Because the music they constantly play

Three more replays of notable FIFA09 goals today—and a special compilation, at the end, of many of my recent goals too.

Rumours of FIFA09’s demise are greatly exaggerated. What happens with me is that I have a poor session or two, and immediately think that the game’s up. Then I go back for another session, and find a football game that could almost have been made in heaven, such is the sublimity of the things that can be done on the pitch. A big difference between next-gen FIFA and classic PES is that I don’t remember having poor sessions on classic PES.

When FIFA09 is good, it’s great. I mean really great. It’s the best football game I’ve played on a next-gen console, bar none (well, FIFA08 at its best possibly excepted).

PES2009 on the PS3, at its height, was a pretty enjoyable football game and I got a lot out of it, but it lacked longevity. FIFA09 (a bit like its many online fans) just keeps running and running and running.

It remains an extremely hard game. Every match is a unique challenge. By now I consider myself a veteran, but my current season record in Manager Mode is something like P20 W6 D6 L8. Of course my difficulty settings have a lot to do with it. I’m still playing on the second-highest difficulty level (World Class), and using my favourite mix of manual and semi-assisted control settings. These settings are the Goldilocks settings for me at the moment: neither too easy nor too hard, but just right.

One of the major criticisms of FIFA09 is its shooting. I still partly agree with the criticism. I still think FIFA09’s shooting system is bewilderingly inconsistent too often for it not to be a fault in the system.

Having said that, it’s possible to work within the system, such as it is. I’ve got the frustration factor down to a manageable amount. I’m knocking them in from all over the place, and often enough to keep me happy and coming back for more.

Here’s a goal scored from outside the box. ‘Outside the box’ is a sensitive phrase in FIFA09 shooting discussions. It’s so tough to score them that even fairly straightforward ones like this feel really special:

Link: Aguero 25-Yarder Fifa09

Now here’s a goal from ‘me’—my created player. I made him for Be A Pro, but never got into that mode. When I set up this new Atletico Madrid Manager Mode career (after losing my Coventry City savegame) I was again given the choice of importing ‘me’ into the squad. I did so, and once again the player is developing nicely. I’m an attacking midfielder, and this goal is a pretty rare first-time shot after a delayed one-two.

Link: Not-Greg one-two FIFA09

I learned the dark art of the delayed one-two on ISS/PES, of course, but you often get punished for attempting it on FIFA09. It’s just one of the reasons FIFA can feel ‘wrong’ to somebody from a PES background. A defender usually just nicks the ball off you before you play the return pass. This time, I had bags of time, and it paid off.

And now for something a bit special, if I may say so. It’s another pace control+finesse ‘dual trigger’ side-footed shot, from an angle, from about 30 yards, that loops over the keeper into the far ‘postage stamp corner’ of the net:

Link: Another FIFA09 floater

(There are two pitch-level replays of this goal at the end of the compilation below)

The trick with these is that you have to get the shot away in the split-second before the defender closes you down.  That means you have to press all the buttons almost together, in that half-second. These shots are fairly easy to get on target once you know the trick (both triggers!), but rarely actually go in. [nb: I scored another one of these floaters just this Friday morning, too late for it to make it into this post. It was from further out than the two already posted, and the ball seemed to fly a lot faster. It looked very good. I’ll chuck it into a post next week.]

I’ve compiled all my recent notable FIFA09 goals into the two-minute-long movie below. There’s a few goals near the end that I’ve not posted before (including a rare, classic centre-forward’s headed goal from a corner). The movie comes complete with an appropriate musical soundtrack. It’s definitely not a commentary on the music in just about every other goals movie… Ahem.

Link: FIFA09 goals nomusic


  1. (Not)Greg said:
    A big difference between next-gen FIFA and classic PES is that I don’t remember having poor sessions on classic PES.

    Oh, god, I do. Remember when the scripting would get so heavy-handed that there was literally no way you could get the ball off their attackers? The second-worst team in the league suddenly full of Maradonas and Cruyffs, coming in wave after wave of unstoppable dribbling through your entire midfield and defense to score 3 unanswered goals in 15 minutes, just because the COM didn’t think you should be leading the league? My God, I remember those days.

    Remember every player on railroad-tracks, chasing the ball in a straight line no matter what? Defenders who unless you super-cancelled would run behind their mark before letting you regain control of your now-useless player?


    Old-school PES was gripping, but it was also a devil in a lot of ways. The main cognitive difference at the time was there really wasn’t any meaningful competition. It was still the best. football. game. evar. Now? Now there’s competition.

    I can totally see myself switching between PES and FIFA this year as one or the other’s quirks start to grate on my nerves.

    The caveat here being how important to the game-play experience 360-degree dribbling turns out to be. It sounds like heaven, and I can see it being a game-changer, especially if FIFA really has sorted out the variety of goals issue (my main gripe with FIFA 09). Konami could line up the best PES to date (and looks at this point like they may well do) and still not get much play if the 360-degree freedom is as meaningful as I think it might be.

    We like to talk about the “feel” of football games, and the “handling.” I think I might just love that 360-degree handling too much to go back to 8-direction movement. The PES gameplay we saw in the developers monitor did look extremely fluid, and so perhaps it will be fine.

    I do know I’m itching to find out. This year, I feel like the prettiest girl at the bar . . . which of these games is going to take me home? 😉

  2. ck—oh, I definitely had/have those sessions of frustration with classic PES too. I never counted them as poor sessions of gameplay, though. The difference is that after them I never thought classic PES’s core gameplay was just too flawed to play, or wondered if I’d ever bother playing it again—as I used to do with FIFA09 (and even FIFA08) pretty regularly. I’m more or less convinced now that most of my FIFA problems can be traced back to refusing to adapt my expectations of a football game after a decade of PES.

    This great spell I’m having with FIFA09 actually makes me feel uncomfortable about PES2010. I tried to play a bit of PES2009 the other day and had to turn it off—I couldn’t stand it. What if this FIFA-lovin’ spell ‘sticks’?! I’d be a full-on FIFA convert! I don’t want that. That’d be going too far.

    Looking at it from another angle, of course, this is the best possible way to prepare for PES2010. This way, I’ll still be delighted with PES2010 if it’s good, but I’ll just be indifferent towards it if it’s bad.

    Can’t wait to see and hear more of FIFA10 now. I think 360-degree dribbling should make a hell of a difference to next-gen FIFA’s still-dodgy parts. E.g., often when trying to adjust a player’s running angle only slightly (to get a better shooting angle), he’ll do a 45-degree turn within the 8-way system instead, wrecking everything. That should be a thing of the past with 360-degree dribbling.

  3. Some really great goals there…. they looked and felt pretty ‘natural’ to me, mainly because of the beautiful animations and ball physics…. and to think that FIFA10 will have even better animations and physics, makes me seriously doubt PES2010 will overtake FIFA10 this year… Really, all PES2010 will have on FIFA10 will be player movement and distribution on the pitch, and tactical depth…

  4. not-greg how do you pull off the top-corner screamer? In particular the aguero goal? what buttons do you press?

  5. TareX—thanks, and you can be sure I enjoyed scoring each and every one of them. That was always another quibble with next-gen FIFA, the lack of oomph felt after scoring most goals (because most goals were tap-ins, or at any rate from close range). All of that has changed for me lately. Now a proper porpotion of my goals make me do the peculiar hooting laughter that great PES goals always made me do.

    I’m torn between wondering which way it’ll go this year as well. I’m coming round to the view that I don’t necessarily want either game to be a ‘winner’, just to fulfil their different kinds of promise. I.e., FIFA10 to take next-gen FIFA… to the next level. And PES2010 to finally be something special on the next-gen consoles: a PES equivalent of FIFA08. I’d settle for that on both fronts.

  6. Grilled Seabass—For the Aguero goal it was just the shoot button, plus the left stick aimed towards the corner (on semi-assisted shooting, this aim is very slight). It is a full-on laces shot, as the slow-mo replay in the longer compilation video shows a bit better. I rarely do finesse shots from outside the box now.

    I’m still using semi-assisted shooting. It really lets you pick your spot much more than assisted shooting does. I’m scared of full Manual shooting, not just because it’s a degree harder again than semi-assisted, but because I don’t want to rock the boat with FIFA09 and make it seem a chore to play again.

    One thing I did that really brought my shooting along was to pratice that outside-the-box, opposite-corner shooting in the Arena. From the starting position in the Arena run the player forward a little bit, then tweak the right stick to the north-east position, pointing your player a little to the right of the goal (as you look) – then just let rip at the opposite corner. After a while the power and aim values needed to ping them in become second nature. (All using semi-assisted shooting.) I might record one of these Arena practice sessions and post it next week.

  7. I do the same on the Arena not-greg. I’m forever curving my run and whacking it in the top corner with Rooney. I just can’t pull it off in a match. I need to have a practice regular difficulty game to drill shooting correctly. I’m gonna change my control settings to semi-assisted too. I’m honestly finding world class too easy, having gone on a 5 game winning streak with my weak Palace side, beating Chelsea and United with ease. Pavlyuchenko still tearing it up.

    I love the goal on :31s by the way. It looks sublime the way it pings toward the top corner and the keeper steps towards it, then thinks “no chance…” It all looks so realistic.

  8. Grilled Seabass—I’m surprised at your trouble going from Arena to match, as although the camera view changes I find the aim/power values don’t. It must be the assisted shooting settings holding you back. Switching to semi-assisted shooting now will initially dismay you but I recommend it for added control in shooting situations. You’ll be tempted to switch back after hitting the corner flag when you’re in one-on-ones!

    The ability to go to semi and full manual settings effectively doubles the number of difficulty levels. I find World Class with semi shooting, semi passing, manual crossing, manual aerial passing, and fully assisted through-balls (I know, but it is my only indulgence) makes for almost the perfect game. In my new season I’m P5 W2 D2 L1, so I’m still finding it hard to break the opposition down—and breaking them down is what you have to do in FIFA nowadays.

    That .31s goal is my favourite of the year so far. It’s also a laces shot, and that’s the Arena practice paying off. The opposite-corner, falling-backwards shot on semi-assisted/manual is one of FIFA09’s more exploitable features, but still rare enough (for me) to love it—just love it—when one flies in.

  9. Great goals – glad to see you have found the depths of FIFA 😉

    BTW anyone think PES2010 will be more shovelware?

  10. Overambitious hype
    Falls short of expectations
    Obsolete on delivery
    Lack of focus

    The history of PES2010?


  11. Alan Brazil—I’m a DS owner – I know all about shovelware…

    My current orientation re. PES2010 is, shockingly, one of not really caring if it’s good or bad. I’m that hip-deep in FIFA09. This is probably for the best, given that I believe Riot’s immortal words will be proven true in essence. I’d still expect a very good PES2010 at the very least, but one worth me buying? I’ll have to see.

  12. I fully expect PES 10 to be as good or better than FIFA 09, but I’m not sure if it will surpass FIFA 10.

    Still, two very good football games in a calendar year is pretty much my personal definition of “win.”

  13. ck—A PES2010 that’s better than FIFA09 would be the PES we’ve been waiting for, in my current view. But as you have remarked several times, FIFA10 is looking like the proverbial business and PES2010 might find itself cast as the poor relation no matter what. FIFA10 would have to really exert itself not to be a great game now, possibly an era-defining one.

  14. The only reason FIFA10 would fail would be if it doesn’t correct the typical FIFA problems:

    1) Emotionless tap in goals
    2) Having a goal scoring method that always works (through balls, galloping like a horse)
    3) Lack of tactical depth

    I mean I don’t agree with what EA did this year. Last year, they had the best soccer simulation out there. Instead of expanding on the “simulation” side (by introducing 360 movement and even better animations), they should have better focused on the tactical part of the game.

    I don’t want to sound like an anti-FIFA, but creating a simulation in movements is a lot easier and straightforward than recreating tactical depth present in real games.

  15. 2009socerfailure

    sorry but most of those goals seems just an animation triggered from a combo more than a shooting that happens to go in the net. It´s the feeling i ca´n get loose of with fifa. Those goals always have a floating feelin in the ball, and the keeper are just awfull, there ís no middle point about that in fifa, the keepers are superheroes or just dumb, like if once in the right position and trigering the right combo you were allowed to score by the COM. This site shouldn´t be called PRO evolution Chronicles anymore as i came here misleaded by that name, i wanted to hear some refreshing news about pro but end up with a very FIFA oriented site, that also have a lot of predicament about FIFA2010 and is suspicious about proevo2010. And you didn´t play any of them, i´m i wrong? so far the news we have are not in this direction, so that is why i´m surprised too. Hope you don´t feel offended by my comments but i don´t think i´m the only one feeling the same way if entering your site, is a great blog and i know is only about your personal thoughts, but as a reader i would like to state also my position, as long as we are allowed to. What i wanted to expose is that there´s people that still doesn´t feel like FIFA is the game we would like to play, for we prefer a more tactical oriented game, with more feeling for individual player (i know this is Konami Marketing, but its true: In Fifa the smaller players are just reduced copies of bigger one, check out when playing and you will see they look like children, aldo you cannot tell one player from the other most of the time). For those people that are still waiting, with fifa gathering dust in our shelves too, is easy to feel in this site like if we were a little dissoriented, or fooled by the marketing and finally we are going to be dissapointed again.

  16. TareX—it might be just a phase, and could all evaporate like mist, but I’m feeling the emotion with the goals in FIFA09 at the moment. I’m scoring a good variety of them too. I do still find that I rely on through-balls to get me a chance too often, and there is a lot of ‘squeeze the buttons until I get the ball back’ play going on when the CPU has possession. And FIFA still has a lot of catching up to do on the tactical front, granted. It’ll be intriguing to see how it all turns out this Autumn.

  17. 2009soccerfailure—thanks for your comment, and all I’ll say in my defence is: this is just a blog. It’s just a thrice-weekly snapshot of what I’m up to in football games. It’s not a ‘proper’ website and I don’t speak for anyone apart from myself.

    I disagree about the goals. You could say the same thing about anything that happens in any computer game in general, and any sports game: it’s all literally an animation triggered by a button-press, or combination of button presses. Having said that, the artificial, empty feeling that plagues next-gen FIFA won’t go away for some people. It’s only just gone away for me, and might yet return.

    I don’t feel offended by your comment at all. In fact it addresses the anxiety I’ve always felt and continue to feel about talking about any non-PES-related topic on the blog. I conceived the idea for the blog just before PES2008 appeared, when I never dreamed I’d do anything else other than play PES nearly every day for a whole year, as I was used to doing. That plan didn’t work out so well.

    I’m sticking with the name of the blog, and the general format. I’d just like to stress this isn’t a news site, or a games site. It’s just me, writing a diary about what I’m up to in football gaming. At the moment, I’m playing and enjoying FIFA09, after many months of largely disliking it and finding its faults too much to bear. And so I’m blogging about that.

  18. In contrast to 2009soccerfailure, I found this blog to chronicle in utmost honesty the downfall of PES/WE and uprise of FIFA on next-gen consoles. The weekly experiences really gave an honest, and deep look into the status of both games, away from misleading fanboism in well-written and articulate blog posts.

    It’s not a news blog. So what is it? It’s a one-of-a-kind blog, in the literal sense of the word.

  19. 2009socerfailure


    agree in everything you said as i know the nature of your blog, but as long as it´s not a private diary o the comments are allowed it is open to anyman´s opinion and also a little of this blog belongs to those who read it and comment in it. That´s something no blogger can deny. So i felt free to comment my insights about your blog.
    about the goals, as you said, is not the trigering animation thing, but the feeling, not only in shots, that it is too evident for me and for many people, and if you are not the case is normal you enjoy the game and i´m happy with that. It´s just as this is has become a dicussion site it´s fair to point that this emptiness is still there for many people.
    Of course u don´t speak for anyone but yourself, as i do, and also does any critic, reviewer or wichever you may say. That´s our main disagreement i guess, everyone talks for himself so there´s no differenc between you, me or a profesional reviewer. The moment you made an statement or give an opinion we here in the net, or in a coffe shop or while waiting in the line of a movie theater you have to be in someway reponsible for what you said, and of course you are bound to get a reply. So when you say FIFA over PES, there´s nothing strange in people coming here in disagreement and even pointing out how contradictory is that with a post you posted three months ago, where you seemed fucked up with other fifa issues. Of course you have the right to change your mind, but i also have the right to put this on hold and say, wait a minute. I´m not trying to convince you o forcing you to change your mind, just using the same vehicle you use, as long as you allow this, to say something different. So if you say great goal, i would say too much of an animation for me.

    I also apologise for suggesting that you should change the name of the blog as it may seem a little agressive.

    to Tarex.

    Never said this blog was dishonest or hinted something like that, as i´m not dishonest or neither think you are. Don´t even thing people at WENB are dishonest either for putting an example mentioned here, as you have all the the information about where those people come from and is easy to know what to expect from them.

    i never use the word fanboism in public refering to other people at the end of the day is trying to minimize or ridiculise other people´s opinion. Fanboism is there, is easy to detect and for me is just a non useful information, but i would not acuse anybody from that as at the end of the day they have the same right i have to fell in love for and defend way beyond reason their love for their game.

    This is not a news blog, but indeed it´s information and is culture, nobody ask not-greg to create this blog, and information is not anymore a one way vehicle.

  20. 2009soccerfailure—you’re absolutely right about the internet-era nature of public discussions. It doesn’t all go one-way anymore and anyone can ask me anything they like (as long as it doesn’t involve WENB and penises, specifically Konami’s collective penises, of course).

    All I can say is that PES Chronicles is best seen as a story that unfolds over time. There’s no problem with holding contradictory positions at dfferent points in time. There are going to be contradictions and inconsistencies, but they’re unavoidable given the blog’s nature. If I wrote my autobiography and said I was 10 years old in Chapter 1, and 30 years old in Chapter 2, there’d be no element of dishonesty or misleading intentions there, just the facts. It’s just a fact that I’ve drifted towards and away from (and towards and away from) PES over the past two years for many reasons. (That in itself has been a major aspect of the narrative.)

    I think at times I’ve fostered the impression that I might be trying to position the blog as being more than it is—i.e. as being a critical vehicle entitled to pass definitive comment, rather than a simple narrative of my adventures in football games.

    After a certain time blogging in ‘story mode’ I felt it was appropriate for me to post regularly about the eternal next-gen question – whither PES? – and so came a lot of my faux-editorial posts. I found them tedious to write and tedious to read back later, and I don’t plan to do any more of them.

    I’ve always preferred being in the ‘zone’ of actually talking about playing the game(s). I’m very much going back to that zone now. I’ll still address the ‘whither PES?’ question (none of us can get away from it, unless and until Konami delivers), but it’ll be pretty much a paragraph here and there within the usual ‘story mode’ posts. If PES2010 turns out to be a great game I’ll ring the church bells and celebrate along with everyone else, but then I’ll get straight on with actually playing it and talking about playing it.

    I’m following a very good travel blog right now where the blogger doesn’t keep stopping to mull over the nature of travel—he just gets on with describing the people and places he sees from day to day. PES Chronicles was conceived in the same vein and I’ve drifted away from that at times.

    As for the whole vexed FIFA question… Well, tomorrow’s post (Wednesday 29 July) has the working title ‘Breaking the Spell’…. It does mean what it implies, unfortunately. But it’s just the next stage in that particular sub-plot of a year-long story, and it’s just a snapshot of the past day or two. No contradiction, just change.

    p.s. I did actually change the name of the blog at one point just after PES2009 came out, to ‘PES & FIFA Chronicles’. I changed it back almost straightaway. Even if I completely rejected all PES games and gave myself wholly to FIFA (which won’t happen, but if it did), I’d still keep the name, as an echo of a gaming Golden Age if nothing else.

  21. @ 2009failuresoccer

    Just wanted to comment on what you said about WENB. While Suff’s opinion does always have my utmost respect, Suff doesn’t play the major role in WENB that he used to. Adam is running the show now, and we all remember his adoration of PES2008 and bashing of FIFA08/09, in contrast to Suff’s reaction. Also, on the WENB forums, Adam has been lately banning members who disagree with him, and when people complain, he frankly lies about the reasons behind the ban…

    So yes it is getting harder and harder to find a blog with more transparency and credibility regarding the FIFA vs PES issue.

  22. TareX—thanks for your comment, and the whole WENB issue (a parallel one to PES itself!) helps to illustrate the point that a full-on blog, as this is, has got to be different and should always be different from a more news-oriented site like WENB.

    They started out as a blog too (I remember their old Blogspot site well) and changed into something else over time. Yes, they are a full-on ‘proper’ website now, with affiliations and and a doggedly pro-PES editorial policy and everything—that’s their prerogative, like a newspaper’s political leanings, and no one will change it. But don’t people keep trying to! It’s going to be an interesting few days on those forums when the first PES2010 videos come out and inevitably look a lot like PES2009. There’ll be carnage everywhere, I think.

Comments are closed.