I've dabbled in critiquing FIFA, the videogame, before, but frankly John Oliver and Last Week Tonight critiqued FIFA, the real life organization, way better than I ever could all the way back in 2014. So don't let people tell you we haven't been bemoaning Qatar and their deplorable human rights record for 12 Years, we have and the entire world has ever since that depressing day in 2010 when they were awarded this tournament. In hindsight it's lucky we aren't hosting this one as this Golden Generation that will hopefully be the beginning of a new normal of competing at the highest level gets more time to prepare for 2026. But still there was absolutely no reason to cowtow to Putin and Russia with 2018, objectively FIFA should've picked England from the Football Perspective or cowtowing to Qatar with 2022 as they should've literally picked anyone else. The Pandemic even gave them a potential out screwing up the schedule as reassigning the tournament to Summer 2023 and Women's World Cup Hosts Australia & New Zealand would've been extremely practical and at least been admission of guilt and retribution. But I should move on to what we're actually here for, talking about the Videogame. Just felt like I couldn't talk about anything related to Qatar 2022 without it.
FIFA 23: 2022 World Cup DLC
I am one of the biggest USA & USMNT Die Hards, so the article I'm most proud of so far is my examination of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, Requiem For The CONCACAF Hexagonal!!!!! Somewhat needless to say, World Cup Soccer and International Soccer overall is my biggest sporting passion, (my take on how FIFA should change their 4 Year Cycle of Tournament Scheduling.)
So the World Cup Mode was and is to me the Reason why I bought the game in the 1st place, especially since we're going to get a Women's World Cup DLC in the Summer as well. And while we do actually have some good things to write about today, I have to start with the most damning negative and the one that unfortunately disqualifies this FIFA, and the Last FIFA thank god as EA's lost FIFA's Rights going forward, from any positive review score and as a result gets a 0/100 for this glaring fatal flaw.
They Couldn't Even Bother to Structure the World Cup Bracket Correctly!!!
Anyone who is a passionate follower of the tournament could easily tell you that the bracket is wrong, as Group State Teams Rematching in the Knockouts is only supposed to happen in either the Final Itself or the 3rd Place Game, and England rematching Belgium in 2018's 3rd Place Game is the only occurrence ever irl so far if I'm not mistaken. Yet here FIFA has USA & England both on the Left Side of the Bracket, poised for a Semifinal Rematch. So congratulations EA, you've failed at doing the bare fucking minimum!!! This better be patched!!! Please patch it when you put in the Official Rosters as the 32 Teams announce their 26 Man Rosters, you are planning to do that aren't you EA!!!???
But okay, I should get off my soapbox and get down to reviewing the rest of the game. Otherwise the World Cup Mode seems to be on par with FIFA 18's Effort for Russia, which is very depressing as the 2010 South Africa Game is Legendary for it's Fantastic Depth and is probably the best EA released football game ever!! And the 2006 Germany and 2014 Brazil games did great jobs, too. To be honest since you could get around it with Custom Tournament on FIFA 2002 and the Qualifying was on FIFA 2002 I just did that instead of getting the Korea/Japan Game as a kid, but once I did get it years later I found it was a great effort for the time as well. But, Bracket Bungling Aside, this is functionally better than Russia 2018 as the Live Scenarios are returning. EA will be creating Challenge Scenarios based on the irl events of the real tournament going forward once we get started on the 20th.
Although sadly as always, they've saved most of their effort, pomp, and circumstance for Ultimate Team. And that sweet USA 1994 Jersey from the Top, only available in Ultimate Team. If you're going to add alt jerseys EA, make them available in the ENTIRE Game!!! #UniWatch!!!
So the most periphery topic to the World Cups as the Women's World Cup DLC is also coming next summer is that FIFA, finally added some Women's Clubs into the Game. Although not anywhere nearly as many or as in depth as was originally teased. As some sources were expecting the English Women's Super League, UEFA Women's Champions League, NWSL, Germany's Frauen-Bundesliga and Spain's Liga F. And that it would be enough to make a Women's Career Mode, but NOPE!! Only the English Women's Super League and the French Division 1 Feminine made it into the game and with NO Women's Career Mode. They're only playable in Kickoff and Tournament/Custom Tournament Mode. Thankfully you can create a 24 Team League Tournament in Custom Tournament so I threw the 12 English Teams and the 12 French Teams into a Custom Chunnel League, but it's depressing that this is as good as it's going to get. Still it is something, and 2k's WNBA Content in the NBA 2k Series is literally the only other Major Sports Game even giving a crap about Women's Sports.
Career Mode has gotten some good quality of life upgrades in the years since I last upgraded with FIFA 18. Having the UEFA License and the UEFA Competitions within Career Mode is a big improvement the FIFA Community has been enjoying since FIFA 19. Dynamic Potential is also another big one that helps make Career Mode more appealing, although there is apparently an uproar that it's glitching in this years edition. So we the Career Mode Players of FIFA will be keeping an eye on that one.
The ability to change player's positions and set development plans for all your different players both Senior and Youth is a great addition. Which also helps both keep it realistic and gives you way more options with your players. A popular choice in Manchester United Career Modes going forward would be to train Bruno Fernandes to Defensive Midfielder when he gets older to take advantage of his vision and passing while asking less of him in the attack going forward.
Being able to delegate both contract and transfer negotiations is a huge help that's been added in recent years. Sadly it's sometimes the only workaround for some things though. As for example if you receive a loan-to-buy option from a club for one of your players, the only way to successfully talk them down to a loan with no option to buy is to delegate it to your assistant. Whereas if you try to negotiate that yourself it always fails.
I do miss doing the Training Drills for your Players actual Growth though, whereas now having to do them just for Match Sharpness is too tedious to even bother with. Thankfully you can simulate them and still get slight Match Sharpness Increases. However the overall Fitness/Sharpness/Morale System is a positive upgrade overall for the mode. And doing the Training Drills just for Player Growth is still available in Player Career. Which Player Career has been upgraded as well to a Mode that's actually worth exploring again as you now have different options for actually spending your wages so that it's actually relevant. And there's 3 Different Personality Types whose varies rewards grant your player different skills. However, I'd be lying if I said I'd played Player Career enough to comment further. I'm still in the early-going of preseason in my player career.
Having real life managers available to use, both at their real clubs and for anybody is a great option, too. I'm going to enjoy trying to take my best American Manager, Jesse Marsch, to glory with both his actual Leeds United Side, despite them technically being Manchester United Rivals, and Borussia Dortmund. And it has changed dynamically with the updates as Graham Potter now defaults to Chelsea and his replacement at Brighton & Hove has been uploaded to the Mode, too.
The Create-A-Club Feature has been a huge positive in the community as well, and having those features available to edit your club and even real clubs, the ones that don't have their real stadium in the game anyways, every new season is great!!!
We've gotten some great additions to the roster of available Stadiums over the years, but not anywhere near as many as we should've/would've if it were actually a development priority.
Adding Wrexham and AFC Richmond, the Television Clubs, if you will, was a great decision as well. AFC Richmond is a great natural plug for Swapping in for Milton Keynes to banish that Relocation Franchise to the Irrelivance of the Rest of the World Section and out of your Career Mode entirely. Although with MK Dons being in League 1, you do need to swap AFC Richmond to the Championship because their ratings are too high for League 1, but it's still great!!! While I haven't seen either club's tv show just yet as Apple TV's out of reach, and I'm waiting til we have the Commercial-Free Version of Hulu for Wrexham, it is a great addition. I've got a Wrexham Career Mode currently where I'm using AFC Richmond's Ted Lasso as the Manager to mash up the tv shows if you will and it's my most played Career Mode as I'm already in Season 2 and League 1 (Tier 3) with the side that's in the Vanaramma National League (Tier 5) in real life. You have to start them in League 2 (Tier 4) for Career Mode, but it's still great. And the real life Wrexham side got frustratingly close to promotion last year anyways.
Adding Copa Libertidores finally was a great addition as well. Perhaps the biggest depth gripe is the lack of some really important tournaments!!!
No CONCACAF Champions League, and therefore STILL no reason to bother with MLS, No African or Asian Champions League!!!
No Gold Cup, Asian Cup, or African Cup of Nations!!!
And just the lack of National Teams in general. As in a perfect world, Every National Team, and every International Competition should be IN the GAME!!! And the only FIFA to ever get that right to date is FIFA 2002!!!
Not to mention the whole having to get randomly hired for the International Jobs sucks and has sucked for a decade plus. You should be able to start a save with any combo of Club & International Teams. Heck being able to play as just an International Manager not tethered to a Club at all would be fascinating, too, and be really interesting getting into the future that fast. The 15 Year Limit would be a big hindrance on that one, too, but that's never been too big of a gripe personally as I usually have too much going on to ever play that long.
As frustrating as you club's board objectives are sometimes, it does help you immerse yourself in the realities of managing different types of clubs.
I love the idea of Pro Clubs, but I've never really gotten into it because I don't have enough friends playing the game in general. And I usually don't pay for Xbox Live for Online Play anyways. I'm just your pure Offline Career Mode Player wanting to immerse myself into my favorite sports.
One last positive is that it was brilliant adding some classics from FIFA Soundtracks of the past with the recent update, as #FIFASongs is a big culture thing with this game!!! Hearing On Top of the World, the song that introduced most soccer fans to Imagine Dragons for the 1st Time with FIFA 13, within the game again was fantastic! I even heard a couple bangers from FIFA 2002 as well. So really digging in the vault, too! Not a bad note to go out on with this very last version of EA Sports's FIFA. And I hope EA, you'd better both update and fix the Men's World Cup and get the Women's World Cup DLC right in the Summer! If it weren't for that MASSIVE Blunder with the World Cup Bracket screw up, this would be a good high note to go out on with this Video Game Franchise.
Hopefully 2k, Sony, or whomever gets the FIFA License for next year are up to the task of making the next truly great Football Video Game and Video Game Franchise!! But until then, FIFA 23 is frustrating as it's still got many of the flaws of its predecessors. But it is worth your time.
Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention that fans of Ultimate Team https://basketballstars2.com will get the chance to sign some of the finest players in tournament history.