First I want to start by mentioning that FIFA 21 is part of EA’s Dual Entitlement feature (or initiative) that allows players who bought Madden 21 or FIFA 21 on current-gen consoles to upgrade to the next-gen version of these games for free. So if you have already bought FIFA 21, you can (since Friday December 4th) download the Playstation 5 version for free. If you haven’t bought FIFA 21 yet, but own a next-gen console, now may be the time for that.
I also want to point out that this is not a review of all the corners of the game, but a review that highlights the biggest changes in the latest FIFA addition to the PS5.
The new controller
FIFA 21 is in theory of course the same game for PS5 as for PS4, but with some key differences.
The new DualSense controller changes everything. This is especially noticeable in sports games such as FIFA. Every step taken is reflected with soft vibrations from the haptic feedback, which match the pace of the player, whether at casual jog or lung-busting sprint. Each pass and touch of the ball is met with a firm buzz that matches its power. You also feel a rumble from the eruption of a large crowd in one of the game’s massive stadiums or even the referee’s whistle. The game also make use of the controllers adaptive triggers, as a player gets more tired, the sprint and jockey buttons become harder to pull.
I actually can’t emphasize enough how nextgen this control feels. It must be a real privilege for developers to make games for it and make use of all the features (when will the Microsoft variant come out?).
Graphics and gameplay
The visual differences aren’t quite as noticeable as the controller. Of course superior lighting and animations add a nice sheen to proceedings, even if the graphical updates are subtle for most player models. A new isometric camera angle have been added, which makes it look like you’re watching a real game on telly (adding up to the nextgen feel).
There’s also more passionate celebrations from fans and players when a late winner or equalizer goes in, and shouting between players. Another advantage of the nextgen version is of course the super fast loading times. Finally we have the possibility to pick up and play a FIFA game within seconds.
The game modes are the same as we are used to, and I have found myself playing the VOLTA mode (which is reminiscent of FIFA Street) for an unhealthy many hours. Otherwise, of course, the killer app is the FUT mode and probably the single biggest reason to buy FIFA if you ask the big crowd.
This is not a completely new game, but it’s without a doubt the best game in the series so far. It’s an exciting insight into how EA will handle the new hardware for its flagship sports franchise in the future. Graphics will be even more realistic and the use of DualSense features will be more refined and immersive. To close this review using football terms, FIFA 21 on PS5 is a goal in the top corner – it remains to be seen if the next shot will be on target.
FIFA 21 is available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and Stadia. I reviewed the game on Playstation 5 with a code provided by the publisher.