Although not officially announced, this year’s FIFA 22 release is just as sure as death and taxes. The annual Football Festival remains a very lucrative endeavor for EA, especially with its focus on Ultimate Team game modes.
We liked FIFA 21 With strong attacking gameplay, authentic visuals, and player shapes, as well as the massive wealth of game modes to keep soccer fans of any strip busy for hours on end.
It was far from a perfect experience. The FIFA franchise has often proven to be one step forward and two steps back. FIFA 21 was no different. While its positives shine brightly, it still can’t shake the feeling of the ‘Annual Update’ (especially if I bought the Switch’s shocking Legacy Edition).
Not surprisingly, FIFA 22 needs to take effect seriously. We’re fully immersed in a new generation of consoles, and EA has a chance to make the next FIFA game the best we’ve seen for years. Here’s what we want to see in FIFA 22 plus a roundup of the rumors so far.
Cut to hunt
- What is that? A soccer simulation game with official FIFA support, released annually.
- When can I play? Probably mid to late September, barring any delays, such as FIFA 21 postponement due to COVID-19.
- What can I play on? FIFA 21 has been released on everything in the sun, so for FIFA 22 we expect it to be released on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Expect a portable outlet of some kind, too.
FIFA 22 release date
Nothing has been set in stone yet, as the game has not been officially announced. But we are expecting the usual release window from mid to late September. Although it’s like entering last year, we suspect delays due to COVID-19.
Passionate gamers will also want to look out for a variety of special editions. FIFA 21 allows fans to purchase the Ultimate and / or Champions Editions, giving early access to the game for three days.
What we would like to see
Over the past few years, EA has often settled on a “good enough” approach to FIFA. Our FIFA 21 review is testament to that. That’s not out of place for annual sporting titles, of course. However, fans are definitely looking for something more important for the new console generation.
A wider range of in-game similarity to players
In the game, FIFA players are not created equal. While the vast majority of professional players have their names in the game, only a handful of global players get full digital processing. There’s no doubt the technology is expensive, but if EA gets the approval of leagues, clubs, and their players, it’s something we’d love to see built on in the future.
However, if possible, we would like to see more players add their similarities to FIFA 22. Not just the best players, or those who happen to be the zeitgeist. Perhaps that isn’t a priority for EA (FIFA has no problems when it comes to filling EA’s coffers year after year), but picking a greater number of well-known players from more modest clubs would be a welcome addition to their fans.
Improved defensive gameplay
In FIFA 21, the attack and punch were great, and perhaps offer some of the toughest gameplay we’ve seen in that region. Unfortunately, the game’s defensive options left much to be desired. The system is more than showing its age at this point, and perhaps the complete defensive overhaul should be on FIFA 22 cards.
As we mentioned in our review, knocking off attackers was much more difficult than it should have been, with groups of defenders struggling to deal with a single attacking player. Consequently, offensive improvements greatly overshadowed the stale defense mechanisms, often resulting in lopsided matches.
Brand new engine
FIFA 17 was the first game in the series to use EA’s internal Frostbite engine. At this point, it’s a bit distant, and the frustrations players have with the game and the engine all those years are still prevalent today. However, a new console generation could come with a new engine for EA’s sporting endeavors.
according to Gfinity, EA has chosen to stick with the Frostbite Engine for FIFA 21, as well as other recent games like Need for Speed Heat, due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. This could indicate that a new engine is waiting in the wings or at least being groomed for the new console generation. Hopefully, a new EA engine will allow for an unprecedented improvement in FIFA.
Ultimate Team changes
As has been the case since the introduction of the mode, Ultimate Team has been the biggest focus of FIFA 21. The controversial and delicate process-heavy feature draws players into the attractive package-opening system. EA is no stranger to the loot box phenomenon, and this obviously won’t change in FIFA 22.
FIFA Ultimate Team has come under fire from fans for being too focused on the EA part, ignoring other modes that can be activated such as Career Mode and Pro Clubs.
Another aspect of the controversy is the perk given to players wanting to unlock their wallets on shiny new player packs. One can find success as an unpaid player if he has enough skill in the game, but for the casual FIFA player there is a stark difference in quality between teams that are bought with real money and those that are not.
FIFA 21 has taken some positive steps when it comes to Ultimate Team. Co-op functionality added to Ultimate Team in that game. However, it was related to the single player experience, which provided another area of imbalance, as single players could easily be matched with more than one player acting as their opponent.
A fully customized collaborative mode will work wonders here. FIFA 21 did not allow the use of collaboration in FUT Champions, which our review mentioned was a missed opportunity for the game. Let’s hope FIFA 22 adds this much-needed feature.