It has built a tradition over decades when it comes to Electronic Arts' FIFA Soccer Video Game Series: Roster Update Or Better Game? To buy or not? Even die-hard fans found it increasingly difficult to answer these questions for themselves. This year, that will change: FIFA 22 is actually a noticeable further development of the series - and could at the same time herald a change in the series, even the whole brand. FIFA 22 is without a doubt the better game - if you play it on Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X | S, at least. 


Even fans of the FIFA series have repeatedly faced the difficult decision of whether around 60 euros are reasonable for what is on offer. The developers at EA Vancouver and EA Romania have apparently had an understanding for this year: It seems as if they actually wanted to offer the players something, wanted to reveal a football simulation to them that should actually be understood as a further development. At the same time, however, it also seems as if they wanted to completely ignore PC gamers in the process. Ironically, the theoretically most powerful platform has to do without the technically most impressive and new feature: Hypermotion technology. It is only available for Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 5 and Google Stadia. Good for those who already own one of the next-gen consoles or have embarked on the Google Stadia experiment. Bad for those who want to play next-gen football on their upgraded gaming PC though - it can be done, but in the case of FIFA 22 it's only half the fun.  

Hypermotion: "Smooth, just like a silk"

Shaggy hits with a lyric line what Hypermotion technology means for the animations in FIFA 22: "Smooth, just like a silk". The developers have put together thousands of bits of football animation for the new offshoot of the FIFA series and laid them over the virtual kickers to give them more realism. "Hypermotion" is the biggest innovation of the series and at the same time its biggest advance in recent years. The technology is having a noticeable effect, changing a lot. Gameplay feels significantly smoother - gone are the days of dull woodchopping moves on the green turf. 22 soccer players had themselves filmed playing a real game – dressed in special suits that the developers could use to record the finest movements. 

FIFA 22 test

Hypermotion ensures great movements - and great dogfights for the ball on the next-gen consoles. Source: EA

The actually small, but thoroughly innovative measure - motion capturing was already there before - has a major impact on what is happening: the teams actually act as a team, move more realistically as a group. And the individual players also appear more human thanks to Hypermotion: They gesticulate on the field, go clever ways in the free space, behave as motivated soccer millionaires should behave. The new animation technology improves directly on two of the most important levels of FIFA 22 - graphically on the one hand and gameplay on the other. The duels are more dynamic, but also more important at the same time. Simply sprinting past the opponents works, FIFA remains a fast game, but it's no longer just about the speed. Rather, a combination of timing and dose comes to the fore. You run free, receive the pass and start running at the right moment to leave your opponent behind. The way to the gate is free.

Then there is only one player who could thwart the goal - and he of all people has learned a lot: the goalkeepers at FIFA 22 are reliable goalkeepers, they hold a lot. Only when shots from a distance do the virtual goalkeepers often fail. The gap between the insurmountable wall and the flycatcher is huge. From the middle distance and when controlling the penalty area, the goalkeepers seem almost overpowering; but if you hit them with seemingly harmless long-range shots, the AI ​​sometimes fails completely. Overall, however, there are far fewer goals in FIFA 22 than in its predecessors. This ultimately leads to more realistic game results. And that in turn means that the new football offshoot gains in authenticity. The keepers are still a case for patches, the developers will certainly readjust, probably several times. 

Tika-taka!

Fine tuning is also required for the finesse shots just before the sixteenth. They are also overpowering or far too effective in their own way. The truncated art shots push the ball into the net too often. That, in turn, is not quite as realistic. When players with mediocre football backs score sleek goals of the month à la Messi and Co. on the assembly line, then realism suffers. Here, too, the following applies: This is likely to be defused, probably also several times. What the mediocre kicker can show in magic with his long-range shots is missing in midfield: The dribbling is tough, only fast players benefit. And ball losses are announced if you hold the pill too long. Tiki-taka football is often the key to success. Short and smart passes and a high percentage of ball possession are a promising strategy in FIFA 22. It's like in real life: It can be terribly efficient to push the ball back and forth to stalk the opponent's goal or the one Waiting for a fatal pass into the free space, but it can also be terribly lengthy. 

FIFA 22 test

The atmosphere in FIFA 22 is more intense thanks to minor improvements. Source: EA

At the same time, this shows a further development of the football simulation factor: just running through or playing out entire lines of defense with a nice trick, it no longer works that easy. Especially not because improvements have been made to the stamina of the kickers. The game no longer automatically feels from minute 70, like a final game in extra time. The dynamic can be maintained towards the rear, which is good and an advantage compared to FIFA 21.

And something else is obviously better: the atmosphere on and off the pitch. This is particularly noticeable in connection with the career mode. New cutscenes, cool goal celebrations, analysis and statistics at the end of the game - all areas have received attention from the developers. The commentators rattle off their impressions accurately, but one cannot say of the interviewees: it continues to seem irrelevant and repetitive. So there is still room for improvement in FIFA 22. Nevertheless, the career mode in particular is a real leap compared to what was offered in the predecessors. With the possibility of creating your own club, the mode also gains in importance. Even if the available options are rather poor. In the end, your own club is a kind of "almost your own club", because fans have to do without some freedom of choice. Unfortunately, the developers are not exploiting the potential of this idea: after all, many football fans would have been given the opportunity to bring their village club to the screen. Instead, your own club is a strange addition to the already extensive team selections. 

FIFA 22 test

Goal celebrations - there are fewer hits, but sometimes strange ones. Source: EA

The playing career scores more. Ultimately, the FIFA 22 progression system is another big and great improvement on the series. You play your way to the top from a nobody - of course, that has always been the case. But the trappings are much better. You fine-tune your relationship with the manager, avoiding negative consequences at best; you work on the goals and gain experience in training. Skill points make the player better in terms of sport, regularly you can unlock perks and equip three of them at the same time. When it comes to a player's career, you now have the feeling that you can actually adapt a player to your personal taste. 

What else you can do with FIFA 22 is actually known: among other things, play the monetary squeeze lemon “Ultimate Team” – which you can once again have fun as an online mode – or use the arcade-heavy Volta mode. It's still great and should stay in the future. 

Infobox

Number of players: single player, multiplayer
Age: from 12 years
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: low
Genre: Sports Games
Sub-genre: soccer simulation

Developer: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2021
Platforms (Test system): PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X| S, Nintendo Switch (Legacy Edition)
Language: German
Costs: from 59,99 euros 

 

Summary

FIFA 22 means improvement on many levels: visually the game takes a leap, the quality of the animations is terrific thanks to the new Hypermotion technology, and the gameplay is smoother. Hypermotion is real progress, even if not all player movements look perfect. Here and there there are dropouts, sometimes unrealistic moves. It doesn't matter: what happens on the pitch has more to do with football than it has in the FIFA series in recent years. 

It also gets challenging: The goalkeepers are often invincible, but in some situations they are still stupid enough to conjure up one or the other strange own goal. Overall, the AI ​​convinces, but sometimes it also fails. Playing online is fun, as is playing with friends via Pro Club. And those who play alone are particularly happy about the player career, which is much more motivating thanks to adjustments. FIFA 22 is more than the usual squad update, but at the same time also offers starting points for necessary improvements in detail. In particular, the developers could give a little more love to the career mode in the future, because it's still a problem. Speaking of the future: it is uncertain with "EA football". Will there be a FIFA 23 under this name? Nobody knows, the license dispute between Electronic Arts and the "Fédération Internationale de Football Association" could ensure that the current part forms a kind of conclusion - at least as far as the naming is concerned. After decades of tradition, this seems almost impossible, but with license costs of around one billion US dollars, according to media reports, which EA is supposed to transfer to FIFA, the publisher at least has a weighty argument for a new start. 


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Last updated on 26.01.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API