The most immersive and bonkers FIFA game yet, featuring new gameplay physics to grapple with and scores of fun new touches to keep you entertained
Gameplay feels noticeably better
Range of different game modes
New Fifa Ultimate Team options
New defending will take some getting used to
This FIFA 23 review was carried out on PS5. FourFourTwo will be adding more content around FIFA 23 in the coming days.
Cue the music... roll the credits. This, ladies and gentleman is the end of an era. The latest instalment of EA's juggernaut football sim franchise, FIFA 23, also represents the last in the series as we know it. Following a to-do with FIFA, EA will be going it alone next year, with the dubiously-titled EA Sports FC. So for one last time, let's switch on those controllers and get stuck in.
Like many of you, FFT had been worried, throughout the buildup to this launch, that EA were planning a damp squib of a final instalment - choosing to hold back anything fun or innovative for the new franchise. We need not have fretted.
Right from the off, FIFA 23 felt even more immersive, exhilarating and, indeed, ridiculous, than its predecessors. There's a popping soundtrack (well, obviously) filled with instant FIFA franchise classics. Bangers include 'First Flight to Mars' by Ark Woods and 'Ojitos Lindos' by Bad Bunny and Bomba Estéreo. FFT looks forward to singing the latter in perfect Spanish before Christmas (despite being unable to even order a beer on the Costa del Sol).
The menus and interfaces haven't changed much at all, but if it ain't broke don't fix it. The real changes lie in wait once you move beyond the central hub. Perhaps the biggest development is the much-hyped addition of women's domestic leagues (albeit limited to the English and French top flights). FFT had a lot of fun testing out the WSL teams and playing with some of our Euro 2022 heroes. Just don't take on Lyon's Women's team until you've had some practice... trust us.
Another big change is that online players can take on opponents using different consoles to their own, meaning PC players can challenge X-Box disciples, for example. The whole world is at your fingertips, kids.
Elsewhere, there are female referees and assistants in men's games, as well as far more VAR checks than previous editions. Whatever your thoughts on the latter, these are welcome additions that make the sim feel more in line with football's real-life evolution. There are some other nice touches. Before and after kick-off, we're treated to hilarious little scenes involving managers and players. Pep showcasing little Pep idiosyncrasies after a win will never not be funny.
In-game is where FIFA 23 really showcases its new features, though. The gameplay feels more realistic than ever. Somehow slower, yet more muscular. Passes and crosses will ricochet off opponents, catch your own striker's heel or even deflect straight in for a goal. The chaos and hilarity of modern football feels part of the game more than it did last year.
Taking a dangerous shot will see the camera angle swoop and zoom behind the ball, eliciting a sort of "Hold on to your hats, lads!" second of tension as the ball careers towards the top corner. It's a bit weird, being honest, but it's something new and FFT appreciates daring.
Corners and penalties have also been given a healthy revamp. The former used to feel like you were toe-punting a ball into the wind and the latter used to telegraph the direction of your kicks - an utterly stupid feature in multiplayer mode. Now you have greater control (and privacy) over the direction of both.
Defending has also been given an update. FFT clung on to 'Legacy' defending for far too long before finally making the switch to 'Tactical', so this feels like a kick in the teeth. In reality, the new version is a further step away from 'Legacy', relying on more of a team effort than simply controlling the nearest man. We'll get used to it before EA Sports FC decides we're all going back to the original plan. Shoot us now!
All in all, it's another belter of a game, with plenty of new touches to keep you interested beyond just new kits and squads.
FIFA 23 review: FIFA Ultimate Team
Ah, FIFA Ultimate Team (or 'FUT' for you pesky little Gen-Z'ers). The part of the game which is, essentially, a relentless cash-guzzling monster. Players buy virtual packs of player cards to assemble a squad of stars while trading with other gamers and challenging them to online games. A new addition FFT thoroughly approves of is 'Moments' - challenges that let you earn currency towards new cards and players. These can be skill drills or nostalgic play-throughs of a legendary player's career. The ability to earn more freebies is welcome. Not only should it stop rich kids beating everyone thanks to their parents' credit cards, but it also could work to temper the growing spending addictions many young players have developed since FUT's launch several years ago.
'Moments' aside, FUT functions on more or less the same plane than it used to. Be aware that here lies the slightly shadier underbelly to the FIFA franchise.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1