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Is it time EA stopped catering to the arcade style of football?

Published: 12:25, 03 November 2020
EA Sports FIFA 21 screenshot showing Borussia Dortmund players playing against PSG.
EA Sports FIFA 21

Should the realism and authenticity of presentation and licenced leagues, clubs and competitions translate to the pitch itself as well? Maybe in the next-gen FIFA 21.

FIFA 21 has been out for a couple of weeks now, and our excitement soon eased off after the old syndromes of the series began to show on the pitch again.

If you are an old school gamer like us, and you love the wonderful game of football, you have the same problem with the FIFA series as we do. While you are trying to play football, others are playing a video-game - in the worst possible form: by taking advantage of a flaw that the developer accidentally or intentionally left there. 

For several years now, if you’ve been playing FIFA online or on the couch with friends over drinks and snacks, you’ve used the same META exploit: the pacey wingers.

FIFA 21 was already broken at the very start, only we didn't notice it right away. Of course, there are the good old YouTubers who have to show millions of their followers which META they can use in the dirtiest way to dominate the not-so-wonderful game of virtual football.

We’re not talking about the “git gud” situation here. We are talking about the deliberate exploitation of certain functionalities in gameplay for personal gain in competitive play against another human being. This is nothing new in gaming, everyone does it in other games as well, we are just tired of the fact that gameplay in a footy sim is almost always reduced to the same two attributes every year: pace and strength. 

It is important that the player can run fast and that he can easily throw the defensive player off his back, and the game will push you further (or not) with his scripting. There is just no variety. We're not saying you're going to run past the pacey fullbacks every time, but you are sure going to try to.

Therefore, in FIFA 21, almost everyone plays with a 4-3-3 formation where they play the long ball to the fast LW/RW as soon as possible, and the charm of football is lost, because the need for skill is low, and the creativity is almost non-existent. 

EA Screenshot of FIFA 21 next-gen FIFA 21 Next-gen

For those who play Career mode, things can be tweaked a little, and FIFA 21 can reward you with a really good football experience, which will probably be the closest to the simulation you will get out of this game. 

And for those who have issues about the way the CPU plays, especially on higher difficulties, we recommend trying the following Sliders from our good friends at OperationSports , and thus avoid the frustrations that come when the CPU takes the ball in Legendary difficulty (endless dribbling, not crossing into the penalty box, or taking outside shots, etc).

FIFA 21 next-gen is coming out December 4, and we really hope that it will be the football sim that we're hoping it will with amazing audio-visual presentation, much improved AI and actual rewarding for creativity. Until then, we'll continue to play current-gen FIFA 21, and blame it on everything else - except on ourselves.

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