For the FIFA 21 Review, we ventured out onto the pitch again and took a closer look at the revised career mode, VOLTA and of course FIFA Ultimate Team. Are the improvements enough to beat its previous predecessor?
Virtual football is entering the new season with FIFA 21. After the predecessor was heavily criticized even by die-hard fans, the developer EA Sports has worked hard on the gameplay for this latest part of the series. In our FIFA 21 review, we will tell you what improvements really come to light
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QuickFacts About FIFA 21
- Developer: EA Sports
- Publisher: EA Sports
- Genre: Sports Game
- Release: October 9, 2020
- Players: 1-22
FIFA 21 Gameplay: It Plays Much Better
The most exciting news for fans: FIFA 21 is much more than just a simple squad update. In fact, the developers have made many adjustments to the gameplay to create not only a more varied, but also a better gaming experience.
Let's be honest: FIFA 20 was too predictable while on the offensive. All attacks were made through the center, crosses were absolutely useless and the drag back skill move was omnipresent. However, FIFA 21 is much more varied.
Crosses and headers are finally proven to be a useful tool again. You can also now attack in the outer lane! And the changes keep coming, as even the dribbling system better reflects the players' values than last year.
With these added improvements to the dribbling, lively players such as Neymar, Messi or Reus can now dance around their opponents more easily - but not be overpowered in terms of gameplay balance. The developers have done a great job of balancing this year.
Fortunately, not only the goalkeepers but also the AI players act much smarter off the ball. FIFA 21 plays completely different than its predecessor and even better.
Improvements to VOLTA and Career Mode
The street soccer mode VOLTA, which was introduced last year, is again part of FIFA 21 and should appeal especially to players who already had a lot of fun with the FIFA Street spinoff.
In FIFA 21 the VOLTA gameplay has been optimized, and additional game modes provide long-term motivation to keep playing them. New VOLTA Squads, you can now play online with a group of up to three friends or alone for fast drop-in games.
Like FIFA Ultimate Team, we will advance in divisions and unlock new rewards and content. This year, there is again a story campaign that does its job relatively well. And if you like fast, arcade-heavy soccer, you'll have real fun with VOLTA.
But also in the career mode, a lot has changed. Thanks to the new interactive match simulation, FIFA 21 almost makes you feel like a real manager. The many smaller changes should appeal to career fans in particular.
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FIFA 21 Ultimate Team Steps Up
The biggest and most important mode is FIFA 21 Ultimate Team. No wonder that the developers gave FUT the most attention. In fact, this is also where the most changes have taken place.
Probably the most exciting change is the construction of your own FUT stadium. Although we are still allowed to use prefabricated arenas, the design of our own stadium is much more of a motivating factor to keep playing.
We can adapt the stands, set up choreographies, run-in melodies, set off fireworks when we score a goal, or even play our own music sound when we score a goal. Progress is tied to various tasks and it will be exciting to see what the developers come up with for the upcoming in-game seasons.
In addition, FIFA 21 removes the fitness cards, a small but nice change. Also, the pack luck has obviously been improved - we have never seen such good cards from our first packs for the start of a new FIFA title.
This could also be due to the FIFA 21 Ratings, which caused heated discussions after their announcement. The fact that some of the best players got a downgrade ensures that they are to be found in card packs more often (and that EA Sports will be able to provide many more special cards later this year). We really like this change.
Nevertheless, the pay-to-win mechanisms are still present, albeit somewhat less pronounced than last year. Thanks to a varied stadium expansion, successful season tasks, and strong gameplay, FIFA 21 Ultimate Team is great. Especially since we can now play cooperatively with two players against the CPU and even in a division rivalry against other players.
The connection quality of the online servers was also much better than in FIFA 20 during our testing, but there were still relatively few players active, so we will continue to watch the online games in the coming days and weeks.
- READ MORE: FIFA 21 Ultimate Team - Beginner's Guide
Verdict on FIFA 21
With FIFA 21, EA Sports has put together an excellent overall package. In fact, the title consistently eliminates the most important points of criticism of its predecessor and presents itself clearly superior on the pitch. Offensive actions are much more unpredictable than in the previous year: Cross runs, short pass play through the middle, and fast 1-on-1 dribbling are all effective.
Small detail improvements to the most important game modes provide additional motivation, and in terms of scope, FIFA is not ahead of any other sports games anyway. Technically only a little has changed at the moment but will see what the next-gen upgrade in November brings.
FIFA 21 succeeds in most places and absolutely no one should miss this sports game this year.