Dear FIFA 23,
I have experienced all the emotions of its younger brothers, since FIFA International Soccer, when I was 4-5 years old. From Janco Tianno to Cristiano Ronaldo. From the Mega Drive to the PlayStation 5. How many memories! From futsal in FIFA 97, the World Cup in FIFA 98, the opening song in FIFA 99… To El Tornado in FIFA 18, La Croqueta in FIFA 19, the Timed Shot in FIFA 20.
In 2023, exactly three decades later, you will no longer bear that name. That is why this year is special. Starting this Friday (30), when your standard version reaches the millions of virtual soccer fans around the world, a sort of countdown begins. You know that story about making the most of every moment? That’s what FIFA 23 is all about.
It is perhaps the most realistic soccer game EA Sports has (and please don’t change that in the first major update). It still has its faults, of course. There has never been a perfect FIFA – and nor will there ever be a pristine EA Sports FC. But within its particularities, you are a final whistle of a title won after a long point championship.
And the feeling is only one: it was worth it. As (almost) always.
The variations of HyperMotion 2
For example, when its developers announced HyperMotion in FIFA 22, everyone was excited. And it was really interesting to see real motion capture being translated on the field. And now the evolution of the technology has arrived. Clear in the very first minutes of gameplay. There are some relevant gameplay changes and some very cool new animations.
When a defender puts his arms behind a shot from inside the box, a winger passes asking for the ball, or the team swings to the side where the play takes place, I even give a little smile. If you like soccer and for a long time complained that your brothers were too focused on dribbling and unrealistic things, you will probably feel quite satisfied.
But then again, you make a few blunders. I understand that the development cycle for FIFA is not one of the longest and that it must be very complex to improve everything in a small year. So, let’s value what has evolved. Exchanging passes and finishing, for example – despite that super strong shot that is stolen a lot.
Its cadence is excellent. Who wants to use faster players can do it, who wants more tiki-taka can do it… There’s just a hint of disappointment that the aerial ball has never been the same since the days of FIFA 14 to FIFA 17, for example. However, when we weigh everything, there are many options to be explored.
But, as in every year, there is a goal. The through balls are again very dangerous, and the new defense system, which is less automatic (unless you have very good defenders), means that attention has to be redoubled. Many times the ball passes through the middle of the defense easily, and since the goalkeepers are so poor…
It is quite common to have games of 4×3, 5×4, and so on. And, no, this is not realistic in soccer. This is the main criticism of you, new FIFA. The goal is the big moment in the sport, but wait a minute! And a lot of this happens because there is that chronic problem with midfielders. For years they have not fulfilled their tactical functions as they should.
Anyone who understands soccer knows how fundamental the position is to the modern game. Whether in marking or in playmaking. It is the last in protecting the defense and the first in creating the attack. Translating this would be essential for realism, but FIFA 23 falls short here – especially on the defensive side.
It is common to see midfielders trotting only as far as the midfield and, after that, letting the opposing midfielders and attackers pass as they please. Then it is necessary to turn with the defenders or try to manually pull the area-heads to where they should stay. Not to mention the inefficient tackling, which is nothing new anymore.
Championship Finals Atmosphere
If on the field you are not perfect, off it… FIFA 23, from the game modes to the atmosphere, the experience is impressive. The more realistic fields, the better ball and player physics, the swinging nets, the singing fans, the new pre-game cutscenes, the immersion of Career, the “addiction” of UT, the fun of Pro Clubs…
In short, you look good in the new generation. Nicely polished graphics, super realistic faces, and a championship final atmosphere throughout the game. Scoring a goal at the very end and seeing those beautiful special celebrations for it is always exciting! And, of course, proportionally sad when it is against my team. EA promised the most realistic setting of the series and they delivered.
In terms of adaptation for the Brazilian audience, you are a double-edged sword. The localization is great. Menus, narration, commentary, trophy names. Only the licensing… The Brazilian teams are even in the game, including some in the Conmebol Libertadores, but all with generic players.
At least, with the World Cup mode later on (those who are not anxious are crazy!) this aspect will improve. But overall, even if expected, it’s still a bit of a cold shower.
In the modes, it is worth mentioning the Career with new attribute system, authentic coaches, redesigned menu and the inclusion of AFC Richmond and Ted Lasso, from the series of the same name that is successful on Apple TV+. And FUT, with the new chemistry system that allows more player mixes on your team and Moments, which have short objectives and give good rewards. Although, of course, it is still extremely pay-to-win.
Connectivity also has to be addressed. For the first time with crossplay, it does not disappoint. It is easy to find matches, and in about a week of many hours of play, there were no problems with crashes or lockups. It would only be even better if it had Pro Clubs, a mode where it is crucial to have as many people online as possible. Speaking of which, the integration with VOLTA was a big hit!
Plus, FIFA 23, you bring women’s soccer into the spotlight like never before in history. From the game’s cover, featuring Chelsea’s Sam Kerr, to the fully licensed English Super League. With specific motion capture of female athletes and even the promise of having a Women’s World Cup 2023 mode as well. Very interesting!
FIFA 23: Is it worth it?
So, Fifa… We start here our Last Dance. With good first impressions, realistic soccer as much as possible and the expectation for an epic year, with two World Cups and lots of content in Ultimate Team.
The “it’s the same game every year” crowd will complain to you. Those who only like to run and dribble will too. But those who know you from other carnivals – 30, to be exact – will have that feeling of living a last year, with successes and mistakes, the kind of year to remember forever, you know?
And also with the expectation that, after the foundation stone laid in FIFA 22 and the evolution with FIFA 23, EA Sports FC will be born even more realistic, with more licenses, incredible ambiance and improved gameplay, especially in the midfield.
All in all, thank you for all this history and may you and we, millions and millions of players, build many memories over the coming months.
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