Everybody who thought back in mid-January that me playing FIFA was a harbinger of dire events — step forward. I have medals for you.
So a new week and with it a new reality. No, I’m not talking about the Introduction phase of lockdown. (Hope you’ve all got printers at home for the public permits you’ll need by this time next week.)
I’m talking about FIFER 2.1 and the return of the modded Broadcast camera.
All on PC of course — which, as we discovered last week, also boasts a pretty-decent-actually standard of vanilla gameplay.
But modded is better.
The new modded version of FIFA20 on PC, itself recently updated by EA in various wholesome ways, feels just as good as it did when I first fell for the game a few long months ago.
Players have true weight and solidity — vanilla just seems to lack that a bit, for me. Passing is a joy, because you can’t get away with gamey-style no-look reverse passes, or only rarely. What did we always used to say of PES vs FIFA? That the former was a proper football game because it represented and respected player stats. FIFA has overtaken it now.
Two caveats go along with the joy.
Long-rangers seem to have dried up. I have not got a proper one since the early weeks with my Leeds save (which I still have and will drop in on out of curiosity soon). This could be because I am playing with lower-rated players in a lower league. One of the ways a football game can represent lower skills is by a vastly reduced likelihood of scoring from range. It is the most likely answer, if not a strictly realistic one — because in a compendium of TV highlights (oh, the days…) from all the lower leagues, you would see long-ranger goals scored every week, probably more than in the higher leagues thanks to poorer defences and goalkeepers.
The other caveat is of course the lack of fouls, which continues to, uh, plague me (excuse my language). In my first post-Restoration-Of-Mods session, I played about 8 matches, across a few modes (had a few Champions League mode warmups). I had my standard 0.5 fouls per match, for both teams. As ever in modern football games, it’s not only rare to be fouled, you really have to try hard to give one away yourself. We all know this is a deliberate choice by the developers of all football games over the past decade of games. We all know exactly why they’ve done it. We would all do exactly the same if it was our job to sell as much product as possible. So there’s no point flogging this dead horse.
Suffice to say on both caveat-ed fronts — fouls and long-rangers — that the PC platform equips the player with a suite of tools that should, in combination or alone, be able to mitigate or solve them.
And I keep meaning to get around to those tools myself, but I keep just wanting to play the great modded game I have with the time I have available.
Like many others I will have an increased amount of time on my hands for the foreseeable future, until our sci-fi-style emergency is declared over, or at least eased. (Which won’t be simply 3 weeks away. I’d pick June before the streets are open again if I was a betting man, which in fact I am, so June it is. Let’s look back on this post then.)
Back with my Cambridge United in their vastly superior made-up world, and for every step forward I also seem to take a step back. The current table:
I’m happy with my goal-scoring suddenly. I won my first two games of the new session 4-0 and 3-0, which at first made me concerned that Professional had been nerfed, somehow. But then normal service was resumed with a frustrating 3-2 defeat away to Salford, in a game where I was 2-1 up until the last 10 minutes. I got complacent and tried to play keepball and semi-showboat to the final whistle, and conceded two terrible goals. A lesson to be learned and relearned again and again.
To end with, another little highlight reel of goals, with a curious moment or two, and a couple of amusing sightings of what the Broadcast camera mod can do to the pre-match mini-games. I like the far-away view that the mod can provide as well as the low-down pitchside view, so I swap between them as I feel like it. With interesting results sometimes…