Reviews | FIFA 21 looks stunning in the new generation, but gameplay is the same

Analysis |  FIFA 21 looks stunning in the new generation, but gameplay is the same

The arrival of new generation video games had few games optimized for them. But one of the titles that promised full optimization for Xbox Series X and S and PlayStation 5 was FIFA 21, released in October initially for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

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Initially, EA Sports made a lot of mystery regarding the version for the new consoles. Very little was shown and said, especially because the standard game has bizarre bugs and some gameplay flaws, even after several updates. This whole strategy could be understood when, finally, the game optimized for Xbox Series X and S and PlayStation 5 was released on December 4th.

As much as there are still flaws and points to be corrected, the graphical leap of FIFA 21 in the new generation is a delight for fans of the game. There are countless improvements, especially in the animations after the goals and in details in the players that, before, it was not possible to work. In addition, the game’s fluidity, especially in the menus, another chronic FIFA problem, is jaw-dropping.

Reviews |  FIFA 21 looks stunning in the new generation, but gameplay is the same

What has improved?

In our review of the standard version of FIFA 21, we covered the entire game and its contents, which place it as the most complete game ever released. However, since then, EA has made some changes to the gameplay and tried to fix problems reported by the community, such as animation bugs and bizarre game situations, especially those in which artificial intelligence needs to work. The general impression is that FIFA 21 is nothing more than a slightly improved version of the hugely criticized FIFA 20.

Problems aside, let’s get down to business. What has actually improved in the optimized version of FIFA 21?

Reviews |  FIFA 21 looks stunning in the new generation, but gameplay is the same

Image: Felipe Ribeiro / FreeGameGuide

Here at FreeGameGuide we tried the game on the Xbox Series S and then on the Series X, which is nothing more than the same game on the PlayStation 5. The graphics, loading times and general performance improvements are identical on the three consoles, with the difference that , in the Series S, FIFA 21 arrives “only” at 1440p of resolution.

Before going to gameplay, what you can feel when running FIFA 21 on both consoles is the speed with which things happen. From the initial screen to arrival at the Menu, it takes a few seconds. After that, we were able to navigate without the constant choking that happened not only in the Xbox One and PS4 version, but in other past games of the franchise. The FIFA interface has always been heavy and problematic, but that is now over.

Reviews |  FIFA 21 looks stunning in the new generation, but gameplay is the same

When we go to the game, regardless of whether we are in VOLTA Football or in traditional offline matches, there are no more loading screens. It is choosing the teams, assembling them as you wish and going to the field / court. The infamous loading screen in the franchise, until then, was the pitch of the arena, where you hit the ball with your opponent. This now only online.

Now, the visual

As we mentioned, EA has not changed the gameplay at all, so the improvements are just technical within the game – and what improvements. The graphics, in fact, are more realistic and were a pleasant surprise. Everything is much more detailed on the playing field, from the pitch to the movement of the athletes, which is more natural and believable, especially without the ball. They, in fact, seem to have a life of their own and interact with what happens inside the match.

Reviews |  FIFA 21 looks stunning in the new generation, but gameplay is the same

For more detailed players, it will be possible to check even how the players’ muscles behave in kick and pass commands. The ball, in turn, when touched, has slight deformities, as in real life.

Looking more closely, it is also possible to see how the players ‘features are more realistic, with clear improvement that can be seen in the athletes’ hair and beards. Sweat and t-shirts are also more realistic and give a more natural impression.

Reviews |  FIFA 21 looks stunning in the new generation, but gameplay is the same

Image: Felipe Ribeiro / FreeGameGuide

The animations after the goals were also improved, with the players executing more natural and varied movements, unlike what happened with past games, where everything was very robotized.

Reviews |  FIFA 21 looks stunning in the new generation, but gameplay is the same

Image: Felipe Ribeiro / FreeGameGuide

As for the ambience, the improvements were more subtle, especially the fans, who react in a more varied and complex way. In goals at the last minute, for example, the stadium comes down and the game is keen to show up close how the fans celebrate. It is very cool.

Will visual changes be enough?

FIFA 21 on Xbox Series X and S and PlayStation 5 has interesting improvements, such as very short load times, considerable visual improvements, more realistic animations and much more fluid overall performance. These are details that can make critical game fans forget a little about the gameplay flaws and bugs that still happen.

However, here’s an advice from a confessed fan of the franchise: it’s time for EA to open its eyes and look for alternatives to resume the glory days of the main football game on the market. KONAMI seems to have understood what it needs to do and will dedicate a lot to a next generation PES, which will be launched only in 2021. Then, who knows, we may have a more fierce dispute.

FIFA 21 is available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC and Nintendo Switch.

At FreeGameGuide, FIFA 21 was evaluated with a copy for Xbox Series X and S acquired by the reporter.