You’ll Never Walk Alone might be wonderful for Liverpool fans, but it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard for others.
FIFA 21 has finally made its way to PS5, Xbox Series X and S. From my early matches, EA has delivered a game of football that looks decently better than the last-gen version, but to be honest the intro threw me so much I’m not sure I’m thinking clearly. You see, FIFA 21 on next-gen has a very Liverpool-centric opening. I don’t like it one bit.
I’ll admit that I have a potentially irrational dislike of Liverpool football club. For this I mostly blame my granddad, who used to utter the very worst swear words whenever Liverpool were on TV, back in the days before the Premier League and pitches looked worse than my garden. I’m a reasonable person, I think. I appreciate that Liverpool have been an incredible team in recent years, yet before this there were years of bang averageness that didn’t dent fans believing they supported the best club in the world. As a miserable Spurs supporter with next to nothing to cheer, it rubbed me the wrong way.
FIFA 21 next-gen kicking off with a young girl from Liverpool idolising her team, with You’ll Never Walk Alone being sung in the background, is my definition of something I never want to see or hear. It’s as if EA is rubbing Liverpool’s perceived success in the face of everyone who plays FIFA. I’m obviously being slightly tongue-in-cheek here – the message of a young girl wanting to one day play on a big stage like her idols is one anyone can get behind – but I still had to message three people about the intro the second I saw it.
It’s just kicked things off on a rather bad note. Given how football fans are rather tribal, having some form of intro customised opening around your favourite club would have been a great touch. Of course, it’s unlikely to have been possible for all the clubs in the game, but given EA has crowd chants and the like already, something seems like it might have been doable. Minor point perhaps, but Liverpool F.C. Women isn’t even in FIFA 21, which is at odds with the inspiring message delivered by the young girl. It’s worth mentioning that FIFA 21 does include 16 Women’s National teams, though.
On the pitch, early impressions – gained after I’d calmed down by watching some YouTube video montages of Harry Kane goals and some David Ginola highlights – are of a game that feels a little slower and more deliberate than I expected. I also once again skyed my first chance in front of goal as the controls defaulted to Classic rather than the superior Alternate option that old-school PES players will always opt for. It does look nice, however, especially in replays.
Anyway, EA, what were you thinking? Peter Moore isn’t even working for you any more. Yes, I wouldn’t have been writing this if the intro had focused on Tottenham or any other club for that matter. I’ve probably got a problem.
Version tested: Xbox Series X. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this article.