It’s time to get into FIFA09’s career mode in a big way. I’ve had my few getting-to-know-you weeks. I’ve also spent several days playing PES2009 just to see if things could be like they were between me and PES again (no, they can’t—not at the moment, anyway). It’s time to put my money where my mouth is. Time to walk the walk. I’m heading into Manager Mode, or as I will try to make it: Manager League Mode.
This name reflects that I will be playing with House Rules designed to make the experience as much like PES’s Master League as possible. I know—it’s absolutely crazy that the PES career mode is more realistic in many ways than its supposedly fully-licensed, official, FIFA equivalent, but there you go. Life’s not obliged to be consistent.
I’ll expand on my House Rules for Manager Mode over the coming days and weeks. They’re not that complex. There’ll be no consulting a rulebook every time I want to make a substitution. Most of my House rules will limit my coaching staff upgrades and my acquisition of new players on the transfer market. After 4 seasons in my Manager Mode career on FIFA08, I had Michael Owen, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Jesus Navas playing up front for Coventry City. I won’t let that happen this year.
I’ll be playing again as Coventry City on the PlayStation3 version of the game. Yes, the PS3—the console with the dreaded through-ball bug. It’s still not patched. Doubtless I’ll be moaning my head off incessantly about it until it is patched. I have noticed fewer issues since I switched to manual through-balls, but it’s early days.
I’ve mostly played FIFA09 so far on the Xbox360. The game is—just slightly—a better game on the 360. Better graphics, and better overall pace. Just better. Sadly, my 360 would seem to be on its last legs (after just 14 months, and relatively little use) and it’s not reliable enough for me to trust it. I have little enough time as it is. Constantly restarting after freezes and crashes is not something I can be bothered with.
I’ve been playing as Atletico Madrid in the Spanish league on the 360. I’ve just finished my first season and ended up in 4th place. The whole season was played on Professional difficulty. Early on I switched from all-Assisted controls to a mixed bag of semi-manual, manual, and assisted. This instantly made the game harder for me without having to change the difficulty level.
It turned out to be a rollercoaster of a season. Going over to semi-manual shooting in particular saw my goals dry up, and I slipped down the table. I rallied toward the end of the season and but for a few poor performances I might even have challenged for the title in the closing weeks.
What can I say about my Atletico players? I’ve loved playing with them. Forlan. Aguero. Maxi Rodriguez. And quite a few more. I think I’ve loved this season with Atletico so much because it’s been one of discovery for me. I taught myself how to shoot straight without the game helping me so much. Semi-manual shooting makes even the most straightforward goal something that you really have to work for. For example, this goal—
—is the quintessence of a bread and butter goal. But when using a manual through-ball, and semi-manual shooting, I was grinning as if I’d just netted a 40-yard screamer. The ordinary can feel that good in FIFA09. I can’t wait to see how my Coventry City career shapes up.