Biggest FIFA 21 Changes: Gameplay Alterations, New Mechanics, FUT Improvements, and More

by in Sports Games | Oct, 23rd 2020

Writing reviews and other types of blogs on the topic of soccer simulations is never an easy task. No matter what you say, one portion of the gaming community will hate your guts. Your words ought to rile people up and you’ll geta bunch of toxic comments. That’s a part of the job, it goes without saying! Soccer simulations top the charts as far as this phenomenon of toxicity is concerned. There’s camp PES and camp FIFA, and apparently, they’re each other’s worst enemies. That’s why I’m not going to mention PES anymore. It’s all about FIFA 21 changes today, and it makes no sense doing any sort of comparisons considering KONAMI’s season update.

FIFA 21: Same… but Different… but Still Same

Unfortunately, EA is once again selling us the same game with minor changes at a full price, even more than that if you’re eyeing a version beyond the Standard Edition. It’s just outrageous! We still don’t have major info on the next-gen versions, but I’m not quite sure even they’ll be worth the full price. Dual Entitlement Program is a good move, but I still hope we’ll see some sort of a subscription system instead of a “new” FIFA game every year.

Most Impactful FIFA 21 Changes

On the bright side, FIFA 21 changes are pretty good. Some of them greatly impact how the game plays; some of them have added new attacking and defensive opportunities, and some come in the form of simple yet long-awaited mode improvements.

If you weren’t a big fan of FIFA 20 gameplay, perhaps you’ll love what FIFA 21 has to offer! I mean, don’t get me wrong – it’s still the same old FIFA gameplay, but the pace, both attacking and defensive opportunities, as well as newly introduced mechanics definitely add a breath of fresh air.

There are seven FIFA 21 changes I’d like to point out in this piece. Most are related to the gameplay, but there are a few more that revolve around specific game modes.

Let’s get right into it!

No More Accidental Advantage Triggers

This is the thing I like the most out of all FIFA 21 changes. And it’s the simplest change too. If you’ve played previous iterations of FIFA, you should know just how poorly the advantage plays have been. Accidental triggers were a massive issue, as they happened at least once per solid gaming session.

Accidental advantage triggers are no more! They are a thing of the past now that brand-new mechanics have been introduced. By holding both triggers, you’ll be able to cancel your advantage following a foul. You’ll have to do so in a timely manner though, as you’ll only have a few seconds to react. If you’d rather take a shot at a goal than a free-kick, this option will be right up your alley.

Creative Runs Top the Importance Charts

One of the most interesting new mechanics in FIFA 21 is the creative runs feature. With several new control options available, FIFA 21 brings forth a revamp to the attacking segment. Sure, you don’t have to use creative runs in your FIFA gameplay, but you’d have a much easier task with the help of these new mechanics.

What are these new creative runs mechanics all about? Well, it gives you much more control over the gameplay; more control over the passing and runs of your teammates. It even allows you to give Ai control over the ball and switch to the receiver before the pass. There are many creative runs tutorials out there that go into more depth regarding the actual use of this new feature. If you want to step your attacking game up, you’ll need to learn how to properly utilize creative runs.

This new feature allows players to lure defenders one way and then create opportunities on the opposite side. They allow you to string quick passes through the defensive line, and push one of your wingers down the flank into a dangerous situation. Through balls are the key here – mastering creative runs and combining them with through balls and agile dribbling in one on one situations, are keys to higher divisions!

Agile Dribbling Further Boosts the Attacking Gameplay

Another thing worth mentioning in our FIFA 21 changes piece is the newly added mechanic called agile dribbling. By pressing RB or R1 (depending on what you’re playing on), you’ll enter the so-called agile dribbling mode. Your player will use a lot of quick touches to precisely control the ball. It might take some time getting used to agile dribbling mechanics, but learning and mastering them will definitely pay off in the long run.

How come? Well, you can use agile dribbling for doing all sorts of stuff in the game. You can use it to quickly change directions, send the opposing players the opposite way, and create high-percentage opportunities right in front of the goal. So yeah, as I said, mastering this stuff will definitely help you get the most out of this year’s dribbling mechanics. It will take some time, but you’ll get used to it… eventually!

Long-Awaited Co-op Mode in FUT

It’s finally here, boys and girls! The feature we’ve been waiting for a very long time has finally been introduced with FIFA 21! Yep, Co-op mode in FUT is now a thing! Yessir, that means you and your friend can finally play FIFA Ultimate Team together!

But, wasn’t that available for a few years now? Well, yes… It was available in couch multiplayer mode. Your friend had to be in the same room with you, playing on your console and using your joystick. Now, starting from FIFA 21, you can play FIFA 21 co-op online. That sort of gameplay was available on the online seasons mode, but never in FUT… up until FIFA 21, that is. You can find out more about this addition in EA’s comprehensive FIFA 21 pitch notes.

Division Rivals Match Limit

Division Rivals is the most popular multiplayer game mode in FIFA Ultimate Team. It was introduced in a previous FIFA iteration, and this time around it finally got a much-needed change. As the heading suggests, EA has implemented a hard cap on the number of matches that count towards your division Rivals ranking. The match limit is capped at thirty matches. 

You can still play Division Rivals after playing through the thirty matches, but you will no longer receive points towards your weekly ranking. You can also win and lose skill points based on your results, so keep that in mind!

Career Mode Finally Got Interactive Sim Back

Yep – older generations will remember, back in PS2 FIFA titles, there were two available sim types – quick sim and interactive sim. The latter would write out what’s going on in the game and you could jump in at any moment if your team concedes a goal or the current result isn’t to your liking.

The 'Interactive Match Sim' On FIFA 21 Career Mode Will Be A Gamechanger -  SPORTbible

One of the most awesome FIFA 21 changes doesn’t just bring that feature back but polishes the experience even further. Now, the GUI looks more like an old school Football Manager game. You can see what your players are doing on the pitch, you can see how they stack against the opposition… and of course, you can still jump into the match at any given moment.

You’ll see a bunch of stats on the screen, not just your players controlling the ball and defending against the opposition’s pressing. You’ll be able to see their stamina, live ratings, stats, and asses and alter your game plan. There’s a lot of stuff you can do with interactive match sim, so use it wisely in your manager career mode gameplay!

Dual Entitlement Program

This is something all you console players will appreciate… especially those who plan on purchasing a next-gen console as soon as they come out. EA has the so-called Dual Entitlement Program ready to roll out with the Holiday release of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S video game systems.

The program basically allows players who own FIFA 21 on a current-gen console to upgrade to the next-gen version free of charge and carry over their FUT 21 and Volta progress. That means you won’t have to buy the game twice if you end up buying a next-gen console.

It’s a sleek move by EA, although I have to say it’s a bit unexpected… especially coming from a company that’s known for their money-grabbing techniques.

Wrapping Everything Up

We’ve discussed plenty of significant FIFA 21 changes. Some of them improved or in other ways altered the single-player experience, while others made waves in FIFA Ultimate Team which is by far the most popular game mode in FIFA 21.

Even though this year’s FIFA iteration is still just a slightly altered FIFA 20, and even though it’s not worth the full price, I have to say FIFA 21 changes were pretty much on point. We’ll definitely see more gameplay balances and meta changes as time goes on, but I for one love the new attack-focused FIFA. There’s no more possession play, hiding the ball and dulling out the match. Now, it’s all attack, attack, and then some more attack… and I’m all up for it!

P.S.Don’t buy the Switch version of the game!

You can thank me later.


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