With the end in sight for FIFA 21, our expectation is high for FIFA 22 as it will be the first optimised for next-gen consoles.
There are adjustments to the gameplay that we feel must be made to make the game better than this year, but what are they?
Life is about balance
It is very easy to say “the game should be perfectly balanced” - but what does that actually mean?
FIFA 21 has been extremely high-scoring; I think we can all attest to that having been involved in some 7-all end-to-end goal fests.
The regularity and ease of scoring goals highlight the discrepancy between attack and defence, but some would argue that is what the fans want.
Football is not just about scoring goals though, so when it is so high scoring it becomes a lot less meaningful and altogether less satisfying experience.
This translates into FIFA too, and after the seventh time your opponent equalises, you begin questioning what it’s all for.
There are also only two positions that matter now in FUT 21. Strikers and full-backs.
With such reliance on pace (and skill moves) the useable player pool has become so limited in competitive game modes that fans are crying out for more Live FUT Friendly objectives.
So, back to the question.
We want to see FIFA 22 offer something for everyone no matter your playstyle and which players you choose, but how do EA go about achieving this?
Cut it out
One of the game’s biggest issues this season has been the overuse and over-effectiveness of through balls.
Scottish FIFA pro Marc "MarcMarleyyy" Marley explained one of the problems surrounding the effectiveness of through balls in his advanced defending tips.
When discussing why pacey full-backs are now preferred to proper centre-backs, he said “They [full-backs] will usually have more agility than out-and-out centre backs, but pace this year [is the most important attribute] because the through balls are ridiculous and you'll get destroyed if you don't have pace at the back.”
The meta in FIFA 21 has seen full-backs deployed at centre-back in an effort to prevent being sliced open consistently.
This simply must change. FIFA 22 cannot allow the majority of centre-backs to become redundant.
AI defenders must become more adept at either intercepting these through balls or tracking the player making the run.
Again, through balls should still be useful as an attacking weapon, but there needs to be that balance between the attacker and defender.
Anyone who has played FIFA 21 this year will know how crucial pace has become.
It is everywhere. Full-backs playing centre-back, strikers playing in midfield - if you aren’t rapid, you aren’t playing.
There are footballers who don’t possess lightning pace though, ever heard of Xavi or Andres Iniesta?
Spanish football dominated around a decade ago and boasted arguably the best midfield three of all time, all without any real pace.
The same goes for Real Madrid’s current trio - Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro - who would walk into almost any team in the world but can’t get a look in on FIFA 21.
FIFA 21 is something of an anomaly in the production line though as we have seen midfield dominance in the past.
Too often though the current game bypasses the midfield completely rendering possession almost futile in a world of fast-paced counterattacks.
I have said this before and I will say it again, skill moves should be given full rating status rather than just out of five stars.
Why are they so limited? Why are they so regimented in their performance?
Give Dan Burn (2-star skill moves) a football and he will pull off every trick in the book, so why is it impossible for him to do a rainbow flick which I have seen pre-teens pull off?
The skill move ratings should not decide what skills each player can pull off, but rather how often the trick is effective.
Yes, our boy Burn can do a rainbow flick, but 9/10 in a match situation is he going to nail it? We would love to see it happen, but truthfully the answer is no.
Brighton and Burn aside, the point is that the current measure for skill moves is very limited and consistently successful too often.
These sorts of tricks are a rarity in real life and a joy to see performed successfully, and so they should be in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team.
Time for change
Pace is a key weapon in real life and in FIFA and always will be, so we are not saying that it should not play a part.
A free-flowing counterattack can be a joy to behold, but if there is one thing we have learned from Santiago Munez and the ‘Goal’ films it is that the ball moves faster than you.
Passing is the quickest way from A to B, so I don’t want to see anyone chain-moving skills from kick-off in FIFA 22!
There must be a place for all sorts of playing styles, from Toni Kroos to N’Golo Kante in midfield to Robert Lewandowski and Kylian Mbappe up top.
We MUST also see centre-backs return to the fold after a year out as it really is getting silly seeing 5’7” Jordi Alba dominating in central defence.
Aerial mismatches must be rewarded/penalised in situations like this to deter any further shenanigans.
We do have high hopes for FIFA 22 and there will certainly be a meta style of play, all we ask is for a better balance between attack and defence.