Every year a new addition to the FIFA series appears. In recent editions, fans have always had hope for real big changes. Unfortunately they were disappointed time and time again. This year is different. Career Mode in particular has been overhauled by EA. Where in FIFA 20 the popular game mode already got ‘changes’, it actually remained largely the same.
The biggest difference you noticed in FIFA 20 was the absence of Juventus. EA lost the license to use the club in the game. In FIFA 21, AS Roma is also added. Fortunately, managers can get started with quite a few innovations in other areas, although the question remains of course whether this is enough.
Youth is the future
When playing Career Mode you immediately get the feeling that you have started Football Manager behind your laptop. FIFA 21 has a great focus in game mode on developing (young) players. In which FIFA 20 players were introduced to ‘dynamic potential’, this is even more extensive in FIFA 21. With dynamic potential the potential of players grew through their performance on the field.
It is therefore more important than ever to give young players a chance. Just like on the turf in the ArenA, football players need playing time to improve. If Mbappé, Boadu, Donnarumma or Fati were constantly on the couch, they wouldn’t be the stars we all know today.
Subsequently, the potential of a player is determined with the so-called ERV. This XP is distributed based on the performance of the players. This allows the important properties such as skillmoves, the weak leg and the work pace of players are improved.
Train, train and train again
New this year is the training of player position. In previous editions, it didn’t matter in Career Mode whether your left winger was on left back, or vice versa. This year is different. Players get one downgrade if they can’t manage in one of their favorite positions.
So you have to puzzle a lot to get your team to train optimally, something that has been significantly improved in the latest addition to the series. After all, players are now trained on the basis of where they can do best. So you have to make sure that you get the most out of every player to make your team as strong as possible. Only then can you become champion again!
Speed is still too important
New additions are great, of course, but in the end the gameplay of FIFA 21 determines how much fun the game is to play. That EA has finally found the right pace after a number of tries, deserves a dance of joy. Matches now largely run smoothly, although there are still a few small snags, like referees who sometimes make frustrating mistakes.
The opportunity to control players without the ball is a bit disappointing. Players who do not have the ball sometimes seem to run a bit viscidly across the field. In addition, speed is still too important. It has been very important to have fast players in your team for a number of years and unfortunately this year is no different. Wet your chest for (too) much coins to spend on players who are purely about speed.
On an adventure in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team
Those FIFA Coins will again be an investment in Ultimate Team, although you may have to dig a little less deep into your pockets this year. New this year is playing together in FUT. Where in co-op an adventure could already be started together with normal teams, you can also play together in FUT in FIFA 21.
In Squad Battles, Division Rivals and Friendly matches, players can kick a ball together. Who started the lobby decides with which team you will play, so it is smart to agree this with your partner in advance. Building an ultimate team together is therefore a very nice addition, especially when you are on the field together. It is a pity that it is not possible to play against two other friends.
You can, however, make your club even more personal. You can personalize your Ultimate Team to your heart’s content with club songs, dances of joy, fireworks, paint and tifos. While it’s a nice addition, the feature alone doesn’t add that much to the gameplay itself. You can see it as one more way to make more money from the game, on top of the existing Card Packs to improve your team.
FIFA 21 Review – Career Mode at the rescue
For the current generation, FIFA 21 is certainly a good title, although the potential was so much greater. Fortunately, Career Mode fans will be served at their beck and call this year, which was necessary after years of disappointment. The development of youth players has also improved a lot this year, although it is regrettable to see that elements such as the speed of players are still too big a factor for the core gameplay.
A number of additions can also be found at FIFA Ultimate Team this year. The biggest of these is the possibility to put together an ultimate team with a friend. Unfortunately, this co-op feature is a bit undercut by yet another way EA is trying to make money from FIFA Coins. In addition to the pay-to-win player packages, there are now also cosmetic purchase options that hurt the heart of a FIFA fan.
Fifa 21 will be released on Friday, October 9, 2020 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. The latter is a Legacy Edition, without gameplay updates. Fifa 21 will also later appear on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S.