EA’s soccer sim has been going through the motions for years now. Ever since FIFA 14 launched, it’s been hard to shake the sense each new entry has acted as a barely reskinned version of its predecessor. It’s an accusation you can definitely lay at FIFA 21’s feet. Though welcome improvements have been made since FIFA 20, this sports package could do with an overhaul.
Before I start going studs up on FIFA 21, EA deserves credit for making the on-pitch action feel less sterile and predictable. Far too often, players in FIFA 20 felt like they were stuck on an invisible eight-directional axis – like their movement was inhibited by some unseen force. This time, movement feels more freeform, with unpredictable spaces opening up in a way that didn’t happen in FIFA 20.
The game’s physics really are stupid, though. PES has long held an advantage when it comes to believable ball movement, and the gap between the two soccer rivals hasn’t closed in 2020. Whereas the football in Konami’s series behaves like its own entity, the ball in FIFA 21 is just… well, flat. Predictable and prone to traveling in an identical fashion no matter how hard you hit it, it often looks fake in motion.
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