If you’re wondering about FIFA 23’s calling card, it’s easily EA’s improved use of HyperMotion technology. Yes, this is the last year the game will be called ‘FIFA’, but many players are more interested in the experience they will get once they start, than the name of the title.
With that said, here’s the good, the bad and the bottom line with FIFA 23.
An acquired taste and appreciation
During the first 5-10 minutes of playing FIFA 23, many users may miss the impact of HyperMotion 2, but I found that the more I played, the more I gained an appreciation for the engine’s improvements.
Machine learning – a major part of what makes HyperMotion a potentially attractive piece of technology in all sports games – still has its limitations. After all, there are only so many instances that can be captured in an 11-v-11 series.
Translation: there are still some awkward cases where the animations don’t match the situation. However, when it works and there is an on-pitch scenario that is accurately captured, it delivers some great sequences from the beautiful game.
HyperMotion is about an iteration or two away from being the game-changing technology it already claims to be, but it’s still a definite plus to the overall gaming experience.
This has been an issue for me in previous FIFA games. I’m far from an expert, but there’s something about the tools offered in this year’s game that made it a little easier to pick up and understand.
Acceleration moves divided into controlled, explosive and long animations manifest themselves as excellent tools for a higher level of play and offensive control. Defending the ball from defenders feels more natural in FIFA 23.
Authentic women’s matches
EA should be applauded for including women’s games, clubs and stars like Sam Kerr joining Kylian Mbappe as a cover athlete. To take things to the next level, EA has mo-capped women’s matches to ensure there are almost as many examples of authentic female action as you’ll see in the men’s matches.
There is also the Women’s World Cup alongside the men’s version of the event, which adds more value to the overall package.
The presentation is fantastic
Big matches in EPL, La Liga and other major leagues look and feel great. They offer a televised presentation that enhances the career mode. Your game seasons have all the problems with player and coach personalities.
FIFA still does a good job of adding some life to the experience with an animated news message in the feature’s main menu and enough tasks to connect you to your team’s journey and your virtual world of football.
Initially, I didn’t think I would want the option to just play the highlights in career mode. However, FIFA’s answer to Madden’s Play the Moments and MLB The Show’s Critical Situations works well in global soccer.
It’s not the way I’d choose to play through an entire career experience, but it’s a nice way to change things up a bit.
Cross-play is in FIFA 23. Although it is only available on the same platform generation, it still closes the gap between the major game consoles.
Cross-Play is available in the following modes:
FUT Division Rivals (non-Co-Op), FUT Champions, FUT Ultimate Online Draft, FUT Online Friendlies (non-Co-Op), FUT Play a Friend, Online Friendlies, Online Seasons (non-Co-Op Seasons) and the Virtual Bundesliga
This playlist offers plenty of variety, though it still misses the mark in some areas.
VOLTA is impressive
One of, if not my favorite modes in FIFA is VOLTA. EA explained what was a limited but promising feature in FIFA 22.
With more arcade-style gameplay and more depth to the concept, VOLTA is one of the fastest yet most satisfying ways to play FIFA. Open world concepts aside, it does as good a job as any sports title out there at trying to add an NBA 2K, ballpark-style atmosphere to match the simulation experience.
Blending VOLTA and Pro Clubs into a common journey or genres proves to be a cohesive combination of previously unrelated modes. Chasing for XP doesn’t tire you out and the action on the street court offers a different brand of entertainment.
I would recommend players who may not be into traditional FIFA gameplay to give this VOLTA brand a shot.
FUT is deeper than ever
The two biggest additions to Ultimate Team this year are FUT Moments which bring some solid rewards as you play through historic moments from the careers of Jurgen Klopp and Mbappe.
FIFA followed the lead of MLB The Show’s Diamond Dynasty, which has long used the collection feature to tell stories from historic moments in baseball. The presentation and setup for the moments is strong and pairs nicely with FUT’s built-in hunt for top cards and rewards.
The other important addition is hunting for a top chemistry score for your club.
Number 33 is the target as FIFA’s in-game chemistry measurement may take some time to fully understand. However, it does help this year’s version of FUT achieve what any collection mode should aim for, and that is to add some intrigue and challenge to the primary goal of building a strong fantasy team.
Mix of Career Mode with Franchise Mode is tired
It’s time for FIFA to stop trying to pass off its career mode as an all-in-one franchise mode experience. The two concepts are not the same.
Because FIFA doesn’t have a traditional franchise mode, you can’t run an entire league the way you can in almost every other sports video game in the world.
This omission feels like a philosophical understatement of a traditional sports video game concept, but it’s a minus in my book.
FIFA 23 isn’t annoying, but I’m not sure it qualifies as one of the best sports games on the market. Due to the money it generates and the widespread appeal of the game, improving the graphics is a realistic expectation.
Unfortunately, you probably won’t see a significant difference in the way this game looks compared to the last two entries in the series.
The bottom line
I don’t like FIFA 23 any less than I did last year’s game, but I also wasn’t thrilled with the advancements in many features, such as the career/franchise mode or the graphics. Although it’s technically a better game than FIFA 22, it might not seem that way to those who don’t spend most of their time in FUT or VOLTA. Color me satisfied, but not overwhelmed.
- Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC and Google Stadia (PS5 version tested, code provided by EA)
- Manufacturer: EA Sports
- Publisher: EA
- Released: September 30, 2022
- Price: $59.99 for Standard Edition, $99.99 for Ultimate Edition
- Review Score: 7.75 out of 10