FIFA always has a bit of a monkey’s paw change. We might get better defending, but the pace is ripped out of the game. Crossing is improved, but headers are terrible. Beckham finally looks like the real person, but his body is tiny (honestly, I think that’s happened with this year’s game).
From my time with FIFA 22 so far, one of my big takeaways is that goalkeepers are better. They get into better positions, particularly in one-on-one situations, and they pull off more impressive saves. You can’t just finesse shot your way to victory.
This doesn’t mean I haven’t already scored some blinders in my handful of hours playing, but I’m not constantly looking at my keeper and wondering why he’s still pulling in £100k a week. All in all, I’m pretty happy with FIFA 22 in its current state.
Of course, this often doesn’t mean much. FIFA has become infamous over the years for post-launch updates that change things for the worse. I’m fully expecting a patch around the end of October that turns every goalie into one of those air-filled jiggly things that you see waving their arms around in car dealership forecourts.
Before you all leap into the comments, which I absolutely encourage you to do, I am aware that keepers aren’t always brilliant. Even at this EA Play Early Access trial stage I’ve seen some absolute clangers posted online.
This one is how I’d perform if given the gloves. It’s not very clever, is it. (you might have to click on the video twice for it to play)
This one, is, well, even more embarrassing, but who hasn’t walked into a post at some point in their life?
And here, Neuer is so annoyed at his defenders that he has a go at them and forgets what he’s meant to be doing.
I think I’ve covered myself here, both saying how goalkeeping feels like a solid improvement, yet also can be a complete disaster. Overall, I’m liking FIFA 22 a lot, although it once again has a fairly cringe opening, full of awkward cameos and a terrible trip to Uncanny Valley. Hopefully the game settles down after a patch or two as it could be the best FIFA in a number of years.
Disclaimer: Tested on Xbox Series X, using EA Play trial – subscription paid for by the author.