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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

FIFA 22 review

Deep in the lockdown times, there was no football. Time, in the way that many of us count it, had stopped. Listless, I bought FIFA 20 to finish the season. When I scored, and the camera shook as it does at Anfield, I actually cried with the joy of it. That was a weird time, obviously, but this is the power that FIFA has at its disposal. If you love football, in whatever hue or flavour, FIFA 22 should be part of your life.

FIFA 22 recreates everything special about a beloved and complex pastime, as well as its greed and superficiality. The game succeeds and fails in the same way the sport does, and nothing encapsulates this like FIFA Ultimate Team. If bypassing the existing league structure like a desperate Spanish Club president and assembling your very own Galácticos is your dream, then FUT delivers: for a price.

Create a team of GOATs by hook—a slow grind—or by crook—real world money that may or may not give you the best players—and then challenge the world, making your chosen stadium look more and more like a neon thunderdome. There are returning greats, seasons, XP, achievements and a new Elite Division for the very best. Every kind of inducement is there. And it’s entertaining, but you soon notice that the progress and actual advancement is glacial.

(Image credit: EA)

Furthermore, I think it’s naïve to think that FUT doesn’t come with a cost. It’s a loot box economy, and there’s a growing body of research that states that there’s a verifiable link between loot boxes and problem gambling. That governments are circling on this issue isn’t especially notable, as when it comes to videogames there isn’t a moral panic they won’t exploit. And FUT is not the only loot box game in town, although it is clearly the biggest and most profitable. It’s FIFA’s reach—with 31 million FIFA 21 players and an age rating of three and up—that makes any deleterious effect significant.

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