FIFA 21 Series X Review
Available now on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PS5 and Xbox Series X
Version tested: Xbox Series X
We have finally got our hands on the Series X upgrade for Fifa 21 and wanted to write another review out with the main differences and if you are missing out playing on a last gen console instead of Microsoft’s or Sony’s latest offerings in the PS5 and Series X. We didn’t want to re-review everything so the previous review will be left below so feel free to skip to the bottom to get into the Series X enhancements offered with upgrade.
Another year, another FIFA. Is it worth the upgrade from last year’s version though? Simply yes if you want the most up-to-date line ups and leagues but if you are not worried about that then FIFA 21 is mainly full of little tweaks that improve the experience rather than really majorly changing anything. If it isn’t broken then don’t fix it certainly comes to mind here and EA has done a good job at sticking with what works and just tweaking things to get the game where they want it.
The first improvement that could also be considered the most important has to be in the gameplay and the match speed, in particular, EA has the way the game plays is spot on. The gameplay is fast and fluid, passes are accurate and it feels great when you manage to pull off that defense splitting pass to leave you one on one with the keeper. Tactics certainly make a difference and choosing these carefully is more important than you may think!
Aside from the speed of the game being great the actual goals are also something special and you are never too far from scoring something spectacular, this isn’t all good news though as this seems to have a fair bit to do with the quality of the keepers and this seems to be an ongoing issue in the Fifa games that they can’t quite get it right. The keepers are better than last year but they are prone to letting a few long rangers in that you know someone like Alison would save with his eyes closed, obviously, De Gea, on the other hand, fits the bill perfectly!
Out on the field visually the game looks brilliant with player’s faces all very lifelike with amazing amounts of detail and this also goes for the stadiums, fans are still there thankfully and even the managers like Klopp look great. Performance-wise the game runs smooth and it will be interesting to see how much difference we will get when the Series X comes out in November, remember that if brought on Xbox EA are offering a free upgrade to the Series X when the console releases.
On the sound front, it’s everything you would expect from Fifa, solid crowd noises and the commentary is very good, mostly better than most other sports games around. The background music in the menus is well worth a mention as well with songs all being very recognisable with some of today’s top tunes all included.
Modes included in FIFA 21 are obviously very important to the whole package and thankfully the career mode has improved slightly with added features bringing it slightly closer to the very popular Football Manager games, the usual buying and selling of players is obviously there, being able to train players to different positions as well as bringing youth through from the academy will all be things that you will need to do to take the club up a level. Taking a smaller club up through the leagues does have a sense of achievement just as it does in the FM games.
Ultimate team is obviously included, sadly EA still includes the option to buy packs and items with real money in microtransactions but it was always going to be included as it’s the games real money maker mode. If you want to start again every year building your team in UT it’s a great mode that you can happily plow plenty of hours into.
The Volta mode is a 5v5 street football mode, games are good fun and something a little different from what we are all used to, tricks, and speed will be needed to outsmart the opponent and actually score. Volta allows you to build your team as you wish and earn Volta coins along the way to spend. My most used mode has to be kick-off as it’s great to jump straight in for a quick match against a mate, team selection is fast and easy and you will be in-game before you know it.
FIFA has plenty of different modes to choose from and there will always be something for someone. Whether there is enough of a change here to warrant the upgrade is down to the player and what they want from the game really but I’m sure most Fifa players will have already brought the game anyway.
Series X Enhancements:
We are going to break the re-review down into sections this time and it’s possibly the biggest thing first in visuals and performance.
Fifa 21 wasn’t a bad looking game before the next-gen enhancement but you will straight away notice the difference and the improved visuals, everything looks sharper, clearer, and more detailed. Visually the game looks amazing now and you would be more than forgiven for walking into the room and actually thinking there was an actual game being played on the tv! The superstars of the footballing world received more attention than some of the lesser stars but generally, graphically the game has improved! The detail given to the players is fantastic with real attention to detail, things like tattoos look amazingly real and if you look close enough the detail is astonishing, even the sweat on players after the match looks totally lifelike and again could be forgiven for thinking it is actually a real person on-screen sometimes!
Stadium’s look fantastic and far more filled out than what we are currently used to with the Covid situation! Fans look more detailed individually and you will notice them stand up when things are happening as well as reacting to the ball if it comes into the area they are sitting in. The pre-match build-up is actually very believable and worth watching as you will notice little things like Alexander-Arnold touching the Anfield sign on the way out of the tunnel before entering the pitch, it’s these little touches that add further to the immersion in the game itself!
Aside from how the game looks, you will probably be wondering about performance and I am happy to say it’s also had a bit of an improvement! 4K 60fps keeps the action on-screen looking razor-sharp as well as buttery smooth, while the game is still using the game engine it was EA have done a great job when it comes to improving the overall feel of the game even compared to the last-gen version of Fifa 21, the extra horsepower from the next-gen consoles is clear to see!
The gameplay is up next and with the performance improvements already mentioned Fifa 21 feels fantastic! The controls are accurate and feel spot-on for me anyway! The gameplay is fast and fluid but you always feel in control and there’s no lag putting commands across from the controller to what’s happening on-screen.
The other thing that has changed related to gameplay in Fifa 21 is the camera angle. The new angle gives the player a much bigger view of what is going on around them and further up the pitch. The view resembles one we are more used to from a real football match and will be showing pretty much half of the pitch all the time which is useful when plotting your next attack.
VAR isn’t here and some will be happy about this but it is strange they haven’t added this feature when you see even games like FM21 already have it, suppose only Man Utd fans will be disappointed with this being left out but make the most of it as I am sure Fifa 22 will have it added!
Modes and career are largely the same with the upgrade, Ultimate Team, and Volta modes will allow progress to be carried over but strangely the career mode will not. This was done according to the dev’s because of the time it would take to port over so if you have gone far into the career mode you may be left disappointed to find you will need to start again.
Something I do want to mention that might not get a lot of attention is the loading screen time and how it’s now so much faster! Gone are the days of playing minigames while waiting for the game to load, now it’s so fast you will only be playing them if you want to hang around and actually play them rather than doing it because you are bored waiting for the match to load up.
The last thing is the sound and it’s largely unchanged from what I can hear which isn’t a bad thing as it was already very good anyway with believable commentary and atmospheric stadiums with recognisable fan chants throughout. The backing music in the menus is also very good with plenty of songs players will likely recognise!
Fifa 21 was already the best football game in 2020 and with the free upgrade to the next-gen version for next-gen console owners, it’s just got that bit better! Hugely impressive visuals, performance, sound, and gameplay all make Fifa 21 a solid football game that has a mode for just about every player out there. Ultimate Team is still a solid mode and the career mode is massively improved, it’s a shame the progress in career can’t carry over but most won’t mind starting again when you see all the improvements including majorly faster loading screens. If you haven’t brought Fifa 21 it is a purchase we can easily recommend and if you already have it definitely get the next-gen upgrade as you won’t be disappointed!
8.9 / 10
Code was provided free of charge for my honest unbiased review.
FIFA 21 Series X
- Stunning visuals and solid performance were impressive on Fifa 21 without the upgrade but with it things run incredibly smooth and also look fantastic with even more detail
- Fast and fluid gameplay, 4K 60fps!
- Good sound tracks and immersive effects from stadiums
- Lots of different modes, UT still a solid mode adding lots of replay value
- Not all players got the full makeover for the next-gen upgrade
- Micro transactions 🤦♂️
- Career mode progress isn't carried over so will need to start again