It’s hard to talk about this year’s FIFA World Cup without mentioning the controversy surrounding it. First there is the corruption scandal surrounding the election of Qatar as host country, and then there are the many problems surrounding the treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people in the host country.
Still, if you want some guilt-free WM action then there is a place you can go as EA has developed a WM mode for that FIFA 23which is completely free for anyone who already owns the game.
Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that entire standalone titles were released to tie in with the Worlds. South Africa 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil would be great titles if you only cared about this international tournament. Comparatively the new mode in FIFA 23 holds up very well.
While it lacks features like the “Captain Your Country” mode of these games, it makes up for it elsewhere with the ability to play along with the tournament live and rewrite history at your leisure. You can play real matches live or even retrospectively and try to change the outcome if your team isn’t doing as well as you hoped.
It also lacks the distinctive flavor that those previous games had in its soundtrack. The 2014 game had lively samba music for Brazil and loud vuvuzelas for South Africa, but there isn’t much Middle Eastern music in this game, which is disappointing.
When I sat down and played through the classic tournament mode, I was disappointed to find that I couldn’t customize the roster. FIFA 23 has many players past and present that could be put into the modern teams, but sadly it’s not meant to be. Even in this fantasy world, the stars of yore will not see anything in Qatar.
Beyond that, not much seems to stand in the way of replayability. Once you’ve led your team to the trophy, there’s not much left to do. You can play as one of the lowest ranked nations to challenge yourself, but that’s for the best. Playing online is always an option, but at some point it feels a little superficial.
That may be because so much focus has been put on FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT). This makes sense as this is where most of the player base lives right now.
This is a very long in-game event where players collect red toilet players to try and fill up their collection. They may be removed from your club on January 4, 2023, but you need them to complete the ten levels of World Cup Objectives. These can net you all sorts of things like coins, packs, and picks after the event is over.
Worlds content will last through December 23rd, with Season 2 ending January 4th. Limited time cards are a bit annoying, but it’s all about collecting them. Let’s be honest, after filling up those old panini stick albums, have you ever looked at them again? No, they just went to your attic to collect dust. Having said that, it would be nice to have an album of sorts to include them in as I’m sure it would induce a rush of warm nostalgia from many.
The World Cup Path to Glory promo cards envision that each World Cup nation will receive at least one live card available in packs, SBCs, and via objectives. These cards receive boosts at each stage as their team progresses – with some enticing results for cards that reach the finals or win all.
- Promotion to the Round of 16 and Quarterfinals each grants a +1 in-form upgrade
- Advancement to the semifinals earns player items 5* Weak Foot
- Advancement to the final awards player items with 5* Skill Moves
- Winning the FIFA World Cup™ awards players another +1 in-form upgrade, along with three select traits tailored to the player’s position
This really kick-started the World Cup hype and hopefully things will follow the same pattern as FUT Russia 2018, with Team of the Stage being bolstered for the rounds to come.
FUT Moments has been a great addition as outlined in our FIFA 23 Review, and the additional things added for the World Cup are no different. Daily Matchday Moments are available throughout the tournament, and you’ll also get some Flash Challenges for iconic moments in World Cup history. That means you can easily earn a handful of stars in your downtime, so you can earn some decent packages down the line.
The mode also seems to have taken some grind out of the process. You get plenty of swap tokens for rewards in World Cup Swaps, and even the Live FUT Friendly Milestones are a bit more generous. These games run on Golden Goal, although there were issues with too many soft bans for players grinding the mode. – something EA Sports is aware of and working to fix. However, you have plenty of time, so there is no rush.
Of course, if you don’t mind paying for a little boost, that option is there. Promo Packs on the FUT Store cost over 1,000 FIFA Points ($9.99) and include World Cup Red and their regular content. It has pretty slim odds though, so don’t pay unless you’re happy with the odds.
With four years to go until the 2026 North American World Cup, it will be interesting to see how the new plays out EA Sports FC series deals with it. It will likely be another free update rather than a standalone game, but we have to hope that we’ll get some more content for both single player and FUT fans.
Written by Alex Bug and Ryan Woodrow for GLHF.