Fans of Electronic Arts’ massively successful football franchise know that FIFA 23 represents the series’ final installment. Most multiformat sites have been discussing FIFA 23’s significance as the series’s final entry, at least in terms of branding, as it is the last game to carry the FIFA license before EA parts ways with its partner of 30 years.
This is, however, an old hat for those who already own a Switch. It’s all well and good to lament the passing of an era, but Nintendo fans have long since moved on without the FIFA games. Since then, EA has been doing the video game equivalent of the 1980s comedy Weekend at Bernie’s, propping up FIFA 18’s corpse on a stick and jiggling it around in the hopes that people will continue to think it’s still alive.
You can see the stages of grief in action if you read our reviews of every FIFA game for Switch (all of which were written by the same patient reviewer). In the case of FIFA 18, we were deep in the denial stage. Although EA’s claim reeked worse than Brendan Rodgers’ current season, we went along with it anyway because we wanted to support the Switch version of FIFA even if it lacked some features found in other FIFA games.
We moved on to the pain stage, along with anger and bargaining, when FIFA 19 was released the following year. While we acknowledged that a direct port of Xbox One and PS4 gameplay to the Switch was unrealistic, we pleaded with EA to prioritize the Switch and move more quickly toward delivering what was ostensibly possible: feature parity with other systems. Seeing that FIFA 20 and 21 and 22 were all essentially the same, we hit the depression phase, realizing that our wishes weren’t going to be granted.
Now that FIFA 23 is out, we’ve moved on to the final stages: we’ve moved from sadness to acceptance and finally found peace. Simply put, FIFA on the Switch is dead and has been for quite some time; when it reappears every year in the weeks leading up to Halloween, it is merely a specter trying to rip off unsuspecting customers with its inflated price tag.
That’s why you won’t find the new Ultimate Team Moments feature found in the console and PC versions of the game (or indeed any of the other Ultimate Team features introduced in the past five years). That’s why cross-play isn’t even being considered; after all, it’s hard to imagine how a game based on the Xbox 360 version of FIFA 17 could ever hope to connect with a “proper” modern FIFA game. That wouldn’t be cross-play, it would be a seance.
For this reason, the Switch version of FIFA still lacks the Volta street football mode, which has been available in other versions of FIFA since FIFA 20. A new dress seems a bit silly for an empty skeleton. Is there any word on whether the World Cup and Women’s World Cup modes, which are arriving on the other versions in a free update, later on, will also be available for the Switch? To date, EA hasn’t even bothered to send us a ” _()_/ ” message, so if that happens, we’ll be very surprised.
This is why the improved free kick and penalty kick set-piece system that has been implemented in other versions this year is not available on Switch. Since the previous system it replaced wasn’t available on the Switch either, there’s no point in suddenly acting as if it’s worthwhile to update a mechanic that’s several generations old.
This is why the Switch version of FIFA 23 isn’t featured on the official website’s purchase page. Even though the Stadia version is no longer for sale, it can still be found on the store, proving that at least Google knows when to stop playing pretense and put an end to something. If you go by the official website, the Switch version doesn’t exist, but we can all see it. This is the Sixth Sense of video games.
And that’s why, if you put the Switch version of FIFA 19 next to FIFA 23 on Switch, you’d find that, aside from the kits, rosters, menu images, and soundtrack, you’re playing essentially the same game four years later with no changes to any of the gameplay mechanics or game modes.
In fact, the only new addition to FIFA 23 for the Switch is probably only there because it was the easiest thing to add. Given the huge surge in popularity the women’s game has seen this year in particular, the addition of women’s club football is undeniably welcome. This adds to the English and French top-tier women’s leagues. The addition of club teams may not necessitate a significant increase in development resources beyond the annual roster update that the rest of the game receives, given that international women’s teams have always been present in the Switch version.
Among the rumors of new teams for FIFA 23 is the addition of the fictional AFC Richmond and its manager Ted Lasso, both of whom appear in the Apple TV series of the same name. You probably know where this is going, so bear with us.
Don’t worry about it; we’ll end the suspense now and tell you they aren’t here.
If you’re expecting us to rant about how EA has once again treated Switch players like second-class citizens by releasing a subpar “update,” you’ll be disappointed to learn that this review isn’t that. The thing is, now that we’re past denial and into acceptance, we know for sure that the series has been dead on Switch for at least five years, if not longer.
Only Switch owners who are also die-hard fans of English or French women’s football and have always wanted to play a game based on one of those leagues have a legitimate reason to buy this game. FIFA 23 on Switch is a good buy if you intend to use it for that sole purpose. We instead ask that you join us in respecting the legacy of the FIFA series by leaving it in peace, as for virtually everyone else, what is on offer here is virtually unchanged for the umpteenth time.
The Switch community has been asked to pay at least $40 five times for essentially the same thing—updated rosters and uniforms—and each time we’ve urged you not to show the developers any respect by buying the game. Even though FIFA 23 is still a fun football game to play, it plays exactly like the previous versions, so if you’re desperate for a football game on Switch, I’d recommend looking for a cheap copy of FIFA 19 or FIFA 22.