One game, two versions: FIFA 23 takes the next step - but only for the chosen few

Developer EA Sports promises a lot of new things with FIFA 23.

One game, two versions: FIFA 23 takes the next step - but only for the chosen few

Developer EA Sports promises a lot of new things with FIFA 23. The new edition of the football simulation can grow in many areas. However, not all gamers enjoy it. If you buy the game for the PS4 or Xbox One, you will only receive a squad update at the end.

The expectations of the successful football simulation FIFA are enormous every year. After the announced end of the cooperation with the world association, developer EA Sports even promises the "biggest and best gaming experience" ever with the latest edition. So the bar is set high, but if you don't have a new-gen console or a powerful PC, you'll be dancing the same level limbo under the bar as last year.

If a game feels like the previous edition, which in turn already felt like the version from last year, then there are actually few arguments for buying it. The fact that the FIFA series is now designed in such a way that the popular Ultimate Team mode in particular can only be played for one year - after that a ceiling effect in player strength sets in and there is hardly any content left - tempts many fans of the series to buying more or less a "roster update" for the PS4 or Xbox One every year. ntv.de was able to test both versions of FIFA 23 extensively, with the result: For the new generation of consoles and the PC, FIFA feels like the next step, on the older consoles, on the other hand, it feels like a standstill.

And you can really feel that in the gameplay. The whole gameplay seems a bit slower. Abrupt stops and lightning-fast changes of direction give way to coasting, gradual braking and a much more demanding duel behavior. Overall, this looks even more realistic, but it is a big change, especially in the first games.

The biggest impact is the new system of player movement. "AccelleRATE" now differentiates between "controlled", "explosive" and "persistent" sprints. With controlled acceleration and endurance are balanced, with explosive the acceleration is strong, but the sprint speed decreases over longer distances.

Players with persistent sprint behavior only reach top speed after a few meters. This changes the playing behavior in attack as well as in defense. Mercilessly sprinting past players becomes much more difficult and there is always the feeling that the defender is sucking in again. This is definitely good for the balance of FIFA 23.

"HyperMotion2" also brings more realism. Since "HyperMotion" celebrated its premiere last year, you can see it as an update in FIFA 23. The technology combines 11v11 capture and machine learning to create thousands of realistic animations. So many situations appear fresh and varied. An example: There have already been players who block the ball, now the strikers also intervene and want to actively deflect the ball and make it dangerous in certain situations. And you will often experience this "Okay, so that works too" effect. Because in terms of ball physics in general, the game has made a leap.

PS4 and Xbox One players will not be able to enjoy “AccelleRATE” and “HyperMotion2”, but there are a few changes across versions. A new system for set pieces is a real asset. Instead of the target crosshairs, the possible trajectory of the ball is now displayed, and the contact point must be marked on the game device itself. In this way, the effect and shooting technique can be determined. The new system is difficult to master, but incredibly rewarding should you succeed from a free kick or corner.

Along with some new tricks and fake shots, there is at least one new technique that everyone can benefit from. The new Powershot is a successful addition for the gameplay as well as for the optics. Because with this powerful swing, the camera zooms slightly on the executing player before he releases a powerful, but less well-placed shot. Since the shot animation is much longer and the player is very open to the ball, defenders can easily intervene here. But if you have space, you can fire one or the other rocket towards the gate. This is very reminiscent of "Super Mario Strikers" with its super shots.

The developers' full focus this year was once again on the Cash Cow, the Ultimate Team (FUT) mode. After all, EA gets four times as much through the microtransactions as through the sale of the game itself. And because little has happened here either, there is occupational therapy for the FUT-Daddler.

On the one hand, EA is introducing a new chemistry system, i.e. possible combinations of how you can best put together your dream team - depending on league membership, nation and position. Everything is new, every player has to get used to it first. Apparently the developers do too. Even before the game starts, you can manage your FUT team via a web app. There are also the so-called Squad Building Challenges (SBC) - puzzle tasks in which players are exchanged for surprise packs. In two of these SBCs, the tasks were unsolvable due to the new chemistry system and EA's specifications. All players had to have exactly two out of three chemistry points, total team chemistry must be 24. With 11 players it is clear that this arithmetic problem does not add up.

The developers bring a fresh mode with "Moments". Here you can recreate the careers of players and coaches, or rather their most memorable moments. The creators have succeeded in creating an entertaining and sometimes tricky mode in which you only have a few minutes to score a goal, dribble or win duels in certain scenarios. At the beginning you can play the highlights of the still young Kylian Mbappé. Once again, the rewards are surprise packs to keep players happy and in FUT mode. For the first time you can now compete online against players from different consoles or PCs. However, crossplay is not between different generations of consoles.

The street soccer mode "Volta" gets a few new arenas and a new special ability. "Hard shot", "Overdrive" for a speed boost, "Assertiveness" and "Take off" for acrobatic aerial performances provide more arcade feeling. "Pro Clubs" have mini skill games, but they look like they were put together from FIFA 21. Rather, there is nothing new in these two modes. After all: "Volta" and pro clubs can be linked and in both modes you can level your pro. That saves an enormous amount of time.

After all, the combination gives hope that next year “EA Sports FC”, as the new offshoot should be called, will finally have a clever career mode again. The elements from "Volta" and "Pro Clubs" could be combined with a good story. The NBA2K series has been demonstrating how this is done for two years. A pure sport city as a playground must also be possible in a soccer simulation. In any case, little development time was invested in FIFA 23 in career and manager modes.

EA fails to deliver "the best FIFA of all time" because there are two versions. On the one hand, that's a pity, because the game also costs a whopping 60 euros for PS4 and Co. On the other hand, it is technically impossible to squeeze more out of the "old" consoles. If you consider that the majority of gamers are still using the PS4, the progress passes many gamers by. FIFA 23 is somehow the best FIFA of all time, but only for the new generation of consoles - there has only been one more so far. The new gameplay mechanics ensure exciting football entertainment on these platforms.

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