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FIFA 21 New Gameplay Features Released

FIFA 21 new game play features released and analized. Take a deep dive into FIFA 21's newly released features including agile dribbling, personality & more

It’s that wonderful time of the year where we leave our FIFA 20 frustrations behind and start looking into the new promising release of the video game, FIFA 21. After a year of massive improvements in terms of content, FIFA 20’s gameplay left much to be desired. Constant DCs, team momentum (know as Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment), overpowered AI defending (plus overload ball-side & constant pressure) and endless in game glitches where among the biggest frustrations for FIFA 20 players. Hopefully FIFA 21 can address some of these issues by adding or in some cases removing features. Lets take a deep dive into new released info by EA Sports on this title.

In summary FIFA 21 is focusing 7 core gameplay features:

  • Player Personality
  • Agile Dribbling
  • Creative Runs
  • Positioning Personality
  • Smoother Encounters
  • Enhanced CPU AI And Competitor Mode
  • Fundamentals Of Football

Lets get into the specifics.

Player Personality

Wait, so Vision and Composure didn’t have an impact on passing on FIFA 20? Whaaa. Now it makes sense why my Pirlo wasn’t making key passes (?). Hopefully this new feature can make unusable players more balanced (ex. Kroos, Busquets, etc), previous titles rely so much on speedy players that this COULD balance the game.

Agile Dribbling

In summary Agile Dribbling is intended to give you the ability to quickly move the ball from side to side to help dribblers get away from defenders, and to use fast footwork to help you create space by tricking defenders into over-committing to tackles.

Agile dribbling can be performed using R1/RB while moving the Left stick. Every player in the game can Agile Dribble, however, the higher a player’s Dribbling, Agility, Reactions, and Ball Control attributes, the quicker, more precise, and better they will be at keeping the ball at their feet.

Here we go again. Skills, skills, skills… (FIFA 19 PSTD with infinite elasticos + El tornado crosses). My only hope is that FIFA 21 doesn’t turn out to be an unrealistic dribbling simulator, on FIFA 20 we saw a dependence on skills to be able to compete (dragback, dragback, fake shoot… goal). There is no mention of chained skills and by the looks of the trailer, skills will be more OP than ever.

Creative Runs

In summary, they give players the ability to control/influence how AI teammates move off the ball, providing more creative ways to break down opponent’s defense.

  • Directed Runs – You can now take full 360° control over the direction of the runs of your teammates by flicking the Right Stick after triggering a run (L1/LB then flick Right Stick), or after calling a teammate short (R1/RB then flick Right Stick).
  • Directed Pass And Go – Decide where your teammate makes their run after a pass by immediately flicking the Right Stick in the desired direction. This feature works with any type of pass; Ground Pass, Lob Pass, Through Ball, and even Crosses (Ground Pass example: X/A then flick Right Stick).
  • Player Lock – Press in both sticks (L3/LSB+R3/RSB) at the same time to lock to your current player when in attack. When you’re locked to a player and pass the ball, the CPU AI will then take control of the on-ball player allowing you to move your off-ball player and ask for a pass back in a better position.

Now we are talking! The only way to trigger a run from the AI  in FIFA 20 was with LB but most of the time it was just a forward not very smart run. This feature will definitely provide more control over when and where you want your AI teammates to make a run. I believe this would be a huge way to differentiate good/average from the elite/pro players, if you can master these 3 types of runs you will have an advantage over any team. Of course there will a steep learning curve to master all 3, specially the Player Lock run.

Positioning Personality

In summary positioning personality means improved AI positioning both offensively and defensibly, to reflect a more accurate depiction of a players talents in the real world. For example KDB would tend to position himself where he can fulfill his creator role and make that key assist or even score a goal. There are two main attributes that will dictate how good a players positioning will be; Positioning for Attacking Personality, and Defensive Awareness for Defensive Personality.

Positioning Attribute has an impact on the following:

  • Onside And Offside Runs – Awareness to know when to slow down and time the run to perfectly stay onside.
  • “Passer Readiness“ Runs – Understanding of when the ball possessor is ready to make a pass so the player can time their run perfectly.
  • Decision Making Time And Intelligence – The ability to make faster and accurate decisions on where and when to move.
  • Passing Lane Analysis – Understanding of spaces to determine where the next best move to receive a pass is, providing more options for passers and teammates.
  • Open Up Space – Ability to create separation between attackers and defenders when the defense is tight or to provide more passing options. (Applies only for very high positioning attribute players)
  • Ideal Crossing Positioning – Understanding of the best open space in the box to beat defenders during dangerous in-play crossing situations. (Applies only for very high positioning attribute players)
  • Fake Runs In The Box – Creating forward fake runs and then pulling back to be available for cut back pass options, or changing run direction from near post to far post. (Applies only for very high positioning attribute players)
  • Chance Creation Support – AI forwards are more aware of the lack of passing options and will drop back to the midfield to support teammates in order to help in build up play. (Applies only for very high positioning attribute players)

Defensive Attribute has an impact on the following:

  • Run Tracking – Ability to track a run and anticipate one before it happens, with highly aware defenders doing a much better job at staying with their runners.
  • 2-Man Marking To Prevent Counter Attacks – Ability for two high attribute defenders to mark a striker so they have limited space to avoid a counter attack.
  • Defensive Midfielder Diligent Tracking – The ability to intelligently mark and track runs by attackers without giving up or leaving them open.
  • Defensive Midfielder Cutting Passing Lanes – Awareness to position themselves better in order to cut off passing lanes and limit the opponent’s options.
  • Active VS Passive winger behaviours – Determines how active wingers can get when having to perform defensive duties such as marking, defensive positioning, and tracking runs.
  • Full back Cooperation – Better awareness of the teammate full back’s positioning, allowing them to better work together when marking.

Smoother Encounters

Remember those train-wreck like collisions in FIFA 20? Well if EA can deliver on this, those wont happen any more. The intention for this system is for key moments in the match, like battles for possession or netfront scrambles, to result in more life-like encounters as players strive to get to the ball, rather than situations where players may have unrealistically fallen over one another trying to get to the ball previously.

Fundamentals of Football

Based on feedback from the community EA made fundamental changes to Headers, Defending, Blocking, Passing and Anmination Fluidity. To put it in perspective this is something that they always revisit every year, for FIFA 20 they nerfed headers due to their effectiveness in FIFA 19, hopefully they can balance their physics engine to truly create real life football simulation. (Please no Tornado crosses!!).

  • Headers – headers will not be assisted in any way, with the aim and power used when performing the header determining the initial target for the header before the header is than potentially impacted by error. (Manual headers are enforced in all FUT modes, Online Seasons & Online Friendlies).
  • Defending – Shoulder Challenges and Seal Outs re-worked to make them more effective and more realistic. Also they emphasize that defending will rely a lot in player personality, allowing for the top defenders to stand out and be more accurate when predicting where the ball will be in order to make the best tackle.
  • Blocking – This was a major pain point in FIFA 20. FIFA 21 will be featuring a completely rewritten blocking system to create more reliable and realistic blocks when defending shots and passes. This will rely on player personality making blocks more OP as the Defensive Awareness attribute increases. Hopefully no more unrealistic AI blocks in front of goal.
  • Passing – A more perceptive understanding of space and opposition positioning allows players to play a more intelligent passing game in FIFA 21. In other words EA is revamping how passing works, they mention through passing (pass openess, pass complexity) and crossing, all tied to player personality. This will allow great passers to explore more spaces, extend the field and open up play.

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