It was only last week that I wrote about my thoughts on the FIFA World Cup mode update to FIFA 23. Now that it’s available to play, I can safely say that this isn’t just a disappointment, it doesn’t even do the bare minimum. There are bugs, teams don’t have the correct kits, and the presentation aspects are incredibly weak. Sure, this is a free update, but the lack of effort shows that EA just doesn’t care about the World’s biggest sporting event.
Bugs from the first match
For this blog post, I’m focusing strictly on the FIFA World Cup mode for FIFA 23. I’m not considering any of the FIFA Ultimate Team content since there isn’t much to discuss right now. As usual, I decided to play Serbia in my hopes of winning the World Cup. Serbia isn’t a powerhouse, but they could surprise, so it’s always good to play a mode using a team that is considered “middle-tier”.
My first match is against Brazil. By default, the game puts Brazil in its famous Yellow kits and Serbia in its white. Because it’s a day game, the white and yellow with the sun in the game makes it a bit hard at times to differentiate the two colors (I’m not colorblind, but I would rather there be true contrast in kit colors).
For some odd reason, if you want to change Brazil’s kit, it shows Argentina’s kits. So, for the first group stage match, I played Serbia in their red kit and Brazil in Argentina’s famous sky-blue and white striped kit. This forced me to make sure I went to the kit select screen before every match. As I progressed in the tournament, if I played against a red-colored kit team (Spain and Belgium), I had to make sure I changed one of our two kits to avoid clashing. I don’t know if this would happen if I didn’t go into the kit select screen but after having a problem the first time, I didn’t want to take any risks.
The Presentation is lacking
Outside the first group stage match, the semis, and the final, the pre-match presentation lead-up was far from impressive. It’s super disappointing that this is something they boasted about in their preview video, and it doesn’t add to the atmosphere. I do feel that this setup is only in place for a few teams.
Not all the team kits are in the game. Cameroon, another team from Serbia’s group, doesn’t have their official kit in the game. It’s a very generic kit with no real effort put into it. The real kit looks pretty cool, although there appears to be some drama with the country’s previous kit supplier, which might be why it wasn’t included. Hopefully, it comes to the game in an update patch.
Then the commentary disappoints. It took a while to notice any real differences in the play-by-play. Even in the matches against marquee teams like Brazil, Spain, Belgium, and Holland I didn’t hear anything unique or special. During my last group stage match against Switzerland, I was expecting updates from the other group match (Brazil and Cameroon). I had already qualified for the next round, but it would have been nice to know what was happening in the other match since it still mattered. It was only after the match that I found learned that Brazil failed to qualify for the knockout rounds.
That’s all folks
I won the 2022 FIFA World Cup in just over an hour. At the default 3-minute halves and professional difficulty, I had a fairly easy time winning it all. My first match against Brazil ended 3-2 for Serbia. I had a draw against Switzerland, but I rested all my star players.
The only challenging match was my Round of 16 Match against Korea. I was dominating, but it took extra time for me to finally get the ball into the net and advance into the quarters. I easily beat The Netherlands 4-0 to lift the trophy. The biggest surprise in my playthrough was Australia reaching the semis and eventually earning third place. They beat Argentina and England before losing to The Netherlands in the semis.
As for the other parts available, most of them aren’t. You can create custom tournaments, and yes, you can move teams around and even replace them with non-qualified nations. The issue here is that of the 13 available, all but two are from Europe. China PR and New Zealand are two non-European teams. How they couldn’t get at least one more S. American and/or African team into the mix is frustrating.
After the Fact
So, I had to update this blog after discovering that EA messed up the bracket for the tournament. As someone pointed out on Reddit, the knockout stage is set up incorrectly. In mine above, Serbia should have faced The Netherlands in the Semifinals, not Belgium. Essentially, the above bracket should have been broken up top half vs bottom half, instead of left vs. right. How they messed that up is incredible.
I wanted just a bit more
They couldn’t even deliver the bare minimum with this free update. The lack of all stadiums was the first disappointment, but the other omissions are pretty evident. I won the World Cup, but I have no incentive to go back and do it again, even if I took control of a different country (like Canada). Heck, you don’t even get an achievement/trophy for winning the World Cup. It just feels so empty. FIFA 23 continues to disappoint me, and I’m just not interested in playing it again until it’s available in the EA Play Vault.