Parents' Guide to


By Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Pitch play is tripped up by a sense of deja vu.

FIFA 21 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 1 parent review

age 6+

It's realistic but not that realistic

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (17 ):

Even though there are some tweaks that have been made to the gameplay, it's hard to not get over the feeling that this is practically the same experience as last year. FIFA 21 presents three distinct segments of gameplay with its career, Ultimate Team, and Volta modes, but these are almost identical to last year's title. There are slicker overlays for menus and tutorials, and a larger focus on co-op play across virtually all modes, but for the most part, gameplay's the same as it's been in the past few years. For example, the career mode has some new visuals for managers to sim matches, but in many ways, the player and career mode have the same schedule micromanagement, skills games, and gameplay. By contrast, the adjustment to Volta, the street game, feels anemic because its storyline is, at best, about three hours long before you're essentially pushed into the action of online play, or trying to hunt for athletes in the Featured Battles mode to add to your squad while completing challenges to unlock new clothing options for your team.

At least play on the pitch has some improvements that are pretty useful. Players can now directly control teammates making cuts towards the goal, allowing them to create their best attack scenarios with strikers or wingers. There's also been some additional tweaks to ball control thanks to the new Agile Dribbling system, which makes it easier to make cuts and keep the ball away from defenders. While these two enhancements do improve the gameplay, this, along with new crossing options for the passing game, imbalances the action significantly towards the offensive side of the ball, leading to a large number of goals being scored. It's not perfect – both your players and the opposing AI will still cause a significant number of offside calls to be made when they're starting their attacks – but defenders often have to rely on the perfect tackle or the best player having the best position to effectively counter incoming strikes on goal. Ultimate Team has also received new adjustments as well, especially in the form of a customizable stadium that will allow you to build out your home arena's chants, tifos, and even celebratory fireworks. Even better than crafting your home stadium is the elimination of some elements that just weren't useful, like training and fitness items that just felt like a chore for this mode. That way, you can focus solely on building your squad, partnering with other players, and accomplishing seasonal goals. It's still the mode that most players will dedicate the majority of their time to, and there's lots of content to sink into, unlock, and play. The next-gen versions of the game are visually striking, with the almost non-existent load times and visual fidelity of cutscenes standing out, especially if you score a go ahead goal in the last minute of play and you watch your team erupt in celebration. But playwise, there's nothing new here. The haptic feedback on the PS5 is a nice touch, particularly when it comes to having a sense of a shot that clangs off a post or you feel the heartbeat of a player as they're running, but if you were looking for new gameplay content, there's nothing to be found, which feels like a slight incremental update to this popuilar franchise. Overall though, while FIFA 21 is still a fun and enjoyable chapter of the Beautiful Game, it's hard to not shake the feeling of déjà vu when you step onto this virtual pitch.

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