We’re now seemingly tearing through FIFA 21 information as the Volta and FUT Pitch Notes have dropped this week. My hands-on time with FIFA 21 afforded me the opportunity to play Volta and briefly get into The Debut, the new story-themed mode. With that in mind, let’s jump into my FIFA 21 Volta preview and early impressions.
Fast And Fun Gameplay – FIFA 21 Volta Preview
FIFA 21‘s gameplay foundation powers Volta Football. All in all, the new agile dribbling, shooting improvements, defensive improvements, improved AI and the ability to nutmeg opponents on command with energized skill moves adds to the gameplay mix now. You can take a look at my gameplay preview to see how all of these areas played out there. Volta Football utilizes more skill moves and has more flair then you’ll see in a regular game (unless you’re a champion with the skill moves).
The pace is quicker, and some of the improved or new mechanics really shine here. You’ll leave your opponent in awe and anger all at once thanks to new flair passes and shots that can be unleashed. Volta Football is about style and skill after all.
The Debut, Featuring Kaká
Similar to last year’s Volta story where you learn the basics of the mode and try to lead your team to the Volta World Championships in Buenos Aires, this year’s story follows the same path of introducing the player to the world of Volta Football. This year’s offering cuts down the cinematic experience to a two to three hour timeframe as opposed to last year where you looked at five to six hours of story.
The Debut puts the focus on your Volta team as you improve your avatar’s skills, as well as the quality of your team. You’ll run into football and street legends along the way, earning rewards and learning the ins and outs of Volta.
Visit New Locations, How It Looked
This year’s iteration of Volta sees the FIFA team add five new locales for your squad to dominate. You’ll try to leave your name in the ears and mouths of the fans who come out to watch legends be born. Volta will now be experienced in São Paulo, Paris, Sydney, Dubai and Milan. The ambience and visuals of each pitch in these cities comes off great, and the football culture is definitely recognizable.
The Volta Stadium introduced into the game gives a feel of a futuristic football arena, but it can be quite overbearing due to the lighting effects and flash that the arena and pitch give off from time to time. Dubai looks like what you would expect from an upscale and wealthy football atmosphere, and the Paris pitch has the styling of a back alley steeped in history. I was quite impressed by the visuals and venues that were represented.
Grow Your Avatar
Growing your player is straightforward in Volta — play the game. You also have the ability to partake in optional training drills that will give you additional growth opportunities. The training drills you’ll have access to in Volta Football will not only help your player grow, but they’ll teach you different fundamentals and skills needed to dominate the small pitches of the Volta world.
Some drills include:
- Defensive positioning
- The best way to intercept passes
- Dribbling and ball control
As mentioned above, the drills are optional but doing them will definitely benefit the progression of your player.
How It Played – FIFA 21 Volta Preview
Player progression works through a skill tree separated into three segments: Attacking, Midfield and Defense. Each tree has different traits that improve your attributes as you progress through the Volta world, either through The Debut or through the other modes that you can play in Volta. New skills that increase your overall rating are earned through your play, which will net you skill points.
It’s pretty simple to understand and allows you to build your avatar as you see fit. Do you want to dominate on attack right away or would you prefer to balance out your player? The choice is completely in your hands. I don’t really see an issue with this system and it works as intended.
Learn Gameplay Strategies
As you’ll quickly learn playing Volta Football itself, there’s definitely a method to the madness. Last year, most folks quickly found out this mode wasn’t a reincarnation of FIFA Street, as most people thought when Volta was introduced for FIFA 20. You needed to employ strategy as well as skill to win games.
The same can be said in FIFA 21‘s iteration of Volta, and The Debut will surely have you figuring out new ways to beat the increasingly skilled and talented opponents you’ll come up against as you get deeper into the story. Whether it’s shutting down Freestyle Football wizard Lisa Zimouche and her squad in Paris or going up against Streetball Godfather Ed Van Gils, you’ll need to employ strategy alongside skill to win.
How It Played – FIFA 21 Volta Preview
Although I could only get so far into The Debut, I felt that you didn’t need much strategy or skill to play Volta — until I played on a harder difficulty level. Boy oh boy did I learn the hard way. I couldn’t just pass around defenders and score. I actually had to use my brain and player movement to get up the pitch. On defense, I had to position myself correctly or I was giving up chance after chance. Strategy will play a part when you play Volta, and that can also be said about FIFA 21 as a whole.
Volta Squads is all about community and playing together. You can play with your friends in Squad Up, get into a game with the community in a drop-in match or play solo. Regardless of your choice, you’ll be online with or against the Volta community in a battle to see whose avatar(s) will come out on top.
Similar to Pro Clubs drop-in games, community drop-in has you load into a public lobby with your Volta avatar. You’ll team up with three other players from the community to go up against other community teams. Captains are chosen at random, and the selected captain from each squad will see its team crest, name and home turf used. Any unfilled positions will be controlled by the AI.
Captains will also select match options such as playing with or without walls. They’ll also select opponent type, such as co-op teams only. Players who are not the captain can swap positions with any AI player on the squad (except for goalies), can see matchmaking settings or can check out the gear of other players. If you click with your team, you can continue playing with them for the next match. The recent teammates tile allows you to send invites to any of the other players that you want to be friends with as well. You also have the option to jump into a new lobby if things didn’t work out with your team.
Squad Up With Friends
If you’ve got up to three friends online and want to get together to conquer the Volta online community, you have the option to do so. Starting a private lobby and inviting your friends will get things rolling, with the person starting the lobby being the captain and controlling the game setup in the same way that is done in community drop-in. If you don’t have three friends online, any missing players will be controlled by the AI.
In solo, you’re the captain of the team, playing alongside AI-controlled players. Squad management is used here to determine your teammates, who you can select based on how you’re looking to play.
How It Played – FIFA 21 Volta Preview
I’ve always enjoyed playing these types of modes, teaming up with friends or playing with randoms if I don’t have any pals online. Unfortunately, like Pro Clubs, playing with randoms proves to be frustrating and this was no different in my time online. This obviously isn’t the direct fault of the FIFA 21 team or the game itself, but lends more to the fact that the community can be quite toxic at times.
Everyone played like they were the next coming of Messi, which certainly wasn’t the case when we were all rated a piddly 73 overall. Things got frustrating very quickly. I would suggest venturing into this mode of Volta with at least one friend to lessen the frustration of playing with random people. In terms of smoothness of play or latency, I didn’t experience any at all. Of course this was a closed beta, so there probably wasn’t too much stress on the server. We’ll have to wait and see how the game plays out when the final version is released and the masses get online.
Featured Battles is a time-sensitive mode within Volta that allows players to bring their squad up against AI-controlled opponents to net Battle Points. These battles are refreshed on a weekly basis, and earned Battle Points are used to unlock Milestone Rewards, including Volta coins, gear and featured matches. Each event can have up to two featured matches, which include rewards exclusive to Feature Battles.
Recruiting Stars And Legends
You’ll have the opportunity to match up against special squads, facing the likes of current world class superstars such as Kylian Mbappé, FIFA ICONS, and other phenomenal talent. If you manage to defeat any of these stacked squads that you come up against before the weekly challenge event ends, you’ll have the opportunity to recruit one of the stars from their squad to yours.
Unlocked Featured Club Kits And Attire
Playing in a plain jersey can get old quickly, but luckily Volta has a large amount of customization options in terms of gear for your avatar. Brands like Adidas are in the game, as well as a large amount of community street gear and cause-related gear that supports social topics linked to football and its culture. The only thing you don’t have access to is official club kits, but that’s where Featured Battles comes in. You’ll have the opportunity to earn club jerseys and gear through Featured Battles, and this is the only way to get your hands on the fits from your favorite squad.
How It Played – FIFA 21 Volta Preview
I can say that I spent more time playing in the Featured Battles challenge that was available than anywhere else in my time with Volta. Defeating the squads to work my way up to the special squad, which was Arsenal in this case (yuck) was a challenge, and I got schooled the few times that I made it to the final match against the Arsenal team.
I could have tuned down the difficulty a bit, as you have the option to choose the match difficulty before the game (which determines the Battle Points multiplier the harder AI), but I couldn’t bring myself to make things easy. Using a more effective strategy and being a little more patient would probably have seen me come out on top. It also didn’t help that my player rating was low, alongside my AI squad. I had a lot of fun with this mode and think I’ll enjoy playing it when I get my hands on the game come October.
Early FIFA 21 Volta Impressions
I didn’t get into Volta Football much in FIFA 20, but after some time with The Debut and Featured Battles, I’ll be digging my boots into the pitch and will be giving Volta Football a good long go for FIFA 21. The improved but sometimes overpowered gameplay does trickle over to this mode, but it doesn’t ruin the experience. I came out of my hands-on time wanting more as I tried to build my avatar up to be a player that could make a difference on the pitch.
Volta Football will extend the FIFA 21 experience if fans of the game get bored with the other modes that are available to play, and I suggest that everyone give it a go when they get the game.
After seeing the Volta Football trailer and seeing more in-depth information about the mode, will you be giving it a go when FIFA 21 is released? Do you see yourself getting together with your friends to play online? Drop a comment below to let us know your thoughts on the mode.