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!