No doubt the FIFA franchise is iconic. The series burst onto the gaming scene on the Sega Mega Drive in 1993. From there, it has seen annual releases since to a fervent soccer fanbase. A fanbase that, in previous years, has waited in lines outside of shops upon release. FIFA has over 10 million active players each week. It holds a huge place in the hearts and childhood of many younger people who grew up in the 1990s and 2000s. As we look at the last EA FIFA game, there is one question. Is it still that good or was it overhyped?
FIFA 23: Overhyped or just that good?
Over the years, console gaming has grown significantly. The number of people playing FIFA has risen to a global scale. Many people will be picking up their consoles now it’s World Cup time to download FIFA’s World Cup experience. Previously, World Cup games had always been released independently and were hugely popular with fans. However, this year, EA decided to go with in-game downloadable content. There is always a huge increase in soccer fans whenever there’s a World Cup on. Most sportsbooks are jumping on the demand and making dedicated apps for betting on soccer.
Virtual Encyclopaedia of Soccer
Its huge database of information has always been a huge attraction for fans, where you can learn everything from a player’s height, their country of birth to their weight and club history. They would even have teams made up of the biggest soccer stars in history, allowing players to get a feel for what their game may have been like. FIFA wasn’t just a game, it was an encyclopedia of soccer for many fans of the series. FIFA gained fans all over the world, helping to grow the game’s popularity worldwide. Certainly, it helped in the US, a country that had always seemed to be at odds with soccer. The slower pace of the game and the idea of draws put off American fans. However, over time America has come to appreciate it and understand the nuances of the beautiful game. I imagine this is in no doubt also thanks to a generation of youngsters growing up playing FIFA, playing as Zidane, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo year after year. Playing as Classic XI and using players such as Diego Maradona and George Best, the game was a soccer fan’s dream.
A Period of Stagnation
The gameplay and graphics always felt like they improved upon every release. With the release of PS3, PS4, and then PS5, graphics improved to previously unimaginable levels. However, there came the point where it started to feel as though FIFA was hitting a period of stagnation. Whereas other games like the NBA 2K series offered huge amounts of different campaigns and types of gameplay options, FIFA just stood still. It felt like they stopped paying attention to the small details that made the game so special to fans of the series. There were no improvements in career mode, there was a half-hearted and unengaging ‘be a pro’ campaign, and there was also ‘The Journey.’ A campaign in which you get to follow the story of a player coming through an academy and into the first team. It was mildly entertaining at first but an absolute embarrassment when compared with NBA 2K’s MyCareer mode.
The Release of FIFA 23
There was a lot of anticipation for FIFA 23, the gaming company had had a good amount of time to get to grips with the next-gen consoles, and the game had become rather stale. There also came the announcement that this would be the last game made under the FIFA brand after failing to reach an agreement on certain rights to the game with FIFA. The game arrived to mixed reviews and appears to have, yet again, left a bad taste in the mouth of FIFA fans all over. It’s not that it’s bad. It’s that it could be so much better. FIFA will come back next year with a rebrand and, hopefully, a more engaging game for fans of the series.
Want to talk sports and/or games with the fastest-growing community in gaming? Join the conversation by joining us on Discord, and check out our Twitter and Facebook pages as well as our growing YouTube Channel!