There’s a new feature in FIFA 22, the latest iteration in EA’s long-running football series, called ‘Explosive Sprint’. It provides a burst of straight-line speed that the best players can use in one-on-one situations – lure the opponent in by slowing to walking pace, and then surge away from them, virtual thigh muscles burning with digital effort, sweaty index finger jammed against plastic button.
One of the big additions this year has been what EA is calling ‘Hypermotion’. For the first time ever, developers put motion capture suits on 22 players and recorded them during an entire match on a real pitch, instead of doing this with individual players in a studio. The result is thousands of new animations that add authenticity to proceedings – players fiddle with their armbands, and call instructions to each other; they slide in for tackles with a ferocity that can only come in a match situation. (Just don’t look at the crowd, who were presumably motion-captured during some sort of zombie invasion).
In FIFA 22, the extra player is immediately highlighted with a cursor above their head, drawing more focus to your line of sight on who is coming to the rescue, while you cut off their next passing option. The Explosive Sprint feature is also great for dribblers looking to break past the last line of defence, as well as defenders trying to create some space to play the ball out or catch up with attackers.
Goalies have had a spruce up too, with new smarter positioning for better stops - and EA has also added some realistic 'fumbling' into the mix too, so even the elite level of keepers will lose grip on a shot or drop the ball amid the corner kick carnage in the box.
Finesse shots felt like they were pretty ineffective in the past couple of FIFA entries, but FIFA 22 seems to have balanced this back out again, with near post attempts becoming much more effective than the usual 'lamp it across the goal' shots.
Volta feels more arcadey than ever before thanks to these additions. And while I don’t mind EA taking the mode in this direction, I’d have loved to see more focus on single-player game types and tournaments within it. Volta feels more like a multiplayer time sink than it has before, lacking any notable component that’ll keep someone who prefers to play single-player matches coming back.
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