FIFA 23 has been out for a week now, and with plenty of time to play, it’s time for a review. FIFA 23 marks the end of an era, with FIFA and EA announcing their split, this is officially going to be the last FIFA game. But does FIFA 23 end the long-running series with a bang?
Of course, EA has announced that they will be making a new football game without FIFA – that game being EA Sports FC. Which is a bit of a weak name in comparison to FIFA, but it serves its purpose.
When it comes to playing, the game feels very fluent and fast. Dribbling and passing feel smoother compared to previous entries. And the new power shot system gives you an extra strong option up front. It’s a very strong addition, in that if you get it off, you will almost always score. But its time requirement brings it down to a level where it is just balanced.
When it comes to core gameplay and features, the game doesn’t stray massively from what has already been set. But what is here is entertaining and performs well, delivering a fun experience.
If you have played FIFA before, then you know exactly what to expect when it comes to game modes. All your favourite modes are still within FIFA 23, those being ultimate team, career mode, pro clubs, kick-off, tournaments the world cup mode coming later this year and more. Women’s football has been added too, which is a great addition, but other than that there aren’t any new modes to really take note of.
Same for changes as well. The new chemistry system in ultimate team is a nice touch, but there are not many notable changes in any of the other modes.
I want to start off with career mode. It’s almost the exact same as the previous years. But the one big notable addition is the playable highlights. Where you can take control of your team in notable attacking or defensive moments. This new addition falls flat to put it simply. If you fail to take chances, then this addition is going to be a bit troublesome for you. As you only have a short time to make the most of the moment, and if you flunk it then you don’t get the chance to win the ball back and try again. It throws you straight into the next moment.
In career mode, you also now have the option to play as a real manager. It’s a neat option to have, but visually, it’s a hit and a miss. Some managers look realistic, whereas others look nothing like the managers they are based on. Also, there is a bit of a problem when it comes to options in different leagues. For example, there is only one manager option from Ligue 1.
There is also a new transfer rating menu that appears after you have signed a player, rating the signing. But to me, this feels a bit useless. As you already know if you have overpaid or not during the transfer, you will already have a good idea of how good the signing would be.
The big thing I want to mention in Ultimate Team is the new chemistry and position change systems. The chemistry between players now works through a chemistry indicator. Rather than your green, yellow, or red links seen in previous FIFA games, each player will have a chemistry indicator on a scale of 0-3. You can see this indicator in the bottom left corner of the player card. Rather than aiming for 100 chemistry, you will be aiming for 33 chemistry points. 3 points based on 11 players.
Chemistry points are based on the same points as in previous years, players have clubs, leagues, and nations. If you get 2 players who play for the same club, they get one chemistry point. If you have three players who play for the same country, they get one chemistry point each. And three players from the same league get one chemistry point each. These players don’t need to be playing next to each other, which is a good change.
The new chemistry system is a bit of a mixed change for me overall. It gives you a new way to approach creating your team and opens new options that you may not have been able to utilise in previous games. The biggest downside of this change though is that you can no longer utilise strong links between players. Where before you could have two players from the same club next to each other getting a strong link and playing at full chemistry, that is no longer possible. And can restrict making crazy hybrid teams.
Position changes are also a neat change. Position changes in previous games were a bit strong. You could use cards to switch players to positions they wouldn’t normally play in. Like moving a striker from CF to CM. Making them a midfielder. These cards would also be quite expensive if you keep using them too. Now, in FIFA 23, each player has preferred and secondary positions. And you can use position cards to give players their secondary positions. For example, this was shown in the trailer, Joao Cancelo's base card is RB. But also has secondary positions of LB and RWB. Give him a position card, and you will be able to switch him over to one of those positions.
The position changes are decent, though it may be a downside that you can no longer swap positions to whatever you choose. But it also has a few upsides in that you won’t have to keep buying position cards.
Other than that, there aren’t many other changes to ultimate team. New pack animation is there of course, but this isn’t much of a deal. Squad builder challenges are a bit more of a hassle now due to the new chemistry system. But all-around, the gameplay is fun as mentioned.
Graphics and Performance
When it comes to graphics and performance, this is the strongest FIFA so far. But this was only expected. Playing on a PS5, the game constantly performed at a stable 60fps. Apart from a few frame drops during animations and close-ups. When playing from the normal camera view, you won’t have any problems at all. And there aren’t many major bugs to speak of. There are a few menu bugs and visual glitches that I have seen within career mode, but they did not interfere with any gameplay or vital components.
Graphically, the game looks great. Granted it’s not a massive must-have for the game, but it is a nice touch. The pitch and stadiums look excellent, and the player models are very good (though this has been a strong point across multiple games).
The soundtrack is also great, but this does always tend to be a strong point to the series.
FIFA 23 brings an end to the FIFA game series. If you have played FIFA before, you know exactly what you are in for. The gameplay is fun, and the game performs consistently well. But the lack of major changes brings the question of, whether is it worth buying the game now for £70, or waiting until it is on sale. I would opt for the latter in this situation. The changes to the chemistry system are notable, but work based on the same components and complicates the team-making process rather than simplifying it.
Overall, I rate FIFA 23 at a 7/10. It’s generous considering the game is essentially an updated version of FIFA 22, but what is here is very fun and won’t disappoint if you are a football fan.