FIFA 22 has a tough task. For one, the over 30 million players all seek something different in the game. Then, the video game must jump over to the next generation of consoles. Fortunately, at least for Electronic Arts, that switch opens up new possibilities for change and adaptation.

Recently, EA announced the changes and updates coming to the 2022 version of the sixth-most popular video game franchise in history. FIFA 22 touts total innovation to all facets of the game.

In many regards, these hopeful innovations are necessary. On IMDb, the predecessor, FIFA 21, received less than rave reviews. Predominantly, people gave it one star out of ten. Critics called out its scripting, poor defensive mechanics, goalkeeping issues, unbalanced attacking and other faults.

In their game announcements, EA took on these criticisms, catering to players who called out FIFA 21’s deficiencies.

Now, we will break down the major changes the game will try to bring in its 2022 rendition. Remember, these are the goals of FIFA 22. In reality, the gameplay will be the deciding factor. However, the game only goes live on September 26.

FIFA 22 and Improved Defense

There is one common thread among complaints regarding FIFA 21. Defenders seem lackadaisical, there is no structure, and below average players can carve through elite defenses.

FIFA 22 attempts to tackle those through one simple concept that FIFA fans desire: realism. It’s great and all being able to do skill moves, 35-yard screamers and bicycle kicks with ease. But, that all goes by the wayside if the gameplay is not usable.

EA used Xsens suits (the things people wear to make game animations) during an 11-v-11 match of professional soccer players. This combined with machine learning, should allow defenses to keep their structure and add more realism to the game. EA hopes to use the increased power of next generation gaming systems to allow for more possibilities in the artificial intelligence characters. Therefore, there are, as Electronic Arts describes, over 4,000 new animations to raise intensity, physicality and responsiveness of the players.

Furthermore, FIFA 22 will take the issue of poor defending head on, literally in some ways. There is improved artificial intelligence on both offense and defense. To start, offensive A.I. will have six times more decisions to make. Essentially, non-player characters will make smarter runs and have more awareness of their surroundings. Also, they react to loose balls faster, another thing critics noticed lacking in FIFA 21. Then, defensive A.I. works on other issues. The main point to note is that FIFA wants the defenses to stay together as a unit, making it harder for offenses to just breeze down the field.

Commitment to realism

As seen with defensive enhancements, FIFA 22 puts real-life circumstances at the forefront. Moreover, there are smaller, perhaps less noticeable, aspects coming to FIFA 22 that build on that philosophy.

Among those is the development of aerial duels. In previous FIFA games, headers would be overpowered. Players on offense resorted simply to crosses to tall players even though the defending team played tall, physical center backs. Now, FIFA introduces kinetic air duels, including players pushing and pulling as they would in a real game. The outcomes should be cleaner in practice, according to EA.

Elsewhere, goalkeepers received an improvement for the new game. A “brand new goalkeeper system” provides new characteristics and actions for shot stoppers. EA reflects the different traits of goalies in professional soccer, and now developed reflexes.

READ MORE: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s love for video games.

Finally, EA brought in true ball dynamics. Whether that be swerve, movement or roll on any touch, pass or shot, FIFA 22 should see more realistic occurrences in ball flight.

Also, players will now ‘talk’ and communicate with gestures on the field, just as they would in a game. This is definitely more of a cosmetic change, but could be something fun to see in game.

Game Mode Improvements

Career Mode

In FIFA 21, FIFA’s manager career mode saw massive improvements. It is something players wanted for years after FIFA seemed to neglect it. It is far from perfect, as is much of the game, but it showed potential. In FIFA 22, expect more developments to both sides of career mode.

For manager career mode, you can now create your own team entirely. You can still take Wycombe Wanderers to the Champions League Final, but now you can have your own fingerprint in the game. The team you create can go into any league. You simply replace a team in that league, and they are added to the “rest of the world” teams in career mode. You also get to choose your colors, crest, stadium, nickname and a rival in your league.

For player career mode, you can finally play the game if you come on as a substitute. In previous iterations of the game, you could sim through your time on the bench, but not play when you came off it. Also, FIFA revamped the match objectives for player career mode. Now, you can enhance your objectives to make the challenges harder, but the possible rewards greater. Additionally, FIFA 22 gets rid of the achievement side of player development and instead opts to put it entirely in the hands of the player. A skill tree allows you to select certain attributes to develop. Then, there are perks which allow the player to specialize in certain areas.

Ultimate Team
Jerzy Dudek is a hero in Liverpool lore, and is now a hero in FUT.

Jerzy Dudek is a hero in Liverpool lore, and is now a hero in FUT.

Jerzy Dudek is a hero in Liverpool lore, and is now a hero in FUT.

FIFA’s most popular game mode sees a few changes this year. FIFA 22 has a reworked Division Rivals mode, centering on allowing players to compete when they are available. A seasonal progression system with checkpoints ensures that you can progress, but you will not lose all progress with a loss.

FIFA Ultimate Team also welcomes FUT Heroes, league-based icons that will have chemistry with any player in a league that the Hero played their best at. For example, Jerzy Dudek helped Liverpool to a dramatic Champions League triumph, meaning his Hero card is assigned to the Premier League.

FIFA 22 should make the Ultimate Team experience similar to your specific style of play.

Pro Clubs

FIFA’s Pro Clubs series brings the same changes as career mode. For example, you can create a club and have the personalization aspects of that. Also, your player becomes better through attributes and skill trees, just like the player version of career mode.

For Pro Clubs, FIFA 22 allows for more diversity. This year, you will be able to create a male or female character to use in drop-ins, friendlies and league matches.

Drop-ins can also now happen with your friends. You can team up with at most four people and join a drop-in to play with other people on the Pro Clubs servers. You are assigned a position based on the traits and positions your created player most aligns with.