You are tearing me apart, FIFA!

Tearing me apart FIFA

No, I haven’t decided yet. The post title and the picture above (bonus points if you get the reference) refer to my near-certainty, a week ago, that I’d be playing PES2014 by today. Instead, FIFA16 has come along to throw a spanner in the works.

PES2014 was pretty much a lock-in to be my football game of the near future. It has so much going for it. Fully patched, it bears little resemblance to the horror show that repulsed nearly all PES aficionados (me included) some two years ago.

The graphics remain poor by our new standards, and the loading times are atrocious. It takes far too long to get from the view below to actually playing. We are truly spoiled now.

PES2014 pre-match

But as every PES fan knows, you can overlook anything if gameplay scratches the PES itch. PES2014 really does do that. (Patched, I should keep saying.)

FIFA16 was always a possibility, but a lesser one. I thought PES2014 should come first.

Last week a semi-regular commenter, stewdog, remarked about how good a time he was having on Be A Pro in FIFA16. Okay, I thought, and fired up my old copy of FIFA15 for a play.

One thought led to another thought, and on Christmas Eve I bought FIFA16 in the PSN January sale (thirty quid: still steep, but what the hell, it’s Christmas).

not-Greg arrives FIFA16That’s my existing EA Gameface on the player up there. It looks nothing like me. Peculiar, really, as the last time I used my Gameface (FIFA12?) the resemblance was quite strong. This version bothered me and I ended up changing it back to a generic look.

Before sampling BaP, I played a bit of regular International tournament as England, and really enjoyed it.

I like what FIFA16 seems to be trying to do. Considering I’m playing the digital download version with its multiple patches since launch, this still seems to me to do a few very important good things.

When receiving the ball, with one or two defenders at my back, I found myself often trying to perform silly three-point turns with the ball at my feet and then sprinting off into space. It’s doable, but it’s not so much a guaranteed move that it’s your first instinct. It’s a move so fundamental to PES2016 that it seems shocking not to be ‘allowed’ to do it in FIFA16.

The players often seem clumsy and slow. They have poor first touches sometimes. Contrary to current football-gaming orthodoxy, this is an overwhelmingly GOOD thing.

I don’t want my players to have instant response to input – online players do tend to want that, though, which is where PES2016 went massively wrong.

Where it aggravates many, I think, is when the unresponsiveness happens out of context, or seems overblown. It’s neither in FIFA16.

A brief word for FIFA16’s Passing With Purpose: I like it. It seems to add more tactical dimensions to general play. Individuality — for both passer and receiver — is enhanced with this feature.

I scored three goals in three matches in my fledgling Be A Pro career:

And what of PES2016? I won’t be going back to it now.

I did try to return. I fired up PES2016 and played a few matches on Superstar — really on Superstar this time.

The game felt the same. Too easy, and more than a bit too fluid. PES2016 is an online multiplayer game that solo players can get some enjoyment from too. It is enjoyable, but only up to a point, and I have passed that point. I’ve sucked all the juice out of PES2016. Maybe I’ll be back in the future, who knows? Never say never.

So the choice really now comes down to PES2014 or FIFA16.

At the moment I’m inclining toward the latter.

not-Greg scores FIFA16

If I go for FIFA16 I’ve got a new world to explore, and I’ve got all the PS4’s next-gen features to enjoy with it. PES2014 on the PS3 would be a technical step back that I might not be ready for yet. It feels awkward and intrusive to reach for the mobile phone to record a clip or take a screenshot. But something like that won’t stop me playing the footy game I want to play. Even the best FIFA has a habit of being great for a short time, and then not so great.

I really haven’t decided yet. But there are now definitely only two horses in the race.

Another day off for New Year’s Day means that my normal posting schedule will resume next Tuesday, 5th January. When the decision will have been made.

Here’s to 2016. My football gaming wish is for this to be the year when nobody says ‘The King Is Back!’, in any context, ever again.

66 Comments

  1. abbeyhill – ah, of course, the wonderful Fire Emblem – I think I was discounting it because it was on a handheld device, but I shouldn’t have.

    Now I haven’t played any football game since Friday morning and feel parched.

  2. One of the great things about the new console generation is the ability easily to memorialise your own gameplay. No longer do you spend 75 hours on a game only to see it go up in smoke. You can now have a ready-to-hand album of screenshots and videos commemorating the experience. Here’s a short vid of 3 key moments of my final hour of the 75:

    1. A side-mission whose description intrigued me: “Rescue the captive prisoner. To describe this prisoner as a Very Important Person would be no exaggeration.” Who could that be?

    2: The last moments of my umpteenth attempt at beating the final boss. Each attempt was an epic 15-minute struggle not to be killed while nibbling at Sahalanthrepus’s health with a rocket launcher. Gradually you get better, and start to see the way. Here I was down to my last health and so was it. I was out of rockets and trying to finish it with grenades but they weren’t having an effect. A supply drop came in with new rockets — they fell right at the boss’s feet. I ran in, picked them up, and reloaded my rocket launcher — just as the boss reared back for its final rush at me. See what happened. One of the most sweat-soaked boss battles in a series famous for them (this instalment was slightly disappointing in that respect — not enough great boss battles).

    3. When the dust had settled and I’d watched the final credits, I was allowed to continue playing, which was a relief. (After 75 hours, my overall completion was 52%.). I chose to return to Mother Base and leave things there for now — I might be back for the other 48% (lots of side-missions), but then again I might not. The helicopter dropped in at dusk. This was a journey I’d made perhaps two hundred times over the course of the game, now made all the more poignant. The soft music in the background gave me goosebumps.

    I’ve been thinking about MGSV all night. But now I’m thinking about a nice relaxing football game. Sometime over the next week I’ll start Witcher 3, but for the next few days it’s footy gaming all the way. Still don’t know which one.

  3. NG – great stuff and you can’t beat that completing of a real game. I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to fully get 100% on one of those games. Your description of traveling back at dusk sends goosbumps just reading it.

  4. Darryl – I thought the building part of fallout would be a passing fancy for me. I spent 2 hours in one sesh just trashing and making houses etc. I loved the supermarket. The right side of tense and difficulty. The image of a ghoul running full pelt to body check my dog 2 feet in front of me will stay with me forever.

    NG – well done on MGS. It is a well crafted quality game which is rare these days. I only wish I had the time to play Fallout, PES and MGSV

    I had some bad news about my Dad. He has an op on the 23rd Jan so fingers crossed. Gaming has suffered as I cant be bothered to play anything.

  5. Darryl — I’ve heard of 120-150 hours put in by people 100%’ing MGS5. I’ll never do that. I’ve never been like that with any game, thank God. Even the all-hallowed MGS3 had side-quests and collectibles that I mostly ignored.

    werd — playing something a bit at a time — even just once a week, as I did for much of MGS5’s run — all adds up. The danger comes in when you spend that little bit of time on other games. That reduces by a huge margin the chance that you’ll ever go back to the first game with enthusiasm. Sorry to hear about your Dad and good luck with it. Gaming is a parallel, fantasy life and will come around again.

  6. All the best werd.

    Any thoughts I had of my close results being some script jiggery pokery went out the window last night by my pumping of Tampa bay 38-13. Reading up on the madden file I realised it isn’t just how fast/agile, etc the players are but what system they play best to. Out went some higher stat guys and in came those that fitted my balanced offence and 3-4 defence. Trading remains the irritation and it’s often better just to release someone and use the budget for a free agent, the different world of American sports where transfer fees are not an issue. I’m not exploiting the buttons to anywhere near their full potential so it shouldn’t put you off NG.

  7. Werd – fingers crossed Frater. The supermarket took a while to clear as the ghouls pop up everywhere and was one of my highlights of the game so far. You could spend a lot of time on the building, which I do as I find it theraputic. I scrap a lot and rebuild from fresh. I could easily spend a whole year in my own little world crafting and building.

  8. Darryl – too right Frater. I was peeing myself when they started climbing through holes in the walls and seeing the red dots on my radar increasing Alien style.
    In Fallout 3 ghouls just sort of sat until alerted, much more dynamic this time. I sighed out loud as I opened the door to exit.
    Each building could lead to an hour+ adventure.

    Also the radioactive storms and weather in general are a joy to watch…just keep an eye on your rad meter 🙂

  9. Uncle Turf — Madden’s on the list of things to try out as the coming year unfolds. I’m not leaping onto it straightaway, but I’ve neglected Madden for years. Never really played one properly because of the bewildering controls. I get all the strategic and tactical elements. It’s all the controlling and ‘juking’ that I don’t like.

    Castona — hi and thanks for your comment, bu post-January patches I assume you mean transfers etc? I doubt we’ll see any more gameplay patches. It’s debatable if we’ve seen any at all until now.

    Darryl — you like crafting and building? Never, and I mean never, play Minecraft. You’d be lost to time. At this stage in its life, Minecraft is firmly (and unfairly) identified as just a kiddies’ game, so that’s probably a barrier you’ll never get past. Just as I always like the idea of playing Pokemon, but somehow… I… just… can’t

  10. NG – I have an excuse for my Pokémon playing now, my eldest is a big fan… We bought him Pokémon x a while back for his birthday and used that as a good excuse to get myself Y so we could trade etc together… I don’t think the guys at sainsburys believed me when I said it wasn’t for me (although it was) – the X/Y games on 3ds were very good editions if you do decide to jump in.

  11. Werd, Darryl – the ghouls struck me as massively revamped as well compared to fallout 3 as well. Much more.. Ghoulish really. Also, as for the atmosphere. At first i thought it was lacking compared to fallout 3, which is a game that for all its faults, really gets the desolate wasteland feeling across. After playing some (that is, a lot) more i think fallout 4 handles it just as well, with a bit more variety. Re. The radiation storms, those are awesome indeed. Especially once you get to a certain part of the map (you’ll know what i mean when you get there)

  12. NG – I do indeed as sad as I am. Agreed it would be for the best for me to avoid a game like Minecraft as I would want to get the most out of it but just don’t have that time. I also like the idea that you can just carry on building when the main plot has finished.

  13. #1 – All I really wanted was Fallout 3 with knobs on. Some have slated the graphics but I still grinned when I exited the vault for the first time and saw the world spread out before me.
    I even knew my first port of call, a small white caravan I saw on many on the promo vids. Good job I did as it has some cool swag and as it turned out the vault button! Need a day off to myself to play it properly when Mrs Werd is back to work from maternity leave, Mini Werd 1 is at work and mini Werd 2 is at nursery.

    Darryl – I have only ever played create mode on Minecraft. I had a spare half hour when mini werd 2 was just a couple of weeks old and asleep on my knee, 2 hours later Mrs Werd came home to find I’d built a post modern town, with interior lighting and a castle.

  14. Bought my lad a Minecraft traps book for Christmas which his sister now bitterly regrets. He built a lovely colourful building with the word ‘unicorn’ built into it. She went into the building and saw a sign that said “Pull lever to see a unicorn”, so she pulled the lever. The roof collapsed on her and just as she was getting over the shock the TNT buried under the floor blew her remains to smithereens. My son was overjoyed, and his sister had to be consoled with chocolate.

  15. Chris99 — I feel sad that Minecraft has come to be seen as a children’s game. When Minecraft first appeared, children were not the players. I put 80 hours into it in 2010 (I mentioned it on the blog at the time) and it was pretty much Robinson Crusoe: The Game. You can still play it like that, of course, but I’m afraid the well is contaminated. Multiplayer killed Minecraft and infantilised it to the point where Minecraft and kids are inseparable (much like Pokemon et al). Multiplayer has destroyed so much of value in gaming. Football games, of course, but also the FPS game. We’ll never see another Halo now.

    werd — have I read that right?

    Need a day off to myself to play it properly

    You haven’t had any time off to play Fallout4? No paternity leave?

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