FIFA 22 First Impressions - New Keepers and Reworked Gameplay

Over the past few days we had the to get our hands on the brand-new FIFA 22. In this post we will detail our first impressions, focusing mostly on gameplay. Please note that this review covers the "old gen" PC version of the game.

When you boot up a game of FIFA 22 the reduced pace is immediately noticeable. Various basic actions such as passes and players accelerating have been clearly slowed down to produce slower gameplay.

While we're talking about gameplay, it's not only slower but the players and ball seem to have increased in size and there's less space available on the pitch as a result. It's now much more difficult to just pass your way through the center of the pitch. If you plan on just pining balls into the frontline, you will have to a be lot more careful here.

Physical duels are now more easily to pull off as a defender while attackers accelerate more slowly and have a worse close control at sprint speed, which makes it easier to defend such moves.

Reworked goalkeepersThe second obvious change on the pitch are goalkeepers, which have undergone a complete rework.

First off, this should be applauded as goalkeepers before were far from good even if not entirely broken. The new keepers are much more capable of saving most shots, although there are some situations were they make unexplainable errors - sometimes it seems have if the wrong animation is playing and they have subsequently have no chance of getting near the shot. But most of the time they are much more competent about saving regular shots and cannot be beaten as easily as was the case in 21. EA absolutely need to fix how they interact with high diagonal shots, though.

As a result, the new detailed stats, which should be helpful in finding weaknesses in your game and include a plethora of a new metrics can sometimes show Expected Goals (xG) values that far exceeds the number of goals scored. It's of course also possible that a bit more practice is needed to fully adjust to the new keepers and return to scoring more reliably.

New stats

There are more gameplay changes, all with the aim of creating a more realistic experience overall. CPU-controlled team-mates will now be much more active in the defensive phase and it's important to choose the right passes or they can get cut short very easily, even if the opponent is not controlling the intercepting defender. Midfielders will now also drop a fair bit deeper and the penalty box and area in front of it can get very crowded if the attack doesn't advance quick enough.

Another clear change was made to low crosses, which were nerved in various ways. They are not as fast and accurate anymore, resulting shots are much weaker and goalkeepers don't spill them as frequently.

One thing that's neat about the PC version is that it now detects the type of controller you've selected and displays the correct buttons in the menu. This includes PlayStation controllers whereas previously the Xbox buttons were exclusively used in menus on the system.

There's now also more visible feedback and a sort of cooldown when using "team-mate pressing", which shows as a triangle above the currently pressing player's head. It will start green and slowly deplete before turning red as a player uses up all short-term stamina.

If you think that this seems like a lot of changes, you can be assured that under the hood it's still using the same foundations as FIFA 21 and in the grand scheme of things all of the changes, while immediately noticeable, are still more on a surface level. Experienced FIFA 21 players should feel right at home with 22 as well.

These are our first impressions on FIFA 22. We hope you liked appreciate them and come back for our full review, where we dive into Career Mode and FUT with more attention to the details of those modes. We will also continue to evaluate the on-pitch gameplay in order to provide a more definitive judgment on that as well.