Earlier this year, Electronic Arts shocked the gaming world with its decision not to renew its license with the football governing body, FIFA. Instead, the American publisher has opted to continue making simulation football games under the new title EA Sports FC. With years of football gaming history between the two companies now in the past. Electronic Arts are ready to usher in a new era of sports gaming. However, the deal ends next year, so for now, FIFA 23 is the last game in the near 30 years series. This final kick of the ball is a beautiful spectacle but still has more to be desired in terms of new features in its popular modes. Here is our SGO review of FIFA 23.
FIFA 23 Review
Last year’s FIFA 22 was a step in the right direction with new club customization options, new features in player career, Ultimate Team, and Pro Clubs. Unfortunately, FIFA 23 pumps the brakes and plays it safe with minor improvements to some areas of the game.
FIFA 23 is the best game in the series, presentation-wise. Over the years, Electronic Arts have focused on the atmosphere and presentation of FIFA, but this year’s title takes it to a new level. New intros, hype-building trailers, and cinematic sequences bring the matchday experience to life. This is probably the first year I’ve watched every intro to season-opening matches and rivalry fixtures.
In addition to the presentation improvements, the new set piece feature is my favorite in the FIFA series. Instead of using a curser to pinpoint where you want the ball to go, like in previous games, you now have complete control over where to strike the ball. Hitting the ball low will make it hang up in the air on corner kicks while hitting it in the middle will give you a more powerful strike. My favorite thing about this feature is the new camera angle on corner kicks. FIFA 23 puts you right behind the player, showing off the beautifully built stadiums and buzzing atmosphere.
I’ve criticized this series for its poor gameplay; it’s not bad. It’s just easy for anyone to pick up and master. However, while the core foundation of FIFA’s gameplay hasn’t changed, the newest iteration of Hypermotion does bring smoother gameplay, intelligent AI, and many more animations to the game. These improvements in return, make FIFA 23‘s gameplay look and feel better than previous titles.
If you run at them with a fast player, AI oppositions will drop back and defend as a unit. In previous games, it’s been easy to have a fast striker break the defensive line and run in on goal. However, in FIFA 23, AI defenses will change tactics given different circumstances. It’s a good problem because it has prompted me to devise other ways to penetrate defenses and score goals.
One of the newest gameplay features this year is Powershot, which replaces the timed shot from previous games. This new feature is way better than the timed shooting mechanic because you won’t accidentally use it when trying to register a basic strike. PowerShot is triggered when pressing both front bumpers and shooting, which creates a zoom-in-camera effect and releases a powerful shot.
However, the PowerShot needs to be used when you have space to load and release it. How good your shot is will be determined by your player’s attributes and your ability to aim. I like this new feature and can’t wait to see more banging goals from it.
*Below is an example of the ability in action and the Hypermotion 2 breakdown of the goal.
Many of the new features in FIFA 23‘s game modes are half-baked and don’t feel fully fleshed out.
Player Career again gets more attention with new cutscenes and player personalities. How you play and what off-field activities you choose will determine if you drop into these three categories: Maverick, Heartbeat, and Virtuoso. Progressing into one or multiple personalities will give you attribute points towards your player.
The issue here is that personalities don’t affect overall gameplay or your player career experience. This feature doesn’t feel fully thought out in FIFA 23. It would be different if exclusive dialogue options were available for each personality. Overall, EA needs to make player personalities more important by bringing in other elements to complement this feature.
In Manager mode, virtually nothing has changed except you can use real-life managers, along with a new menu and cutscenes for player and manager careers.
It would have been excellent for Electronic Arts to continue to build on the good features it introduced last year, like the club and stadium creator. Unfortunately, EA didn’t bother updating these assets in FIFA 23.
Pro Clubs & Volta
Similar to career mode, FIFA 22 Pro Clubs received a fair amount of updates, whereas FIFA 23 Pro Clubs is disgustingly deprived of fan-requested features. This year, EA added new kits and stadiums to drop-ins, with no indication of cross-play coming to the mode insight. Instead, Pro Clubs’ most significant feature this year is that it now has shared progression with FIFA‘s Volta Football mode to help keep it relevant.
You know it’s a weird year when Ultimate Team doesn’t have much going for it. The mode returns with customizable options for your club and a reworked chemistry system. However, microtransaction again plagues this mode, and I can’t recommend you play it.
FIFA 23 Review Verdict
The blame-shifting by Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson about how FIFA’s lack of progression is down to its licensing partnership will continue to ring in my head. While FIFA 23‘s presentation and gameplay have improved, the lack of care and significant updates to fan-favorite modes continue to slow this series down. FIFA 23 isn’t a bad game at all, but I hope EA Sports FC has big things in the future because the last dance in the FIFA series is a bland one.
FIFA 23 Review
While FIFA 23‘s presentation and gameplay have improved, the lack of care and significant updates to fan-favorite modes continue to slow this series down.