There were plenty of things for longtime fans of the FIFA video game series to moan about when it came to previous instalment FIFA 20. Electronic Arts had a lot social media complaints about features that had been added to the game in a bid to make flow and control easier, but that ultimately just made things a heck of a lot more complicated.
So, with the release of FIFA 21, they had plenty of minds to change. Fortunately for the most-part, they’ve managed to do exactly that.
Innovative gameplay is something the developers have been striving for with their past few releases. They’re doing so once more with major improvements to some of the mechanics used on the field.
One of those is a new dribbling system, which gives players more tools to defend themselves against offence from defenders. It’s easier than ever to create space for yourself whilst waiting for some support on the pitch.
If you do find yourself colliding with another player however, the new ‘Natural Collision System’ will allow for smoother player interactions and more realistic consequences. No more smashing someone out of the way and freely flying towards an open goal!
An intelligent new blocking system has also been put into place, which has undoubtedly created more balanced outcomes in many of the one-on-one situations you’ll find your players running into.
What many of us - me included - have really been looking forward to checking out however, is the FIFA 21 Career Mode. I’m happy to report it’s ticked all of the empty boxes left after last year's valiant attempt, and more.
Heavily inspired by the football management sims that have rose to fame throughout the decades, there are a whole bunch of new features that now makes the game’s leading offline mode a must-play.
Brand new this year is the addition of the Interactive Match Sim. Explaining it in short: you can now watch as every single match in your career is simulated in front of you, pass-by-pass, play-by-play, pausing the game at any point and jumping in for yourself to influence the outcome.
Delivering enhanced data straight from the match to the gamer in real-time, gives those engaging with Campaign Mode the ability to make changes directly from the sim, based on performance levels, stamina and the like.
Not only this, but your player’s development can now be looked after in higher detail than ever before.
Want somebody who usually plays centre-back to become a striker? Modify their training package and focus, and see if it’s a path worth treading.
This allows for more versatility and player interactivity than FIFA fans will have ever seen. It means any gaps in a team can be plugged with minor work, rather than forcing those who are great right wingers to play in a position they’re uncomfortable with.
When it comes to training, you can put a schedule in place a week in advance to give your players the best shot of success when they go up against their opponents on the pitch. Knowing who to put to work and who to rest up is vital if you’re to see your team excel.
Career Mode is, to put it bluntly, the best it could be. If you’re not someone who wants to spend a hefty chunk of cash on building your Fifa Ultimate Team, then this is the place for you to really grind out countless hours in FIFA 21.
Speaking of the FUT mode… it’s getting stale very fast. For casual players, it’s going to provide little-to-no entertainment. For those who have been fans of the experience since it first debuted, it’s going to do enough to make them happy all over again, but could be going further.
One notable change that’s for the better however, is the new FUT co-op. Now, you can team up with friends online, competing for rewards and working together to achieve special co-op objectives.
On the whole however, FUT needs to start having some fresh blood pumped into it if it’s to stay warm past FIFA 21.
On the whole, FIFA 21 is a treat for any fan of the franchise. Thanks to its revamped Career Mode and mechanics, it could be considered the perfect time to jump in if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to take control of your favourite footy professionals.
FIFA 21 is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows and Nintendo Switch. It'll also be released on next-gen consoles Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5 upon their debuts.
A code for the game on Xbox One was given to Female First in exchange for a fair and honest review.