Review: EA Sports FIFA 23
EA Sports FIFA 23 is the last iteration of the world’s foremost soccer simulation that will bear the name of world football’s governing body. The title does not disappoint as it takes the FIFA series out with a bang and leaves us mouthwatering for what EA Sports FC will bring in the middle of 2023.
The crew at Football Fashion has delved into many gameplay options of FIFA 23 from a week ahead of its September 30, 2022 release. Read on for our annual World Exclusive in-depth review of every soccer fan’s favorite video game on the Sony PlayStation 5.
FIFA 23 continues EA Sports’ longtime tradition of providing significant updates for gameplay, authenticity, realism, and overall soccer gaming fun. Here are the key new features of FIFA 23. We’ll get into them in detail throughout our look at the game.
HyperMotion2 Technology and Physics – EA Sports has taken their mastery of real life player and team motion capture and combined it with data analytics and artificial intelligence to create gameplay that is extremely fluid and immersive. This is found in all positions on the pitch from the air to the ground in FIFA 23. The end product is the most realistic gameplay in a soccer simulation to date.
Women’s Club Soccer – Women’s international soccer has been part of the EA Sports FIFA series for a few years now. The women’s club game makes its long-awaited debut in FIFA 23 with the addition of the Barclays Women’s Super League (England) and Division 1 Arkema (France). These homes to some of the world’s best known players will be joined by the exciting UEFA Women’s Champions League in FIFA 23 in early 2023.
Career Mode – You’re now able to select a host of real world managers for your team in FIFA 23’s career mode. They’re not just NPC that you go through the motions with however. You can take the likes of a young Mikel Arteta and give them several personality traits of your liking.
Matchday Experience – EA Sports has increased the intensity of the matchday experience in FIFA 23. This is particularly evident ahead of big games when visuals start with fan marches to stadiums. The atmosphere and vibe of every match is wonderfully presented and often better than what you’ll find some major broadcasters streaming in 4K.
The updated and modernized in-game menu that made its debut in FIFA 22 is back for another runout in FIFA 23. We expect to see it for a few seasons given its usefulness, relevancy and the fact that EA Sports doesn’t update the title’s main menus often. There is no need to!
The navigation titles that form the core of the menu in FIFA 23 are present throughout the game from the main screen to within FIFA Ultimate Team to cups and league modes. They remain intuitive, self-explanatory, and simple to use. We’re glad to see that EA Sports has kept their intelligence intact as well. This feature seems to learn which modes of the game you last played and show them to you when you return the game. For instance, if you left off in Career Mode then expect to see the option to continue in it as the first menu item after the Kylian Mbappe and Sam Kerr splash screen.
In-match navigation and menus are essentially the same as they’ve been in any FIFA game for the last five years. Hit the pause button and tweak your settings or manage your team like you’ve become used to since the days of the last generation of gaming consoles.
Graphics and Presentation
The pre-match and match graphics in EA Sports FIFA 23 remain the best in the business. No other soccer simulation (the most notable is eFootball 2023) offers a look that comes close.
EA Sports has improved the presentation and graphics in FIFA 23 with a number of brilliant updates. Those that caught our discerning footie gamer eyes were:
Authentic League Overlays and Graphics – EA Sports’ official soccer league overlays, match stats and use of assets is second to none and better than that of major broadcasters. This continues in FIFA 23 with refreshes for the likes of the Premier League and Bundesliga that are a joy to look at and quite informative.
Pre-Match Build Ups – Big matches such as derbies, cup finals, and title deciders begin with shots of fans on the streets heading to stadiums in vivid detail. Player stadium entrances follow to capture the vibe and intensity of such matches and to create an authentic pre-match experience.
Detailed Stadium Graphics – FIFA 23 adds some brilliant pre-match views of stadiums. The level of detail is fantastic and gives soccer fan gamers a look at some of the cathedrals of The Beautiful Game that rivals being outside them and on the pitch in them. No stadium tours needed thanks to FIFA 23!
Zoomed-In Shots – There is a noticeable zoom in during match play when opposing players take shots in the box. This gives a good look at the shots during matches but also a sense of urgency in defense. More often than not the zoomed-in shots are accurate and worthy of heavy defensive attention or they end up as goals scored for the opposition.
Hypermotion2 Augmented Reality Replays – Goal replays in FIFA 23 are often powered by Hypermotion 2 AR replays that show shot cones, ball speed, and distance from goal. It’s a great addition to the overall in-game experience that adds to the realism of the title.
Hyper-Realistic Pitches – The EA Sports’ grounds crews have been hard at work to give the pitches in FIFA 23 lives of their own. In the past we saw them wear down in sections during match play. FIFA 23 adds damage to fields on the spot from players’ slide tackling and celebrating goals. The wear and tear sticks around to the end of the matches.
More Realistic Fans – The fans in FIFA 23 are the most realistic, varied, diverse, and passionate to date. EA Sports has clearly spent some effort to make them reflective of their real life counterparts with families, children, and Baby Boomers all in the mix. The level of enthusiasm of many of FIFA 23’s fans rivals what you will see in real world terraces.
Female Match Officials – Female match officials are now part of match crews for men’s competitions in FIFA 23. This is a welcome addition to the title that reflects what we see in most of the major soccer leagues in the world. Well done EA Sports!
EA Sports’ music team has delivered a FIFA 23 soundtrack that includes a main course of fifty-seven tracks along with 52 jams just for the VOLTA FOOTBALL section of the game. The combined selected tracks are once again well curated and will keep you entertained in between matches and now during street football matches. We didn’t run into a single track that we opted to remove from being heard via FIFA 23’s music customization options.
The FIFA 23 soundtrack once again celebrates global diversity with artists from every populated continent and several languages on show. These usual up and coming stars are joined by big names such as Bad Bunny, J. Balvin, Jack Harlow, Gorillaz, M.I. A., and Nas in a collection of up-tempo jams that will power your FIFA 23 experience. The full soundtrack is available as a Spotify playlist for enjoyment outside of the game.
Teams and Leagues
FIFA 23 continues EA Sports tradition of including just about every major soccer league in the world in the long-running title. There are over thirty domestic leagues in FIFA 23 along with accompanying local cups. Thirty-five men’s and seventeen women’s national teams that you can use in customized competitions are also in the mix.
The most popular football leagues in the world are the crown jewels of FIFA 23 as usual. These include the English Premier League, Spanish LaLiga, and German Bundesliga. They’re included with official league assets and all of their major stadiums in packages that exude realism and authenticity. They’re joined by the always popular continental cups competitions – the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, CONMEBOL Libertadores and CONMEBOL Sudamericana. A FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar expansion pack will join FIFA 23 in November at no cost to players. It will feature all thirty-two teams that have qualified for this year’s world championship.
It should be noted that licensing issues complicate matters with the Brazilian men’s and women’s national teams and Campeonato Brasileiro (the one league of note not in FIFA 23) teams once again. Both sets of teams feature authentic kits and badges. However, they’re made up of generic, EA Sports-created players. They can be replaced with actual players like Neymar and Thiago Silva for just the Brazilian men’s national team via editing its roster.
The Brazilian clubs appear in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Unfortunately the lack of Campeonato Brasileiro stars such as Hulk, Pedro, and Gabriel diminishes the experience for both South American cups.
Juventus FC is back in FIFA 23 after only being exclusively licensed by Konami eFootball for a couple of seasons. Unfortunately, the competing title (eFootball 2023) is the only game in which fellow Serie A clubs Atalanta BC, SS Lazio, SSC Napoli, and AS Roma can appear for the 2022 to 2023 seasons because of licensing. They’re in FIFA 23 as Bergamo Calcio, Latium, Napoli FC, and Roma FC with real life rosters but not actual kits and crests.
A few notable additions to EA Sports FIFA 23 are AFC Richmond from the Apple TV series “Ted Lasso” and Italy’s Serie B.
The always insightful Derek Rae is back with former Arsenal, West Ham, and Coventry midfielder Stewart Robson to provide match English language commentary in FIFA 23. They are joined by Arsenal and England national team alumna Alex Scott who provides pre-match and pitch side updates. Scott’s role is greatly increased over that in FIFA 22 as she provides commentary for scenes outside stadiums before matches. Veteran Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves pops in from time to time with injury updates during matches.
The quartet are the only commentators that you’ll hear in any competition in FIFA 23 unless you change the commentary language. We can opt for Spanish or French in our North American version of the game.
A new Audio settings option in FIFA 23 is the ability to disable “Critical Commentary”. This is a nice addition since there are millions of minors and perhaps sensitive adults who play each edition of FIFA every year. They may not wish to hear Rae and Robson lightly bash errant passes, shots, or poor defense.
EA Sports FIFA 23’s gameplay is the best yet in the long-running series. It has been refined once again by its developers using the latest in sports gaming technology. The result is a free flowing masterpiece that is as close as you can come to lacing up your soccer boots and hitting the pitch yourself.
The usual Beginner, Amateur, Semi-Pro, Professional, World Class and Legendary gameplay levels are back for another runout in FIFA 23. The level of difficulty on each is the same as it was for each level in FIFA 22.
As O.G. FIFA games we began our journey in exploring the game in Professional level for cups, leagues, Ultimate Team, and VOLTA. The rate of success in winning remained about the same as we left off after almost a year of playing FIFA 22. World Class and Legendary remain challenging with teams rated as four stars or above often forcing even experienced players with five star-rated teams into defensive formations and reliant on counter attacking football.
If you played FIFA 22 using the Professional level then you should beat the same teams that you did in the 2023 edition of the game.
FIFA 23’s gameplay speed is perfect and reflective of what you’ll see when streaming professional matches from the best leagues around the world. This comes after several years of tweaking by EA Sports. If the speed isn’t to your liking then you can adjust it via the game’s settings to slower or fast options. You can also increase the user player’s sprint speeds to peak Messi levels. We opted to play with the default gameplay speed settings.
EA Sports continues to do a great job with reflecting league specific match play speeds in FIFA 23. You’ll find the likes of the Barclays Premier League to be quite face-paced while LaLiga Santander and the Bundesliga are slightly slower but more tactical. Less talent-laden leagues such as the EFL Championship and Major League Soccer feature slower-paced matches.
Weather has a significant effect on match speed in FIFA 23. Expect slower ball movement and a reduced ability to quickly control the ball in rainy and snowy conditions like in real life.
Dribbling and Skills Moves
EA Sports made dribbling and skill moves easier for even the average player to pull off a couple of FIFA editions ago. We think that this was the influence of VOLTA street soccer on the game. These core elements of soccer play have been reworked and improved in FIFA 23 with the introduction of Technical Dribbling.
In a nutshell, Technical Dribbling takes advantage of HyperMotion2’s new animations and machine learning to improve the responsiveness, feel, closeness and speed of dribbling in FIFA 23. This allows world class players known for ball control (think Mbappe, Modric and Messi) to dribble with high precision and quickly change directions like they do in real life. This is all done with just the left stick on your controller so there’s no need to learn a bunch of button and stick combinations to pull off some wicked body feints. Of course, player attributes contribute to their ability to dribble past defenders easier than other attackers. Play with the elite stars of world football to really enjoy FIFA 23’s brilliant new spin on dribbling.
The Explosive Sprint feature that was introduced in FIFA 22 has been improved into the new AcceleRATE player movement system. There are now three very perceivable acceleration types in FIFA 23 – Controlled (uniform acceleration), Explosive (for shorter and agile players), and Lengthy (for taller, stronger players). Our favorite was Explosive but Controlled and Lengthy can be used to your advantage with the right talent on your team.
FIFA 23 has added four new skill moves and three new fake shots to the game’s lengthy catalog of footwork trickery. Old favorites like the Drag Back and Flick Over are now available for left footed players. These are all great additions that can be part of your gameplay repertoire with a bit of practice and with players rated three stars and above. We prefer to stick with the basics and a passing game but the old and new skill moves are wonderful for the showy VOLTA Football mode of FIFA 23.
EA Sports continues to improve upon their offensive gameplay on the virtual soccer pitch in order to create as much realism as possible. FIFA 23 brings several improvements in offense that make its gameplay better than ever the stellar experience of FIFA 22. The changes are not drastic updates but instead are the latest in a long line of gameplay refinements that have come to characterize EA Sports soccer simulations annual releases.
The most obvious offensive gameplay improvement that you’ll see when diving into FIFA 23 is more fluid and concerted team motion. Wingbacks, midfielders and strikers support each other on attacking moves according to your instructions and with greater tactical awareness with great effect. There is also now a Double Teammate Support feature where pressing R1 twice results in two teammates forming a soccer triangle with your controlled player. This makes for extremely effective attacking moves as the ball can be passed to supporting players moving together as a unit.
Power shots from your controlled and AI players are another nice addition in FIFA 23. As in real life, they can create some surprising and spectacular goals from a distance. They can be executed if a skilled attacker has a bit of extra time and space by pressing L1 and R1 along with the shot button. Look out for them from the opposition as well. They can come out of nowhere if you’re not paying attention to players with high Shot Power, Finishing, Long Shots, and Composure ratings.
Offensive jockeying is noticeably more effective in FIFA 23 with the use of the L1 button while your controlled attacking player is dribbling with a defender on his or her back or side. L1 lets them offer greater resistance when attempting to retain possession ahead of a shot or pass. Of course, strength and size matters during such duels with larger defenders possessing the advantage.
Passing and crossing seem to be more accurate in FIFA 23. We saw more effective on the ground and lobbed through passes from the first match we played in the game. The crossing update was a result of an extended crossing zone beyond the areas on the sides of the pitch. The area is now extended a bit towards the penalty box and a couple of meters into the middle of the field. New passing and crossing animations across the length of the pitch border on reality as players adjust their bodies to trap and pass the ball in eerily lifelike manners.
The defensive capabilities of user controlled and AI-managed teams have not changed greatly in FIFA 23. FIFA 22’s defense was brilliant so there was little for the EA Sports soccer development team to do other than to tweak it a bit.
The one on one player jockeying that we mentioned in the Offense section is also applicable when you’re controlling a defender. L2 for slow jockeying and L2+R2 for sprint jockeying work quite well for body to body ball winning and disrupting dribblers. Throw in a shirt pull if needed with the square button!
Defensive support from another player on your team is now in the mix via a double tap of the R1 button. This works well for adding pressure on hard to control players such as Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe. You do risk leaving another opposing player open for attacking play however.
Defenders have been gifted with increased defensive awareness in FIFA 23. They’re now more likely to quickly return to their natural positions if they stray outside of their assigned coverage zones. Higher rated and younger defenders can do so rapidly as in real life soccer.
EA Sports have improved tackling effectiveness for their last jaunt with a FIFA-titled game. This is particularly so with slide tackles which are now extremely useful for winning the ball and no longer like to result in fouls and yellow cards. Add R1 to the usual square tackle button and you’ll execute a hard slide tackle. This new addition is all about ball dispossession in desperate situations such as when Lionel Messi is about to take a shot in the box. They often cause the ball to go out of bounds but that’s obviously better than conceding a goal.
Seasoned FIFA gamers will have to learn a new PK method for FIFA 23. Spot kicks are now based on selecting the smallest size in a Composure Ring that appears under the ball on the penalty spot. The video below gives an idea of what this looks like. Fortunately, penalties are part of the FIFA 23 Practice Arena so you can master them outside of matches.
FIFA 23 vs. eFootball 2023
The now decades old annual comparison between EA Sports’ and Konami’s annual soccer simulations continues in 2023. We’ve tried both games and can unequivocally say that FIFA 23 provides a gaming experience that is miles beyond what you get in eFootball 2023. FIFA 23 is like an English Premier League team while eFootball 2023 would be more akin to an EFL League One outfit. FIFA 23’s wealth of league options, stellar gameplay, well done Ultimate Team, and VOLTA Football leave eFootball 2023 as nothing more of a diversion if you feel like alternative gameplay. That said, the gameplay in eFootball 2023 is often slow and frustrating whereas FIFA 23’s is natural and fluid. The only pluses of eFootball 2023 are the fact that it is free to play and the presence of exclusive licenses such as the big Brazilian clubs and AFC Champions League teams.
There is enough on offer in EA Sports FIFA 23 to entertain even the most hardcore soccer gamers for an entire year of daily play. Casual gamers may be able to enjoy the title of two years if they don’t mind outdated rosters from the time EA Sports FC 24 is released circa September 2023. The many leagues, cups, Ultimate Team, VOLTA Football, and Career Mode (as a manager or player) provide an in-depth gaming experience with a ton of possibilities.
EA Sports ends the use of FIFA’s name in their soccer simulation with the best game in the series to date. FIFA 23 is as close to footie gaming perfection as we’ve seen! We can’t wait to see and experience what EA Sports FC 24 has to offer!
Gameplay: 9.9 /10
Graphics: 9.9 /10
User Interface: 9.5 / 10
Realism: 10 / 10
Longevity: 10 / 10