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FIFA 22 review: A giant leap for realism, but some things never change

FIFA 22 is out in the world today, and it’s time to share our thoughts.

Read our FIFA 22 review.
4.0 out of 5 star rating

It’s autumn again, which means a certain number of inevitable things are happening, same as they do every year – the days are getting shorter, the leaves are starting to fall, and EA Sports is releasing a brand-new FIFA game.

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The FIFA 22 release date is today, and that makes it the perfect day to unleash our full thoughts on the game in our FIFA 22 review. Having tried out all the game modes over the last week or so, we certainly have some opinions here at RadioTimes.com.

A new FIFA game every year always comes with a sense of inevitability, and for some players, it also comes with a healthy dose of scepticism. How much better can the game really be, when it’s only had 365-ish days of development since the last one dropped?

This year, EA Sports conducted a thorough marketing campaign to try and tell fans that FIFA 22 really will be different, with big changes including the fancy-sounding addition of HyperMotion technology. But how well does the new game hold up? Read on to find out.

The good news is this: FIFA 22 gameplay does look and feel better than ever before. We were playing the next-gen version on Xbox Series X, which comes with all the bells and whistles of HyperMotion technology.

The PS5 version also comes with HyperMotion, but it’s worth noting that players on PC, PS4 and Xbox One will not receive this upgrade. (The Nintendo Switch version, by the way, is the same game as last year but with updated players.)

HyperMotion technology was made using motion-capture footage of real players, which is fed through a snazzy algorithm to make player movements and behaviours in the game look more real than ever before. And as long you’re playing on a platform that supports this upgrade, you really will see the benefits.

The last few FIFA games have felt pretty similar to one another, but HyperMotion means that FIFA 22 feels very different – each moment and every match feels different, and you’re less likely to feel like you’re just going through the motions to get the easy goals. Sometimes, your usual tactics won’t work. Sometimes, goalkeepers will be properly different to overcome. And sometimes, mistakes will happen, just like they do in actual football.

FIFA 22 gameplay feels much more real.
FIFA 22 gameplay feels much more real.

EA has also taken the opportunity to upgrade the ball physics, which has a similar effect – thanks to these changes, this feels like a different experience to its predecessors in the franchise, meaning that FIFA 22 is the first game in this series in quite a while to feel like a major upgrade.

FIFA 22 is a giant leap for realism in the franchise, too, with the graphics being more detailed than ever – tiny details such as players’ hair have never looked this real. If you get the game up on a 4K screen, you’ll really be blown away.

That being said, we did a run into a few small glitches – a couple of moments here and there where players’ heads momentarily went blocky, almost like the game was struggling to process all the information at hand. For the most part, though, it looks and feels sublime to play.

So the gameplay experience is great within matches, but how is the experience in each of FIFA 22’s individual modes? To be honest, it’s harder to spot the improvements when you’re not on the pitch. And that does feel like something of missed opportunity.

Read more on FIFA:

FIFA 22 graphics are better than before.
FIFA 22 graphics are better than before.
EA Sports

It’s still fun to chip away at Career Mode as you try to buy FIFA 22’s best young players and work your way towards world domination, but the menus and user interfaces in this mode have barely changed since last time. There are tiny upgrades – in a player career, for example, you’re now able to come off the bench – but nothing particularly game-changing. Pro Clubs, similarly, feels largely unchanged.

The Volta street football mode has a few new tricks up its sleeve, including a new Arcade mode that lets you play against your pals in some sillier spins on soccer – there’s dodgeball, football tennis, wall ball and more, but sadly no foot golf. And there’s no Volta story mode or equivalent to The Journey this time, even though FIFA 22 opens with a lengthy cut-scene about creating your own player (watch out for the superstar cameos there).

FIFA Ultimate Team has had a few upgrades – Hero cards are a new feature, and they will pay tribute to real-life football moments that fans remember fondly. There’s not really anything here that will change your mind if you’re not a FUT fan already, though – it’s still a mode where you’ll need to grind for quite some time, or spend a lot of money on packs, if you want to keep up with the best players.

This being FIFA, fans can also expect the usual audio changeups: the FIFA 22 soundtrack boasts a new selection of catchy tunes, and the commentary team welcomes two new voices in Alex Scott and Stewart Robinson. Scott is particularly welcome, being the first female pundit to ever grace a FIFA game.

In some regards, then, FIFA 22 is a giant leap forward. In other ways, though, it’s more of the same. Maybe next year they’ll get around to giving the game modes a much-needed overhaul – with eFootball and UFL both aiming to disrupt the football simulator industry, EA might want to think about some more wide-reaching changes next time. Until then, we’ll mainly find our enjoyment on the pitch itself, thanks to those beefed up visuals and the vastly increased realism.

FIFA 22 is out now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC and Nintendo Switch. We reviewed the game on Xbox Series X.

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