PETER HOSKIN: FIFA 22 hits the mark with a game that’s weird, but also great
FIFA 22 (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC, £69.99)
Verdict: it’s coming home
Strangest opening for a video game in 2021? Unless the ghost of Salvador Dalí suddenly starts designing first-person shooters, FIFA 22 certainly has the title in the bag.
It starts with a tattooed hand stirring a cup of coffee, which turns out to be David Beckham’s, who is having breakfast in the same Parisian hotel where, well, you’re staying.
You then get to decide what you look like, your name, your age… and so 37-year-old me ended up bouncing through the streets of the French capital to meet some other football stars, Kylian Mbappé and Thierry Henry, for a trial at one of the richest clubs in the world, Paris Saint-Germain. A successful test, I might add.
After that introduction, FIFA 22 will become more mainstream: you’ll have access to all the usual modes, from managing a club over an entire season to playing one-off matches against your friends.
But that intro does leave a lasting impression. The FIFA games come out once a year, without exception and often without significant differences.
But here’s one that does something strange and rather charming. The developers are trying.
And that effort, like Beckham’s coffee, seeps through all those game modes. Player movements are more realistic than last year, as are the graphics.
There are fun gameplay innovations that make your actions, as the controlling player, feel more conscious. And luckily women’s football is a bigger part of the whole.
Is it revolutionary? New. And there’s still something icky about FIFA’s money-grabbing Ultimate Team mode.
But it’s the first FIFA game worth buying in a while. And that doesn’t require Saudi investment money.
Alan Wake: Remastered (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £24.99)
Verdict: Chills and Thrills
Here’s a game for the spooky weeks before Halloween. It’s called Alan Wake and it first came out ten years ago, but now it’s been remastered for modern consoles.
You play as, er, Alan Wake, who – you are reminded every five seconds – is a Stephen King-esque writer whose wife is now missing in an American mountain town.
What follows is a nice mix of mystery, exploration and action, with lots of fun flashlight gameplay.
shh! What was that rustling in the dark?