FIFA10’s arrival 7 days ago totally wowed me. It’s been a peculiar week since, with a few sharp downs to go with the ups. My major problem was always with Manager Mode. It’s in a terrible state, completely riddled with bugs. I had very few quibbles with FIFA10’s gameplay. But I kept plugging away, and—here’s the thing—the gameplay of FIFA10 is so moreish that even Manager Mode eventually came to seem okay. (At least my game doesn’t mysteriously lose transferred-in players, as many others report happening to them.)
The state of Manager Mode in FIFA10 is a massive scandal. I fail to see how EA could be unaware of its issues before release. In fact, it is inconceivable that they were unaware. Their feigned surprise now is a little hard to stomach, I have to say.
Fortunately for them, the time and resources that were evidently put into refining the core gameplay has paid off. FIFA10 is a new departure point for football games. (Yes, I know: let’s see if I still think that in January, or even next week…)
Putting my finger squarely on it, the 360-movement makes a massive difference. I don’t feel it so much in dribbling. I dribble very little compared to other football gamers. I’m a pass-and-move, give-and-go kind of player. For me, the 360-movement is a revelation in terms of passing. You can move the ball around in a way that’s unprecedented in any FIFA (or PES). You can thread the eye of a needle with a pass now, splitting defences, opening up space that you had no right to open up. It’s crazily addictive. Just testing it all out with 11 players on the empty practice pitch is crazily addictive.
I still haven’t scored a proper ‘Hollywood’ goal. This is mainly due to playing with the Coventry City players. They’re all rated in the 60s. My Virtual Pro is the highest-rated at 70. During my 4-hour session on Wednesday morning I scored this decent close-range volley from a typical FIFA10 swirling cross:
I have to say that Manager Mode, for me, is ticking over. But I am heartily sick of playing at night in the rain. That’s one of the bugs: 90% of matches are at night, in the rain. A rainy match alters all the parameters for passing, so when you do get a rare dry match you have to adapt to what should be normal conditions. Crazy, and I’ve stuck another pin in my David Rutter doll for that one.
All week I’ve been awarding FIFA10 a daily mark out of 10, and calculating its running average score. On Wednesday this average slipped to 7.9/10 thanks to my Manager Mode-related unhappiness. Things are different now…
Wednesday: 9.5/10—Is it Friday again? Extraordinary session this morning. I sat down at 9.15 intending to get thrugh a few Manager Mode matches and then toddle off to see if I could maybe get into a Cup or League. 4 hours later, at 13.25, I got up, exhausted and drained after an amazing session of football gaming. I played Manager Mode for 3 of those hours. I spent the other hour on the practice pitch, seeing if I could take to manual passing. FIFA10 demands manual passing, it seems to me.
Thursday: 9/10—This could have been another 9.5/10 day, but I’ve got to settle on a 9. The game seemed a little fast at times today. What I want is more time on the ball, but that’s the challenge. I need to get into the game some more, learn its little ways. I also hate something I now see many times every match: my player makes a perfect slide tackle and then gets up and runs away from the ball. The CPU collects and continues. But these instances are, what, 1% of the total gameplay experience? Probably less. They don’t define FIFA10, no matter how much a PES zealot would like them to. The past two days have been amazing, and easily the best times I’ve spent with next-gen FIFA, period.
Running average over 7 days: 8.42/10
So my overall average score for the week is ‘only’ 8.42. That’s a fair reflection of the game as it is out of the box. The Manager Mode issues are unforgivable in my opinion. Every review of FIFA10 should have had at least 1 point (or 10%) deducted from the final score. But how many reviews did more than even mention Manager Mode in passing? Print and online games reviewers need to take a good hard look at themselves and start asking some serious questions.
Here’s a scientific graph that illustrates the week’s progress in, er, graph form:
Can it last? What will PES2010 do when it arrives? I’ve been playing the PES2010 demo and I still love it.
I’ve even played PES2009(PS3). I found myself drawn into a Champions League tournament by the pleasantly heavy feeling of the players. FIFA’s players (and the ball) often feel as if they’re made of air by comparison. The next few weeks are going to be interesting.
Monday’s post will be all about those snatched PES sessions I’ve been having this week. The fact that they happened (and are still happening) is very significant for me. I said a few weeks ago that I think I’m heading back to PES. I still think that. It’s against all rationality, especially with FIFA10 snuggled up beside me. But I still think I’m heading back to PES—perhaps not to play exclusively for a whole year as I used to do in the past, but certainly more than over the past two years. I don’t know why either. Perhaps I’ve seen something in PES2010 that has triggered a long-dormant instinct…