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FIFA 21: What to Expect Before the Official Release

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Football fans can finally put their anxious minds at ease as EA SPORTS has scheduled the official global release of FIFA 21 for 9 October.

This comes after the US video game company decided to delay the game’s initial release, which had originally been slated for late September. And although the exact reason for this move has not been revealed, there is compelling evidence to believe that COVID-19 is to blame.

For the first time ever, EA was unable to unveil its upcoming FIFA 21 due to the cancellation of the annual E3 video game conference this year. To make matters worse, the video game company had to close four of its offices (Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul, and Milan) at the outset of the global pandemic, thus forcing workers to work from home and thereby causing a disruption to the production of the highly-anticipated football game.

Early access

At this point, you are probably thinking to yourself, “Will there be a FIFA 21 demo then?” The answer, sad to say, is no.

This is because EA has prioritised finalising the game before its scheduled release date over a demo as a compensation for the disruption to the game’s production.

Nonetheless, potential customers can start playing the game as early as 6 October under the FIFA 21 Champions Edition and FIFA 21 Ultimate Edition pre-order packages (both are available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC).

Apart from granting users early access, each package also offers special edition FIFA 21 Ultimate Team (FUT) kits and stadium items, Career Mode Homegrown Talent and 1 FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick Item. The main difference is that while the FIFA 21 Champions Edition offers only up to 12 FUT 21 Rare Gold Packs, the FIFA 21 Ultimate Edition boasts up to 24 FUT 21 Rare Gold Packs.

EA Access and Origin Access members can also play a trial version of the game on 1 October on PS4 and Xbox One, and PC respectively. Furthermore, they will also be given a 10% discount on the full FIFA 21 version.

FIFA 21 closed beta versus FIFA 20

One user weighed in on the differences between the FIFA 21 closed beta (which ended on 1 September) and FIFA 20. Let’s take a close look at how the former stacked up against the latter.

Passing

The beta version was a step up from FIFA 20 in terms of passing play. Players that were not in possession of the ball were more proactive in running into spaces, thus making passing more rewarding.

Passes were also stronger in the beta version, a much-needed upgrade from FIFA 20’s weak ones.

Positioning

The new Positioning Personality feature in the beta version meant that forwards had the ability to make more intelligent runs as defenders closed off passing lanes. In other words, the buildup of play was also made more difficult as compared to that of FIFA 20, in which users could simply rely on solo runs to break through the opponent’s line of defence.

Another new feature was the ability to make a pass and then control the passer’s run which could be used to draw defenders apart and create gaps in their defensive line. However, the user commented that this ability was not functioning in the closed beta (either due to it not being implemented yet or the user not knowing how to activate it).

Dribbling

Despite the implementation of the new Agile Dribbling system which was touted by the developers as having improved responsiveness and allowing players to burst past defenders, the user found no major difference in dribbling between the beta version and FIFA 20.

In fact, contrary to what the developers had claimed, the dribbling felt slightly slower and the faster players were only barely able to keep defenders at bay.

Crossing

Crossing in the beta version was only slightly better than in FIFA 20. While crosses in FIFA 20 had not translated into any headers by strikers, those in the beta version were mostly kept away from strikers by goalkeepers and centre backs.

Scoring

The goal-conversion rate was much lower in the beta version than in FIFA 20 when shooting at the near post due to the positioning of goalkeepers which had been reinstated by the developers.

It was also highlighted that goalscoring was still as per normal, with one-on-one contests and finesse shots ending as expected.

On this note, they suggested that developers change the gameplay to prevent players from scoring straightforward goals and to give users a run for their money.

Changes made to two national teams

Anyone who is eager to purchase FIFA 21 should be aware that the Portugal and Italian national teams will not be available in the game. As such, in order to keep the integrity of the two countries and their players intact, their crests and kits will simply be replaced with generic ones.

To add insult to injury, both AS Roma and Juventus will also not be available in the game as Konami bought over Juventus’ license last year and AS Roma’s in August. Instead, AS Roma and Juventus will now be known as Roma FC and Piemonte Calcio respectively.

Again, the players of both teams will remain unchanged and each team will have its own custom crest and kit.

New player ratings

Like in FIFA 20, Messi and Ronaldo remain in first and second places respectively in terms of overall rating in FIFA 21, with their ratings reduced by 1 point each.

Kevin De Bruyne, who is fourth on the list of overall ratings, has beaten Messi in terms of passing in FIFA 21 as developers lowered the Argentinian’s passing rating by a notch from FIFA 20 while raising De Bruyne’s by one.

For more information on FIFA 21, football fans can visit its FAQs page.

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