EA Sports FIFA 22 is back to light up our soccer gaming lives over the next year. The game’s developers have become inadvertent saviors within the soccer gaming community this time out given the disastrous launch of the only other bona fide simulation around – Konami’s eFootball 2022.
Our team has been delving into FIFA 22 on the Sony PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 since its release on September 30, 2021. Read on for our now annual World Exclusive review of a game that once again does not disappoint as it takes The Beautiful Game into the latest generation of consoles.
EA Sports FIFA 22 introduces several new features that take soccer gaming to its most realistic level ever. Those tied to the title’s gameplay are best experienced on the PS5 but still enjoyable when it is played on the PS4. Here’s a brief look at the key updates of FIFA 22. We’ll delve into each one throughout our review.
Hypermotion – This is the game changer in FIFA 22!. It uses body motion captures of actual top tier professional players to recreate their and common soccer moves with the most realism ever seen in a video game. Hypermotion does so at the individual and team levels with the help of advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms.
Goalkeeper Rewrite – Goalies in FIFA 22 are resurrected with greater intelligence and a plethora of new moves based on ball physics. They can be impossible to beat at the hardest difficulty settings of the game.
True Ball Physics – EA Sports has tweaked ball physics in FIFA 22 to create a more real world feel. Factors such as speed, swerve, air drag, air resistance, ground friction, and rolling friction are all in play in the game’s ball physics algorithms.
Explosive Sprint – The R2 button has become a true player accelerator in FIFA 22. Sprints can now be used by the faster players in the game to elude defenders enroute to goal and for defenders to catch up with and tackle attackers. Skill and situational play do come into play though. This is not a kick, run and score old school feature.
The menu of FIFA 22 sees the key element of the game’s experience undergo a major rework for the first time since 2015.
The mosaic-based interface of the past six editions of the title has been updated with one that is based on a series of tiles at the bottom of the screen. They are intelligent to some extent in that those shown upon starting the game are based on your last set of FIFA 22 activities. Larger sections that appear above the tiles. They’re largely informational with news of Ultimate Team special events and game features.
The menus for individual games and competitions are essentially the same as in FIFA 21. You’ll be familiar with them if you’ve played any EA Sports FIFA game over the last decade.
The menus for the ever popular Career Mode, FIFA Ultimate Team and VOLTA have also been tweaked. Their changes are relatively minor and quick to figure out once you’ve entered each section of FIFA 22.
One major user interface update of note is the post-match statistics screen. It has been augmented to include a plethora of donut chart and heatmap supported details regarding the game that was just completed and individual player performance. The new views are fantastic and similar to what you might see on ESPN Sportscenter or another sports analysis program.
Graphics and Presentation
The graphics on show in EA Sports FIFA 22 remain the best in the business on both the PS4 and PS5. We’ve included video of gameplay on both platforms throughout our review so that you can have a look for yourself. Needless to say, the graphics are better on the PS5 because it boasts a better CPU and GPU than its predecessor.
New cut scenes that vary per game such as fans coming through turnstiles, players leaving buses, and players walking down stairs to the pitch in arenas add to the pre-match build ups ahead of any match.
Once on the pitch tifos are now seen with regularity along with new pageantry that includes players stooping next to their team crests on the field. Mascots who are each unique in their own rights appear with the players in the PS5 version of FIFA 22 for select matches such as those in the UEFA Champions League.
Player faces, body types and even certain mannerisms are captured with freakish detail for all of the big names in the game. Actual moves of those who participated in motion capture with EA Sports are evident and quite realistic while a plethora of player-specific celebrations are on show. These include the post-goal jubilation antics of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe. Celebrations are taken to the next level with players getting inches in front of stadium cameras with their teammates. Player sounds are now part of all goal celebrations.
The fans in the stadiums of FIFA 22 have evolved into a diverse group of NPCs donning the latest in terrace fashion and recording away on mobile phones. They also clearly reflect the success (or lack thereof) of their supported teams on the pitch with their animations and chants and will even vacate the stands early when their side is being soundly beaten at home. Traveling fans can be clearly heard when their team is up in away matches. They are also the subject of closeups in even remote corners of the stands.
Some fan likenesses are overused in the PS4 version of FIFA 22 with some sections of the crowd appearing to contain groups of clones. This is much less so in the PS5 version of the title.
Lastly, the authentic pre-match music and stadium announcements heard across stadium speaking add to the realistic feel of FIFA 22. You become immersed in the game ahead of kickoff with a feeling akin to actually being in the stadium with your team.
EA Sports FIFA soundtracks have a reputation for being so well-curated and motivating that they have become an integral part of the soccer series experience.
FIFA 22’s soundtrack does not disappoint with 52 tracks played throughout the main part of the game and 69 within VOLTA. Both sets of tracks are available as Spotify playlists.
The bangers on offer include the usual fare of non-played-out tracks from a mix of established and independent artists from around the world and across a number of genres. Some of the bigger worldwide names on the FIFA 22 soundtrack are DJ Snake, BROCKHAMPTON, The Chemical Brothers and CHVRCHES. The plethora of tracks played during the game may introduce you to some new favorites that you’ll want to add to your workout and driving playlists. We certainly found a few gems!
Teams and Leagues
The worldwide, officially licensed domestic soccer league count in EA Sports FIFA 22 is now up to thirty five. All of the world’s best known competitions are in the game including the English Premier League, Spanish LaLiga and German Bundesliga. All of the major North and South American and Asian competitions are also present.
The UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and now the UEFA Conference League are FIFA 22 thanks to the EA Sports club competition partnership with Europe’s governing body of soccer. COMNEBOL’s Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana are also in the mix for fans of South American continental tournaments.
On the national team the world’s seventeen best women’s teams and thirty three (down from forty nine in FIFA 21) men’s teams are available to play with. This makes for great Women’s International Cup and decent post-season FIFA World Cup competitions. Unfortunately, FIFA 22 lacks African and several key Asian men’s teams so the latter isn’t a true World Cup. We expect a FIFA World Cup 2022 expansion pack similar to that provided for FIFA 18 from EA Sports next year.
Also, the Brazil men’s and women’s national teams do not come with real world players. This can be quickly fixed for the men’s team via the FIFA 22 national team roster edit feature. In about five minutes you can replace the genetic players with the likes of Neymar, Vinícius Júnior and Thiago Silva.
Konami eFootball’s license exclusivity for several Italian Serie A clubs and most of Brazil’s biggest teams has unfortunately affected EA Sports FIFA again. Juventus and AS Roma are back as “Piemonte Calcio” and “Roma FC” respectively. Like last year the team’s don EA Sports-designed kits but boast actual players such as Dybala and Dzeko. SS Lazio and Atalanta also bear fictitious names.
Brazil’s “Liga do Brasil” is a humble thirteen team competition without traditional powers such as Corinthians, Flamengo, Fluminense, Sao Paulo and Palmeiras. Once again the Brazilian clubs available in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana use real kits and crests but generic players. Hopefully this mess will be sorted out soon like it was for Boca Juniors and River Plate in FIFA 21. On the positive side of things, highly-rated generic players can be transfers steals if you’re a manager on a budget in Career Mode!
EA Sports have tweaked the English match commentary team for the second year in a row with FIFA 22. The eloquent Derek Rae is now joined by former Arsenal, West Ham and Coventry City midfielder Stewart Robson in the announcers’ booth. Arsenal and England legend Alex Scott provides pitch side updates. She’s the first female English language commentator in the series since Women’s World Cup winner Judy Foudy provided match analysis for FIFA 2000 along with Phil Schoen in the US version of the game.
The same commentary team works domestic and continental competitions. This is a change from recent years in which the announcer mixes were different between the likes of the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League.
There are no major updates to the color commentary provided in FIFA 22 other than a few updated references and unique playing experience tidbits from Dixon. Overused and annoying repeated phrases within matches now seem eliminated for the most part. The result is a crisp commentary experience that will take you through the life of FIFA 22.
Our North American version of FIFA 22 also includes commentary in Spanish and French. They’re nice options to have if you understand either language or just want a change of voices from the Rae / Robson / Scott combination.
The updated street soccer experience VOLTA Football is back in play in FIFA 22. The third iteration of the feature is updated to focus on online play with friends via VOLTA Squads. Offline play is available via the VOLTA Battles option that lets you compete in short tournaments against pre-built street teams.
There’s also a weekend-only, online activity called VOLTA Arcade that includes mini games such as Foot Tennis, Dodgeball, Disco Lava and Team Keepaway.
FIFA 22’s VOLTA has no storyline mode like FIFA 20 and FIFA 21 did. You also cannot recruit players from teams you beat. This is in line with EA Sport’s new VOLTA strategy – “all about getting together with friends, and having a great time together.”
However you decide to play it, the new VOLTA is more fun than its predecessors thanks to the introduction of a Skill Meter that gives you points on the spot for flair moves. These points increase the value of each goal and can result in a single goal built up with skill moves and wall passes that counts as three goals.
There is also the introduction of avatar Signature Abilities that build up and cool down during matches. They include Power Strikes, Pure Pace and Aggressive Tackle. All are nice ways to catch up in games in which your team is behind.
The Skill Meter and Signature Abilities lend themselves well to VOLTA’s new Two-Player Celebrations. This sees players interact with each other after scoring goals like in real life. Hit a spectacular Power Strike and you will find your avatar playing Rock, Paper Scissors or chest bumping with the teammate who provided the assist.
Although it’s now an understated part of the FIFA series, VOLTA Football remains an entertaining, liberating outlet to the mainstream soccer of FIFA 22. It allows us to dispense with the stresses of the professional game and play one of the purest, expressive forms of soccer. Limited rules and all flair becomes the order of business!
The gameplay in the PS4 and PS5 versions of EA Sports FIFA 22 is stellar. There is a marked increase in the realism in the title’s gameplay as it evolves with modern day professional soccer. However and as expected, the best playing experience for FIFA 22 is on the PS5 because of its updated technology. Let’s get into the most important aspect of the game!
The well-established playing levels of Beginner, Amateur, Semi-Pro, Professional, World Class and Legendary are back for another runout in FIFA 22. As experienced FIFA gamers we began play in Professional level for league, cup, FIFA Ultimate Team, and VOLTA matches. Right off the bat we noticed that matches are a bit more difficult in Professional mode than in FIFA 21. The same can be said for Semi-Pro and World Class. It’s still extremely challenging to beat any team with a three star or above rating with the Legendary setting.
The increased difficulty per level is especially noticeable on the PS5 because of the better AI capabilities of the system.
If you played FIFA 21 using the Professional level then you should still be able to win against the same teams in FIFA 22. However, what were 3-0 wins will become hard-fought 3-2 or 2-1 wins.
The speed of play in FIFA 22 is spot on and on par with what you’ll see in the professional game. It has been tweaked slightly to slow things down since the days of slightly too fast swashbuckling, attacking soccer in FIFA 20 and 21. Of course you can adjust the game speed to your liking via FIFA 22’s settings menus. That’s not our cup of team though since we are fine with the default.
As in previous iterations of FIFA, game speed within FIFA 22 varies by league. So while play is frenetic in the English Premier League, it is slower and focused on build-ups in the Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A. Noticeably slower ball movement and player pace can be seen in leagues not yet able to boast world class talent such as Major League Soccer and the EFL lower tiers.
Rain, snow and the beaten up grounds of lower league teams that you might run into during domestic cups continues to affect ball speed and physics as in real life.
Dribbling and Skills Moves
Dribbling over reasonable distances and skills moves continue to be much easier to execute in FIFA 22 than in pre-FIFA 20 versions of the game. Doing so has been tweaked to be more realistic and closely tied to the game’s player ratings for Dribbling and Pace. This means that you’ll have more success pulling off a mazy run through defenders and skill moves with players such as Neymar, Leo Messi, Jack Grealish and Mo Salah.
A lovely update that works well on the PS5 version of FIFA 22 is the ability to quickly combine an evasive move upon trapping the balls (such as a feint to the left then going right) with a skill move such as a stepover. Of course, doing so is situational and depends on the caliber of defenders that you are playing against.
The new Explosive Sprint feature lets the faster players in the game run with a speed burst via R2. As you might imagine, the same level of fleet footed players mentioned above are the easiest to have success with Explosive Sprint with. It does take a bit of practice because, as in real life soccer, the faster you run with the ball, the more likely you are to lose control of it. We found it to work best over distances of around 10 meters after a skill move that leaves your man marker flat footed.
Offensive play in EA Sports FIFA 22 is once again fine-tuned and improved to create a more realistic gaming experience. FIFA continues to refine this key aspect of the franchise on the PS4 and PS5 with the updates making the latter into the closest simulation to real life attacking soccer that we’ve ever seen.
The improvements in the offense of FIFA 22 are largely tied to greater intelligence from the game engine. This is seen via more support from teammates across the pitch. We noticed the changes from our first game with the game via forwards and midfielders making diagonal runs within the penalty box and gesturing for passes. The winger and midfielder straight line supporting runs that have been a key part of the series since FIFA 20 are still present but now better timed based on the ball carrier’s position and possible passing paths.
There’s also now more attacker pressure on defenders and goalkeepers when they have the ball at their feet. We’ve been the victim of forwards capitalizing on rebounds, errant passes, and clearances. Instances of poor goalkeeper clearances ending up back in their nets after being intercepted by opposing forwards are not out of the question along with balls being chipped over rushing goalies. The attacking player pressure is increased when teams are down during the last third of matches.
EA Sports has changed the passing system in FIFA 22. This takes a little getting used to for even experienced FIFA players like us.
The most prominent update is that there is more pressure sensitivity for ground passes. As a result what were medium range ground passes in FIFA 21 are now short passes to players closest to you. Through balls react in the same way and will be quickly intercepted without the right pressure on the passing button(s) used.
FIFA 22 offers more customization of attacking play in the Tactics section of your team management menu. There are four options each under Build Up Play and Chance Creation that result in the ability to have sixteen different attacking styles. We recommend playing around with them to find what works best for your FIFA gaming style.
FIFA 22’s defense can also be customized via the team Tactics screen at the team and individual player level. Doing so allows gamers to take advantage of the improved overall defense of the game.
Defenders in FIFA 22 are more aggressive and carry greater game intelligence than their FIFA 22 versions. They now have better anticipation for shots and passes and position themselves to block and intercept them. They also force wingers wide so that they become less effective on attack.
Ball interceptions seem to be the order of the day for FIFA 22’s defenders. We believe that this is tied to updated Artificial Intelligence and use of Machine Learning by the game’s engine. Attacks must be well-formulated and more tactical from Professional level and above against decent opposition.
FIFA 22 defenders drop back deeper when their goal is under attack and defend for dear life. Surprising shot blocks with stuck out legs and feet are to be expected in what often turn into “all hands on deck” defensive units that include midfielders.
Very aggressive, realistic jostling across the pitch is the norm in the PS5 version of FIFA 22. It goes beyond the shoulder challenge and sometimes shirt-pulling of the past into scenarios in which one player runs with and puts their body in front of the other to win the ball. What EA Sports calls Player Personality comes into play here with the likes of N’Golo Kanté more apt to fight for a ball than Antoine Griezmann.
EA Sports has included what they are calling a Goalkeeper Rewrite in FIFA 22. The result is a set of netminders who are more dynamic and realistic in the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game. This is accomplished by a host of new and exciting goalie animations and more reliability above the netminders collective. The FIFA 22 versions of big name keepers such as Manual Neuer and Jan Oblak seem to mirror the on the field personalities of their real world inspirations. This is particularly so on the PS5.
As expected, goalkeepers in FIFA 22 are harder to score against. They will often surprise and entertain you with fingertip, foot, and punched saves when you think you have a sure goal. These skills are appreciated even more when your goalie repeatedly executes saves against top notch opponents to keep your team in the game.
EA Sports FIFA 22 has enough in it to keep even everyday players occupied for the next year. From Career Mode to FIFA Ultimate Team to customer-created tournaments to VOLTA, the game is an experience to behold. While the PS5 version is superior to the PS4 version, we did have lots of fun trying out the latter. They are two slightly different simulations worth checking out if you’ve got both generations of consoles.
We consider EA Sports FIFA 22 to be the first version of the long-running series developed with the latest generation of consoles in mind. It does not disappoint and represents a major step in the franchise’s evolution. The result is the best in the line yet!
Gameplay: 9.9 /10
Graphics: 9.9 /10
User Interface: 9.5 / 10
Realism: 10 / 10
Longevity: 10 / 10