FIFA 22 Review (PS5) | Push Square

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The biggest compliment you can give FIFA 22 is that it looks like real football for once. EA Sports’ soccer simulator always has its fair share of quirks, but at launch the developer did a remarkable job improving ball physics and player positioning for a much more authentic experience. Add in all the new animations, powered by HyperMotion technology, along with the complete rewrite of how goalkeepers work, and you end up with a breath of fresh air for this legendary soccer franchise.

Rather than focusing on skill moves and dribbling, you will now have to work the ball if you intend to open the defenses. Crossing is a much more viable offensive tactic thanks to changes to aerial balls, while Paul Scholes-style wide cuts allow you to change play effectively, meaning you can use the full width of the pitch to take out defenders. . From post. The rear lines are compact and – dare I say it – smart, working as a unit to maintain their shape.

All of this means that goals, at least on higher difficulties, are more difficult to achieve, resulting in much more tense encounters. Scoring just one goal against Manchester City feels like it means something, as it gives you a lead to hold onto, especially if you’re playing with a weaker side in the Premier League. Likewise, it can be difficult to break through stubborn defenses in a low block like Burnley, but it makes it all the more satisfying when the ball hits the back of the net.

In fact, EA Sports have added dozens of subtle things to make the act of scoring more rewarding: The physics of the net have been redone to make the bulge of the net more realistic when you hit the goalie, and the editor has even reworked the DualSense haptic feedback to give you a more tactile feel in your hands. There’s also a ton of new celebration sequences that trigger when you score a last-ditch winner in stoppage time.

It’s still a video game, so collision detection issues and general animation issues like warping still occur, but most of the animation added via the heavily advertised HyperMotion technology helps add immersion. We also have plenty of time for the new running animations on the ball, which use machine learning to help adjust player strides contextually in real time. It’s a minor thing, but it adds to the responsiveness when players approach the ball correctly.

Of course, there is always concern that the fixes will ultimately upset the balance – or that exploits may be discovered. While playing online we’ve done a lot more turns than it looks realistic, and the timed shot buff could result in too many unstoppable curlers in the top corner, but we’re just going to have to trust EA Sports to look at the data and make the necessary adjustments. Even with these minor issues, the gameplay is still a big step up from FIFA 21.

Even goalkeepers, with a new range of animations and rewritten systems, are acting a lot smarter. They are less likely to be beaten at the near post and seem to react much more intelligently to loose balls thrown towards the edge of the box. There will always be a debate about scripts, but in general we’ve found the balance to be pretty good: we get punished when we make mistakes, not when the game decides it’s time for us to lose.

Of course, all of these gameplay tweaks are great, but FIFA 22 would be a tough sell without improvements outside of them. Thankfully, the flagship single-player career mode has been redesigned, especially if you’re looking to start your own club or join a team like a pro. While the nuts and bolts remain the same – all menus have been reused since last year – the ability to start your own team and set expectations for them is fun.

We are currently in charge of a small team that we have created in the West Midlands, which is looking to avoid relegation from the Premier League. With a tiny transfer budget, we were forced to promote the kids in our academy and hope for the best. You can define the profile of the players of your starting team and even design your stadium. Having so much control over your team helps you develop an attachment to them, which makes you feel from top to bottom on the pitch.

There is still so much more that EA Sports could do to add depth here, however. In real life, for example, Manchester United recently hired a set pieces coach – but you have virtually no control over your staff in FIFA 22. When competitive sports series like NBA 2K22 let you dig so deeply into everyday life. day of your team that you can even hire sports psychologists and sleep specialists to help improve the performance of your gaming staff, there are clearly loads that could be incorporated here.

This year the focus seems to be on player careers, which has improved significantly. The simple addition of substitutions means that you can now split into teams or put yourself on the bench if you are not performing at the level expected by your manager. You’ll get dynamic goals for each match and have to impress every time you step onto the pitch if you want to progress and make your way through the starting lineup. This is a huge improvement over the barebone offering of previous years.

Outside of Career mode, street football spin-off Volta Football has also been revamped to adopt a more arcade game and shooting experience. Walk-in multiplayer isn’t just encouraged, it’s app-limiting – and new scoring mechanics reward you for playing with flair to multiply the number of goals you score. There are a bunch of new soccer-themed mini-games for you to play, all of which come with a reward system that lets you unlock cosmetics for your avatar.

While there is definitely fun to be had here, it feels like EA Sports is only scratching the surface. Of course, the MyPlayer mode in NBA 2K22 has its fair share of issues, the way 2K Sports unifies street basketball with professional basketball and gives you a plethora of activities to do both offline and online. line is unprecedented, and it’s something we can see bordering on EA Sports. towards one day – but there is still a long way to go.

This is probably because FIFA Ultimate Team is the main mode these days, and it remains that way in FIFA 22. Surprisingly, it has probably undergone the fewest changes overall, with some minor UI changes being the more notable. The operation of Division Rivals has been massively restarted, which means that you will no longer bounce between divisions when you win and lose matches, but instead hit checkpoints to help you stay at an appropriate level.

We still don’t know how we feel about this change – frankly, we’ve been beaten by most opponents so far – so we’re curious to see how the balance will play out. The Weekend League has also been changed, with a preliminary qualifying round taking place all week before the FUT Champions Final takes place this weekend. As we haven’t qualified yet, we can’t say how it will all play out, but the ambition is to give the players more flexibility, which we appreciate.

Of course, microtransactions still reign supreme, as you’re completely at the mercy of EA Sports’ gacha mechanics on the players you actually get. Pull a Cristiano Ronaldo card in a pack and resell it on the transfer market could very well set you up for the rest of the year, but the odds of doing so are slim. We appreciate that it’s scarcity that ultimately determines value, but the mode feels so stingy compared to games like MLB The Show 21, where you can build a great squad for no cost.

Still, there is so much going on in FIFA 22 that it’s hard to complain too heavily, in truth. Pro Clubs offers more team customization options than in previous years, while Online Seasons returns, offering an online experience with real teams. The soundtrack is bigger and more varied than ever, with some really strong inclusions, and absolutely everything is underpinned by the excellent gameplay enhancements detailed above. We didn’t even mention the presentation either, which is excellent across the board – aside from the dismal commentary which is somehow worse than it’s ever been.

Conclusion

FIFA 22 looks like real football, and that’s good for it. Impressive improvements in player positioning, ball physics, and animations make for an extremely satisfying simulation that underpins each of the franchise’s flagship modes. Career mode doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but the ability to create a club is fun and changes to players’ careers are long overdue. Microtransactions still reign supreme in Ultimate Team, and you’ll already have your own personal opinions on it, but there’s so much going on in this year’s version that you could easily invest hundreds of hours in it without seeing. a single loot box.


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