eFIFA19 continues

You can almost feel the ‘damp Autumn night away to Stoke’ vibe coming off this picture, can’t you? One thing that FIFA certainly doesn’t skimp on is the atmosphere. It’s there in bucketloads.

I’m playing Career Mode. During setup I moved Coventry City from League 1 into the Championship, lock, stock and barrel. So I’m playing with a League 1 squad, with League 1 finances, in the Championship. And I’m playing on World Class – for now.

Last time, all was going well, but I was fretting about the lack of challenge posed by the AI. After coming from PES2019’s hyperdrive-level AI, the FIFA19 AI seemed plodding and passive by comparison.

For example – this was an early match in my first season that worried me a lot. It’s not just that I won it, but look at the goal attempt stats per side:On World Class, the AI managed 1 solitary shot on goal that wasn’t even on-target.

But I’m pleased to report that things soon turned. This is a more representative sample of more recent matches:Nearly every team is now turning the screw on me in a way that they weren’t doing at the start of the season. So much so that I’m considering dropping down to Professional for a while, just to score a few goals and get my bearings again.

I am the league’s lowest scoring team, something that the commentators and the pre-match captions are always keen to remind me.

The league table after 13 matches:

That Goals For column really does need beefing up, hence my plan to drop to Professional for a while to find my shooting boots again.

I had a good run in the Carabao Cup, beating two lower-league teams (one on penalties). But then I came up against Burnley from the Premier League. They thumped me 4-0. A true lesson in just how vicious this AI can be. I think it’s a good thing, overall, that the AI can be curiously passive sometimes. You never know what it’s going to do and not do at any moment.

I’ve also worked out that the d-pad left/right settings, which moves you from All-out defence to all-out attack – through 5 stages – ISN’T just a straightforward ATT/DEF thing, as it is in PES.

No, in FIFA the superficially ATT/DEF thing is a very flexible and deep system for setting up alternate formations and instructions that can be switched to on the fly in-game. You can have 5 different sets of formations, positions, and team/individual instructions, mapped to a simple d-pad toggle. This is just one of many systems in Career Mode – and in FIFA19 as a whole – that I am having a great time discovering for myself.

I have bungled nearly every transfer negotiation I’ve embarked upon. The agents and players usually just get up and walk out, and that’s it, no second chances.

I’ve gone back to Broadcast camera, and it finally feels natural and good.I’ve usually scuttled back to PES by this point. Which means that FIFA19 is already my most successful FIFA since FIFA15.

Another video to finish with.

A good goal to start, a nice mid-ranger. The feel of these shots in your hands as they happen is very rewarding. It takes work to find the space.

Then there’s a comical miscued volley that shows me still exorcising the PES muscle memory.

Next there’s an attempt to get on the end of a cross that shows me committing another PES muscle memory howler, and making my player jump way too early. I record and post these things to show how genuinely tricky it can be to move from one football game to another. In PES you can press the button that early without consequences. Not so here.

Then there’s a shot that was almost a spectacular first-time arrow-straight finish from my left-back, that cannons back off the crossbar.

Then I get one of my players sent off. It is possible!

Updated: 14th June 2019 — 10:12


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  1. Nice goal from Kelly NG. Very satisfying to see, even though the GK should have saved that quite easily when you see where the ball ends up. Huge shame about the later strike. That was a beautiful hit! One thing though .. only 7 goals against in 13 matches and you’re thinking of dropping a level? Hmm.

  2. SockWulf – also following on from your comment on previous- I’m about 20 matches in now and the AI stepped up around matchday 8 for me, roughly where you are now. I was thinking of stepping down a difficulty because I just cannot seem to score. Defending isn’t much of a problem even when the AI decides to wake up, which is a bit of a downer.

    All in all I’m still not hearing the siren call back to PES but it sounds as if you are! Having done this dance every year recently I have a need to see it through. Having said that I am due my weekly PES5 session later (the Friday prayer in my personal cosmos), my first taste of PES since beginning FIFA19, so let’s see.

  3. NG – Yesterday was an additional batch of 8 games. I’d been playing prior to that so I’m about as far in as you are. Perhaps even a little more. Maybe playing on a Locked setting doesn’t suit FIFA as well as PES. There’s a lot I do like about FIFA, but my issues with the game will prevent a long-term love affair with it. Maybe stepping up to Legendary will enhance my game. As I said, I’m not giving up yet.

  4. n-G – It’s always a joy to get to grips with a new footy game – any new footy game, even PES 2008 – but then there’s that second phase you’re in now. Most FIFA’s have had my PES pangs raging by the second-phase point but maybe this is one of the few that doesn’t, maybe not at all.

    As I mentioned on Paul’s FIFAFX earlier, midi-Shed has dropped a rather large hint that I have FIFA 19 lined up to arrive digitally on my birthday in a couple of weeks. I didn’t ask for it and wouldn’t have even paid the £20 it is now but I’m looking forward to trying it.

    I don’t get much PS4 time so it’ll be slow progress if I start a Career Mode. Nothing will shift PES 5 as my main shed-based footy game. I’m on course for the title so far this season but intend to keep that ML rolling on with FIFA 19 as an alternative when I get the chance. I figure classic PS2 PES5 and nu eFIFA are so different that they may actually be the exception to that only-one-footy-game-at-a-time rule.

  5. SockWulf – (is that an Ultimate Play The Game-inspired moniker by the way) – I forgot you played locked, I think that changes everything as you’re having to play alongside AI vs AI action, and it’s bad enough when PES AI plays with itself. In the conventional 1p vs AI as the team world I now find the AI more formidable. I think the die is cast with you! I know the signs. There really is nothing like PES is there. Bloody ePEZ my arse…

  6. Shed – interesting development there and I think you will like it, it is very different from previous FIFAs. Slower and more methodical, and as you said the other day, the AI in classic PES isn’t that incisive either. The AI That We Need of nuPES is a very recent intruder in football games.

  7. NG – I loved the likes of Sabre Wulf, Pssst and Tranz Am back in the day, but no, it’s a moniker that I’ve adapted over time. The ‘Wulf’ part simply comes from the fact that I’m Wolverhampton born-and-bred.

    I’ve just tried 3 games on Legendary and while I concede it’s a minute trial there was no real change. Liverpool had just 5 shots against us and looked devoid of ideas, while Everton failed to register a shot of any kind. I’m still not done, but this game really isn’t helping itself with the way I play .. so ..

    I am now toying with keeping PES to get my ‘Fix’ – get it? Fix setting? Controlling one pla .. ah forget it – of one player action considering it does a solid job there for me, and giving FIFA a run in traditional 1P v AI mode. It might also make the experiences different enough that I can enjoy both dependant on my mood.

  8. n-G – I’ve always fancied FIFA and all the authenticity and presentation EA dollop on its footy game but the gameplay has never quite clicked with me in the long term. I think FIFA 16 was the one I played the most.

    I see there’s even more sliders, knobs and twiddlers in FIFA 19 than ever before. What’s this first-time shot feature? That looks interesting or is it one to turn off? The shooting does look nice and weighty with lots of variation.

  9. SockWulf – I disliked Pssst! but loved every other Ultimate game, right up to the Knight Lore and Alien 8 stage (these two being essentially the same game with different skins of course, as were Atic Atac and Sabre Wulf). Jet Pac changed my life.

    I’ve certainly found the FIFA19 AI a challenge to overcome (but relatively easy to defend against). This is more a measurement of me as a gamer, remember, than the game. We do tend to neglect the very obvious truth that we’re all different as gamers, with different skill levels and expectations of a game. I would bet I’m one of the least accomplished football gamers there could be – and I wouldn’t change that. It’s what makes them so compelling and moreish for me.

    Shed – if somebody you’re vaguely related to in some way has got you it as a present, you’ve kind of got to play it. Not quite sure there’s a first-time shot feature – there’s a double-tap shooting mechanic that supposedly enhances the accuracy and deadliness of a shot, but I haven’t been able to pull it off.

  10. n-G – I’m certainly not one to look a gift horse in the mouth so I’ll certainly be…erm, well, you know… taking this one out for a gallop when it comes in.

    That shot thingy is the shot thingy you mention. I’d best wait until I’ve got the game before trying to get my head around such things.

    Oh, as for eFootball or whatever International Superstar Soccer is going to become in 2020, I don’t like it. I don’t like Maradona or whoever being manager of MY club in ML and I very much doubt any of these new features have any effect on team progession. That said, that camera angle at least shows something may have improved for the better. PES Day as I’ve always celebrated it (with a day one purchase) is unlikely at this stage.

  11. NG – thanks.

    Ultimate was a mark of quality for me. Jetpac and Atic Atac were awesome games that I actually managed to finish. Later titles like Knight Lore and Sabrewulf looked amazing but left me scratching my head about what the end goal was. Pssst, Tranz Am and Cookie were just a bit too repetetive and hard, and some were just outright Ninja Gaiden – like Gunfright. I defy anyone to beat the better enemies on the draw with a Spectrum joystick. Overall I was more of a sim man on the Spectrum – football managers, gangsters, pirates, and of course Grendel.

  12. NG – Remember you are on legacy defending which makes a huge difference and is much easier to defend with. So the AI will seem a bit sterile as a result. I prefer it and have mainly stopped using the Tactical Defending as it just doesn’t work as the ability to close a player down, which is a fundamental part of football has been removed. It is time for one of the games to have a new way of defending.

    Great to see you getting to grips with what I regard to be the best Fifa I have played. Good stuff.

  13. I’m still enjoying Pes 2019. Despite its flaws, it handles very nicely and is way ahead of other current-gen iterations with the possible exception of 2015 IMO. Regarding camera settings, I’d really like to see a customisable Blimp camera to be able to zoom it in just a bit. Maybe the new camera setting everyone is talking about will offer that half-way house between Blimp and the most zoomed out options for other camera settings.

  14. eFIFA does look very good, as it always does. Always looks a bit samey, just like PES is just more of the same every year. I wonder if there’s a FIFA Chronicles site somewhere, with its own not-Greg in dismay at the current state of the online-biased game, reminiscing about the good old days of FIFA 2005.

    I’ve picked up where I left off with my ePES19 master league, and within a couple of games I’m loathing the one-dimensional AI again. I’m going to be selling a few games, so I might get rid and wait patiently for the next game. I have PES17 and FIFA16, now worth pennies, should I need a fix until then.

  15. The FIFA AI really can grind you down on a long session without you realising. You go from a 4-0 win at home to an open team like Spurs, to a series of games against mid-table sides who play the basics well and frustrate you unless you change something. I’m guilty of plan A or bust so it’s a big challenge for me. Unlike PES it doesn’t eventually become routine. Always find more hurdles, artificial or not in FIFA this year.

  16. Darryl – legacy defending is pretty decent, with a tendency to degenerate into button-mashing if you let it. As on PES course. I often have to un-squeeze the buttons and step back, then reapply the basics.

    Tommy – I played quite a bit of FIFA2005 on my crystal Xbox back in the day. Not great, not terrible.

    prsgame – it gets quite grindy for me as I find it so tough to break down most defences. Even on Professional, which I’ve dropped down to now.

  17. Already it’s on a par with 2019…

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