“Fool me once,” the famous phrase goes, “shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
With FIFA 22, EA is attempting to fool us thrice, and although we haven't been able to find any official ruling on what this means, we’ve come to the conclusion that it basically rolls back to “shame on you” again.
“Well, that’s not entirely fair, Nintendo Life,” we (maybe) hear you say. “EA makes it perfectly clear that FIFA 22 on the Switch is a Legacy Edition. It’s not trying to fool you at all, it’s being very up-front about what you’re getting.”
Yes, okay, you’re right. Perhaps we should have put more effort into getting this intro right. But at the end of the day, if EA isn’t willing to put any effort into FIFA on the Switch, why should we try to show it up? That would just be arrogant of us.
FIFA 22 is the third Legacy Edition on Switch. What this means is that it’s basically the Switch version of FIFA 19, with the team squads and kits replaced. But wait, that's not all! A drum roll, if you will.
As we’ve stated in previous reviews, FIFA 19 was a barely improved version of FIFA 18, which itself was essentially a port of that year’s Xbox 360 and PS3 Legacy Editions. Confused? Allow us to summarise for you. The Switch version of FIFA 22 is essentially the Xbox 360 version of FIFA 17.
Let us put it another, more colourful way. Remember Kaka, Pirlo and Totti? They’re all in FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode these days as ‘Icons’, legendary players who have since retired but can be recruited as special additions to your squad. The version of FIFA that FIFA 22 on Switch is based on is so old that Kaka, Pirlo and Totti were just normal players in it.
Not that you can realistically get them in Ultimate Team now, of course, because the Switch version of Ultimate Team is such a ghost town that at the time of writing there were around 25,000 players and items being sold on its transfer market screen, versus 2.2 million on Xbox (and likely even more on PlayStation, given it usually sells more on those formats).
It’s little wonder, of course. Ultimate Team hasn’t been changed in the slightest since the first FIFA game on the Switch (FIFA 18), with not a single extra mode or feature included in that time. How could EA possibly expect players to care about a mode that hasn’t had a shred of work done to it in nearly half a decade?
Have a glance at Ultimate Team on other systems, and you’ll see that players are getting revamped versions of the Division Rivals and FUT Champions modes. The Switch hasn’t even received the original versions of them yet, while other formats are declaring them outdated.
Of course, this complaint isn’t strictly limited to Ultimate Team, it’s the case across the board. The Career mode is now so prehistoric they could probably extract DNA from it and clone a raptor, while everything else has been left untouched for so many years we’re surprised EA didn’t add ‘dusty’ to its list of weather options.
The annoying thing is that, as we’ve touched on every time we review FIFA on the Switch, the core game itself is still very good. It was fun when it was FIFA 17 two console generations ago and time hasn’t rendered it unplayable all of a sudden.
We aren’t even unrealistic enough to expect that EA would somehow be able to bring the game up to speed with the next-gen versions. If the snazzy new Hypermotion buzzword EA is pushing in its multi-million dollar TV ad can only be pulled off on a PS5 or Xbox Series X, that’s perfectly fine. Let them have their silky smooth animations, those show-offs.
But EA should have thrown us Switch owners a bone, and by that we don’t mean tying a string around the same bone, pulling it back and throwing it to us again the following year. People are buying this game, they deserve to have their loyalty rewarded with some sort of new feature, anything at all.
That isn’t hyperbole or guesswork on our part, either. At the time of writing, FIFA 22 is the number one top selling Switch game on Amazon UK. By that metric at this very moment – and granted, it won’t last for long – more people are buying FIFA 22 on Switch than any other game. Think about the permutations of that. It was also announced that on its launch weekend, 5% of FIFA 22 sales in the UK were the Switch version, which is still a lot when you consider how many copies that is.
Football-mad, Switch-owning kids everywhere will be getting FIFA 22 for Christmas and realising it’s the same as the one they got last year. Their Christmas is going to end up being about as fun as the one the Cratchets had in A Christmas Carol. And we don’t mean the happy “God bless us everyone” Christmas, we mean the one where Tiny Tim died.
It’s a matter of respect, frankly. The Switch version may be cheaper than the others but $40 / £35 is still a lot of money for some people, especially if those people already bought FIFA 21. For those poor sods, they’re paying a healthy sum for what’s essentially a roster update.
Some may argue that because FIFA 21 was $50 / £45 and this time EA has knocked ten bucks off the price, we should go easier on it. Others would say that, hey, at least EA actually released something, unlike Konami who won’t even bring its new eFootball game to the Switch, even though it’s on mobile (not that we’re missing out there, of course, but it’s the principle of the thing).
We’re sorry, but we don’t buy into that Stockholm Syndrome. We refuse to be fed stale food and think “well, at least it’s nice of them to feed us at all”. This is now the fifth time Switch owners have been treated like second-class citizens, and the third time we haven’t even been given the courtesy of a single tweak to the game itself.
Enough is enough. Do not buy this game. If you must have a football game on the Switch, buy an old used copy of FIFA 20, or 19 or 18. They’re all the same thing. Sure, the rosters will be out of date, but in case you hadn’t already picked up on the point we’ve been subtly making throughout this review, the whole bloody game’s out of date anyway.
Last year we said FIFA 21 was “the straw that breaks the camel's back”. This can only mean that FIFA 22 is chucking piles of straw on a dead camel. And if that’s the sort of behaviour you support then, as the phrase goes, shame on you.
FIFA 22 marks the third time EA has given us FIFA 19 with a different shirt on. It may clearly state Legacy Edition on the title, but being kicked in the groin isn't any less painful if your assailant tells you they're going to do it in advance. Once again, EA has insulted Switch owners by giving them the version it usually releases on dead systems. Do not accept it.