EA Sports have tried to paint the picture that FIFA 21 will be a different, much improved version of the video game series we all hate to love. FIFA 20 was a unanimous disaster. We have now racked a few hours into FIFA 21 Early Access and are ready to say some words on the supposed improvements from FIFA 20 that we were promised.
FIFA 21's worldwide launch is this Friday, October 9. Everyone that has been following the long-lasting series is drowning in anticipation. We've been led to believe this will be the year FIFA goes back to its glory days. Is that so? Here's what we found out in the few hours we've had with the game so far.
Crossing and Heading Are Part of the Game Again
Perhaps the most notorious FIFA 20 gameplay feature was that crosses and headers were an absolute joke. Fan of 90s era Premier League? Tough luck, bucko. Even Duncan Ferguson would struggle to put away a header in that game.
Thankfully, that's no longer the case. In FIFA 21 headed goals are a real possibility again as our own experience so far proves. Give or take half the goals we scored came from someone's top, which is already more than we had for the entire duration of FIFA 20's reign.
Don't worry, EA Sports have not overpowered headers to overcompensate. It's just that we really like crossing the ball from the touchline. If the developers don't meddle with this feature unnecessarily, FIFA heading should be fun once more.
More Balanced Meta
This point is a direct sequence of the higher impact headers have this year. In FIFA 20 speed was king, 'cause you could pretty much score only by playing a grounded type of football. Now that you can once again nail a powerful header, physical stats are much more important than they were this time last year. While a FIFA 20 striker with 75 pace and 95 physical was borderline useless, that is no longer the case in FIFA 21. The same goes for defenders.
Agile Dribbling Is as Good as Advertised
Agile dribbling actually makes a sensible difference. There isn't too much more than that to it. You gotta play it to feel it, but the balance achieved between high and low-end dribblers and how they feel in your hands while dribbling the ball is a really nice feature. Beta testers did good by insisting on improvements here.
AI Is a Little Bit Less Dumb
Another FIFA 21 gameplay innovation are the Creative Runs, which will help AI players to behave more intelligently and to advance better into free spaces when attacking. It's a neat feature that expands on previous versions, allowing you to send up to five teammates on runs you've envisioned during play. Perhaps the best way to improve AI is to give the player more control over it, so we endorse this feature wholeheartedly.
Creating Our Own Stadium Is The S#$t
It's unbelievably satisfying to be able to play in your own stadium, in front of your own crowd. It's like you really are fielding your team on the grandest of stages, playing for the grandest of prizes. Makes us forget for a moment that it's just FIFA Ultimate Team.
- READ MORE: FIFA 21: Three Cheap FUT Teams to Start With
These are our five positive impressions from the initial FIFA 21 gameplay. We're sure more stuff will come to our focus the more we play the game. If you haven't pre-ordered, you can get your own copy of the game on Friday, October 9 and see for yourself how good, or bad, FIFA 21 really is.