The World Cup Mode of FIFA 23 – What Happened?
The World Cup Mode of FIFA 23 – What Happened?

When I was a kid, my family was all about soccer. My father and uncle both played for the Jamaican national team at different times, so you could say that I was born to play. When games like the NES came out, it seemed like a natural fit. The first time I played soccer with a controller was Jaleco’s Goal, so when FIFA International Soccer came out for the Sega Genesis, I was all in. It also didn’t hurt that the 1994 World Cup was held in the United States. Even though the players were made up, the game cemented its place in sports gaming history. It led to FIFA 95, which was the first in a long line of games that put the FIFA series at the top of the charts. Now that the 2022 World Cup is happening, it’s time to see how EA’s latest version of the World Cup plays out in FIFA 23.

Before we talk about the latest version of EA’s World Cup, let’s take a trip down memory lane because it’s important to know how we got here.

FIFA 23 World Cup and the ones that came before it

FIFA 23 World Cup and the ones that came before it

FIFA stands for Federation Internationale de Football Association.

When it came out, this was a big step forward for EA. Even though there were no real players, EA made some of the fake players look like real players and even some of the developers. At the time, the game changed when player models got more detail, crowds got more detail, and the game’s responsiveness got better. All of this was done from an isometric view. Nearly 50 countries were in the game, and it had modes called Tournament, Exhibition, League, and Playoffs. At the time, it didn’t have a full qualifying mode, but it’s still one of the best World Cup games (and soccer games) ever.

What Happened throughout FIFA 23's World Cup Mode Provided by actiongamesnow (AGN)
What Happened throughout FIFA 23’s World Cup Mode Provided by actiongamesnow (AGN)

Back in late 1997 and early 1998, EA really cared about the cause. So much so that they came out with TWO World Cup games: Road to the World Cup 98 and FIFA World Cup 98. In 2002, EA didn’t use this two-game format, but for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, they did. The Road to the World Cup 98 had 16 stadiums and 172 different countries. You had to lead them to the World Cup 98, which had all 32 qualified countries.

At the time, the PlayStation was a huge step forward because it added accurate rosters, a mode called “five-a-side,” and better graphics.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup

The 2014 FIFA World Cup was the best and last of its kind. It was a true World Cup game that was good enough for the biggest sporting event. 2014 World Cup was one of the best soccer games for the PS3. It had all 204 teams, all 12 stadiums, and fully licenced rosters. With Captain Your Country, Online Play, Story of Qualifying, and of course Tournament Mode, the 2014 FIFA World Cup had the best set of modes to date, maybe even better than FIFA 23.

Since the PS4 and Xbox One came out and this game wasn’t made backwards compatible, a lot of people missed out.

23rd FIFA World Cup

What Happened throughout FIFA 23’s World Cup Mode Provided by actiongamesnow (AGN)

The action is already heating up, so much so that FIFA moved the summer event to the winter because it was so hot. This puts EA in a tricky situation. Since EA decided not to renew its contract with FIFA, this could be the last World Cup game from a major developer, and it shows. Instead of a separate game like we’ve seen in the past, EA is following the trend of 2018 by making the game free DLC for people who bought the main FIFA game.

The best parts of past World Cups, like Road to Qualification, Captain Your Country, and other modes, have been gone for a long time. Only two of the eight official stadiums for the tournament are available, which is a shame because the two that are there are really good copies. All 32 teams that made it to the tournament are there, as well as 15 teams that didn’t make it. Women’s teams are included, which shows that EA cares about diversity and wants to attract more players. Sadly, this is the last good thing about it.

Again, licencing is the most important thing, as it is often these days. African countries that aren’t in the main FIFA game are in the World Cup DLC, but their kits are all the same. There are problems with the teams’ rosters, so some players are left off. This is unacceptable, given that FIFA has access to a huge database of players through its FIFPRO licence and that these players are also in the main game. The game still has problems with rosters and renamed stadiums going back to their original names, just like EA’s World Cup 2018 game. Even though rosters were set a week, or in some cases even two weeks, before the tournament started, this is not a good look. Even the way the knockout stage is set up has bugs, and the number of subs on the bench is wrong, which is also a problem in some leagues of FIFA 23.

From a gameplay point of view, it’s pretty much the same game, so if you like how FIFA works, you’ll like this one too. Any changes made to the main game’s gameplay or title will also be made to the World Cup DLC, so your playing experience could change. I think that FIFA 23 is a bad game overall because the midfield doesn’t do enough to protect the defence, the marking inside the box is bad, and the keepers are terrible. There are a lot of sliders and a dedicated community here on OS that try to make the game more realistic, but some of the problems are still caused by bad legacy code.

When it’s all over and we look back on what could be the last World Cup game, all we can think about is how disappointing this one is and how the tournament that started the famous FIFA series is just a shell of what it used to be.

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