Straight off before I get slaughtered for calling football, soccer it is not because I am some Americanised bloke. I have been living the last six years in Kerry which is deep south Ireland and a stronghold of Gaelic Football. Down here Gaelic Football is football and everything else is a foreign sport so this has been ingrained into my psyche. Now that is out of the way let’s talk FIFA. I have been playing FIFA since the beginning. That’s right 1993’s FIFA International Soccer (see that word soccer again, redemption!) on the SEGA Megadrive. FIFA was always the top soccer game bar a few years when PES was in its golden age but FIFA endured and here we are. These days it is much more than a game, it’s part of Soccer as a whole. Players wait with bated breath to see their Ultimate Team rating, it is part of pop culture and is going nowhere anytime soon. But what about the newest incarnation FIFA 22.
All aboard the hype train, toot toot
FIFA 21 is probably the only FIFA game I didn’t buy as after playing the last few in the series I felt EA just wasn’t doing enough to keep me interested. I’m not a big FUT player or let me be honest I don’t play it at all and when reviewing FIFA 22 my 14-year-old son (who is FIFA mad) was on hand to show me the ins and outs of Ultimate Team.
In saying all that when asked about reviewing FIFA 22 I couldn’t say no. The game itself is packed with modes and options allowing you to experience every aspect of the footballing world. I jumped straight into Career Mode as a manager to try and finally win some silverware with my beloved Tottenham Hotspur. The customisation was a big bonus but somehow I made myself look like a sleazy Italian.
Anyway, the mode itself is very enjoyable, with some in-depth management and tactics, it’s not Football Manager level but it is less stressful. I really loved the negotiation meetings during the transfer window but the animations got a little stale after a while.
The moments and modes I loved
Next up was Be a Pro part of Career mode, where you roleplay as a young player either playing outfield or as the dreaded keeper. This is by far my favourite mode and in this game, it just felt better. In training, you could simulate it each week and it would register your last played attempt at the sessions and just give you that grade which was much better than getting a generic D. Like with the manager the player customisation was much better. The whole interactions with management and managing your pro itself just felt a lot better than before.
If playing a whole career is not your thing you could try Pro Club. This mode lets you join an online team with 10 other players. It is chaos as you have 10 players wanting to score or play as a forward but it’s fun nonetheless. Then there’s Volta Football that seems to be being pushed to the moon by EA. It is a street football subsection that works like the old Fifa Street titles (but isn’t at all, come on EA give us a proper FIFA Street game), the game rewards you for doing tricks and skills, the flashier the better. It’s like the good aul days of jumpers for goalposts with your mates but if your mates had an ounce of skill in the bones.
FUT mode is FUT mode and there is nothing I can really say about it as I don’t really enjoy it. I am not going to get into the ethical nonsense of buying or opening packs. Throughout my childhood and adulthood, I have done the same, whether it was panini World Cup 90/94 stickers, Pokémon or Final Fantasy Cards or even buying loot boxes for my “son” in Overwatch. If you have the money to waste then do what you like, who am I to judge. I just don’t like FUT, the layout is a mess and it is over-complicated. I am glad to see the EA online servers are much better for online matches.
FIFA 22, pass the damn ball
Now onto the gameplay which for the most is top-notch. There are new tricks and skills to get the hang of. The keepers have been turned up to 11 which is brilliant as the last few games it was like having Frank Spencer in goal. The only thing to let it down was the passing and pacing of the game. Now don’t get me wrong, I know soccer has evolved over the years and each year EA tries to show that in the gameplay.
Total football is not cool, it’s tedious and boring to watch never mind play. FIFA 22 is slow and wants you to pass it 50 times before you go for a goal. This would be okay if it wasn’t for the fact that the passing is terrible. It doesn’t matter who you want the ball to go to it has other ideas and in a game built on passing it’s totally unacceptable. As boring as some gameplay is nothing can compare to the new dynamic duo in Stewart Robinson and Derek Rae. With all the young pundits out there it baffles me where they keep digging these ex-Arsenal players up.
If you are a FIFA fan or use to be FIFA 22 is well worth the money and a must get. Who am I kidding if you are a fan you have it already.