On Saturday night, after coming home from seeing a couple family members, I realised that Fifa 21 had been out for a couple of days. As always, I had been dishing out the usual spiel about how EA shouldn’t be rewarded for pushing out the same game time and time again and be rewarded with more of our money, but when I booted up Fifa 20 it just didn’t feel right.
So, I caved in.
£60 went down the drain at the PlayStation store for the standard edition and, after well over two hours of download time, I was in. Here’s what I thought of Fifa 21 after a couple sessions of gameplay.
It’s So Slow
I feel like I’ve ended up saying this about every Fifa launched since the switch to the Frostbite engine back in Fifa 17, but Fifa 21 just feels so slow from what I’ve tasted of it so far. Pacey wingers hardly feel pacey these days, with my 58 rated right back I threw in for a couple of preseason games somehow managing to literally outpace Wolfsburg’s Brekalo (82 pace) and Joao Victor (88 pace) on the left wing.
Even with simple things like ball rolls, fake shots and Cruyff turns, which were all at the cornerstones of how I played Fifa 20, feel so much slower than before. After going nearly six months without losing the ball once during a Cruyff turn in Fifa 20, I was tackled mid-turn six times in one game before I stopped attempting them. Players just seem so slow now and unable to produce those quick flicks and turns that were so powerful in creating space and chances in games before.
Strangely enough however, the one exception to this seems to be with the game’s skill moves, which seem to be far less clunky or time consuming to bust out. Rainbow flicks are probably the best example, with the half an hour (not accurate) it took to produce on in Fifa 20 being knocked down to a much smoother second or so now.
The New Things Grow Old Quickly
At this point, everyone knows that EA don’t care about Career Mode in their Fifa games. It doesn’t stop fans from bemoaning the company and rightly pointing out that the likes of Ultimate Team (you know, the ones where EA make their money) get all the attention with updates, tweaks and new features and collectibles every week.
Fifa 21 was supposed to be the first edition to break this status quo, promising more immersive transfer negotiations, a revamped calendar view and customisable training modes to help tailor player’s to how a player wants them to play.
Whilst all of these things are welcome additions to the game (because honestly I would rather have anything over what Fifas 19 and 20 served up), they do get old pretty quickly and don’t really come close to ushering in a new era for Career Mode fans like myself.
Rewarding Quick Plays
From what I felt in the few games I played over the weekend, Fifa 21 could be the game that kills off traditional through balls. The days of a Kevin De Bruyne or Cesc Fabregas sitting deep, having all the time in the world, and splitting defences with a single press of a button sadly look to be at an end with just how brutally specific through balls now have to be.
And those handy crossfield passes across the defence basically don’t work either anymore it feels.
Instead, almost all of the goals I scored over the weekend were from tidy quick 1-2s and quick pass and run movements into the opposing box. This should sit great with pro players and make the Esports betting and competitive scenes for the game more interesting to watch, however I’m not too sure just how well this is going to sit with more casual players.