The latest version of the football simulation game relies heavily on the gameplay of last year’s edition, but has some new minor improvements
Football in 2020 changed utterly. Matches are now played around the world in empty stadiums, kick-off times are structured so fans can watch their favourite teams from home and major international tournaments have even been postponed until next year.
While football in 2020 is different, FIFA 21 is largely the same as its predecessors.
Fans of older versions of the game will be easily able to pick up the new game and jump right in to the action.
FIFA 21: What’s new?
Jumping into the action is perhaps the most innovative addition to this season’s edition of the world’s most popular football simulation game, as Career Mode gets some shiny new updates including the option to simulate a 2D version of each match, taking it closer to Football Manager.
While the 2D simulation is running, you can “Jump In” and take control of your team as in a normal FIFA game and the action picks up exactly where the 2D map indicates.
You can even jump back out of the game and return to the 2D simulation or simply fast-forward to the end of the game.
This works very well and is sure to please fans of Career Mode, who sometimes feel as Ultimate Team gets the bigger billing and thus receives more game improvements year on year.
The new Player Development system in Career Mode is also a much-needed addition as player training and growth is more realistic.
Players can now be retrained in new positions, meaning that right wingers can become inverted left wingers or defensive midfielders turned into defenders, for example.
You can train your star striker to become a centre-back too, but position changes are logical, so it might take a few years for that kind of drastic position change to take effect!
Loan-to-buy options are now included to better reflect real-life transfers, while transfers can be more authentic, with some marquee players unavailable to buy, no matter the offer.
FIFA 21: Volta and Ultimate Team evolutions
Volta Football has been improved with the addition of Squad Battles, like in Ultimate Team, where you can earn XP to unlock new clothing items and even superstar players like Kylian Mbappe to recruit for your team.
There is a new story in Volta called the Debut, which features some real-life cameos like Kaka dropping by, but overall Volta remains a nice distraction rather than an essential game in itself like FIFA Street once was.
Ultimate Team remains the most-played game mode in FIFA and largely has stayed the same from last season.
The new improvement to FUT is Co-Op games where you can join up with a friend online and play using either of your Ultimate Teams in Squad Battles or Rivals, earning rewards for both players.
FIFA 21 gameplay? More of the same
EA Sports was forced to delay the launch of FIFA 21 and even cancelled the release of the demo for the game in order to ensure that the October 9 release date was met.
As a result, gameplay is largely the same from FIFA 20, with some small changes like Agile Dribbling and Creative Runs .
These give slightly more control over the ball when in possession and look to more closely resemble real-life football.
They’re nice little touches, but casual players may not even realise they have been added to the game.
Similarly, the menus have been given a lick of paint this year, but the overall menu screen looks the same, just with flashier colours.
Don’t expect FIFA 21 to revolutionise football but, if you’re a fan of the series, it’s a nice update to the game you know already.