EA are promising a lot

FIFA 21 Gameplay: In-Depth Overview

FIFA
FIFA 21 Gameplay Overview

FIFA 21 should see major improvement in the gameplay department. (Image credit: EA Sports)

The first FIFA 21 Gameplay Trailer gave us a preview of what to expect in the new game and there are a lot of exciting features to look forward to. We have more thorough information now and it's time to go more in depth on the FIFA 21 gameplay.

Video credit: EA Sports via YouTube

FIFA 21 Gameplay: More Realistic than Ever

FIFA 21 is looking to make a huge leap in terms of gameplay. EA Sports have been listening to community feedback and many of the changes stem from the ongoing demands, growing especially large during the lifespan of the much maligned FIFA 20. Most new features were known to us, at least roughly, after the feature-reveal, but now EA Sports go further into detail. Let's see what's cookin'.

Agile Dribbling

The new Agile Dribbling system should allow more control and reactivity in 1-on-1 situations. New special movements like the outside dribbling or the ball roll spin offer new possibilities when in possession of the ball.

In FIFA 21, the ball can be moved quickly from side to side to make it easier to overrun defenders. For this purpose, the jockeying mechanics are also revised. Agile dribbling is activated by holding R1/RB and moving the left analog stick, which allows even faster and more precise movements.

Basically, every player is able to perform the new dribbling - but the higher the values for dribbling, agility, reactions and ball control, the faster and more precise the movements can be performed.

There is also an optional mechanism called "Contextual Agile Dribbling" which can be disabled. When enabled, players automatically perform agile dribbling.

Video credit: EA Sports via YouTube

Creative Runs

Creative Runs should make the AI much better at not being completely retarded on offense. With Directed Runs, you can send players into free spaces after triggering a run or calling a teammate short. You have full 360° control over the movements of your players. Up to five players can start the creative runs at the same time. By pressing the left and right analog stick (L3+R3) the selected player can be fixed, then the CPU takes control after a pass, while you can put another player in position yourself.

FIFA 21 Kylian Mbappé

Creative Runs should make the AI much more tolerable on offense. (Image credit: EA Sports)

Positioning Personality

AI-controlled attackers and defenders act even smarter in FIFA 21. Tactics should have more influence on the gameplay. World-class players behave smarter on the pitch. Strikers pay attention to the last defender during their runs to avoid offside positions. Playmakers create space to exploit gaps between enemy lines. All of this is achieved through a player's positioning stat, which will play a much larger role this year.

Video credit: EA Sports via YouTube

Improved Enemy Interaction

Player contacts and how they are reenacted in FIFA 21 is also a major talking point. New animations and improved physics should provide for a much smoother, realistic feel for the game. Walking paths are better understood, new player abilities to jump and avoid fallen players are some of the key improvements.

Competitor Mode

Competitor Mode is introduced to FIFA 21 single-player modes such as Career and Squad Battles. This feature can be activated on legendary and ultimate difficulties and will make the AI players behave as if they are controlled by human hands. The models of gameplay for Competitor Mode are based on some of the best FIFA players in the world's style of play.

Headers are back!

Headers were useless in FIFA 20, but this will change fundamentally in its successor. Set Assisted Headers off and enjoy the Manual Heading feature. Once Manual Heading is on, you have to adjust the direction and strength of the headers yourself. This should result in considerably more chances to score goals. Manual Heading are mandatory in all competitive FUT game modes, Pro Clubs and FIFA Seasons.

FIFA 21 Erling Haaland

FIFA 21 should feel more realistic in all aspects of the game. (Image credit: EA Sports)

Further FIFA 21 Gameplay Changes

These were the big improvements we're looking mostly towards, but that doesn't mean they are the only ones. More new stuff is coming to FIFA 21, such as:

  • Controlled tackling is made more precise
  • Revised blocking mechanics
  • Passing is made more precise
  • Three new crossing variants
  • You can cancel a pass, shot or skill move midway
  • Improved online connectivity

The entirety of the FIFA 21 Gameplay Pitch Notes is way too long to go over in full detail, but if you're eager to read all of it, who are we to stop you? If everything EA Sports are promising comes to fruition, we might see the best FIFA game in half a decade. We're pumped!

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Kiril Stoilov