FIFA 22 review: The most fun FIFA in years is more realistic, but still has its flaws

FIFA 22 Son/Mbappe compositeEA Sports

FIFA 22 opens up with a 15 minute story where you cross paths with David Beckham and Lisa Freestyle, working your way past iconic Paris landmarks until you get to PSG's stadium.

The short story works as a way to introduce the game's new mechanics for FIFA 22 but also to show you that this year's version of the game is slicker and more detailed than ever.

That new gloss continues into the first game you play, where the new HyperMotion technology is evident in how the players run, move and even take shots and passes.

The atmosphere in the stadium has been improved with the spectactors feeling more realistic to make it feel like an actual match on the television and not just a video game.

And then you have to pause it.

The default camera angle remains from last season, a nifty little feature that looked great in FIFA 21, but was a pain to play with as the camera tilted and panned rather than moved along the sideline.

It looks great, but it made FIFA 21 more difficult to play and that problem is still around in FIFA 22.

Everyone will immediately switch back to their preferred setting and just like that, FIFA 22 reminds you that it's a video game, with similar flaws as before.

How do the gameplay changes affect FIFA 22?

The goalkeepers are better but still concede stupidly sloppy goals, while pace is meant to be less effective, but it remains important - this is especially true in FIFA Ultimate Team where 84-rated Timo Werner and 91-rated Robert Lewandowski cost about the same because the former has over 90 pace.

However, most of the new gameplay changes have improved how you play on the pitch. Passing and patience is important, clever runs and timing the new explosive sprint are key to creating chances and scoring goals.

Player switching is more intuitive when defending and team-mate pressure now has a time limit meaning you can no longer get the AI to do all the work for you when trying to win the ball back.

FIFA 22 feels more difficult than FIFA 21, which makes each match more competitive and initially rules out ridiculous high scorelines, particularly when playing offline games.

Perhaps the most interesting and useful aspect in FIFA 22 is the advanced stats which now show at half-time and after every match. xG has been included for the first time, while the addition of heatmaps and pass charts brings much more to the game experience.

These are especially useful in Career Mode and FIFA Ultimate Team to see which players are having the most impact and where you need to improve.

Have FUT, Career Mode, Volta and other modes improved in FIFA 22?

FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) remains the most popular mode and has not had any dramatic overhaul this year.

The menus are more logical when trying to navigate between the various sections such as Squad Building Challenges and the Transfer Market, which will save time when building your squad.

Stadium customisation is the biggest change this year, but it's something many people may ignore as choosing stand colours is literally just a lick of paint addition in FIFA 22.

Division Rivals and FUT Champions have been tweaked slightly to make qualification and rewards easier, while you have fewer matches to play this season in FUT Champions and can enter whenver you want rather than just at the weekend.

Career Mode has taken some of the aspects of EA's other sports games, such as the Player Growth aspect of NHL, making player development less random and more intuitive than before. This is also how players progress in Volta and Pro Clubs and rewards good performances as you level up like a RPG character.

New cut scenes also give Career Mode more variety and take out some of the monotony, while new commentator Alex Scott keeps you updated with what's happening in other games as you play your own.

Create a Club is a fun new extra in FIFA 22, allowing you to add your own custom team to any league in the game, designing their badge, jersey and customising their stadium before you attempt world domination.

Pro Clubs now has female players and improved matchmaking, with a new lobby added to help you find drop-in games quickly.

FIFA 22 Volta Foot TennisEA Sports

Volta has received perhaps the biggest overhaul of any of the game modes this season, getting rid of the story mode and making skills more important.

The new Skill Meter encourages you to use skill moves and flair passes, which then give extra boosts to your players.

Previously, you could win games in Volta without ever doing any skill moves, but now you are encouraged to do tricks and taunt opponents.

Now, you even have Signature Abilities, like a Power Strike, which can knock over players like the Predator Kick back in Adidas Power Soccer over two decades ago.

But the biggest change is Volta Arcade, which is a host of mini games including Foot Tennis and Dodgeball which you can play against friends or random opponents online.

Is FIFA 22 better than FIFA 21?

Aside from the updated squads and rosters, FIFA 22 feels like an improvement on FIFA 21.

The game mode tweaks certainly make things more interesting and will keep you coming back for more.

But most importantly, the gameplay does feel better than in the past. This is thanks to the HyperMotion and Powered By Football aspects that EA Sports' promotion campaign has focused on.

Matches look more realistic, feel more realistic and are more enjoyable to play as they are no longer pure pace-focused pinball games.

FIFA 22 is the most fun FIFA in years, especially thanks to the addition of the Volta Arcade games.

The flaws remain, but if you've played and enjoyed FIFA in the past few years, you won't be disappointed.

Goal rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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