Okay, so I’ve got two main ISSUES with FIFA09 at the moment. The game’s pace, for one. And the extreme ease of regaining possession from the CPU by pressing and holding X+Square together (A+X on the 360).
FIFA09 is just too fast. There, I’ve said it. After being in denial for weeks, I think it really is too fast. I play with the speed setting on Slow, and I still find it too fast. It’s not something I really appreciate after several weeks’ intensive play. At times it’s just like playing PES—possibly something that EA intended, possibly not. No doubt this change from FIFA08 and UEFA2008 was done for commercial reasons—for ‘accessibility’ reasons. In time I’ll learn to live with it (I already have done, really) but I think it’s a cause for regret. FIFA08 had the pace spot-on, in my opinion. They could have at least made that pace the FIFA09 Slow pace. But no, the FIFA09 Slow pace is a lot faster. Very peculiar.
And it’s far, far too easy to regain possession of the ball at almost any time simply by ‘clamping’ the tackle and sprint buttons. This is something we got used to doing for many years on PES, until it became almost second nature. In conjunction with the R1 sprint button (I have sprint mapped to R1 in FIFA09), at times you might just as well be playing PES, several years ago. I really don’t like the way that ‘clamping’ has already become second nature to me in FIFA09. “Well, play it differently, then.” Fine, I’ll try to. My fellow footy game blogger heraldo contends that playing on World Class reduces the effectiveness of clamping. I’ll be trying it out soon.
I’ll be talking more about those two bugbears in the days and weeks to come. Time will tell what impact they (and other, lesser issues) will have on my long-term relationship with FIFA09. Is this the start of my ‘FIFA fatigue’? It might be. It just might be.
Things are certainly… interesting in my Manager Mode career on FIFA09 just now. I’m playing with Coventry City in the Championship (it’ll always be Division 2 to me and to others of a certain age).
I’m doing appallingly badly. I should be ashamed of myself, and I am. Playing on Professional difficulty, things shouldn’t be like this. I’ve been careless, yes. I’ve neglected to play the ‘new FIFA’ way too often. (Which might explain some of my current dissatisfaction with the game.) I’ve gone full-tilt for quick goals and cheap wins, and been caught out. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been sucker-punched in the 80th minute and after. Cruising to an easy 1-0 win, only to be pegged back to 1-1. Or holding out for a creditable 0-0 away from home, only to concede a daft goal late on, and lose.
It’s all built up and built up into a perfect storm of anti-form. I’ve freefalled down the table, and there have been consequences—as the following grim trio of screenshots shows:
I’m fifth from bottom with only eight or so games left in the season. There are only two points between me and the bottom team. The way I’ve been playing, relegation is a serious possibility. Given that avoiding relegation was my only target for the season, things are pretty bad on the job security front:
That top JOB SECURITY meter is at 38%, in the red. I nervously hovered there for a game or two, grinding out 0-0s and 1-1s. Then I lost a game, and got this:
It’s a warning. It meant I had a really big game coming up. It was against Doncaster Rovers, and I went behind early on to a really, really tame goal. The rest of the game just sort of fizzled along, never really catching fire, nothing remarkable happening. It seemed I was sleepwalking to my doom. I made chances but failed to convert them. It was my own fault for using semi-manual controls. If I’d had the shooting on Assisted I’d have scored at least four goals. I had all the possession I could have wanted…
In the last minute I won a corner. By now I was more or less resigned to being sacked and starting Manager Mode all over again (which I will probably do anyway, whatever else happens this season).
My keeper came up for the last-minute corner. For all I knew, this was my last kick of the ball in this whole career. I’d never been sacked in FIFA before. I swung the corner over, my keeper watched it sail past him—and one of my strikers was standing on the corner of the six-yard box to nod the ball into the net. Hmmm, I thought. How timely…
Cynicism aside, I was happy with the goal, and with the job-saving draw. And I lived to fight another day.