FIFA rises again?

FIFA is… back?

And this time for real?

No more single-season, shilly-shallying, toe-in-the-water, yes-it’s-nice-but-I’m-ready-to-go-back-to-PES-now?

A true and proper, in-depth, Master League-style Career Mode career?

One that could potentially continue for several weeks, months – or even for the rest of the football game year?

IS IT POSSIBLE?It bloody is possible.

In fact, it is happening.

At the time of writing I have played three full-fat, hugely impressive sessions on a modded version of FIFA20.

I’m playing on the PC platform, using several mods that alter certain fundamentals of the game. Which needs to be understood right off the bat.

This is NOT the FIFA20 that comes out of the box. From next week on the blog there’ll be a new sidebar info box containing a list of all the mods and tweaks in use at any one time, that will be updated as time passes.

And that is the key to this exciting new FIFA era: mods.

Vanilla FIFA20, which I played several matches of a few months ago, was still firmly in the ‘good but not great’ category, for me.

Modded FIFA PC is currently in the ‘great’ category. Possible even the ‘bloody fantastic’ category.

I’ll expand on all of this over the next few weeks (and maybe months).

At the moment it’s safe to say that it’ll be a good FIFA test this year. I’ve used up a lot of footy gaming energy on PES2020, to the point where I can barely stand to think about the very idea of PES2020 anymore. I imagine there’ll be some PES along at some point before season 2019-2020 is over and done with…

But for now – modded FIFA PC! Hereafter known simply as FIFA20(PC).

Here’s a taster of the game running with scoreboard, pitch and texture mods, and most significantly, a gameplay mod (much credit to FIFER for this – I was a sceptic). There’s also a comprehensive Realism mod for Career Mode running that might or might not have taken root in my save – it’s one of the issues I will have to hammer out before getting up and running properly.

For now, here’s a glimpse of match action within a Leeds Utd CM save that I started at random to do some testing. I have already taken so much of a shine to it that I might  even continue this save. I could change my manager name – A A Manager – using a handy PC utility, predictably.

Or I might just leave it at A A Manager…

(Best viewed in 1440p.)

It’s hard to convey just how different and good the above action feels in the bones of your gamepad-holding hands.

It’s slow and steady and majestic. The world ‘rugged’ would not be out of place. One of the dislikable things about vanilla FIFA of recent years has always been how it can quickly spiral into a frantic, hand-cramping melee that reminds you you’re only playing a videogame. So far, that isn’t happening.

I’ll be doing my best to show and tell what I mean by all this, over the coming weeks.

I haven’t mentioned fouls yet, because I don’t want to jinx them. One of the supposed features of the FIFER gameplay patch is to make fouls more likely. Such ambitions in football game patches and mods tend to be so much moonshine, in my experience, but so far I am seeing a few fouls in every match. Not at excessive number, usually in the 2-4 range, but any amount is a higher number than the usual 0 foul-count of recent FIFAs. I have free kicks in shooting range that I comically have no idea how to take. More practice, of course.

Career Mode’s time in general has come. Master League… poor old Master League. I don’t even want to think about what they’ve done to Master League. Year on year, it has only got worse when they claim to be making it better. Ugh.

Some context: I am also playing Football Manager 2019 right now, and loving the whole thing more than is healthy. So my thoughts and general attitude are in sync with the greater complexity of Career Mode. The stars are truly aligning here.

I traditionally do a 1st Impressions post for every new PES and award it a playful score out of 10 rightaway. At the time of writing I can safely say my first impressions of FIFA20(PC) merits a 9.5/10.

FIFA on this blog has a deep and lively history all of its own – more than you might think, if you are a reader of recent vintage. The curious can go back and look at how I played some FIFAs for months. Particularly the likes of FIFA08, FIFA09, FIFA12, and FIFA15.

FIFA20? Let’s see. Let’s just see….

Updated: 24th January 2020 — 12:10

31 Comments

  1. Exciting Times, I wonder if this really will be the year you give FIFA more than 4 or 5 matches.

    When your game loads up, do you get the custom FIFER realism mod splash screen with Guardiola on it? If so, then the game has read the Mod file, and if the splash screen is displayed, then no reason the rest of the career tweaks wouldn’t have been read in.

    You’d be be able to tell as the changes are quite vast, scouting players comes back with reports much quicker, injuries more frequent but severity is more balanced, etc etc.

    I remember you asking me last year if the Lee Dixon/Tony Gubba commentary was selectable, which it isn’t, it was just used for european matches, but this year it is, I’m guessing as your commentary was Dixon/Gubba in that clip, that you’ve found it, but if not, in match settings, go to the audio tab, then there’s a secondary tab to the right, selectable with RT, lets you choose between Prioritisng Tyler/Smith or Dixon/Gubba commentary, or Random, I have mine set to random as it’s nice to have a change up every few matches.

    Look forward to more FIFA CM posts and excited to keep an eye on your progress alongside my own.

  2. Paul – I’ve never seen Guardiola! I have seen all the other custom splash screens. That confirms what I suspected, that every mod except the Realism mod is imported and working fine. This is why I’m cagey about whether I’ll b able to continue my Leeds save. Presumably the Realism mod demands a new save, in spirit even if not technically required.

    In a little while I will be tinkering again with a few ideas I came across whilst Googling. I’ll get there. It’ll be something to do with my Origin install.

    I didn’t know about Dixon/Gubba (it’s not Tony Gubba but Derek Rae is in the same genre!).

    There’s a lot to be said for timing and context in gaming. Right here right now is the right time and context for me and FIFA20. The exhaustion/disillusionment of PES2020, the availability of mods that make FIFA20 exactly what I want it to be, my still-pretty-new 1660ti that makes proper eye-popping PC gaming viable, my FM2019 experience of a meatier footy gaming environment…

  3. Not even the end of January and your ml is gone. It’s been coming for a while and I thought this year they really had cracked it but it’s clear they no longer care about it so why should you. I’ll probably resume mine at some point but really the heart isn’t it from anyone it seems.

    You’re right (from previous thread) FM 2020 is only £21 at shopto. So I did. Guy in his 40s…works from home….no urgency to play but at that price it’s worth a punt (£40 original price is just silly nowadays for a digital download). I’ll likely just load England, Spain, Italy and either Germany or Scotland (I can’t handle excessive database searches and I’ve been stung in the past with the unusual league structures of Russian playoffs and the like). Start unemployed.

    Anyone been watching the witcher? I ditched Netflix after their abysmal security breach on my account, heard it’s not the greatest bit of tv, more the game on screen. I’ve yet to get round to the game though…although I’ve read most of the books.

  4. NG – Oh !!!!
    When FIFA loads up, you get the standard pinky peachy coloured screen, then when you press start, the screen displayed should be this one…..

    The FIFA Career realism mod overwrites the default splash screen so if you are not getting this, I suspect the mod isnt loading.

    If I was you I would re-verify your origin install, make sure you have latest Frosty Mod Mgr installed, then grab fresh copies of the FIFER Mod from his website, make sure all your Mod Data folder is deleted, then import each mod and apply each mod, making sure the realism mod and gameplay mod are both at the bottom of the applied mods window list. Then try.

  5. Uncle Turf — the clips I’ve seen of The Witcher make it look like generic TV fare to me. The same sort of threat-beats (three random toughs accost the Witcher in an alley and he dispatches them with the same aplomb we’ve seen 10000 times in our lives). I’ve played a bit of the game, never read the books so the character hasn’t any pull with me. I’ll get round to it I suppose, but I would like to play the game more.

    In FM2020, take a look at at least one of your bearded alter-ego’s vids and see what he looks at and why in this new layout they have now. That will give you a framework reference going in. One of the things I could never stand about a new FM was that bleak feeling of ‘I know I need to look at some stuff, but I’ll just press Continue and hope for the best’. The new FM is great at negating that feeling.

    Also for a Start Unemployed I recommend loading Wales, N Ireland and Republic of Ireland as they all have clubs that are pretty much at the level of your inexperienced in-game self. You’re bound to land something in one of them then. With just England and Scotland, you’d get an unrealistically good offer from an established club. Even the Vanaramas would be too high to start unemployed in IMO. I was offered Aberystwyth at the start of mine.

    Paul — I’m doing something like that right now. My first solution is to uninstall the Origin program itself and reinstall it on my SSD (which is what I should have done to start with, I know).

    Never have seen that lovely Guardiola splash screen.

  6. NG – yes, I just fired one up and added both Scotland and Germany, however, I’m getting rejected by the lowest level Italian teams due to inexperience and I think you’re right that a Scottish 2 would be unrealistic. I’m also a bit freaked out by the passport photo avatar I uploaded – Heston blumenthal in his dad’s wedding suit looking at it now. (I also had to blow the text up to 125%…curse old age).

  7. Got it sorted. Solution: Frosty Mod Manager has to be located on the same drive as Origin and FIFA20 for the pathing to work.

    My monitor this afternoon:

    View post on imgur.com

  8. Uncle Turf — you can add and subtract leagues as you like, but they only enter or exit your created world at the start of each new season. I advise a reroll with the absolute basement league nations involved for a proper Start Unemployed. You could go to a Vanarama or Scottish 2 side but it’d not be Pure!

    And you will be able to see your avatar standing pitchside in every match.

  9. NG – Horahhh !!! you are now fully loaded and if you was enjoying the FIFA CM before, just think of all those goodies that now await you !!!!

    Turf – Never played the Witcher games, I know they are heralded as masterpieces, and the TV series on Netflix broke all viewing records, but I watched the first 2 and haven’t gone back, its all very generic and unbelievable and samey.

  10. Paul — yes all locked and loaded, in my test just now I only loaded the Realism mod and nothing else. I didn’t try to load my Leeds save — I presume it won’t work with the Realism mod, or even if it does, best to start again I think.

    Looking into the future, regular updates will be along from EA of course. I was reading the other day that software companies now patch their products every few weeks on average even if there’s no particular need, as it’s one of the most effective methods of deterring piracy. So we can expect lots of instance of a day-or-two interruptions while the modders race to catch up. That will be the only downside of PC modding as ever. One way around it would be to have a separate instance of the current version sneakily installed on another drive and sandboxed in some way and ready to go until the current version is updated… Might be worth looking into.

  11. It was just an initial look to see what’s changed – I have the capacity for a full all leagues game (my old laptop struggled with more than 5) so I may go all in. When you’re right at the bottom it’s handy to be able to sign free agents from a wider pool. I absolutely refuse to look at ‘wonderkid’ posts.

  12. NG – True, but not all the FIFA patches render the mods broken, Im still running Frosty 10.5.8 and the recent FIFA patch, the one tuesday, didnt affect it at all.

    The community is usually pretty good at updating frosty and mods to work with the latest title updates, on the odd occasions it may need a day or 2 wait, I have a nice little FUT save going.

  13. NG – Created a Mod Package for EFL Championship TV Overlays, posted over on FIFAFX, also did a custom one…..

    View post on imgur.com

  14. Paul — very nice 🙂 was planning something similar myself, to spring as a surprise one day, but I’ll have that if you don’t mind and feel free to include everything you come up with. The quality of the football is almost off the chart with the mods and I will be posting a few full matches and highlights. Bamford for Leeds is individual enough that I’m considering sticking with Leeds when I restart.

    Uncle Turf — FM has nudged me in a different direction with footy gaming this year. Off one track and onto another. The extra depth in CM and the extra depth in modded gameplay is very attractive now. Not even the end of January and the end of my ML indeed…

    I started my FM save with about 20 leagues running and the PC coped but it took longer between matches than I liked, so I trimmed it down to 10 leagues for Season 2 and it was much snappier. There are custom databases out there that add in leagues at the level of literal park football — 12 or 13 tiers below the Premier — if you’re really interested in Purity! That YouTuber I linked to earlier has a good series called Bourne Again or something where he starts with a custom park-level team and navigates them through to the top. Think he’s currently a few leagues below the vanarama

  15. Just looking at getting a new laptop, and all your FIFA modding reminds me of days gone by on PES. Keep posting the info, but I think this year other projects will soak up my spare time.

  16. Chris99 – the endgame to this fiddling about is to get to a point where I one-click a desktop icon and everything just works. I would be at that point now if it wasn’t for my time-consuming and energy-sapping day job, which means I’ve had about limited time over the last few days to fiddle with stuff. By Tuesday’s post I’ll be up and running and there’ll be no more messing. FIFA20 on PC with the mods we’ve been talking about is worth the effort. I wouldn’t do it otherwise. I’m excited about a FIFA for the first time since FIFA15 – and the time is right for Career Mode.

  17. nG – If it’s just a case of starting an exe or two then there are numerous ways to do it. The simplest, as Paul said, is a batch file. Pin it to your taskbar and you’re away.

  18. Restart… Re-Rice

  19. Couple of goals from my Fifa career I have just started. I have settled into a nice routine of playing Fifa at the weekends and Death Stranding in the evenings, during midweek.

  20. NG – I had some time over lunch at work so just knocked those up on. a whim, if you want to do your own, then you need to edit overlay 9105.BIG, using that CGFE16 tool and the Fifa 16 files I previously mentioned.

    Darryl – good to see you back on the FIFA trail, and using broadcast cam.

  21. Restarted FM with all of Europe included. Straight away got an offer from cobh ramblers. Didn’t hold out for better, that’s very much the level I’ve started when I’ve dipped my toe in the FIFA career mode.

    I’ve also been adding games from the store sale – some cracking deals and for 4 quid you can’t go wrong, even if you don’t get a disc to take back to the smelly shop. It actually encourages me to play longer because I can’t trade them.

  22. What games did you get in the sale turf ?

  23. Uncle Turf – that’s about the level I started at with Avarta in the Danish 3rd tier. I bet you’ve got lots of non-contracted players, which I found confusing at first but soon came to love (you can release them at any time). Now I’ve progressed the club high enough for us to have mostly contracted players, it feels restrictive.

    Don’t neglect your own coaching badges (via the Home section I think). I spent all the club’s money on getting coaching badges for my coaches before finding out I can do the same for myself in-game (and thus help my move up the footballing world).

    I’m loving FM at the moment. Between this and now CM in FIFA, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to take nuPES ML seriously again.

    Paul – I left a few questions on your blog – and I posted on the forum!

    Darryl – yes good to see you back in the footy gaming world, and it seems we’ll both be FIFA’ing for a while. The magic spell hasn’t broken yet for me.

    Lloyd – that’s a proper long-ranger from Rice at the end. I see Arcas playing more centrally this time round – ? How’s they working out, looks like your star man so far.

  24. NG – what stands out again this year is the variety of goals as everyone feels different. This used to be what made PES great.

  25. NG – I’ll go and reply to your comments over on FIFAFX then.
    Had a 4-3 defeat against Southampton last night which was one of the most exciting and enjoyable games I’ve ever played, so much variety as Darryl said, Had a saints player smash one into his own net, a glancing looped headed goal, a deflection off a defender which wrong footed the game, a 20 yard daisy cutter …

    Also made some discoveries re the Player name indicator, will comment that over on FIFAFX too.

  26. I think I must live in a bubble at times as I would have had no idea yesterday, if you had asked me who Kode Bryant was. I would have guessed he was either a Basketball player, American Football player or a Rap singer. Should I be bothered about this?

  27. Darryl – exactly the same, I had vaguely heard the name in the ether but had no idea who he was, and I don’t have any special care that he has died, frankly. I’m not baffled as to why UK media outlets are giving this blanket coverage. There are two reasons. If something is big news in the US, then no matter what it’s about, it’s treated as big news here on account of America’s cultural and political significance. And second there’s so much media that there’s a massive amount of airtime and webpage-space to fill, and this is an accessible and easily relatable ‘story’ (the news media’s unit of consumption is the ‘story’). The coronavirus ‘story’ is now getting old fast – a news ‘story’ has to have new developments (the new in news), or it’s not a viable ‘lead story’. We’ve seen quite enough pictures of Chinese people in facemasks now. Without any further sensational development there, the news editors are hungry for a story to take its place until something new happens (a confirmed UK case would be great – paydirt). When you understand that the news isn’t a picture of ‘the world’ at all but a self-contained entertainment world of its own, all makes sense.

  28. Darryl – evidently neither did the BBC, illustrating their story with footage of lebron james….

    I despise basketball but I was familiar with the name and his status. However, its classic media over the top public wailing. When the queen goes I think I’ll need to leave the country.

    Paul – just the cheap stuff – tombraiders, dishonored 2, etc etc. I’ve never got away with what I felt were very bug ridden, repetitive, assassins creed games but I’m one of the rare few who watched the film the other day, quite enjoyed it for the mindless romp it was and decided to give the games (now cheap) another go. I loved that advert to massive attack way back when, was rightly miffed I didn’t have the hardware to run it, then devastated to finally play it and realise it was quite cack handed stealth. Now I’m quite laid back about how flawed most titles are. Especially after the abomination that was pes5….

  29. If anyone wants a good ‘take your brain out’ film, with action, awesome visual fx and some humour, I watched 6 Underground last night, with Ryan Reynolds in, most enjoyable movie I’ve seen for some time.

  30. Paul – watched that the other day. Very enjoyable.

    NG – Arcas plays as SS. Top scorer with 6 goals.

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