The future of FIFA isn’t here yet

I was finally able to set up my Xbox Series X over the holidays, which meant I got to play some ‘upgraded’ versions of previously released games. Of course, one of the first I played was Cyberpunk 2077 to see how much better it looked (it does) and plays (still super buggy). But, I also threw on FIFA 21, interested to see how the first version of the series looked and played on new tech. Since my write-up of the last-gen version, I’ve been pretty active with FIFA, playing it on an almost daily basis. While the Series X version of the game looks fine, it’s not as impressive as I had hoped and it’s clear why EA didn’t bother to really market this version as it got closer to launch.

When you want more than just a pretty face

Starting the game up, you go through an odd but symbolic opening cinematic that leads into your first match as Liverpool face off against Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield. Once you start, you get to experience the game’s new GameCam perspective, meant to give you a wider view of the pitch. It takes some getting used to, especially if you’ve grown accustomed to the previous default camera angle. 

While I don’t mind the new angle, especially if you’re playing a wider formation or like to hug the touchline, it’s far enough away that you don’t really see the touted improvements to player visuals. 

Speaking of the visuals, I was a bit underwhelmed by the improvements. Crowds seem the same, incorporating the same look and reactions we’ve already seen on Xbox One and PS4. As for the “next-level realism”, especially the hair animations, are hard to distinguish as looking anything special. I jumped into a woman’s match, where ponytails are common, but they still looked and moved artificially. This could be more a sign of the