HomeNewsFIFA 23 Review - Career Modes Got The Love They Deserved

    FIFA 23 Review – Career Modes Got The Love They Deserved

    Developed by: EA VANCOUVER / EA ROMANIA

    Published by: ELECTRONIC ARTS

    Platforms: PlayStation, PC, XBOX, Switch

    Reviewed On: PlayStation 5

    Review Code Provided By: ELECTRONIC ARTS

    With the World Cup once again looming just around the corner, I remember the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when Germany lifted the most prestigious trophy in the world of football. They played and beat the host nation 7-1 in the semi-final and then won 1-0 against Argentina after Mario Gotze’s heroic goal.

    It was after that World Cup that I decided I’d like to play a football game and I picked up that year’s 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil edition – it turned out to be the last FIFA World Cup game EA made. Since then, I’ve religiously followed the series’ annual releases until where we are now, my 10th FIFA game (FIFA 23) – which just so happened to be the finale of the FIFA name series (to be replaced with a new name next year onwards).

    In all of my 10 years playing FIFA games, I’ve mostly indulged myself in the Career modes be it the Player’s or Manager’s career mode. FUT is fun for most people but I guess I’m just one of the minorities. That being said, this review covers only the Career Modes – Players and Managers, as well as the overall football gameplay.

    Career Modes

    Last year’s FIFA 22 saw the introduction of a new RPG-like skill tree system applied to the game’s Player’s Career mode that has continued into FIFA 23 as well. For those of you who play this mode, you’ll also see some new experience-enhancing features that’ll let players experience, to a small degree, what a footballer’s life is supposed to be like.

    This includes the new personality traits where players could gain a bonus corresponding with the 3 personalities – Maverick, Heartbeat, and Virtuoso. Gaining points here will grant some status benefits that benefit the player and although the increment is not huge, they are still somewhat helpful when you’re looking to gain as much advantage as you can for your toon.

    The player’s salary used to be nothing more than an indication of how much a player is worth to the team while offering no real function but that has changed in FIFA 23. Players can finally use their salary that’ll give them some gains in multiple areas. For example, I could hire a Yoga Coach with my money and that’ll earn me 50 Virtuoso points, +1 in Agility, and a 10% bonus in training exp. Not only that, but I can also re-invest my money into some investment schemes to further increase my savings.

    Compared to what we couldn’t do at all in this mode in previous FIFA games, this is no doubt a good and fun addition but I wish this system came with more depth. Because as it is now, this new addition is nothing more than a small process that rewards a small payout with no actual incentive for players to continue indulging after the first 1-2 seasons.

    The new player I created to play for Liverpool wasn’t exactly ‘first-eleven’ quality yet but the manager would still field me from the bench if I did well enough in the training and satisfy the rating bar that would qualify me for some roles coming off the bench. But since I wanted more game time, I requested to be loaned which was immediately approved.

    A team came up offering me a spot and I took it but what happened next was ironic. Apparently, the team that took me in had already finished their last game of the season even though it was just early September. And since I cannot request a withdrawal, I can only sit there facing the menu like an idiot and just advance the timeline until whenever training is available again. This went on until January when their season officially ended and I returned to my club – having played 0 games – defeating the purpose of my loan in the first place.

    But in exchange, I learn that doing well in Training in FIFA 23 can easily raise my player’s OVR overtime and it took me less than half a season to reach OVR 80, that’s through training alone plus some pre-season friendly matches where I played a little. The problem with training on Player’s Career mode is the training icon had been removed entirely from the timeline calendar. So if I want to check when training is available again, I’d have to navigate to the next tab to view a specific window that contains training information. I know some people enjoy bypassing training completely and I do that too when I’m in Manager’s Mode. But in the Player’s career, training sessions in the first two seasons are important in grooming our lad. So having to swab tabs to check that information and advancing the timeline was inconvenient and what’s weird is, the timeline in the manager mode didn’t have this problem because that information is available on the timeline calendar itself.

    In the Manager’s Career mode, we can finally play as real managers or Ted Lasso (if you are a fan of the Apple TV series) instead of just creating our own avatars. But other than their visual appearance that does nothing other than lend more sense of authenticity to the game, there aren’t actually any actual benefits of playing as a real manager. There’s also a new cutscene that shows whenever we sign a new player now or when a player departs the club heading on a loan or elsewhere but the way it was presented was rather odd.

    There’s no actual meaning to this but to just show a player walking into the lobby of your club and exchanging a handshake with your staff. I get the point that EA is trying to create as much of a signing atmosphere as they can but it ended up being an unnecessary time sink that leads nowhere. The game also rates how we seal our deals now by grading our outcome and telling us how much we could have saved if we’d done better in the negotiation. This is useful for those of us who are thrifty because we can easily manipulate this by saving the game before making the deal and then see from the report card if we could have done a better job before loading the save if need be.

    The main attraction amongst all the new additions in career modes in FIFA 23 this year is the Playable Highlight feature. Other than the traditional jumping in or out of a simulated match, players are now given the chance to enter the game during important computer-generated moments. This can be a golden opportunity to make a killer pass or defend against a pressing offence, the game would let you interfere in these crucial moments to make a game-changing impact. This is more fun than I can give credit for and is a time saver for players going for multiple season-long campaigns and reluctant to leave things to chance.


    Gameplay-wise, this is as close as it gets to realistic football with improvements made to both attacking and defensive mechanisms. I had to re-learn how to attack and defend in this game again, especially on higher difficulty but it was worth it. Defenders are smarter now with their defensive positioning and are pressing harder than before. I’ve lost count of how many passes I’ve lost to their clever interceptions before I learn to be more mindful of the gap before passing but even so, the AI are keen with their presses, forcing me to make a mistake and it’s easy to succumb to their pressures. I had to readjust my playstyle to be more patient now in my approaches and be more appreciative of my possessions.

    In attacks, speed is no longer the king although it can still be useful. I used to lightning bolt through lazy or tired defenders easily and rarely did I need to pass the ball back to the midfield line to restart another offence to find space but I need that now in FIFA 23. Passing the ball back and forth became the norm to create new openings and although dribbling felt more enjoyable now when successfully pulled off, I rarely do it anymore because of easily I can lose the ball to a tackle and how punishing it can then be to add to the scoreboard.

    The game also introduced a new Power Shot, an epic move that sees the camera dramatically zoom into the player before a slow-motion powerful shot is taken. It reminds me of the Shaolin Soccer movie or even Captain Tsubasa. The first time I did this shot, the game instantly felt more like an action game than it is a sport but I love the brave decision to put this into an otherwise disciplined title. But alas, FIFA 23 is still a sports game and the Power Shot does not guarantee goals. Because stats still come into play and your player could still miss it. Moreover, defenders will not stand idly by as you attempt a sensational movie-trailer-worthy shot and will attempt to dispossess you, which they will most likely succeed due to how long it takes for a Power Shot to be executed. It’s not easy but whenever I managed to score one this way, it feels richly rewarding.

    There is definitely plenty of football for everyone who loves the sport and the game. The improved Hypermotion 2 recorded real players’ movements and reactions to different types of scenarios and perfectly have those data replicated in the game. This resulted in a more realistic FIFA game than ever when it comes to physics and overall game flow – when bugs didn’t kick in that is. In my game for Liverpool on Player’s Career mode where I had controls locked on only my player, we went into a Penalty Shootout against Manchester City in the Community Shield game. We went on to win 6-5 but in 11 of those goals, the goalkeepers just stood there unable to react for 7 of them. They didn’t even try to save the ball and just stood still. It’s hilarious that something like this can still happen.

    What I Liked About FIFA 23

    • Improved Attacking and Defending mechanism
    • The new Power Shot gives a rewarding feeling when successful
    • Playable Highlights
    • Best looking FIFA game to date
    • Subtle improvements in UI

    What I Wished Was Better

    • Some bugs still exist like non-responsive goalkeepers
    • More meaningful changes to the career modes


    FIFA 23 is not perfect but there’s joy in seeing how attempts were made to revitalise the otherwise dull and dry career modes. EA have focused too much on the money-magnet FUT mode and so it’s great that career mode investors like us get some love. Some of these new features don’t mean much but there are those like the new Power Shot that introduced a fun element to the gameplay that I never knew EA was capable of producing. The Playable Highlight feature was actually useful though I wish the same can be said of the other features as well. In the gameplay department, FIFA 23 feels tougher to play, sure, but it also feels more rewarding when you get a hard-earned win. The new approach the game requires is not challenging per se, but it demands more patience. With the curtain finally falling on the FIFA name this year with FIFA 23, what EA is capable of delivering next year and beyond remains to be seen but at least we caught a glimpse of their ambition and here’s hoping more love will come to career modes.

    Final Score – 8/10

    The Editor-Mischief, or if according to the signature in his email, 'in-chief', of Loves complaining about FIFA games but still buys them every year nonetheless. Prefer subs over dubs. Got his ass kicked in Bloodborne and swore never to play it again.

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