FIFA fatigue setting in?

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.


  1. What a close one! Better get your act together. Good read not-Greg and thanks for sharing your friends blog–yet another PES/Fifa website for me to look at.

  2. Your concerns are in place. FIFA09 IS fast. Possession is a huge problem, as well as the non-realistic excessive collisions.

    Well I suppose no game is perfect. I can only hope the game fixes these issues next year. They are all simple problems compared to PES’s desperate need for an urgent overhaul.

  3. Although I knew the reason, I can now see first hand why you were/are struggling on professional! With everything on manual (except semi passing) I can’t buy a goal. Got to the final of the Spanish Cup but the last three matches have finished 0-0. Most of my goals are coming from crosses now (manual crossing is brilliant!), which makes a change from the constant lob through balls. The game feels harder as well, without my supercharged on exp squad. At least professional is back where it belongs on the scale, leaving WC firmly unmastered.

    Which brings me to the semi-final penalty kicks. Stinger you were right it seems! I just aimed full on left/right and powered the shot, and every kick went were I intended to place it. Thanks for the help, I thought it was going to be a game breaker. I did think it was just me, having seen no complaints from others (i made a forum post).

    The game is too fast. I was replaying Euro 2008 (the Xbox is working without the disc read errors for now?) and it is the better game (i think)- if still a little fast. I am sorely tempted to pick up FIFA 08, but it will take away from 09 time..

  4. steph_wheeler – and it’s not over yet. Tomorrow’s post will end the season.

    TareX – indeed, and I always hark back to PES5, which wasn’t perfect either by any means. Remember the way your players would randomly dummy the ball out for throw-ins? The missing crowds? And so many other things. But it was the greatest PES ever for me.

    The blog isn’t journalism, as I keep saying. It’s an evolving story. Let’s see where it takes me.

    Not Given – you would absolutely love FIFA08, especially if you think UEFA2008 was too fast! I think you’d end up playing FIFA08 all year, seriously. I’d recommend the 08 demo (still available on PSN), but it’s a poor demo really – although you’d get an idea of the pace it plays at. Keep an eye out for a really cheap preowned copy. I think they’ll be at the fiver/tenner level soon, if not already.

  5. That’s what i’m afraid of! I don’t like the thought of everyone else playing and learning 09, while I play 08. You’d end up playing with all manual controls on legendary while I lag behind. That said this FIFA has definitely being ‘PESified’, it reminds me of PES 4 actually.

    I lost the cup- on penaltys, 0-0 at FT. I can’t hit that barn door with manual shooting!

  6. For once i disagree with something you’ve mentioned. I Thought FIFA 08’s pace was horrible, very slow, sluggish, snail like pace.
    When playing a counter attack on 08, and making a fast break up the pitch it almost felt laboured and intensive trying to get there and wasnt realistic at all.

    You watch any number of premier league games, especially man utd where they break with such pace they’re in the opposition penalty box before you know it, this just wasnt possible with FIFA 2008.

    I Play Fifa 09 on the default speed and it feels much better, you can put together slow fluid passing plays or induct a sudden change of pace and bomb forward, it feels and plays right.

    I played footy at Professional level for years and still played semi pro up until a cpl of years ago so feel I have quite a first hand insight into the many aspects of the real life game at the upper levels and think FIFA 09 is pretty spot on with much of its portayals. I like the idea of being able to change game speeds however i havent tried this yet as im happy with how it is.
    But if EA did slow FIFA 2010 down id be bitterly dissapointed, to the point of actually not buying the game.

  7. Blimey, you have an ex pro reading! Impressive stuff.

    Saw this on PESFAN and thought it was a funny read. Reminds me of what you went through with PES2008:

    Without wanting to repeat myself, you really have to give Become a Legend a go on PES. I still have only played one Master League game (officially the best game mode in the world ever) in the 2 weeks of owning it. This is due to the power ot BAL. Great stuff.

  8. Not Given – you’re probably right. Despite my possible FIFA fatigue right now, I don’t think I could go back either. (Although for you it might weirdly be a step forward? You wouldn’t find Manager Mode any different.)

    What I’m finding at the moment is that FIFA’s new player/team differentiation is affecting me a lot. Playing with my Coventry team after playing with Atletico is seriously annoying me. It’s like playing with PES’s ML Defaults is many ways. Except that in FIFA09 the league seasons are 46 games long…

    Paul – I will get used to FIFA09’s increased speed, it just strikes me as peculiar that the Slow speed setting is considerably faster than FIFA08. I’d like to see a proper range of speed options in FIFA2010. If you played FIFA09 on Slow you wouldn’t really see a difference from Normal.

    Liam – saw that article a few days ago, very good indeed 🙂

    I liked the ending too – settle down with a nice management sim indeed…

    Coincidentally, I am looking forward to FM2009. I haven’t played FM in depth since FM2005. I’m intrigued by the new 3D match engine, but I’ll have to see if my laptop will run the game (demo is out this Sunday). I may even give FM2009 a week on the blog if it shapes up.

    Oh – and I WILL try Become a Legend eventually. I’ll resume my ML season this weekend, and most likely have a look at BaL at the same time.

  9. Stop moaning. Fifa 09 is the best football game out there. If you think its fast then go play pes 09, super fast arcade ping-pong. When they make the speed slower then people complain that its too slow,but when they make it a bit faster then its too fast. You cant please everyone you know.

  10. Not-Jesus – FIFA09 is indeed the best football game out there, but it’s got flaws, as every great football game until now has always had and always will have. This is a blog recounting daily impressions – nothing more. Personal impressions ebb and flow over time and are rarely the same from day to day. Today I’m annoyed about FIFA09 not being the same stately pace as FIFA08; tomorrow, it’ll be something else; the day after that, all will be well with the world; the day after that, I’ll hate the menus; and so on.

  11. Let’s not bring the forum aspect into this weblog! Having played the demo quite a bit (and i’m sure greg agrees with me), PES 09 is actually the slower game of football. Although it is my opinion that FIFA is a better game, it is largely fact that it’s also much faster than PES. As for telling him to “stop moaning”, what a boring weblog it would be if he recounted only the positive sides of both games, and left the negatives out. It’s gregs site- be serious.

    Your right I probably would. I do like slow gameplay, i tried everything to make Euro even slower, and succeeded. Some of the matches I have had on it are so realistic, and playing nothing but international fixtures brings me back to my days with FIFA World Cup 98. (i loved that game, despite in hindsight seeing what an arcadey mess it is!)

    In FIFA I am just playing through random tournaments with these manual settings. I hope, like you, they will click eventually, but at the moment, each match finishes (around 14 minutes in length) with about 2 shots on target. Manual shooting is so sensitive. If only there was a training mode, or you could change the camera in the arena…

  12. Not Given – I fully agree, PES2009 is definitely the slower game of football overall (although it has its crazy spells when it’s too much like PES2008 for comfort).

    I’m perfectly happy to field anti-comments at any time. I’d always say to anyone who disagrees with my opinions that I’m not representing them as objective journalism. This really is ‘only’ a blog.

    Re. your full manual settings – I think you’re mad to try it… I’m still pottering around trying (and failing) to get to grips with semi. Have you tried playing with the Pro camera in the main game? That’s the closest you’ll get to the Arena view. I played a few games last year using manual shooting with it and it is effective.

  13. I don’t know why I put myself through reading the PES/FIFA forums anymore. If there’s any serious talking it’s fairly well hidden. The stupidity on these forums actually infuriates me- which is pretty sad really. Comments like “bet none of u have ever had a girlfreind” (yes thats geniuine!) rile me. Haha I need to avoid them from now on.

    Yes it’s beating me. Playing through 14 minutes where you get 2 shots on target isn’t fun. I am hoping this will all be worth it eventually though. Have to say, tried the PES demo again, and I felt a little kinder to it than my first impression. Yes the crowd chants are still diabolical (the same chant for 90 minutes), but it did feel there was a game there to be enjoyed. Still can’t afford it though!

  14. quality stuff again not greg. i hope for your sake that permanent”fifa attrition” will not set in anytime soon. as for me…i’n afraid it already has.

    i can acknowledge it is a great game, with great animations, physics, controls, the works. But it just gets dull for me! AAARGH and i can’t even explain why.
    i’ve given it a fair chance, playing quite extensively on MM, semi-manual, everything. i dunno, maybe i just suck at it, but i’ve already had about 5 very uneventful goalless draws (i am in first place in the league in spite of that, though).

    still no emotion when scoring goals, muddy action on the pitch (i realise it’s as realistic as possible as far as games go though), things like that. i even changed my PES style of playing to try to get into it. i still hope i will in the coming days…but as of now i regret trading in PES 09 for it, and i’m not even a PES “fan”. (only had 5 and 08, so i’ve had the best and the worst IMO).
    i still think, for all its deficiences and lack of improvement, that PES is more fun for me.
    Anyway, i’m getting PES again, maybe i’ll keep FIFA around to play when i’m done with that.

    interesting what you said btw about the forums not given, seems like this is one of the few places where us footie games fans can just shoot the sh*t.

    i’m just gutted that FIFA wasn’t all i expected it to be! it’s parts are great but the sum of it all, the synergy between the parts, just isn’t working for me.
    as i said, can’t put my finger on it, but if EA just get that ….intangible…right next year then there is no looking back.

  15. Not Given – I’ve been on PES2009 again and I’m still not warming up to it. Saturday I should post about that. In the full game the chants aren’t so much an issue as you’ve always got Champion and Lawrenson talking over them.

  16. #1 – I sympathise with what you’re saying and even agree to an extent. At the moment I know what you’re saying about aimless kinds of games, but the emotion I think comes for me from the sense of achievement I feel from scoring with all the semi/manual settings.

    I’ve also had several 0-0s in a row just this morning. Personally, I find this kind of gameplay very atttractive. I want more of it and it actually keeps me coming back to FIFA09. I’ll play it until I get through this sticky patch and I’m playing free-flowing football and scoring goals with my Coventry bozoes. (House Rules permitting, of course.)

    At the moment I can only say of FIFA09 what I remember saying about FIFA08 at about this time last year: I like it, but I can understand why people who don’t like it don’t like it.

    For many people there won’t really be a standout football game this year. I hope you can get back into PES2009.

  17. Hi Greg

    Finding it hard to get an internet connection at the moment.

    I am surprised at how you are struggling on Professional. I would say that you are on a par with me after our games.

    I find it far too easy on Pro, I played this afternoon with all Manual on Pro (I am ready for Feb) and won all 4 games.

    I plan to record one of my games against the AI probably over the weekend. You will see that I play differently from online.

    I have started the new season with Valencia on WC with Manual shooting (I am Loving it) changed the passing to Semi and they have been the best games I have played against the AI on 09.

    You have got me thinking of starting another MM with Norwich or Coventry to compare the difficulties and differences you have mentioned the past few days.

    A message for Not-Given re. FIFA 08, I loved that game but I couldn’t go back to it after FIFA 09. They have really upped every aspect of 08. I must say I don’t find the speed of 09 an issue, I play on slow and in my opinion it is absolutely spot on. If you can get 08 as Greg mentioned cheap, give it a go but I think you will be disappointed as FIFA 09 is head and shoulders above it.

  18. Your much better than me if your dominating professional with all manual. I can’t hit the target at all now, had to admit defeat slightly. My final settings are everything on manual except semi shooting and semi passing. Manual crossing is actually easier than assissted, and you get used to the through balls quickly enough. I started the Valencia season on WC and it give me a good beating, I was sacked before Xmas. Started a new MM with Athletic, plan on keeping it on professional but not touching the staff upgrades (they over power your players), keeping the mostly manual controls and adhering to their cantera policy of signing only players of Basque origin. Does anyone know if FIFA has this built into MM, or will it let me sign other players for Bilbao if I tried. If it does, i’ll need to find a list of players I can sign, as i’m not sure it differentiates between Spanish and Basque.

    Hopefully this will keep the league challenging, but do-able. As I have seen with my first Valencia MM, I can only handle WC difficulty once my players are all over 90 rating- which isn’t a true reflection of what I can do at all.

    As for 08 i have a suspicion I will like it. If it’s anything like Euro 2008 which was outstanding I will. Just a question for anyone by the way, is it true in the older FIFAs (around 2004, 2005 I think) manager mode had 30 seasons? Think I heard this somewhere, if it’s true, why on earth did they change it!

  19. I’m another one to disagree with your comments about the pace. If anything it is just the slightest bit to fast although I play on normal so maybe going to slow would solve that problem. As has been said it’s always going to be hard to please everyone.

    I do like your idea about having a wider range of pace settings however. Ideally I’d like to see 5 pace options, ranging from FIFA08 level pace right upto some super crazy pace that those who enjoy the midfield ping pong can use.

    I do seem to remember you saying last year you would like to see the pace from FIFA08 upped just a bit?

  20. heraldo – it’s the Coventry players. FIFA09 is brilliant at representing the rubbishness of average and below-average footballers, and I’m feeling it. I can’t handle them. It’s like playing with the ML Defaults for me, only worse – 46 league games! Different story from my Atletico career.

    Not Given – make sure it’s a cheap copy of 08, because as Heraldo says it is a step down from 09 re. gameplay. There is so much you can do in 09 that you never could in 08. The shooting in 09 is totally different (better) than 08’s, for example.

    stinger – I’ll always cling to my get-out clause that my opinion-of-the-day is just that and not something I’d ever hold up as a final verdict. Today I didn’t like the pace – no doubt because I had a few messy games and they frustrated me, and I’ve picked on the pace to moan about. Tomorrow or the next day I’ll love the pace and wonder what I ever complained about. This is the nature of blogging about games-playing. The experience is different every day, partly because the game will give a different playing experience every day, but also because I am different from day to day.

    And… yes, I did often proclaim that I’d like 09 to have a faster pace than 08. I also often wished for PES2009 to be a HD version of a last-gen PES game, and I’m not too impressed with that wish coming true either….

  21. Hi not-Greg,
    I was feeling “first-touchy” today. I’ve record a good dozen of clips showcasing my horrible first touch.

    This is the thread I told you about. I’ve just updated it with first touch control. Tell me what you think. See ya later.

  22. steph_wheeler I have in fact read your suggestion in the past and I can certainly see where your coming from, it sounds fantastic. However in practice I think it would be horrible. Thats not to bag your idea as like i said it sounds good in theory but I just don’t think it would work. It would require far to much tight control and IMO would make playing the game a real chore. It sounds good but I think if it were ever bought in the game would be a big flop as most people just couldn’t be bothered to learn the system and would become very frustrated that not getting things perfect would result in losing the ball

  23. steph_wheeler – having just played and loved every second of the Mirror’s Edge demo, I think you might be onto something, but as stinger says I doubt if it’d have much commercial appeal, and as you know that’s what really drives games developers. What they could do is include it as an optional extra, like the existing manual options in FIFA.

    I’ll read all the thread later when I get the chance and maybe contribute some thoughts. Loving the diagrams by the way…

    stinger – a better session on FIFA09 this morning. If I was still doing the daily graph the trend would be creeping back upwards…

  24. Stinger and Not-Greg,
    I thank you for your appreciation of my idea in theory. What are your usernames on PESFan? I understand your concern about it being too complex. Not-Greg maybe your suggestion of including it as an alternate control set up is the best idea, yet I still stand on the premise of giving as much control as possible to the gamer, trying to remain as accessible as possible. The thread has evolved into a rough sketch of me expanding on the idea. It’s no longer just a suggestion where people vote yes or no, which I think would have no real success because it is in a lot of ways an original idea, not a missing, common-sense feature that could easily be implemented. As a result, it’s still a work in progress and people are not finding it attractive per se. But I welcome criticism and suggestion from you regarding the practicality of my idea in order to come up with a more feasible suggestion.

  25. Like I said I think the idea works in theory but I also think it would take a hell of a lot of work to get implemented correctly and it’s something that I can’t see either of the developers wanting to work on when it’s probably not something that would appeal to 90% of users.

    And by the way my user name on PESFan is also stinger. Over the last 12 months or so however I have moved away from the PES sections due to my disgust with the series and now am mostly just a regular in The Red Lion.

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