It’s the end of an era! Following a 29-year reign, FIFA 23 marks the final football game by EA to bear the FIFA title, as the series will now be renamed EA Sports FC in the future.
If you’re curious about the standout feature of FIFA 23, it’s undoubtedly EA’s improved implementation of HyperMotion technology. Although this will be the last year the game carries the “FIFA” name, what truly matters to most gamers is the overall experience they’ll have when they dive in, rather than the title itself.
Let’s dive into the positives, negatives, and ultimate verdicts of FIFA 23.
FIFA 23 Overview
You will be familiar with the routine if you have played any football game within the past four years. Numerous impressive new features aim to patch up the weaknesses of the previous year’s game and give it a shiny new appearance. FIFA 23 makes some notable enhancements to the gameplay, especially about set pieces and defensive mechanics. It falls short, though, and could be better. However, the game can be quite enjoyable once you learn to disregard the usual problems. Please keep reading for our comprehensive review of FIFA 23.
FIFA 23 is the final EA game to use the FIFA name. It’s like many before, with a few improvements and many lingering issues.
FIFA 23 promises to be the most realistic and fascinating football experience yet, with enhanced graphics, realistic player movements, and highly detailed stadiums. FIFA 23 will introduce new FIFA gameplay mechanics, including improved AI intelligence and what EA calls Hypermotion 2, more fluid dribbling, and a revamped physicality system for more authentic player interactions. Additionally, the game will feature an expanded range of licensed teams, leagues, and fields, providing players with a comprehensive footballing experience. With its extensive player career mode, online multiplayer options, and various game modes, FIFA 23 aims to cater to players of all skill levels and preferences. Whether you are a seasoned FIFA player or a newcomer to the series, FIFA 23 is set to deliver an exciting and immersive football gaming experience.
When you launch the game for the first time, you will quickly notice that the design is similar to the previous year. While the menu system boasts a fresh colour scheme and a few more elaborate visual embellishments, it remains almost the same.
The game modes are with all the old favourites returning and little else. However, there are a few new additions and improvements worth noting. For instance, players now have the exciting opportunity to assume the role of the renowned protagonist from the immensely popular Apple TV+ series, Ted Lasso, along with his team, AFC Richmond. Additionally, there is a heightened emphasis on women’s games, thanks to including club teams from England’s WSL and France’s D1 Arkema league.
Unfortunately, playing as a women’s team or a particular female player in career mode is still impossible. However, EA has promised to release additional updates through free downloadable content in the upcoming months. These updates will introduce the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and the Men’s Qatar World Cup as new tournaments that can be played. This means there is more exciting content to anticipate.
Cross-platform play is much improved this time. Initially, it was introduced through a software update towards the end of FIFA 22’s year-long existence, but it was limited to specific modes and somewhat shortened. It functions across nearly all multiplayer modes, including Ultimate Team, and even displays an icon above players to indicate which platform they are using.
After playing numerous matches, we have not encountered any advantages or disadvantages caused by playing against opponents on different platforms. However, it is important to note that only those who own a PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia, or PC can play against each other. The previous generation machines (including the Nintendo Switch) do not support this feature.
FIFA 23 still looks superb. It runs in 60 frames per second during gameplay, seemingly, in 4K on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, 5 Xbox Series X, and compatible PCs. And it is as sleek as ever.
Undoubtedly, FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) has consistently been the most favoured series segment. However, career mode, Volta, and seasons are enjoyable in their respective ways. The newest version will unquestionably follow suit.
The setup is nearly identical to FIFA 22, except for a significant alteration in team composition. The in-game chemistry system has received a complete makeover after following a similar format for many years. Instead of relying on linking lines between players from the team, or country, a new three-point system has been introduced. This system allows for enhanced chemistry through compatible teammates in the starting 11. The more points earned from having compatible teammates, the greater the benefit of a chemistry add-on. The main difference from previous years is that players no longer have to be positioned next to each other to match. They can be placed anywhere in the team. Additionally, once you have three players that match to earn three points each, you can choose players from different federations and countries.
This effectively gives you greater flexibility in forming teams compared to the past. You can have a team that combines players from La Liga and the Premier League, for instance, without facing any negative impact on player performance. Moreover, although it may initially seem complicated, it is easier to pair players when you don’t need to guarantee their proximity on the field.
There is another addition to Ultimate Team regarding player positions. Instead of allowing you to switch player positions based on zones, you are now limited to changing a player’s starting position based on their real-world abilities. If a striker can also play as a centre forward in real life, they can adopt either of those positions. However, their chemistry rating will be negatively affected if placed anywhere else. Additionally, the position modifier cards in the game are now universal. For example, you no longer need to buy a specific card to change a CM to CDM. You can use the same card as long as the player naturally fits the position you want to change them to.
The last addition is called Moments (FUT moments). This new format offers small-scale challenges inspired by significant events in football history. You can track the progress of Kylian Mbappe, for instance, and will earn Stars that can be exchanged for bonuses like player packs and loan players. There is a lot of potential here for some fun outings throughout history. I only wish for EA to add more scenarios in subsequent updates after the game’s release.
However, the same genuinely concerning microtransactions and pay-to-win mechanics loom over FIFA 23’s flagship Ultimate Team mode.
Once more, EA has dedicated the most attention to the Ultimate Team mode this year. While there have been notable alterations to the Volta and Pro Clubs modes, they still primarily cater to a specific audience.
The main highlight is that EA has finally adjusted the changes to the Chemistry system in Ultimate Team. The disparity, when compared to FIFA 22, is immense. This fresh method of constructing squads promotes the exploration of different options.
FIFA 23 Review: Gameplay
The gameplay of FIFA 23 is outstanding. EA has made a decent effort to change the metagame dominated by speed, unlike the previous entries, by enhancing defensive tactics and reducing the pace. This is a significant change and may require returning players to adapt. It doesn’t mean that speed has disappeared entirely, as each player has a unique gradual increase in speed due to the diversified stat introduced by EA.
The slower tempo of FIFA 23 is a brilliant move that brings weight and tension to the game. Despite being FIFA, the game still maintains its quick pace. However, you won’t have to endure constantly giving up goals to incredibly fast strikers that your sluggish defenders can’t keep up with anymore.
There is a fresh shooting mechanism available. Power Shot is incredibly entertaining, even though it lacks depth. Pressing the rear buttons and firing off a shot causes the camera to zoom in before the ball rapidly approaches the goal. It may not be the most efficient method for scoring goals, but it is undoubtedly the most enjoyable.
Defending has significantly improved in the current year, and I enjoy the return of manual defending to the FIFA series. It is more challenging, but manual defending grants greater authority over your defensive line. It reduces the disastrous errors made by your defensive players during the game. Additionally, I have observed that tackles appear to be much more forceful this year, resulting in an increased frequency of injuries. Compared to the more automated defending mechanics found in FIFA 22, I will always choose the approach adopted in FIFA 23.
Visuals and Sounds
FIFA 23 also boasts a noticeable upgrade in visuals, although it is not as drastic as the last year’s transition to the PS5 and Series X. The focus this time is on scuff-happy grass and bouncy hairdos. These enhancements are primarily seen in the player animations on the field rather than their actual faces, which still display varying levels of quality among the cover stars, regular players, and the enthusiastic crowd. Players in defence skillfully extend their legs around the back of the player they are jockeying, while goalkeepers react convincingly when their view is obscured. They dive to the ground when a guardian blocks their view or stumbles backward to swat away a deflected ball.
I was pleasantly surprised by the sound. FIFA 23’s Each stadium has a distinct atmosphere, with unique chants and sounds. When I play Brighton and Hove Albion, the sporadic chants of “Seagulls!” always make me smile. Like when watching a real football match on TV, you can hear the players reacting to heavy tackles and the referees restoring order.
The chants and crowd noises can change dramatically based on the time and score of the game. Sometimes, if you regain possession of the ball, the field will erupt in cheers. Other times, you may be met with a chorus of boos from the opposing crowd. It’s truly exhilarating.
However, FIFA 23 is not an exception when launching in flawless condition. Despite the day-one patch, the game still retains its glitches. Anticipate witnessing keepers standing motionless in the face of a shot, chaotic piles of players twitching and writhing as they fight for possession, and so many more ignored inputs. Usually, EA is fairly effective at resolving such problems gradually, but for now, we will have to be patient and observe the outcome.
Conclusion: Is FIFA 23 Worth It?
FIFA 23 marks the end of an era, successfully capturing the true essence of the sport alongside the discouraging practices of profit-driven individuals.
FIFA 23 is far from being revolutionary. But compared to the last few entries in the series, it’s a step in the right direction.
The gameplay has been enhanced with smoother passing, more efficient defending, and many animations that bring it all to life. However, the dark shadow of gambling constantly hangs over it. This has been the reality since the introduction of Ultimate Team 14 years ago, so it should not be a surprise. I’ve been playing FIFA 23 on the PS5, and it looks and sounds great – most of the time.
The issue is that even though the new attractive features are beneficial this year, they are built upon rotten fundamentals. The mode remains one of the most predatory aspects in the popular gaming industry, and you will regularly bump into the game and technical issues that have persisted in FIFA games for years.
The era of FIFA may be approaching its end. Still, EA Sports FC will likely follow suit similarly: offering an extraordinary football game that unfortunately falls victim to exploitative money-making tactics.