Games Tech


An Electronic Arts presentation showed us a preview of the news of the next gen edition of its soccer game.

If you believed that after the last comparison between the two most important videogame football of the year, which you can read in the special FIFA 21 vs PES 2021 , the final whistle of the 2020 season had come, you are wrong: while Konami has recalled the formation in the locker room , and organized a retreat with the team to train them hard in view of the debut of PES 2022 on the next generation, Electronic Arts has chosen to bring its team back to the field, to prepare it for arrival on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X . FIFA 21 will therefore return on 4 December 2020 with a new graphic design, specially adapted to take advantage of the visual leap and the degree of realism guaranteed by the next gen.

And while the core of the gameplay does not seem to distance itself in a revolutionary way from that told in our review of FIFA 21 for PS4 (but we reserve a more in-depth judgment on this front when we can touch the title with our hands), the technical outline has experienced an improvement which, at least based on the sequences shown during the presentation of EA, did not leave us indifferent. With FIFA 21 Next Gen , in short, the football championship officially begins on the new Sony and Microsoft consoles.

The graphic evolution

The next-generation update for FIFA 21 brings with it a graphical increase aimed at meeting the new objectives that Electronic Arts has set itself to achieve with this conversion. The aim is, predictably, to make virtual football more immersive than ever, and to give the user the impression of ” feeling ” the game experience in an even more engaging way.

The first point on which the US team has focused clearly concerns the visual frame. First of all, new pre-match sequences have been introduced with the clear intention of immersing the user in the epic atmosphere of a football match, accompanied by more spectacular and pompous celebrations; moreover, the degree of realism reached by the faces of the most famous players is undoubtedly higher, and in relation to the past generation the gap is frankly very evident.

According to the comparative images shown by EA, not only has the level of detail increased during close-up shots, so as to allow us to observe the texture of the skin or the drops of sweat, but in some cases the conformation itself has also changed convincingly. faces of athletesdigitized, as in the case of Messi and MbappĂ©, so that they resemble their real counterparts in a much more evident way.

The better reconstructed faces are accompanied by both an equally advanced rendering of the hair and the presence of muscle contractions at the moment of impact: a comparative video with the old gen editions immediately highlights the muscles on the legs during the shot, which certainly knows how to donate a greater likelihood to the animations of the athletes.

Similarly, the ball is also affected by the blows and shows the details of the compression upon contact with the players’ feet: however, this is not just a graphic quirk, since, according to what the team revealed, it changes also, by a few additional frames, the time between the touch of the ball and the shot. The ball therefore remains anchored to the foot for longer, slightly modifying the timing of the shot, so as to better feel the sense of the “weight” of the ball and perceive a more authentic sensation during the shot. In the latter case the use of Dualsense also comes into play, which we will discuss in more detail in the following paragraphs. Returning to the purely technical improvements, EA showed us the use of a more accentuated lighting system, which gives the shotEA Sports Gamecam : the creation of grass on the pitch and shadows cast on the pitch is therefore enhanced, thanks to both the new management of the lights and the in-game camera that follows the action in an even more televised and dynamic way.

Does the gameplay change?

We have not yet been able to test a demo of the Next Gen version of FIFA 21 , and therefore we cannot evaluate how much the changes made by the team have a real impact on the gameplay. However, there are some additions that, at least in theory, could lead to some variations to the quality of the play system: on the other hand Electronic Arts has excluded the possibility of playing cross-play with the owners of the old gen editions.

Beyond a significant reduction in loading times and a fluidity anchored to 60 fps with 4K resolution , it is possible to notice an improvement in the rendering of the animations, now more responsive in relation to the past and connected with more fluidity to each other. other in the control of the ball, in the stops and restarts. Also in the field of animations, a more likely behavior has been implemented for players without the ball in the final minutes of the match: the athletes therefore exhibit more natural movements, manifestations of fatigue and gestures that EA defines as part of a process of ” humanization ” of the virtual player. .

A final aspect connected to the animations concerns the new additions to the contrasts between the players, which benefit from an additional set of movements designed to make the clashes more realistic and responsive.

It is clear that similar additions on the card could at least partially change the feeling of the gameplay, which should benefit from new timing of action and a more marked fluidity: at a close look, during replays or slow-motion contrasts, the differences with the generation just waned, but it is clear that – it is worth reiterating – only by taking the field controller in hand will we be able to witness firsthand how much similar additions really manage to give the FIFA 21 gaming experience an extra boost towards simulation.

A kick with the Dualsense

In the name of ” sensory ” immersion , during the presentation of FIFA 21 Electronic Arts also focused on the implementation of DualSense in the PS5 version: from the team’s statements, it seems that Sony’s pad has a very significant impact in guaranteeing users a higher degree of engagement than the standards we are used to

First of all, at each collision, depending on the intensity of the collision, the vibration of the DualSense will try to give us back the sensation provided by the impact; moreover, when an athlete begins to feel tired, the button dedicated to the sprint will begin to show some resistance, so as to transmit the player’s fatigue.

And the same can be said during passes, shots and tackles, which will be sharpened by the use of haptic feedback: in short, to quote the development team, DualSense will give us the ability to feel ” the pace of play in our hands ” . To find out how much the PlayStation 5 controller can really make a difference in the field, we will obviously have to wait for the final product review.

Same content

FIFA 21 is therefore a transitional product that seems, apparently, to benefit enough from the characteristics of the PS5 and Xbox Series X hardware: as already anticipated, in addition to the 4K resolution and 60fps , the game will also feature incredibly fast loading, and the progress of the FUT mode and those of VOLTA belonging to the past generation can be transferred without any problem even in the next gen editions. On the other hand, old gen Career mode saves will not be supported on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Otherwise

, this is the same content offer as FIFA 21 on PS4 and Xbox One, without the inclusion of any additional modes: for a real step forward on this front, in short, we will have to wait for the next real episode of the series, for which the team already has some ideas on the bench.

On the other hand, it was difficult to expect more: considering that it is a completely free upgrade for owners of the past edition, FIFA 21 Next Gen looks like a really well done finishing job. A sort of “training” to the potential of PS5 and Series X, which serves as an example for the immersive goals to be cut in the subsequent incarnations of the saga. Right now we just have to wait for the final version of the game to feel on our hands what the impact of the new generation football is according to Electronic Arts.

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