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Here’s what’s new in FIFA 21 on PS5, Xbox Series X

Loading-screen games a thing of the past thanks to blazing boot-up times

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Fans of the FIFA series’ loading screen training games, we’ve got bad news: Load times on the PlayStation 5 pretty much render them obsolete.

Of course, the game on the newest generation of consoles — and the PlayStation 5 in particular — does so much more than that, but for more than a decade, EA Sports’ soccer sim has had the best time-killing mode in sports gaming. That’s out the window, writes EA’s Gabe Zaro on the PlayStation Blog, with it taking fewer than two seconds to get from a pregame menu into a Kick-Off (play now) match.

Zaro’s blog post on Tuesday also highlighted the leap that FIFA 21’s gameplay will take with the new hardware. “Responsive Multi-Touch Animations take player movement to the next level of realism,” Zaro said, adding that more than 700 new animation combinations will give players “more agility and control over the ball than ever before.”

Visual fidelity gets a lift with deferred lighting — mentioned at length by Madden NFL’s executive producer last week — giving more lifelike detail to the game’s biggest stadiums. That will be supplemented by new presentational elements highlighting the match-day feel of an important, televised soccer match. Fans will get pre-match cinematics and big-goal moments among the broadcast enhancements.

For the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller, FIFA 21 offers enhancements specific to the gamepad’s haptic capabilities. Tired players will increase the resistance on the DualSense’s triggers (as happens in NBA 2K21), and the sides of the controller will rumble more distinctly depending on which foot is taking the shot. PS5 players will also get a time-saving jump to their favorite mode thanks to the Activity Card feature, which places a shortcut in the console’s interface.

FIFA 21 launches for PlayStation 5 and Xbox One on Dec. 4. Its enhancements are for those platforms only. Players who buy or who have bought FIFA 21 on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One can get a free upgrade to the next console’s version any time between the release date and the launch of FIFA 22, which is usually in September.

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