FIFA 23 Review

FIFA 23 Hands-On Preview – An Incremental Step Forward

Iteration over reinvention

After some hands-on time with the final FIFA game before its big rebrand next year, I couldn’t help but feel that it’s all about the smaller improvements this time around.. EA’s elected to go for iteration over reinvention, and that isn’t entirely a bad thing. The incremental changes, like the new power shot mechanic and reworked gameplay, make FIFA look and feel more realistic than it ever has before.

FIFA 23 is a marked step up in visual fidelity when compared with last year’s entry. The team’s completely overhauled the pitch, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Scuff marks on the pitch now show up (and remain) throughout a match, while nets finally interact with the ball and players more realistically. 

FIFA 23 Preview

New mechanics have been added to enhance the gameplay experience across both generations of FIFA 23, too, with the power shot the most interesting of the bunch. 

Power shots are activated by holding both bumpers and pressing shoot, leading to your player winding up for a longer period of time to smack the ball as hard (and as accurately) as possible. Aiming becomes manual during this sequence, putting extra pressure on you to line up your shot perfectly. If executed correctly, you’ll score an absolute belter of a goal, but there are some caveats to it. The longer wind up time means defenders have more time to get in front of you to block the shot, while manual aiming means the shot can literally go anywhere if you aren’t paying attention. 


Having an extra tool in the arsenal during attacking situations is certainly welcome, however I found opportunities to perform these few and far between – especially during my first few games. The difficulty of the AI seems to have been ramped up a bit in FIFA 23, with new animations allowing defenders to cut off passing and shooting lanes with expert precision. They’re deadly on the counter too, absolutely ripping me to shreds more than a few times.

FIFA 23 Preview

As someone who regularly plays on World Class, I found myself getting absolutely trashed by the AI when I wasn’t paying proper attention to what was happening on the pitch. Tactics I’d rely on in FIFA 22 just didn’t cut it, and I was gobsmacked to see the AI pull off a couple of skill moves to rub salt in the wounds. As is always the case, small changes in the way players interact with one another and newly introduced animations took some time to get used to. And after five or so matches, I found my groove and appreciated the deeper sense of freedom with what I could do on the ball as opposed to previous entries.

With that said, playing out from the back, keeping hold of the ball and using the wings was the best way for me to break through the defence and create chances. Hopeful lob passes from the defensive line rarely offered any chance on goal, as defenders would read the play nine times out of ten.

Something I really liked was the way the team’s reworked set pieces. These now give you more precise control over where you’re aiming and how you’d like to hit the ball, while penalty kicks have a composure circle (that’s somewhat similar to timed finishing) that you need to time correctly to have the best chance of scoring.

FIFA 23 Preview

When it all clicked, FIFA 23 felt great to play. The team still has some time to polish, but what I played of it was great after getting used to the range of changes. 

For those plying their trade on PC, you’ll finally be able to enjoy the benefits of everything introduced to the current-gen version of the game, too, as the platform will become a part of the current-gen suite with this year’s entry. 

FIFA 23 Preview

This lines up nicely with the introduction of cross-play, which will see PC players joining those on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles. Current-gen systems will be able to play against each other in all 1v1 modes at launch, while players on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be able to duke it out in last-gen versions of the game. While it’s been expected for some time, this is huge news for the series and I can’t wait to battle it out with mates across platforms. 

It’s also exciting to see both the Men’s and Women’s World Cups featuring in this year’s game. As well as this, something I’ve been hoping to see for some time will be introduced in FIFA 23, with the ability to play as women’s club teams finally arriving. While this is confined to just the Women’s Super League and the Women’s French Division 1 (Division 1 Feminine) for now, it’s a step in the right direction for representation in FIFA. 

FIFA 23 launches on September 27th (Ultimate Edition) and September 30th (Standard) on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, Xbox One and PC.