It’s been quite a week. News about FIFA10 has appeared earlier than it should have done. Manager Mode radically overhauled. Slower gameplay. 360-degree dribbling (i.e. no more turning into a pursuing defender when all you wanted to do was slightly alter your running angle). It’s all sounding and looking rather good.
But I’m wary. I’m going to wait until next week, and the official unveiling, and the podcasts and articles and myriad discussions, before I start allowing myself to feel anything.
I’ll be wary and suspicious until I see a good number of solid previews from a variety of sources. It’s by no means a certainty that I’ll buy either FIFA10 or PES2010 this year. The main criterion for me buying FIFA10 is the overhaul of the game mode that I’m most interested in, Manager Mode. That seems to have been done. It’s tempting to go crazy and place my preorder now. But I’m waiting. The game will still be there to preorder, potentially, right up until the week of release.
Big developments in Manager Mode on FIFA09. I’ve been playing it quite a bit over the past week or so. It’s not a deep mode by any means. Its various problems are well-documented. It features the weakest transfer market in any career mode on any sports game since the mid-1990s, IMO. The lack of night matches and weather effects as the season(s) pass by is anti-immersive. It’s flabby and crude in so many areas. It’s like a donkey-cart shackled to a Porsche.
But there is some limited mileage in it. And I had yet to really get into a career in FIFA09. Playing with Coventry City, I completed a season and got the 100 Achievement points for not simming a single match.
In the next season, still in the Championship, I signed two decent defenders, Djemba-Djemba as a defensive midfielder—and Roman Pavlyuchenko. Yes, the skilful Russian player, a star of Euro 2008, and still one of the top strikers on the continent right now, was mad-keen to play for Coventry City in the second tier of English football. Ahem. Look the other way, please. Nothing to see here.
And he’s been brilliant. I scored 4 goals with him on his debut. I averaged a goal per game with him over the rest of the season. Here’s one of them, a decent strike against Leeds that hits one post, hits the other post, and goes in. My Coventry team is wearing our black away kit, and we’re attacking down-screen:
I haven’t scored many of those first-time ‘hook’ shots across the keeper in FIFA09. It was with semi-assisted shooting too.
I got promoted, and I won the FA Cup in the same season. Pavlyuchenko was the difference.
I’ve just started my first season in the top flight. Looking ahead, I can see our first UEFA Cup-equivalent match will be against Bayern Munich, whom I have chortlingly named Bayern Munchen for the sake of a painful Smiths-related pun that only those over 30 will probably get anyway. (If you say ‘Munchen’ the German way—i.e. the proper way—it does rhyme with ‘drunken’.)
This brief flowering of Manager Mode won’t last. It occurred in the middle of a week off work. I had bags of time to spare—time that I simply don’t have as of right now (boo). Time that I’ll want to spend playing Become a Legend again…
There’s a bit more to Manager Mode than a crude simplistic shadow of Master League. But sadly not much more. I resent having to operate House Rules, so I don’t. I won’t make accommodations. I’m like that with cheese. When you leave cheese unwrapped in a fridge, it grows a hardened exterior on the parts that are exposed to the air. I will not eat this hardened cheese under any circumstances. I can barely bring myself to look at it, or even admit that it exists. I know, theoretically, that you can slice away the hardened cheese, and the soft, original cheese underneath is fine, but I’m sorry: once that slab of cheese has been exposed to the air, I ain’t touching it. It’s going in the bin.
And I’m the same with games, really. Manager Mode’s faults are its hardened cheese. I could scrape the faults away with a knife made out of House Rules, but the entire slab is contaminated in my eyes. No, I have very little love for Manager Mode as it stands. Roll on FIFA10, and hopefully—fingers crossed—a Manager Mode worthy of the game it comes wrapped up in. Time will tell.