Ladies and gents, it’s that time of year again with another release in the FIFA series, back again with the game we’ve come to love over the years, FIFA 21. Developed and published by EA, this year’s FIFA has got some great new features and some tweaked gameplay that will give you the feeling of hitting top bins against Ter Stegen, so let’s get into it.
For those of you that haven’t played FIFA for a few years, or are just about to get into it, here is a little breakdown of gameplay and modes on offer inside FIFA 21. There’s 3 main game modes inside FIFA 21, being Career, Volta and Ultimate Team. Let’s kick it off with Career mode, which is as it sounds. You start off as a young prodigy trying to make your mark on the world of football. Complete in game tasks, reach seasonal milestones and impress the squad to garner a following fitting of a top tier footballer. Progressing through your career, your overall stats will change and offers from bigger clubs will come about.
Continue along this path, become a legend of the sport, and when you’re ready you can retire and become a manager. Sadly for me this doesn’t quite hit the heights of The Journey from earlier FIFA titles, which provided us a genuine story to go along with our career. While a story is lacking, Career mode is a great place for people that enjoy the game of football without the need to play online. Next up is Volta. Volta is the football of the streets played on small pitches and has a heavy emphasis on tricks and slick movements to best your opponents. Create your pro and battle it up in small team based matches in a number of unique locations like Paris, Sao Paolo and Sydney. There is a good little storyline attached to Volta, which sees you put your skills to the test and get your team a spot in tournaments with the help of someone keen to see what you’ve got.
Volta features guest spots from some of the greatest footballers there has ever been including the legendary Kaka. The fun, fast and almost no holds barred game mode really hammers home what it’s like to play the beautiful game in the streets and on quite uniquely designed pitches from around the globe. Now to the main beast that FIFA games are so heavily renowned for, Ultimate team. Ultimate team is in essence a game mode where you create your ultimate team of pro players and take on people online around the world. Building your team can be done in a variety of ways such as just playing matches in one of the many different comps/modes and winning, squad building challenges and through micro transactions to buy FIFA points and purchasing “surprise mechanics” in the forms of packs of players or consumable cards.
While it’s a somewhat slower process to just play matches and earn coins for transfers, the way Ultimate team is set out it caters to everyone. Inside Ultimate team there has been a few quality of life changes and some new content for you to work towards. Fitness cards are a thing of the past, so you can take your top tier starting XI into every match. The new stadium feature that lets you customize your stadium if you don’t want to use a real world one as your home ground. Completing milestones allows for more customizing and eventually you’ll be able to put together the stadium you want!
To the gameplay now and as someone that’s played FIFA titles going back nearly 10 years, there’s been some subtle but no less welcomed tweaks to how the game flows. In titles before FIFA 21 there always seemed to be a lack of AI intelligence when attacking, but that seems to be addressed as higher rated players tend to stay more onside and wait for the ball to be released forward or crossed in wide for them to get on the end of. Heading the ball in attacking zones was a bit of a sore point in the last title, but it’s been given a little tweak to make it a bit more fair in the air and reflective of a players in game stats. Goalies had a near post weakness before, but are now much more likely to defend near the posts properly, rather than just letting the easy goals flow in against you, so that’s a big plus.
With these new little tweaks, FIFA 21 gives off a much smoother vibe. Player attributes feel more like the way you see them in the stats page when in action. Tricks and flicks come off looking more genuine, and player movement and awareness are on the rise with this title. The action is fast paced. With 6 minute halves as a standard, you’ll never really feel bogged down in a match before you’re on to the next one.
Graphically there have been some solid improvements too. Mainly to the crowd, which now looks and acts how a stadium packed with fans should. Scoring a goal sends them into a frenzy, they sing your team anthems and calls, and it all just feels like a genuine football match. More players are now getting face scan technology used on them and it definitely shows. Stacking up players with and without it you can see the difference in quality of their features and look. With that being said, there are more and more happening, and with next gen consoles just around the corner they’ll be more lifelike before we know it!
The game audio is doing wonders for me. The commentary is quick, sharp and flows with each match superbly. Crowd noises are on the up as well, with chanting team songs and the immense cheering that goes on when you slot home the stoppage time winner. There’s not much need to talk about the FIFA 21 soundtrack, as every year they come out firing with some solid bangers and this year is no exception. The music that accompanies the menu and game screens hits the mark and keeps you bopping right up until match day.
In all, EA have once again produced a great game in FIFA 21, which will have football fans around the world itching for more and more. The quality of life changes implemented might be small but do wonders for the way each match flows and I’m thoroughly impressed by them. All game modes have a large amount of content and play time that you can throw yourself into without the fear of being burned out in one, but for now, catch me in ultimate team!
- Quality of life changes
- Massive amount of gameplay content
- Soundtrack on point
- Volta story
- Fast paced gameplay
- Menus can be a little confusing to start with