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Review: FIFA 21 – The Slightly More Beautiful Game

Heading in the right direction.

It’s that time of year again, as EA’s never-ending FIFA franchise dribbles down the tunnel and out onto the pitch for another brand new season. It’s an incremental update for the most part this time around, there are no really big marquee additions or modes to speak of here, beyond Volta’s new story “Debut”, but the action on the pitch has received a bunch of clever tweaks and refinements that see this year’s footie-fest play a much faster, more fluid and – most importantly – fun game than we’ve seen in the series since perhaps as far back as 2017.

While there may not be any properly earth-shattering news with regards to new modes for 2021, one change that is sure to please fans of the game’s Career mode in particular is a slick new simulation system that allows players to watch matches unfold in a top-down Football Manager style view, hitting X at any point during proceedings to jump down onto the pitch and take the reigns when things aren’t going according to plan. It’s a surprisingly streamlined affair, with zero loading times or waiting around incurred as you transfer down to the action and back out again, and it really does feel like a fresh new way to make your way through a season here. Alongside this, a new Player Development System sees you gain the ability to retrain squad members into new positions, enabling you to move your existing players around and giving you much more flexibility when it comes to sorting your team into different formations and strategies without having to go shopping for a brand new addition to fill a specific role. FIFA 21’s Career mode might not be as all-encompassing as that seen in the likes of EA’s Madden franchise, but it’s slowly heading in the right direction.

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