FIFA is one of the most popular gaming franchises of all time, with each annual release rarely dropping out of the top 10 in game sales charts. The reveal of this year’s entry, FIFA 22, is imminent. It could happen any day or as late as July 22nd’s EA Play presentation. We’re fortunate to even be getting the game after the recent European Super League controversy. EA Sports continued their focus on revamping Career mode and enhancing Volta Football in FIFA 21, so there is much speculation about this year’s changes and improvements as the series fully transfers to new gen consoles. Here are 6 things that fans should like to see in FIFA 22.
1. New Story Mode
Story mode isn’t the first thing a lot of people think of when talking about FIFA, but it’s something that EA Sports have focused on for a few years. The Journey, which spanned three games, followed the career of Alex Hunter as he rose to the top of the footballing world. They have since turned their attention towards a similar story for their street football mode titled VOLTA Football. This has, however, left players who aren’t fans of this skill-based mode, such as myself, with nothing.
While continuing their VOLTA Football story, I would like to see EA cater to other players by introducing a created character story mode that’s similar to 2K’s MyCareer mode. It’s already possible to play as your own character, also known as a ‘Pro’, in Career although it lacks narrative and has seen minimal changes over the years.
Players could choose where their character transfers, have the option of creating tension within their team (I could annoy Marcos Alonso enough that he finally leaves Chelsea) or with their rivals, and even enter a scenario where a controversial situation causes their character to rebuild their football career. If given the right amount of attention, it’s a mode that could have a lot of potential and help shape FIFA‘s long-term future.
2. Overhauled Defending System
FIFA 21 has been met with a fair amount of criticism since its release. One of those recurring pieces of criticism has been the defending gameplay system. It’s an area that is certainly in need of improvement in FIFA 22. In my experience, too many tackles that I put in go straight back to my opponent instead of my tackler or a teammate gaining possession. My midfield rarely track back to help my defence, and playing around with tactics does not seem to solve this odd problem. Containing attackers isn’t as effective as it was in previous years as defenders often fail to close down the opponent. I’m not a great defensive player, but some things just don’t seem right.
4-4 may be a balanced scoreline, but recurring 4-4s and 5-5s do not make for a balanced gameplay experience. While attacking is enjoyable, the same can’t be said for defending. It’s a gameplay system that could do with being overhauled to be more favourable towards players. If I put in a great last-minute tackle, I’d like to be rewarded for it 90% of the time. I don’t want to constantly see the ball go straight back to the opponent’s striker. More animations such as three defenders running into a line to block a long-range shot would be satisfying also.
3. More Rewarding FUT Draft Mode
Ultimate Team is FIFA‘s biggest game mode. Players can create their dream teams by collecting powerful special cards and playing against one another competitively. Acquiring these teams is a lot of work, though. Players can either buy players using coins, or test their luck through opening packs with coins or FIFA Points aka micro transactions (the latter option has caused plenty of controversy). FUT Draft, however, is a feature which allows people to draft a team of players and enter a tournament with that team. The catch is that this costs a fee, and unfortunately the tournament rewards are abysmal. I once won two out of the four matches and only just broke even from the value of my pack rewards.
While the main appeal of Draft is to play with special cards that are very difficult to obtain, the lack of reasonable rewards puts me off playing it more than I would like to. I prefer to save my coins and spend my time playing another feature that gets me much better rewards. In FIFA 22, Draft players should not lose thousands of coins because they lost their first match. They should break even and then make more profit with every match they win. Higher value packs do not guarantee great rewards, so the game balance can still be retained. Draft should be a fun experience, not a regrettable one.
4. Online Career Mode
Career mode, my favourite part of FIFA, allows players to take any team to the top over a 15 year long period as a manager. The main challenges are meeting board objectives, keeping the team happy and bringing through youth players. After seeing little changes for many years, EA has recently listened to fan demand by starting to put a lot more focus into Career through player training, press conferences etc. That need for an online version of Career still remains, however.
It’s interesting to think about how an online Career mode would work in FIFA 22. I would like to see two different ways of playing with friends. The first is two players managing the same team in co-op, taking it in turns to make transfers and play matches while in constant communication with one another. The other is up to six or eight players taking control of their own team. Eight players could all decide to be Premier League teams, for example. I feel like it would be fun to battle against friends over a 38-game season. Imagine a title-deciding final day between two best mates. It could ruin friendships, but online Career would spark even more life into a revitalised game mode.
5. Improved AI Difficulty
Difficulty spikes can be painful. You become a master at a game on one difficulty level, only to then get crushed immediately after jumping to the next difficulty. This is the case in FIFA 21. I’ve destroyed teams 7-0 on World Class difficulty with the AI offering little response. Upon increasing the difficulty to Legendary, I found myself struggling to even get a shot on goal and would lose by three or four goals. Every AI team would play like Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. There’s no balance and it can make players want to stop playing. It’s an issue that needs to be figured out.
For starters, every AI team should have their own playing style. Newport County, from England’s fourth division, playing exactly the same football as Premier League Champions Manchester City is just silly. Every game should be a different experience with a different challenge no matter the difficulty. Yes, shock results can and should happen but not because I got out-skilled and dominated by a team much worse than mine. Being able to drop down by one difficulty level and then destroy them 8-0 is not right. EA Sports need to be careful with the difficulty spikes, otherwise playing offline will continue to be a frustrating experience.
6. Increased Women’s Football Representation
Women’s football made its debut in the FIFA franchise in FIFA 16. Players could play as women international teams in Kick Off and Tournament mode either solo or with friends. It was a big step forward for the sport. Since then, women’s football has continued to be on the rise with viewing figures looking set to be increasing by 360% globally. This is partly thanks to a huge new broadcasting deal in the UK. Yet, women’s football in FIFA 21 is exactly the same as it was five games prior. It’s still only international teams and you can only play as them in the same modes. The sport’s progression needs to be reflected in the best-selling sports franchise.
A big step forward would be FIFA 22 featuring national leagues from multiple countries, such as UK’s Women’s Super League, with every club from the top leagues playable. Players should be allowed to play as these teams in Career mode as they aim to win the Women’s Champion’s League. They could even attempt to dethrone USA in the Women’s World Cup as an international manager.
Women players should be put into Ultimate Team also, where there could be a new fantasy game mode that allows players to build their dream intergender squad. Increased presentation could be fantastic for the sport and perhaps increase the amount of female players. It would mean more money for EA, which would be music to their ears.
Do you agree with this list? What would you like to see in FIFA 22? Let me know in the comments below!