FIFA 22 review: How the gameplay has improved significantly from FIFA 21

EA Sports' HyperMotion gameplay technology has made FIFA 22 more realistic and challenging to play than its previous version.

Mbappe in FIFA 22. (Credits EA)

The wait is finally over! FIFA 22 is here and the response has been hugely positive till now. The latest version was released earlier this month and the game has so far received a massive welcome from the fans and experts alike. Dubbed as the most realistic version of the FIFA game to be ever released, EA Sports has made a commendable job in adding multiple new features to get the fans excited about the game. FIFA – always known for its off-the-pitch features – has not disappointed its fanbase this time as well. Player growth, training, tactical set-ups, and many other features have caused a lot of excitement among fans. Not only have the extra-game options enhanced, but EA has also made the on-pitch gameplay as enticing as possible. 

It largely comes down to EA Sports’ HyperMotion gameplay technology that has made FIFA 22 more realistic and challenging to play. The most common criticism leveled at FIFA 21 was that it felt more like a pace-focused pinball game. It heavily relied on the speed of a player. A player with higher pace ratings stood a better chance of getting behind the defence. After that, the player can score himself or pass it to a teammate for a simple tap-in. It made the game extremely difficult to defend pacy players, and equally simple to score goals on the flanks during counter-attacks.

No over-reliance on pace in FIFA 22

That grave concern has been sorted out impressively in the latest version. Pace does play a part, and having pacy players in the squad can provide the team with a better chance to score a goal on the counter. However, the speed attributes are no longer the only defining criteria to create and score the goals. FIFA 22 has made the gameplay feel more lifelike, meaning users have to be patient in breaking down the opponent’s defence to create goalscoring chances.

This can come as a problem for the pace-reliant users. However, the majority of the gamers how found the new change to be a welcome sign. Even the last before version – FIFA 20 – was not purely pace-focussed. FIFA 20 needed users to break down an opposition defence using their passing abilities or through skill moves. FIFA 21 was a rare exception. Thankfully, EA has rectified its mistake in removing the overreliance on a player’s speed.

Having said that, EA has not ignored pace completely and has added a new feature to give a momentary advantage using a player’s speed. ‘Explosive Sprint’ gives players a more noticeable acceleration when the sprint button is pressed during the correct context. It helps in giving a sudden burst of pace something similar to what Lionel Messi used to do for several years in Barcelona to get away from a crowded group of defenders. But, the ‘Explosive Sprint’ only happens for a short duration when activated.

Variety to attacking tactics

Notably, EA Sports recorded a full 11 vs 11 match using tracking technology that improved the tactical AI. It also makes the flow of games, player humanisation, composed ball control, and Kinectic Air Battles among other things look pleasing on the eye. Players can be seen talking to each other on the pitch, while teammates point to certain areas as they request passes that show a better understanding of match situations.

One of the biggest and never-seen-before benefits of FIFA 22 is breaking down the attacking tactics into two sections – ‘Build Up Play’ and ‘Chance Creation’. This separation can enable players to have more control over playing styles and team behaviors. 

‘Build Up Play’ is about how the team moves the ball when they are in possession in their own half. A user can choose to slowly build the attack or try to push up as fast as possible. ‘Chance Creation’ is about how the team builds the attack in the opponent’s half. It allows the users to retain the possession in the attacking third or deploy direct runners among others. This new addition makes the game really interesting for its users to play.

Improved interceptions 

The new Tactical AI allows the defenders to operate more as a unit. The shape of the formation is maintained comparatively better than the previous versions of the game when moving across the pitch. It covers vacant spaces, marks the defending zone accordingly, and has improved the interceptions massively.

A new addition to the gameplay is called ‘Disrupt Interceptions’. It is a mix between controlling the ball and blocking. It is to disrupt the course of the pass even without retaining the ball. However, it can only be performed by user-controlled players. This feature will reward the players that have the ability to read the game and position themselves accordingly. Even the normal interceptions have improved, giving the users better chances of blocking or winning the ball while defending.

Besides, the previously existing ‘Teammate Contain’ has also seen an improvement in this version. However, FIFA 22 will have a ‘Teammate Contain Stamina’. The stamina drains while the R1/RB button is being held. When the teammate runs out of stamina, they will go back to their regular position and enter a cooldown period during which they cannot contain anymore. 

However, the few criticisms the game has received have been on the defensive side of things. CPUs teammate runners are not tracked effectively in the penalty box, often leaving them in dangerous one-on-one situations with the users’ goalkeepers. While the interceptions have improved, defending – as a unit – still remains a concern, particularly against teams that deploy more attacking tactics.

Overall, FIFA 22 has received massive praise in its early days. The latest version is undoubtedly better than FIFA 21. The gameplay has seen huge improvements. There are still a few areas where the game could be improved, but this has been one of the most exciting FIFA games to play in a long time.

Karthik Raman

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