It's no great shock the FIFA 22 roll-out from EA Sports focuses so heavily on the gameplay side of the experience.
This year's game is, after all, the first one in the series with revamped mechanics and features fully leaning into the power of the next generation of consoles.
EA Sports has used this additional power to change on-pitch gameplay as fans have come to know it forever. The Hypermotion system, motion captures, advances in A.I. and a system that spits out player reactions and behavior on the fly promises big things.
Some of that gets a spotlight in recent gameplay videos:
That big revamp atop the usual and expected upgrades across various game modes has the October 1 release looking like the most-hyped entry in the series in a long time.
On the game-mode front, FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team) gets some major changes. A new structure to divisional brackets means a better-feeling sense of progression for players each season. As they climb, they'll pass checkpoints that make sure they don't fall back out of a bracket. New reward systems, refreshed each season, plus added customization to stadiums and teams, means the collector's paradise will once again be a dominant mode.
For those who don't want to dip toes into FUT, Career mode might be the place they spend the most time this year.
Both Manager Career and Player Career have received notable upgrades. In the former, players are free to pick any league for their new team, set priorities and go through an extensive customization process, which is especially upgraded in the stadium section.
Player Career might be even more interesting. Players will now have the option to sub into a match from the bench. It almost sounds silly, but it's another layer of realism for those who want to simulate an up-and-coming player's journey. Along the way, managers will expect players to accomplish goals, and assigned grades will lead to rewards and progression. Said progression features a reworked skill tree and perks set aimed at giving players even more control over the nuances of a skill set and role within a club.
Some of the next-generation horsepower makes its presence felt in Player Career, too, with more realistic broadcast elements, as explained by a developer diary:
"On PlayStation5, Xbox Series X|S, and Stadia these accomplishments aren't just celebrated in the news, we've also added pre-match intro sequences in which the commentator team will pick up on what you have achieved. New cinematics such as new team warm up sequences, locker room moments, teams inspecting the pitch as well as the groundskeeper making last minute preparations will build up the tension for important matches ahead. If your team is underperforming in an important match, you might even see the crowd leaving early!"
For fans of a more arcade-ish slant, rest assured Volta football didn't go ignored this year. In fact, it gets one of the most important feature overhauls of all impacting gameplay thanks to the addition of a new Skill Meter.
While basic, it sounds like a game-changer—players will receive goal multipliers when building up this new meter. Whether it's through tricks, proper defense or something else, a single goal can now be worth quite a bit more based on the skill meter.
That's not the only big mixup coming to Volta, either, per a developer diary: "Signature Abilities are brand new, easy-to-use, game-changing abilities for you to trigger during a match. Whether you want to slam home thundering shots from anywhere on the pitch, blow past opponents with lightning pace, or rattle bones with crunching tackles, Signature Abilities are there to help."
New super abilities, one in the form of defense, one on offense and another that lets stats like speed surpass the 99 thresholds, should breathe even more life into an already-fun, non-simulation experience.
Like some of the other biggest sports titles on the market, FIFA 22 clearly wants to appeal to as many players as possible. And this year's edition should do that for solo, competitive, arcade, simulation or collector-type players, all with critical gameplay upgrades in the backdrop.