The history man

0-0 after 0-0. A 1-0 win. A 0-1 defeat. Then back to 0-0 after 0-0… FIFA09 is a strange beast.

At this stage of the football game year I have to say that I don’t like FIFA09 as much as I liked FIFA08. I think 09 lacks one vital ingredient that 08 had in buckets: novelty.

Let’s face it. If the likes of PES2009 (and maybe even PES2008) had appeared out of nowhere, without that decade of ISS and PES history behind them, we’d probably all think they were the greatest football games ever made. But that history does exist, and we do see the so-called next-gen PES games in their proper context, and we have found them wanting. I think some of this same effect is colouring my judgement of FIFA09.

FIFA08 was a surprising leap forward in terms of… What’s the word I’m looking for? Ruggedness, I think, is the word I’m looking for. The game was heavy. The ball was heavy—like a medicine ball at times. When you caught that FIFA08 ball on the volley, you really knew about it. I don’t get the same sense of something sturdy from FIFA09.

Yes, yes, yes. I can appreciate that the well-worn complaint about the ball acting oddly when shooting is due to a dizzying combination of gameplay factors, rather than a fault in the game itself. But the overall effect, the feeling, is of a fault in the game itself. FIFA08’s long-range shooting was better than FIFA09’s. (There. I’ve said it.) Speaking as a football game-player who just loves his long-range shooting, its weirdness in FIFA09 is a serious issue for me.

All of this self-righteous hand-wringing is my roundabout way of saying that I’m in the doldrums with FIFA09 at the moment. I might go back to PES2009—and finally sample its Become a Legend mode—sooner rather than later.

Or I might go back to the PSP version of PES2008, and play that as my main footy game for the rest of the year. Or maybe even FIFA08. I think that I will persevere with FIFA09 for now, though. Like I said last time, playing with the terrible Coventry City squad is a major part of the issue.


  1. I think you know where my vote is going on this one!

    In a strange mirror image type thing (can’t think of the word), i’ll more than likely be finishing my BAL career this weekend. 19 Seasons of serious addictiveness almost at an end.

    I should take the time to do a “not-greg” and invest time in my other games, but i’ll more than likely just start a new one.

    One hint for when you do get round to BAL (if you do!), make sure the other leagues are correct. I foolishly started one without checking and ended up without the Spanish League.

    Apparently in PES10, there are gonna be changes made to the Master League – big changes. Not sure what to make of that, but would be good to be able move clubs.

  2. Haha, Liam, do you actually believe those silly rumors?

    Not-Greg, I cannot hide my contentment at reading that you are considering maybe going back to playing PES 2008 (PSP). At this moment in time, I honestly believe that PES 2008 (old-gen) is the best soccer game I’ve played. (I know that’s not saying much as its the latest version of a soccer game I’ve played.) At any rate, fair points regarding what you said about Fifa 09 not being novel, being open to skeptic views about its overall improvement from earlier versions, and PES next-gen not living up to its former glory.

  3. Liam – as you might see from today’s (Monday 23/03’s) post, BaL has been delayed (again) by me taking up the PSP PES2008. I promise you though that I will get around to BaL, and soon. Within the week.

    steph_wheeler – it’s happened, I’ve played about a dozen matches on the PSP PES2008, and loved it. If I didn’t have such rose-tinted memories of PES2, PES3, and PES5 in particular, I’d be in full agreement that PES2008 was the pinnacle of PS2-era PES. I’ll have more to say on this over the next week too.

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