In a heated game of FIFA 21, a single bad pass or over-expulsion from a player can be enough to swing the game in your opponent’s favor and cost you the game. Even if you’ve been a longtime fan of the series, this iteration of the popular sport has a ton of changes and new mechanics from even last year’s version that you’ll need to master if you want any hope of keeping up with the competition. If you’re new to FIFA, or even football in general, the idea of managing a whole squad of players can seem overwhelming.
As with the real sport, there is no perfect way to play FIFA 21. That’s what keeps the game interesting, but it̵
Learn how to use Agile Dribbling and Creative Runs
The two new features introduced in FIFA 21 are what will help even the playing field between veterans and newcomers. These are, of course, the movement options Agile Dribbling and Creative Run. Well, they aren’t as many options as they are essential parts of your controls. Ignoring either of these would be like playing without passing, so learn them well.
Agile Dribbling has been assigned to your R1 button when you control a player with the ball. If you hold down this button, the player will start slower and dribble the ball to their body much tighter than normal, allowing for a much higher degree of precision in moving the ball. How much more control the player gets depends on the player, especially his dribbling stats, but if you don’t do this while trying to bypass the opponent’s defense, you’re essentially getting him the ball. To hold R1 and dribble the ball around the defenders like an elegant dancer.
Creative Runs, on the other hand, take a bit more strategy. But once you master the technique, you can dominate the field. How they work is by letting you send other players on your team to move at different speeds in specific directions by pressing L1 and aim with the right stick. The potential of this function is almost limitless. Use it to set up plays, create openings, position a player where you want to pass and anything else you can think of. This new feature takes another somewhat random element of relying on your player’s AI to know what you want them to do and gives you an easy way to stay in control.
Know when to sprint and how to jockey
This one is more for the new players FIFA 21, but anyone can use a refresher to manage your player’s stamina. Each game tweaks these mechanics a bit, and thankfully isn’t as harsh as in previous entries, but can make all the difference in the middle of a match.
Most games basically require you to sprint non-stop. FIFA 21 also don’t immediately discourage you from doing it. In fact, it will look like a complete positive for a while to push your players to the limit at all times. You can attack the ball faster, move it and make the general pace of the game more exciting by holding down the sprint button all the time. Here’s the catch, though: Getting your players to sprint too much has more drawbacks than you might expect. Not only will they get worn out and creep slowly no matter how hard you hold the sprint, forcing you to use them for worse players, but it also makes them generally worse players. An exhausted player makes the powerbar move faster, gives him less ball control, makes him pass and receive less accurately, and more. Sprint when you need to, not all the time.
Defense is often seen as the less fun side of football games, but preventing goals is arguably more important than scoring them. Most people don’t spend time coming up with a good defense strategy, focusing almost exclusively on offense, so having a plan to jockey your opponent will give you an instant head start. By controlling where the attackers are going, you can prevent them from getting clean shots or even a clean steal. To hold L2 with your defender to contact the attacker, by adding R2 when you need to speed up, and throw a key into their offensive plans. This takes more time, but is more consistent and safer than risking tackles that could miss the opponent or give them a free kick.
Spice up your passes and shots
After last year’s manners FIFA added new ways to pass the ball, combined with the new movement options and controls in FIFA 21, there is no excuse for sticking to basic steps. Unless a standard pass is actually the best option in your current situation, you need to take advantage of all the passing options you have. If you double tap L1 and Triangle you can speed up lob pass to make sharp cut and get control faster. Or you can double-tap your short pass to make it a bad pass and reduce your chances of interception.
Shooting has also been expanded to new levels. Again, if you just run to the target and tap Circle you basically just give the other team the ball. You will eventually have to learn all of these different types of shots, but if the number seems overwhelming, try integrating one or two every match until you can instinctively grab the right one.
The basic recordings are here and assigned to your Circle buttonThis is just a standard, straightforward kick for which you can control the force by holding the button for longer or shorter. Again, nothing special and easy to block when the goalkeeper is in position.
A low recording is made by pressing L1 and R.1 while hitting CircleThese shots obviously keep the ball low to the ground, but very strong. They eliminate the risk of the ball flying too high, but are easier for a goalkeeper to save.
A finesse shot is done by simply pressing R1 and Circle, and are the favorite type of most players. This allows you to bend the trajectory of the ball while flying. When you have to get around an aggressive goalkeeper, these shots force him to stay sharp.
The last is the chip shot, performed with the L1 and Circle tests. These are very situational, and even then there is a high risk. They send the ball almost straight up in a wide arc. Unless you’re one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and they are desperate to steal, this shot doesn’t make much sense in most games.
Take the Squad Building Challenges and Skill Games
The Squad Building Challenges, or SBCs, come in two types: basic and advanced. This will earn you new packs and coins for the Ultimate Team mode, which most people are addicted to FIFA 21 for months and years. Even if Ultimate Team isn’t your bag they are good for practice building effective teams.
Skill Games are ahead of your tutorials FIFA 21, and cover nine categories with multiple exercises within each. If you get rid of it like that FIFA 20 then you could probably get away by skipping the basic category drills, which cover things like movement, dribbling, passing, shooting and tackling, but this is the first place someone new or in need of a refresher should start . If you can, it would be best to go through the entire sequence, but you should at least do the dribbling, defending, goalkeeping, shooting, and practice scenarios. At this point in the series, the tutorials have gotten really good at showing you not only how to perform an action, but also in what situations you should put them in.
Practice your kicks with set pieces
Decor pieces are technically part of the Skill Games, but deserve their own extra mention here. Not only are all the different scenarios they give you quick and fun, but they will really make the importance of how you shoot the ball clear. These and similar practice scenarios are a great way to hone your skills, even if you don’t have time to play a full match. There are five set pieces and four practice scenarios, plus a final challenge in each.
Quick Ultimate Team Tips
FIFA Ultimate Team, or FUT, is basically the star mode in the FIFA games, and is one that a hardcore fan could spend tens or more hours in. This mode is played by collecting player cards and creating teams with those cards to compete against others or the AI. There’s a lot to learn and consider with this mode, but here are a few quick tips to at least get you started with Ultimate Team.
The first are FUT coins. You spend these coins buying new player cards and can earn them by playing FUT matches, trading cards for coins, completing SBCs and as rewards for playing in Squad Battles, Division Rivals and FUT Champions. This is where our tip above on how to complete Squad Building Challenges comes into play.
Speaking of coins, don’t gamble them on gold suits. That goes double for spending real money on them. Unless you really, veryFortunately, you can save much better and spend your coins directly to the player you want through the transfer market. Just search for the player you are looking for and see what the average price is. They will fluctuate and different people can offer them for cheaper, so it may be worth delaying for a better offer.
While searching for players, view all competitions. In the most popular leagues, such as the Premier League, players are often far too expensive for most people to build a team with (without opening your wallet), while in other leagues there are great players at more reasonable coin prices .