players, coaches and staff.

A rough start

We also need to make note of an oddity. While the FIFA franchise is not averse to glitches and WTF moments, something quite strange and frustrating happened in the first few days of playing the game.

Namely, in Career Mode, matches would start freezing and stuttering. The game never crashed while playing on the PS5, so there was no thought of a Cyberpunk-level broken design, but it is the first time such an anomaly was encountered while playing FIFA.

It was not only us either, with other players reporting a similar issue that seemingly did not have a fix.

As such, for a game that should be as polished as FIFA 22, especially on the PS5, this did not bode well.

In the days that have since passed, the issue has not reared its ugly head, but it is clear that some kinks may need ironing out with an update in the not too near future.

We have also seen reports of digital assets for some of the online competitive modes, such as packs in FIFA Ultimate Team, also being incorrectly assigned, which again is odd and more than a little frustrating on a game which costs R1 479 (Ultimate Edition).

Final verdict

FIFA 22 finds itself in an unusual position. The improvements from a visual perspective are welcome, and in many instances quite impressive when you play the title on a next-gen console, but they ultimately paper over cracks in terms of the gameplay and try to distract from the fact that FUT is designed to take as much money as possible.

As such, while strides have been made in several departments, there are still shortcoming to FIFA 22, with some important aspects failing to be addressed.

It’s not a case of more of the same, as was the deal with last year’s game, but there are now a new set of issues that need to be tackled.

Given the poor reception that Konami’s eFootball 2022 has received since launch, EA Sports still holds the footballing crown, but it is an uneasy rule.


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