FIFA 23 is the latest game of EA’s franchise with this name, released and with early access for some users. The game comes with specific changes in gameplay, new features in its different game modes, and good graphics, which have been praised by the community. The visual appeal is one of the strengths of the title, with several new animations, cheer effects, and even a new look of the field itself.
The official arrival of crossplay is also an interesting new feature (it was only tested in the final stretch of FIFA 22) that facilitates matchmaking, while faster game options promise to decrease the time to progress in online modes. The Techidence tested the game and brings below a full review of FIFA 23. The game is available for PlayStation 5 (PS5), Xbox Series X/S, and PC, as well as PlayStation 4 (PS4), Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Gameplay: truncated midfield, goals, and ‘live’ ball
FIFA 23’s matches have gained some changes from what was seen in previous years. The main new feature is the dead-ball mechanics, which took a few steps back and returned with a traditional view on corner kicks, as well as resuming features such as the right timing to hit the ball at the time of the penalty kick and selecting the direction of the kick and the location of the ball where the player will hit. This makes it more intuitive to score a great free-kick or take a good corner kick.
In addition, because of EA’s HyperMotion 2 technology, which combines Artificial Intelligence and the capture of real players in entire 11 vs. 11 matches, the fight for the ball has become more realistic, while maintaining FIFA’s “arcade” touch in some dribbling and special shots. The melee has been made more difficult, as well as first touches and long passes. It is now necessary to press the buttons more firmly, but not necessarily harder.
The pace of the game has also become more locked in the midfield, and the teams work together, either to compact or to keep a more closely spaced line. This is due to the capture of collective movements, which also influences the relationship of the goalkeeper with defenders and forwards. In this case, even the reaction was impacted: the ball time will not be the same with many players in the area “blocking” the vision of the archers.
FIFA 23 also relies heavily on beautiful shots from distance. If the fouls gained new more intuitive mechanics, it is now possible to use the new Power Shot to have more chances to score a great goal. The player has a few seconds to adjust his body and kick the ball with enough strength and firmness. For those who are attacking, it is a moment to pay attention not to miss the direction of the shot, as the controls become more sensitive. On the defensive side, you can steal the ball and close the spaces, since this preparation time leaves the opponent “sold” to a possible disarming.
In defense, the joint movement in line helps a lot, but it is not enough to surround to prevent the attack plays. The use of the R1 (RB) is essential to double the marking, while the X (A) again has greater importance to press the opponent. It has become easier for attackers to pass through the defense at speed, especially in women’s soccer, where players are faster and more dribbling. For this, it is important to forget the L2 (LT) a little bit when running and, if necessary, rely on a long pass to recover the ball.
Finally, it is worth talking about the increasingly lively balls after shots are blocked or even saved by the goalkeepers. EA has added an extra layer of realism: the impact on the athletes’ bodies generates different types of deflection, something very closely related to the aesthetic part of the movement of the player’s fingers or even feet. This leads to some unexpected rebounds and some fumbled balls throughout the matches. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to the leftovers to avoid surprises.
EA has also brought important new features to the different game modes. In Career Mode, it is worth mentioning the possibility of controlling real coaches, as well as making decisions in the personal life of the chosen player or created in the option to act as an athlete. In addition, the menus have been reorganized, improving the display of important information and making the management part more intuitive.
In FUT, the change went deeper, taking the essence of the mode. Team chemistry, which was previously measured by the relationship between players of close positions, has undergone a reformulation. Now it is not necessary to put, for example, two Brazilian athletes from the same league side by side to reach the maximum potential of both and increase the team’s points as a whole: they can be from opposite positions on the field, and will count for the Chemistry system in the same way.
Therefore, teams with many players of different nationalities and leagues need to be built from a larger number of relationships, not just three to four links as before. This may make the Squad Building Challenges (SBC) more complicated, but it makes building a strong squad easier if you want to use different players to their full potential in attack or defense, for example.
The mode also gained new Moments, a feature that allows you to play excerpts of matches to accomplish specific missions and earn points more quickly. The idea, according to EA, is to facilitate the participation of users who do not have much time to play options like Squad Battles, Rivals, or even friendly matches in FUT and grow in the mode.
Moments is somewhat reminiscent of an actual matches section that some older FIFA featured, with historical matches or classic-related minigames. Just like in those challenges, the player may need to control a specific athlete to score two goals in the final 15 minutes of a match, and score from a free kick early in the second half, among other examples.
Volta, the next-generation “FIFA Street”, has also changed the new edition, and now, besides bringing another gameplay to the game, is a more relaxed alternative for those wishing to progress in Pro Clubs. The avatar used in one is the same as the other, and tattoos, hair, and accessories will be the same in both modes. In terms of gameplay, there are a few different options, such as workouts that also earn points in multiplayer mode, while Volta continues with the Arcade mini-games, now on a full-time basis (not just on weekends).
One important absence in Pro Clubs is crossplay, which is present in FUT. The possibility of playing with users from other platforms is very positive when it comes to forming matches, and would be a necessary addition to the mode, which requires multiplayer gameplay. In Ultimate Team, for example, the matchmaking time is much shorter than in other editions (even during the early access period), thanks to cross-play.
Licensed leagues, two World Cups, and more women’s soccer
FIFA 23 also brings more licensed leagues to the franchise. Broadcasting is customized in tournaments like the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, and now in Serie A TIM, the only one of those that doesn’t have all the teams with real shields and uniforms. The two added women’s leagues, England and France, are also 100% licensed, including the teams’ actual stadiums. In addition, EA’s contracts with Conmebol and UEFA also continue, guaranteeing real shields and uniforms on the Libertadores and South American teams, as well as in the Champions, Europa, and Conference League.
The big news involving this theme in FIFA 23 is the presence of two licensed World Cups. Both will arrive via DLC: the first in the coming months, as the men’s World Cup takes place at the end of November, and the second in the middle of next year, when the Women’s World Cup takes place in Australia and New Zealand. There isn’t much information yet about the content coming in the expansions, but following what happened in 2014 and 2018, you can expect real stadiums, all 100% licensed ranked teams, and also a special FUT option to play.
It is also worth noting, unfortunately, the absence of real Brazilian players in the national teams. This time, not even the Brazilian League, a national tournament with some teams from here is available. Only the clubs that qualified for Libertadores or the South American Championship were included in the game, but still with generic athletes. The same goes for the men’s and women’s national teams, which do not feature the country’s top stars.
As for our Argentinean Hermanus, both the local championship and the teams in the Conmebol competitions are 100% licensed, including some coaches and three real stadiums: Racing’s Presidente Perón, Independiente’s Libertadores de América, and Boca Juniors’ Bombonera. Now Argentina is the only Latin American country faithfully represented in the franchise, since the Brazilian, Colombian, and Chilean leagues, which have appeared in previous titles, have been removed for good.
Graphics and ambiance
The graphics in FIFA 23 seem to have leaped forward from the previous edition. The resemblance of the main stars, who have a face faithfully reproduced in the game, was even the subject of comments on Twitter by users who played the title in early access.
The crowd, a point always worked by EA in the franchise, also gained more real aspects, both in appearance and behavior. Moments of goal (for or against) are marked by a lot of movement, clapping, and performances are followed by the sounds of singing, and there are also some interesting details to observe, such as people going up the stairs and coming back with drinks, group celebrations, and even empty seats at the end of the game in case of a score.
There are also animations on the outside of the stadium. During testing, it was possible to see the movement of fans in the vicinity of the Bombonera, in an attempt (not very faithful, it must be said) to reproduce the streets of the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires, where Boca Juniors plays. The same happens outside the San Siro before a Milan match, or at Old Trafford moments before a Manchester United engagement.
On the field, the graphics and ambiance are also noteworthy. The detail of the goalkeeper’s fingers after the impact of the ball in a save, as well as the swing of a player’s foot when blocking a shot with the tip of the foot are interesting aesthetic innovations, and influence the gameplay by the difference in the way the deflection happens.
Other interesting changes in FIFA 23 are the grass, which is now more faithful to reality (even with specific details for synthetic grass, as some users highlighted on Twitter), and the network, which is now 3D and had its movements redone by EA in goal kicks.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the replay, which brings a kind of Augmented Reality with numbers about the shot, such as speed, direction, and goal chance, among others, giving much emphasis on the sound of the strike. All these aspects give an “extra something” to the game experience, ensuring the greater immersion promised by the company in the game.
FIFA 23 is a good final act for EA’s franchise, which will change its name next year. The pre-EA Sports FC era closes with major new features in the main modes, a good number of licensed leagues, and more women’s soccer options to play. The ambiance is an important differential, both for the transmissions that are faithful to what you see in real life and for the physics details and improved graphics.
In addition, the game will be the first in the franchise to offer a fully licensed women’s World Cup, as well as bring the men’s tournament which takes place at the end of 2022. The game is available from $59.99 for PS4, $69.99 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and $59.99 on PC via Steam.