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Will FIFA 22's Explosive Sprint spell the end of defender catch up?

The speed at which players can sprint with the ball in FIFA has always been a source of contention but that may be set to change with FIFA 22.
Will FIFA 22's Explosive Sprint spell the end of defender catch up?

FIFA has always had a speed problem. EA Sport's football title has often given unearned buffs to defenders, allowing them to catch up to speedier attackers, much to the annoyance of the player base.

Recent releases have seen to reverse this trend, and fast attackers have found that they can out-pace defenders in front of them. However, the developers clearly feel there is more to do and in the most recent FIFA 22 Pitch Notes, which was released alongside a brand new gameplay trailer, they have revealed a brand new Explosive Sprint mechanic.

The inclusion has got many worried if this is yet another 'Bridge' or 'Directional Nutmeg' skill move, both of which dominated the meta in FIFA 21 before they were subsequently nerfed.

What is Explosive Sprint in FIFA 22?

FIFA 22's Gameplay Producer, Thomas Caleffi, explains exactly how it works in the latest Pitch Notes, and while all of this should be taken with a pinch of salt, fears that it could prove as broken as the Bridge once was might be unfounded.

"Explosive Sprint rewards timing and your intelligence on the ball, giving players a more noticeable acceleration when Sprint (R2/RT) is pressed during the correct context," explains Caleffi.

A video posted alongside the description shows how it works in practice.

Crucially, this move isn't just for attackers but defenders also, allowing those with the capabilities to explode forward for a short duration of time.

"Explosive Sprint can be triggered while already in possession of the ball (dribbling) or when moving without the ball, it cannot be activated during the ball approach," says Caleffi.

Also key is the way in which a player is facing, they must be facing and then running in a straight line, any deviation will only infer a partial effect.

So imagine a scenario where a ball is played into the feet of Kylian Mbappé, a defender in front of him but off to one side, would be perfect fodder for an Explosive Sprint, luring them into to a foul or leaving them for dead.

FIFA 22 Explosive Sprint
Kylian Mbappé will be quick off the mark in FIFA 22. (Picture: EA Sports)

On the flip side, unlike with last year's Bridge or Directional Nutmeg which were far less situational, the Explosive Sprint looks to have a higher skill-ceiling and less ripe for abuse.

The sprint also has an in-built cooldown as Caleffi explains:

"To balance the mechanic, the Explosive Sprint only happens for a short duration when activated, then tapers off, going into a cooldown period during which it cannot be activated again until it ends."

This feature is just one of a number detailed in the latest Pitch Notes, one of the most detailed ever seen before the release of that year's game with seemingly every facet of the game expected to get a major overhaul.

Whether that proves to be true is much less certain, with EA and their yearly sports titles often accused of promising much more than they deliver.