October is a special month in the video game calendar, but this year is is even more so. Fifa, the world’s most-played sports video game, is released around this time every year and, after over six months of coronavirus lockdown, the gaming community has never been more ready to buy its latest edition: Fifa 21.
Online sales of the game have increased 31% this year, according to gamesindustry.biz — although physical sales have seen a steep decline, likely an effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fifa editions rarely see an overhaul each year. Instead, small tweaks are made to gameplay, graphics and formats, with the latest squads and player ratings added, too.
So, at £59.99 for a standard digital edition, should its gamers stick with Fifa 20 instead? Some of the industry’s biggest reviewers have had their say.
“Fifa 21 offers a comprehensive package with new features that encourage creativity and attacking dynamism,” Richard Wakerling, who reviewed the game for GameSpot, said on YouTube.
GamingBolt said: “I have never been as compelled to say this about a Fifa game as I am this year — but Fifa 21 feels rather skippable. Veteran fans of the series probably won’t do that, and sure, there are some good changes to on-pitch gameplay this year, but none of it feels crucial or fundamentally vital.”
Fifa 21 has been criticised by some reviewers for lacking originality, describing its audience as “hooked.”
The Buttonsmashers said: “Show off some flashy trailers, toss in some big-name players, lots of flamboyant colours and pretty much the average brain-dead FIFA player will be hooked for another purchase.”
IGN said: “Fifa 21’s career mode changes are undoubtedly an improvement, but probably not the revolution that fans were hoping for.”
There have been some notable changes that Electronic Arts (EA), the game’s creators, to its gameplay compared to previous editions. Players can now intervene when simulating career mode matches, even just to take a free-kick or a penalty, before resuming the simulation.
The amount of time for replays between goals has also been reduced, as has the time allotted for celebrations after a goal.
Anthony Culinas, reviewing the game for The Beta Network, said: “The overall gameplay offers excellent control and tactical variety, and the abundance of under-the-hood improvements is not to be understated.”
“Volta Football [the game’s street football mode] is still pretty forgettable, and Fifa 21 most likely won’t convince non-football fans to the cause. But the amount of content here more than makes up for its few shortcomings.”
Words: Mohammed Salem | Sub-edited: Sam Tabahriti, Connor O’Halloran