21 Sep 2021 5:50 PM +00:00

FIFA 22 Review in Progress: Gameplay leads significant step in the right direction

It's that time of the year again - FIFA 22 is rolling around.

You may be umming and ahhing whether to shell out this year, with the PS5 & Xbox Series X version costing £70 / $70 this year.

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Following our First Impressions, the jury is still out - so after a few more hours diving into EA's latest release, we can make a more balanced judgment.

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Gameplay

The fundamentals of any FIFA title - and you can clearly this is where EA has spent most of its time this year.

The component you will notice straight off the bat is players moving more intelligently, whether that is with forward runs or moving into open spaces on the pitch.

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+ 5
A STRIKER'S GAME - It may be a few weeks before EA finds the balance between attack and defence

This stops the game from being an endless basketball match of back and forth, or against a low block, actually gives you a chance of unlocking the defence, aided by the new more TV-like camera angle.

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As much as attacking has improved, the adjustments made to the defence cannot really be seen.

Yes it looks nice with your defenders defending "as a unit", but this actually makes them bizarrely most susceptible to being cut open with a through ball.

What's even more frustrating, they seem to lose their markers in the box far too often, meaning that tap-ins and sweaty goals could well and truly be back on the menu this year.

That said, EA is renowned for nerfing out these issues with patches - and if it does so quickly, then we could really have a top, top game on our hands.

Ultimate Team

This is where most players will spend their time, with Ultimate Team EA's flagship mode across FIFA, Madden, and NHL.

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WAIT AND SEE - FUT 22 hangs on its changes to Division Rivals and FUT Champions

Given online play is so limited in the time we've spent with the game so far, we can't make too many judgements about the new Division Rivals and FUT Champions structure.

As for the offline content, it's as you were last year with Season objectives giving you something to work for and Squad battles letting you pick up easy XP without battling online.

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Career Mode

We struggled to put the controller down after using the new Create a Club mode.

Whether you want to create a new super club or work your way up from the bottom of the football pyramid (this by far the better option), whichever save you create will be bespoke to you - and a lot of fun.

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CUSTOMISATION STATION - Kits are on offer from Adidas, Nike and Hummel

From the starting transfer budget, to the make-up of your squad, to the look and sound of your stadium - you can do it all thanks to Create a Club in Career Mode.

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Perhaps EA can go further with a £1 million starting transfer budget the lowest you can have is approximately £1 million more than League Two side Barrow spent this summer.

Even when selecting the lowest standard of squad, the board still somehow expect £12 million profit in sales within the next two seasons, when League Two's Oldham recorded a net loss of £80,000 last year.

Those could be corrected in time, and still doesn't take away from how enjoyable this mode will be, whether you take your club all the way to the top - or plot your own managerial journey to move onto bigger clubs in the coming seasons.

Volta

The arrival of Signature Abilities and the Skill Bar will be welcomed by the FIFA community in Volta, who really just want FIFA Street back in their hands.

That said, the removal of last year's Volta Story is a shame, and has only been replaced by a short story when you open up FIFA 22.

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LEVELLING UP - Volta continues to move in the right direction

Other than that Volta is much the same in its make-up as last year, mimicking Ultimate Team with a "Squads" and "Rivals" mode, where ranking up can get you greater gear for your squad.

There's still a sense that the mode is missing something, as EA look to grasp the younger generation.

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Anything else?

We haven't moved onto Pro Clubs as of yet, given the lack of online play, but expect that to feature in our full review.

It must be said, the overall "look" of the game with the menus is simply stunning, having the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Heung-min Son, Phil Foden, and Sam Kerr appear and run off your screen is a nice touch.

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+ 5
SHARP LOOK - The new menus will immediately grab players' attentions

Haptic Feedback with the PS5 controller works really well, especially when feeling the roar of your supports when you score, although the vibration of the full-time whistle may just be overkill.

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Stewart Robson is Derek Rae's new partner in the commentary box, and as much as it is nice to hear a new voice, Robson may need a couple more years in the hot seat as his lines sound much more scripted.

FIFA 22 is a very strong game, and one fitting for Next Gen consoles.

Whether it is enough to encourage players to come back once again, or to even upgrade to PS5 or Xbox Series X, is still not crystal clear.

We reviewed FIFA 22 on PS5. FIFA 22 will be available on PS4, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC and Stadia from Friday, 1 October 2021. A Legacy Edition will also arrive on Nintendo Switch.