I’ve finished my maiden season in Manager Mode with Coventry City on FIFA09. I didn’t get sacked—but probably only because I simmed the last few games. Naughty of me, but I’d already decided to abandon this career, so it didn’t matter what happened.
I’ll be starting Manager Mode again on World Class difficulty from the outset, with a new set of House Rules that will be strictly observed. In this current career I bought a couple of good players (rated 75+ Overall) in the transfer window, and I also sold a lot of youngsters from my squad. I’m not allowed to operate like this under my ‘realism mod’ House Rules. So a new career from scratch is the best way to proceed.
For my last few proper games (not simmed) in this current career, I decided to give myself a taster of what’s awaiting me in the new career: I switched the difficulty to World Class. I’m planning to stay on this difficulty from now on. After a difficult few days with FIFA09, changing up the difficulty was a breath of fresh air. It forced me to slow down, take my time, play football properly.
I moved up not because I think I’ve mastered Professional—far from it—but because I just want the CPU to keep the ball better. I think it does improve the game, for me anyway. On Professional, I was never really worried about losing the ball. Most of the time it was simple to win it back straightaway: just clamp X+Square+Sprint, and wait. This made for fast-paced, chaotic games without much real shape to them.
The CPU keeps the ball a lot better on World Class. Clamping seems less effective, but it’s still early days. I’m already playing more carefully again, the ‘new FIFA’ way, focusing on possession and creativity with the ball.
The overall standard of play is tougher too, of course. It’s harder to do the simple things well. Not that I’ve ever found goal-scoring with semi-manual settings simple… In these four games I didn’t score once. Not even close, most of the time. 0-0, four times in a row—without a single shot on target in one of the games. It was pretty grim, but I can live with grim. The challenge is to get good at it, to overcome the grimness. This is the kind of football game I want to play.
After I’d taken the temperature of World Class difficulty, I decided to do something I’ve never done in FIFA before. I simmed some of the remaining games. Yes—I SIMMED them. The computer doesn’t always get it ‘right’, but that’s the risk you take. It won’t ever use substitutions, I’ve noticed. All the starting XI will be completely knackered after a simmed match. And the scorelines! I won one simmed match 4-0. I’d rarely scored even 2 goals in one game in this whole short career.
The simmed matches pulled me away from the relegation zone. I’d never, ever use the sim option in a real season; I was only doing so now because I planned to abandon the career whatever happened. Here, for the record, is the final lower part of the table:
So I finished 18th after 46 games, 4 of them having been simmed, and that’s the end of that career. I’ve deleted the save. It’s a write-off. I’ve already forgotten it.
I’ll get to my new Manager Mode career on World Class on Monday (tomorrow will see a PES2009-related post). I’ll describe my House Rules in exhaustive detail. I’ve already played two games of the new career—and lost them both. Again, with few shots on goal myself. If this keeps up I think I’ll be sacked before Christmas. If that happens, I’ll just start again, and again, and again… I think this new way of doing things will be, dare I say it, ‘fun’.