FIFA 21 was originally presented a few weeks ago, during the EA Play prior to E3 2019. There, some new features were announced, as well as the return of street soccer, replacing the El Camino mode, with the Volta moniker.
Of course, there is much more, and we have been able to see it firsthand with those responsible for it. We had the opportunity to hear and see those responsible for each leg of FIFA 21 and, for now, we can tell you what's new in terms of gameplay in the 'normal' 11 vs. 11 mode.
In this way, we have spoken and listened to Sam Rivera, FIFA 21 producer at EA Vancouver, and in charge of making the difference between real and virtual soccer smaller and smaller.
That's the ultimate goal of the development team at EA Sports: to put a TV with the game next to a real soccer match and make them barely distinguishable from each other. However, the development team is aware that the time has not yet come, although each release is closer than the last to achieve it.
The tools they are using are, first of all, the response and requests from users to the previous release, but also their own ideas and perceptions, as well as FIFA 21's own roadmap -since sometimes to introduce an improvement they need to work for several years on the tools to implement it-.
Thus, the presentation they gave us began by highlighting the areas in which FIFA 20 was not 'so' good or close to reality.
In this way, they went on to detail why the players' movements without the ball on the field were not reliable, and why the defensive AI went too far with the assists, among many other small details that both the members of the development team and the users have been observing since FIFA 20 was launched last year.
The first example they used, the erratic and sudden/unnatural movements without the ball, was obvious. Just look at how attackers and defenders move aimlessly at times in FIFA 20, and how defenses constantly lose position, creating endless holes in even the most orderly formations.
This has been solved by tweaking the artificial intelligence of teammates and opponents. Now movements will be more logical in attack, and defenses will try to cover as much space as possible, although assists will still be an option.
However, the importance and effectiveness of these will be somewhat less, also looking for another of the most important changes of this FIFA 21: the 1 on 1 become more important than ever, looking for the most skilled users in dribbling to regain the ground lost in previous deliveries. EA's intention is that attackers will have more space to move and try dribbling, giving a new flavor to the attacking mechanics of FIFA 21.
In addition, this is not the only improvement in attacking skills that will be implemented, since the physics of the ball has also been retouched in many ways, to make it more realistic. For example, low passes will no longer be glued to the ground but will be bouncing, as in reality.
In this way the ball moves changes, also in the passes, with new ball trajectories, and more realistic ball movements.
The best thing is that it applies to both passes and shots, making FIFA 21 closer to reality also in this sense. It is evident in long passes, but even more so when we perform one of the new attacking moves: separating the ball to hit it harder.
A risky move, but one that allows us to hit with greater guarantees that the ball will go between the three posts. Added to this is the possibility of stepping on the ball and making lateral movements, like those that characterized players like Iniesta or Xavi. Greater mobility options at our disposal.
Up to this point it might seem that the distance between the attacking possibilities, but EA Sports has also thought about defense, improving our chances when we want to snatch the ball from the opponent's feet.
For example, the active control system for tackles now also extends to tackles, giving us more possibilities to snatch the ball on the run. In addition, the lateral passes when defending also receive a small revision and boost, so that we can more easily defend the opponents in the 1 on 1, especially when they try to leave at speed.
In this sense, it can be said that there are more possibilities and help, but not all, as it wants to be left more in the hands of the user.
However, this last aspect is one of the lamest in the version we have tested. We still have to polish the AI of the teammates, who seemed too passive when the ball passed near them, causing goals to fall in situations that would not be common. Fortunately, Sam Rivera said that this type of detail is the one that they have not yet had time to polish and that for the launch of the final version of the game, it will be solved.
This intention that we were talking about to put more attacking and defensive weight in the hands of the players is also reflected in another of the improvements compared to previous years: the set pieces.
We are not talking so much about corners, which remain the same as before, but rather about free kicks and penalty kicks. In the first ones we will now have a 'normal' aiming point, and with the right stick we will be able to apply different effects and hits to the ball (punching, CR7 effect, etc ...) Penalties also change, leaving behind the complication of last year, and placing a peephole to facilitate the task of aiming.
And if this seems circumstantial, pay attention: FIFA 21 will improve player response, eliminating mandatory animations and allowing us to react much faster, as real players would do.
The intention here is that automatisms will disappear completely when controlling players, thus leaving behind one of the most common scourges of FIFA since its conception.
Beyond this, the tweaks are numerous and frequent, such as the developer's intention to give more balanced importance to each player's statistics in each situation (for example in a confrontation of strength vs. speed, or defense vs. dribbling). The goal is to find the right balance between offensive and defensive possibilities, realism and agility in the game.
From what we have been able to test, the changes in 'normal' matches are evident, but not overwhelming, making it still the same type of game, with slight modifications along the way.
Of course, there are still a couple of months of work to be done, and many surprises to be revealed. In fact, we haven't been able to tell you about Volta yet, nor about FUT. That will come in a few weeks but, in the meantime, we recommend you stay tuned to this page to not miss any details of the Electronic Arts soccer game that will arrive next September 27 on PS4, Xbox One and PC (although on EA Access it will be playable before that date).