FIFA 21 FIFA 20 Kylian Mbappe Eden HazardEA Sports/Goal composite

Is FIFA 21 better than FIFA 20? Review average and game differences

FIFA 21 launched worldwide on October 9, 2020 and fans of EA Sports' best-selling football game franchise will be acquainting themselves with all the new title has to offer.

The launch was delayed due to disruptions caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, but EA's teams pulled together to deliver a fresh edition.

Devoted followers of the FIFA franchise will fork out their hard-earned cash for the new game, but the big question on many people's lips is: how much better is FIFA 21 than its predecessor?

With that in mind, Goal takes a look at the various reviews of FIFA 21 and whether it really is superior to FIFA 20.

FIFA 21 reviews: Is it better than FIFA 20?

Reviews of FIFA 21 have mostly been positive, but the consensus view appears to be that it is a game that is essentially a minor upgrade on FIFA 20, with new skins and only few tweaks to existing features.

The Guardian's review is particularly glowing, handing the game a 4/5 rating with the observation that "football has been hard to enjoy in 2020, but FIFA 21 certainly makes it easier".

Another high rating is given by Gamespot, which suggests that "FIFA 21 feels like a swan song for the current generation of sports games" in light of the impending launch of PS5 and Xbox Series-X consoles.

Interestingly, while IGN's FIFA 21 rating of 7/10 is solid, it is down on the rating the same reviewer gave to FIFA 20, which was 7.8/10. The main complaint is that there aren't enough significant new features. 

"Through small tweaks and refinements, FIFA 21 plays as well as it has done in recent memory," writes the IGN reviewer. "But lacks the relatively big features that are usually used to justify a new version of an annually released game."

Wired is somewhat more sober in its assessment of the new game, arguing, like Gamespot, that it marks the end of an era: "There’s a definite sense that the franchise is in a holding pattern as this console generation comes to an end, and that any big new innovations will likely be saved for the first edition to come to new consoles."

Despite the sense that FIFA 21 is FIFA 20 with 'a lick of paint' there is enough in the game to make the case for it being better, if only marginally, than the last iteration.

At the time of writing, FIFA 21 has a Metacritic score of 74/100 for the PlayStation 4 version, 78/100 for the Xbox One version, and 79/100 for the PC version. The Xbox and PS4 aggregated scores are slightly lower than FIFA 20, while the PC score is slightly higher.

What are the differences between FIFA 21 and FIFA 20?

Aside from new kits, squads, and all-new ratings, FIFA 21 boasts a number of features that make it different to FIFA 20.

Chief among these is probably the ability to jump into games in order to affect the outcome of a match in Career Mode. The game mode on FIFA 21 allows players to simulate matches in Football Manager style and if things aren't going how you want them to, you can take control and play manually.

Another notable difference in the games is the new Player Development system, which allows you to retrain players so that they can play in new positions and their improvements are more realistic.

It's not just in Career Mode that differences can be found between FIFA 21 and FIFA 20.

Volta has been upgraded to include a new story known as 'Debut', in which Kaka makes a cameo appearance, and the game mode now also features Squad Battles, which was not the case in the last game.

Ultimate Team, which is by far the most popular game mode in the FIFA franchise, is largely the same, but Co-Op games have been added. The new feature allows FUT players to team up with friends online in Squad Battles of Rivals.

The overall gameplay appears to have improved in FIFA 21 too, with things such as passing and dribbling getting better, while the AI has been augmented to provide a better, more enjoyable, gaming experience.

Of course, another crucial difference is the soundtrack and this year's game features tracks from Dua Lipa, Sia and The Prodigy among others. You can check out and listen to the full soundtrack here!