It is that time of year again, the footballing season is in full swing and we now have another FIFA to sink our teeth into. Much like many annual games, the changes and improvements are often minute, incremental changes. The changes should improve things like quality of life, adding a few new features too. With FIFA you also get the annual squad and kit updates too.
FIFA 23 may not feel as much of a visual step as FIFA 22, largely because the release of the next gen consoles last time out done a lot of the heavy lifting, but there are still some very important improvements to the gameplay, and how FIFA 23 feels.
One of the most important things about any game is how it feels to play. Fortunately, for now at least, FIFA 23 is a much nicer game to play than previous iterations. It is slower, more concise, less reliant on things like pace and counter attacks. In FIFA 23, you can build up the play slowly from the back, in a way you simply couldn’t in FIFA 22.
Tall players finally feel usable again too, which is a huge plus. FIFA 22 in particular, felt like if a player was over 6 foot tall, they were redundant. Things like hold up play and heading have also become much more viable this time around, largely thanks to the introduction of HyperMotion2 Technology – the technology EA is using to try and emulate the way players move as accurately as possible.
Where the game excels with it’s gameplay, for some reason it really struggles with the simple things like UI and menus. FIFA 23’s menus are the slowest we have experienced in a game in quite some time. Since moving over to next-gen slow menus were supposed to be a thing of the past, but not in FIFA 23.
It wouldn’t be so egregious if you didn’t have to use them so much, but everytime you play a game you have multiple objectives to claim, all needing to be selected individually.
It’s these small quality of life issues that are really frustrating in FIFA 23, mainly because they have existed in the game for years, and haven’t changed.
That sort of perfectly sums up FIFA 23 and their approach to any game mode that isn’t Ultimate Team. Career Mode, Volta and Pro Clubs, have all had issues in recent years that need fixing but are often overlooked. Career mode is shallow, something that can’t be fixed by putting a real face manager on the touch line, Pro Clubs’ ceiling comes too quickly and the upgrade path is limited, while Volta’s best mode (the party style games) is only available on weekends.
The ladies club sides being introduced are a nice edition, and a long time coming really. It will be exciting to see what EA does with the World Cup Content coming next year. Eventually it will be nice to see even more ladies leagues in the game, with their own Manager Mode, Player Career as well as introduced into other game modes. It is strange you can play as women in Pro Clubs and Volta alongside men, but not in any other game mode.
The focus of every FIFA game is Ultimate Team, and it is once again as prevalent as ever in FIFA 23. The game mode introduced “Moments” and it is a welcome addition, allowing players to hop in for very short bursts of play, to just pick off some challenges and earn rewards. The moments follow a theme, or a player. You will play different scenarios related to the “Moment” earning rewards along the way. The first player to feature was FIFA 23 Cover Star Kylian Mbappé, and there will be many more along the way.
Other than this, Ultimate Team is largely the same beast it always has been. It is fuelled by loot boxes and microtransactions, with that overwhelming feeling of “just one more” always looming over you. It once again feels like Ultimate Team is the sole focus, preventing the other game modes from being great.
However, the gameplay this year does feel genuinely fantastic, maybe the best in quite some time, with nice new animations, and a heavy, well-paced feel to the game. It is still not perfect, but the changes made are certainly for the better. The new freekicks take a bit of getting used to. Yet,they’re definitely a step up, while penalties are considerably better than they have been in previous years.
Yet, the best thing introduced in FIFA 23 is the new Power Shot. It is a bit arcadey, but it’s so fun. The moment you line it up, you can see the opposition scrambling to get in the way. If it’s done right you’re guaranteed an absolute scorcher of a shot.
NOW READ: How to skip songs in FIFA 23.
Despite some of the regular issues that come with a new FIFA title, FIFA 23 has some fresh ideas. The gameplay feels to have been given more attention than in previous years, even goalkeepers feel better than before. Sadly though, all the while Ultimate Team maintains its popularity, other game modes will continue to be left behind. As it stands, they still only receive marginal updates, with little substance.
Developer: EA Vancouver
Publisher: Electronic Arts Inc.
Available on: PlayStation 5 [reviewed on], PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: September 30, 2022
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