Cover star Kylian Mbappe.

Cover star Kylian Mbappe.Associated Press

Only a few days stand between would-be players and the release of the much-hyped FIFA 22.

Launching October 1, the latest monster release from EA Sports promises a wealth of upgrades across the board as the series really gets its footing on next-generation consoles. 

A variety of specific game modes will get notable upgrades—as players have come to expect with every installment in the annual series. Career modes, for example, offer new customization options for clubs across different leagues, while player-career mode offers sweeping skill trees and immersions on upgrades to better reflect the solo player’s set and status of their career. 

And over in Volta Football, a new skill meter that amplifies what each goal is worth based on feats of skill means goals could be worth up to as many as four points, meaning even games that have been out of reach in the past are no longer so. 

All of these changes have been greatly complemented on the pitch from the increased firepower thrown at the gameplay.

One look at a video says it all: 

More motion capture work and a ton of animation additions mean a more realistic-feeling experience. There was an added emphasis on upgrading the A.I., too. That should mean more realistic plays from computer-controlled opponents, as well as a better level of immersion because players away from the ball don’t move in such a robotic fashion. 

But FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team) arguably got the biggest overhaul of all, with notable changes to key areas—such as progression and ranking systems. 

The collector’s paradise that lets players assemble dream teams from all eras returns with an added boost to ladder rankings for online play, as explained in a developer diary:

“Advance through a new competitive structure in Divison Rivals—your chance to take on the FUT Community online. Win matches to progress through new stages, ranks, and divisions on your way to better weekly rewards. Stay at the right level for your skill with checkpoints and accelerate your progress with win streaks that get you further, faster. Division resets at the end of each Season in FUT 22 determine where you start your next Division Rivals journey.”

It’s absolutely huge that players can hit skill checkpoints during their climb now, meaning they won’t fall beyond a certain point if they start losing. That should make things more interesting than usual on the ladder for players of all skill ranges.

Also helping in this area is the debut of an Elite Division for the best of the best, which means players in that bracket match with each other instead of other opponents from different skill ranges.

The progression scheme is also worth a nod: 

“Get rewarded for your performance each week and Season in FUT 22. Winning matches each week will increase your rank within a division and qualify you for better weekly rewards, while every match you play counts towards seasonal milestones—with end-of-season rewards based on the number of matches you play, regardless of wins or losses.”

Winning means better rewards, of course, but so does merely playing and working toward seasonal milestones. That, if nothing else, should help keep the player population high and healthy for the duration of the game’s lifespan. Keep in mind seasons reset with new rewards and goals to chase, also helping this cause. 

FUT doesn’t slack in other areas either. The ability to matchmake the co-op sessions now means more chances at fun duo showdowns online. And some of the increased customization found in the career modes makes its way over, too, meaning deeper systems that allow a personal touch on things like fans in the crowds and stadiums. 

The broad-encompassing upgrades to FUT are a good example of the love given to all of the big three modes this year, meaning career and Volta too. Add the big on-pitch upgrades to gameplay, and FIFA 22 has a little bit of that “something for everyone” vibe that many sports games try and fail to meet.

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