At the moment I’m not really playing any one game or mode. I definitely will be going back to regular PES2009 Become a Legend play soon enough. I’ll admit to not being as enamoured of the mode as I was a few weeks ago. The novelty has worn off. But the excellence of it remains. If I didn’t want to play BaL any more, I’d come right out and say so and I’d discuss my reasons. But I am still interested in it. I just need a break to spend some time with other games, which I’ve sorely missed. And I need to spend some time with other game modes in PES2009 and FIFA09, of course.
With my decent new camera, I have filmed two full matches from PES2009 and FIFA09. I filmed myself playing a Master League match from my old save-game as Coventry City. And I filmed a match I played in FIFA09’s Ultimate Team mode.
Don’t worry. I’m not about to post the full videos—at 700MB apiece, I doubt I’d find anywhere to put ’em anyway. There’s little duller than watching other people play football games. (Unless, of course, it’s August or something, and you’re watching a blurry mobile phone clip of somebody playing the imminent new football games. In which case it’s very interesting indeed—but then you’re still only really interested in what can be gleaned about the gameplay. There’s little or no actual interest in seeing how some random ‘trade fair guy’ is playing the game. Indeed, most often they seem to play it very badly.)
Instead of the full, dull games, I’ve put together two short highlights packages. One for the PES2009 match, one for the FIFA09 match. I was going to package these highlights complete with an actual voice-over from yours truly, TV-style. That would have been hilarious… The most whimsical jape of the season! But, sadly/fortunately, I didn’t have time.
Here they are, the PES2009 one first. I’ll set the scene. I’m using the Vertical Wide camera, BaL-style. It’s a useful familiarising tool. Playing with all 11 players using the BaL camera helps you learn its quirks, which are many. But then I started getting back into my old Master League career for its own sake. I’ve been sneakily playing ML matches, off and on, for a few weeks now.
I’m in the Sky Blue strip, naturally, playing against Zenit St Petersburg. This was a typical Master League match. After several near-misses, Bradley—a powerful, swashbuckling DMF in the best PES tradition—gets a fine goal (one that really showcases the joys of Vertical Wide). Then, after having had NOT A KICK all game, Zenit St Petersburg come at me with a late surge. Can you guess the final result?
The big news of the moment in FIFA09 is that everybody has been given some free Ultimate Team coins. If you were an early adopter then you suffered the most from its online teething troubles—and now you get 10,000 coins, gratis. If you bought the DLC later, after the online problems were mostly resolved, you get a decent consolation prize of 5000 coins.
I was very happy to see I had 14,000 coins when I loaded up the game. It’s been a week or more since I last played. I had a few Trades that came though for me to go with the bonus 10K.
I bought a Gold pack, a Silver pack, and put in some bids for some Silver-level backroom staff. I also made a cheeky bid for Arsene Wenger as a manager. That was in a two-day auction. At the time of writing I don’t know if the bid’s been successful. (I’ll edit it in here when I do know.)
Here are the highlights of my first match with my new-look Ultimate Team. All those Gold and Silver cards were like manna from heaven. My two-star team became a three-star team.
One of my new players is a striker called T Gekas. He plays up front in my 4-4-2 with one Gary McSheffrey, a former real-life Coventry City player whom I was very happy to acquire in the Silver pack. Watch for a great debut performance from Gekas:
Only now as my Ultimate Team starts to gel and become more powerful do I really, really feel the lack of a good offline mode. These one-off ‘club matches’ just aren’t satisfying in the long run, and I don’t like playing online. I’m never going to be an online player. Yes, I have occasional spurts of enthusiasm, but they never last longer than a day. I would love it—ahem, ‘just love it’—if FIFA2010 shipped with Ultimate Team built-in and with a comprehensive Master League-style offline career mode.
I don’t want much, do I? But think how great it would be. EA should just scrap Manager Mode and replace it with an Ultimate Team/Master League hybrid. If that really happened I think I’d be the happiest football gamer in the world.