I was happy in the haze of a Bayern Munchen hour

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:

Link: Pavlyuchenko Goal in FIFA09

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.


  1. Grilled Seabass

    … But Djemba know I’m miserable now…
    Interesting cheese analogy. I think Pro Evo’s like finding a spectacular cheese, you keep buying the cheese, eating it every day. But the farmers slightly senile and he’s neglected breeding his prize herd, the cows are malnourished and ageing and are quite frankly on their last legs. You keep buying the cheese but it just doesn’t excite you like it used to. Fortunately the farmer’s son is waiting in the wings for his father to die so he can take over the business and release a new cheese…

  2. Grilled Seabass—bang goes my ‘Everton Knows I’m Miserable Now’ follow-up on Monday… (Not really.)

    The post might seem a bit more downbeat against Manager Mode than I intended it to be. I’ve enjoyed the little burst of play on my CCFC career, Pavlyuchencko in the Championship and all. It’s just not something I can ever take seriously for that reason.

  3. Wrap the cheese up in clingfilm..?

    Thats not anaolgy just a general peice of advice. 🙂

  4. Kim Cyun Hi is an absolute legend. In the European Championship Qualification group I had to win to get through against AS Roma. We went 0-1 down early on to what was effectivelly an own goal by my captain Jackson, we got an equalizer just after half time, and then in the 87th minute Kim recreated this legendary moment- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaQhF-523As.
    My cross was from Kieron Richardson and Kim volleys it Zidane like into the corner for the win. Might put him up for sale next window and see how much i’m offered, he’s incredible for someone with no ability stars.

  5. Paww—I do wrap up cheese in clingfilm, sometimes with silver foil around it just to make sure. Other people disagree with my sensible cheese-preserving regimen, and insist on leaving it open to the elements. At which point I throw it in the bin.

  6. Not Given—I’ve never set much store by ability stars in PES. They’re nice, of course they are, but as you’ve found with Kim they’re not essential.

    That Zidane goal is one of my all-time favourites, ever. I remember telling people about it the next day who didn’t see it. I described it as “the kind of goal you’d score in a computer game.” I’ve always preferred goals like that to the ‘Argentina team goal’ type of goal. A crashing thunderbolt of a shot is always a better goal, for me, than a relative tap-in after even a hundred passes. I know why those types of goals are considered great and I consider them great too, but give me a 40-yard howitzer any day of the week!

  7. I got inordinately excited by the leaked footage on youtube… whoever the developer was, he devoted half the interview time to manager mode and everything he said filled my heart with joy. It’s not going to be my ultimate game – a Football Manager sim where I control the players – and I find his comment that manager mode is an ongoing project over the next 3 years slightly sobering.
    However, realistic transfers, realistic AI both in team selection and transfers, realistic simmed results, realistic player development, a wage budget and generally realistic finances for clubs would create a superb game mode, even if their implementation is ongoing.
    If these changes create a mode that’s even half as good as some of EA’s other sports game ‘career modes’ we could be in for a treat!
    Come on not-greg, surely you’ll be buying FIFA 10?

  8. Well up for the news on FIFA10 – can’t someone put up some scans fron EDGE please 🙂

    Oh and I had this near thing from outside the box on the half volley 🙂


  9. I know were all about the FIFA10 here now but I think I remember you saying you had to pay for Ultimate Team?

    I was browsing the PS store and saw its available for free download.

    Just some food for thought.

  10. Chris—I’ll buy FIFA10 only if Manager Mode is revamped to at last the level stated by the EA Producer in the vids. This is by no means certain. I’m waiting for the coming week’s news and press conferences and expiry of NDAs…

  11. Bais—Edge subscribers have apparently had their mags for 24 hours now and still no scans. Sometimes the Internet’s not what it’s cracked up to be….

  12. Paww—I don’t know what you’ve seen but Ultimate Team is still very much a paid expansion mode for FIFA09. You don’t have to pay to download it, but after 5 matches (I think) you do have to pay to play on. This has not changed.

  13. Just read that the NDA expiry’s been moved forward to June 3rd – only a couple of days to go!

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