Sure as death and taxes, FIFA is back for another annual instalment, but EA has brought a brand new marketing term along with it - Hypermotion Technology. While it sounds like an awful lot of bluster, there's more here than first meets the eye with FIFA 22.
We went hands-on in Kick-Off mode and came away with one main conclusion - this could be the best FIFA in years when it comes to the on-the-field action.
Read More: FIFA 22: Everything We Know
FIFA 22 Hands-On: HyperMotion Is More Than Just A Buzzword
While our preview build lacked much of the pre-game fanfare that's coming in this year's entry, it's clear to see at first glance that the waxwork-like player models of old are less common. In FIFA 21, even the likes of Harry Kane's face had a lack of texture, while multiple players were missing tattoos.
Now, players are instantly recognisable, with tussled hair like Kevin De Bruyne's looking particularly sharp and lifelike.
It's not just player likenesses that have been improved, though - Hypermotion enables EA to comb through reams of motion capture and performance data. No longer is chesting the ball down and trapping it a canned animation. Everything flows from one motion to the next, and that applies to every aspect of play.
Cunning players can no longer bank on a certain animation having an interception point during which to make a tackle, nor will the world's best players take an age to turn and play a killer pass.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Animation aside, there's plenty more going on under the hood. For one, teams move more organically, pushing, stretching and collapsing both in possession and out of it.
If you're familiar with Italy's disciplined Euro 2020 performance, you'll note players dropping off to provide space, or centre-halves pushing up more calmly when in position.
Attacking intelligence and smarter, more natural animations lead to players seeking out space in ways they never had before. In FIFA 21 and prior, you could find yourself chasing a match, only for your players to line up on the edge of the box, almost afraid of making a run beyond.
Now, while you can't always press the attack, it is possible to work your way backwards. It all facilitates more careful build-up play, matching today's possession-driven game.
Not The FIFA You Know
If this all sounds like the pre-release hype we've all heard before, think again. In our experience, we scored some of the most fluid goals we've scored in FIFA.
Whether it's getting a wing-back to the byline for a cutback, or skewing a pass towards a forward and seeing him stretch and contort to ensure maximum contact, it's extraordinary to see in motion.
We were, of course, restricted to Kick-Off mode, and it'll be interesting to see how many of these on-pitch changes carry over into Ultimate Team.
FIFA has often felt like two games in one in that regard, and we're hopeful FUT will see a more thoughtful approach this year than its incessant focus on pace.
Here's hoping the rest of the package has seen some much-needed TLC because FIFA 22 is starting to look closer than ever to an approximation of real football - and we can't wait to lace up our virtual boots again.
In the meantime be sure to check out all we know so far about FIFA 22 Icons.