Category: FIFA13


FIFA13 offered job

Sunday morning I started up FIFA13 for the first time in a few weeks. I’ve been drifting away from football gaming for a while—not just in the past few weeks, but for several months, it’s now clear to me.

I wasn’t particularly banking on FIFA13 to relight the fire. So there was no pressure on the game—or on me—for it to do so.

I reloaded my last save, with Dagenham & Redbridge, where I was at rock-bottom of League 2 with just two wins all season.

I’d just had a job offer from Fluminense in Brazilian First Division, or Serie A.

I took the offer, and went from the dank basement of English football to the glittering pinnacle of South American football at a stroke. A turn of events that would never happen in reality under any circumstances, of course, but as I say many times, realism in a football game is not something to be necessarily looked for.

FIFA13 Fluminense

My new Fluminense team is pretty good—all high 70s and a few low 80s.

Among them is the veteran Portuguese playmaker, Deco, who was a standout in the first few games. Fred, the captain and star striker, should be good, but feels weak. Diego and Edinho and Thiago Neves really stand out. Going from the rubbish Dagenham players to these players is very nice. It feels good to be able to play a bit.

The rhythm of the season is different in Brazil. The season starts in March and consists of Cup games at first. I played two two-legged encounters before switch-off, lining up against Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro at one point.

Enjoyed them, winning each one quite comfortably with the exception of the last, which I won only on penalties.

FIFA13 is very different from PES. Not that I can really remember much about either now. It’s been a few weeks since I played with real enthusiasm. I genuinely do wonder if the mojo will ever return. I feel that it probably will, but who knows.

Stagnant for the last time

NSS career to date

The news today is… no real news. A few busy days in real life has meant no FIFA13. Things have lain fallow, becalmed, inert. I’d like to play whenever I like, but alas, life doesn’t always cooperate.

I could have forced a window of time to play a few matches for the sake of the blog, but the blog exists for the sake of the gaming, not the other way around.

There has been some football gaming. The BAFTA-winning New Star Soccer continues to occupy me in bursts.

My professional is partway through his first season back at Coventry, after a title-winning season with Barcelona and a European Championship-winning tournament with England.

NSS struggling with Cvntry

I’m way, way overpowered for this team—but the team is underpowered for me, and so I’m struggling to carry them through every match. We’re top six at the moment.

I keep trying and failing to get back to my Football Manager 2010 save. I’ve been playing the same career since the day I got the game back in 2009.

I’m quietly proud of the long-term investment in this save, which sees me just keeping Coventry in the Premier League, season after season. I’m not very good at Football Manager so it’s always a challenge.

When I left FM2010 last, I had a massive decision to make about Tomas Necid, a new star striker signing, who hadn’t scored a goal by mid-season. Think Giroud, with knobs on.

Do I grant a leave of absence my guy’s requesting, and try to nurse him back to happiness and goal-scoring? Or just cut my losses in the looming transfer window?

Necid was a £20m acquisition, my entire transfer budget. I don’t want to make the decision, so I’ve avoided it by not loading the game for a month now.

I have had some actual hands-on footy action over the past few days. I’ve played something on the iPhone on the bus to work.

DLS in progress

After a tip-off from a commenter on the blog (thanks Adam) I downloaded and played a few matches of Dream League Soccer.

It’s not bad at all. The world it takes place in—the eponymous Dream League—is very reminiscent of old-school Master League. So much so that it can only be a deliberate imitation.

I’ve only played a few matches so far, with this as my most memorable goal—and my first:

I find virtual touchscreen buttons very hard to deal with in ‘action’ games. That’s the only barrier between me and what looks like a very immersive mobile Master League-like game.

So no FIFA13 over the past few days. Do I miss it? Yes and no. I miss the white-hot heat of intensity that I had with the game roughly this time last Friday, when I must have played for 6 hours all told.

The rest of this week has seen that white-hot heat cool down rather dramatically.

This Charming Manual Passing

Another few days of limited footy action time, but I squeezed a few matches in. FIFA13 continues to impress. There’s been a levelling-off of admiration, but not a decline. I’ve settled down to the business of playing.

It’s tough. The traditional routes to goal are all blocked off. By ‘traditional routes to goal’ I mean ‘everything I’ve got used to being able to do in ISS and PES for fifteen years’.

This is probably the point at which many a seasoned PES player will decide that FIFA isn’t worth the effort, and abandons it. I’ve been that player for the past few years, but this year, I’m going to stick with it.

So I need more and better routes to goal. But what was starting to really frustrate me about FIFA13 was the final ball around the box, a problem I’ve noticed in FIFA for several years now.

Far too often my input would be overridden and the ball directed magically to the CPU defender. It’s a sinister nerf at the best of times. When you’re struggling to get anything going on World Class with a two-star team in League 2, it’s pretty darn near unacceptable.

So I moved to manual passing. I’m still there now. It’s… not really manual any more, is it? Or is that me misunderstanding what manual passing has always been?

I’m sure that the last time I tried manual passing, a few FIFAs ago, I was sending the ball anywhere but where I (thought I) was pointing.

Now, on FIFA13, I’m suddenly a master of manual—?

It doesn’t quite make sense. It’s far more likely that EA have changed manual passing, moving it towards assisted, than that I’ve become au fait with manual passing overnight.

But I like it.

Results are slightly better on Professional difficulty with manual passing. Instead of, say, play 10, win 1, lose 7, draw 2, it’s now something like play 10, win 3, lose 3, draw 4. That kind of incremental movement.

I need that. Things were getting grim on World Class with semi-assisted settings.

We’re all different players with different methods, needs, approaches, and skillsets, of course. What’s good and true for me is very unlikely to be good and true for you.

How Souness Now?

FIFA13’s Career Mode is continuing. After last week’s euphoric heights, there has been an inevitable settling-down. I’m into the nitty-gritty of a season and relishing the challenge.

Is FIFA13 now ‘my football game’? The one I’ll play for the rest of the footy game year, or most of it?

Nope—it could become it, but it’s not yet it. Here’s how I know it’s not my football game just yet: I had a busy weekend and didn’t play a single match. When I’m immersed in a football game, I find time. I make time. I didn’t this weekend just gone. It means that FIFA13 is still finding its feet.

But it’s doing well. The attraction of any career mode comes from assembling your team, managing the budget—and playing the games. Which is where FIFA13 really shines. Career Mode is good and FIFA13 is very good (I’m withholding the ‘great’ until a long way in the future).

I’ve persisted with my settings: World Class, semi-assisted passing and shooting, manual crossing. I win roughly one match in seven, going by the stats,

I’m really struggling to get any action going. My only compromise is to start playing home matches on Professional difficulty. This helped a little bit—there’s a bit more space and a bit more time.

But it hasn’t helped much. Nearly halfway through the season, with a mid-table finish as my target, this is the situation (I’m playing as Dagenham):

FIFA13 CM after 21

Career Mode isn’t Master League and isn’t really trying to be, I now accept. It’d be nice to have Hagi and Maradona and Ian Rush and Graeme Souness and all the rest of the Classics popping up in the transfer market, but it’s not that kind of mode and shouldn’t be judged as if it’s trying to be.

But what of PES? Have I just forgotten about the old girl?

No. I keep thinking about PES and tinkering with ideas about what I could do now that PES2013 is sadly a non-starter for me (in traditional ML anyway).

I have a Windows PC that I start up once in a blue moon, mainly to keep its battery in trim and keep the OS up to date. While I’m there in Windows I usually fire up and play a few matches on PES5. I never mention them directly on the blog, but these roughly once-a-month mini-sessions on PES5 are a major factor in keeping that game alive in my memory as a great PES game and a significant part of my life. Back in the PS2 days I played 40+ seasons of Master League on PES5, with multiple Regens of Mathieu and Bergkamp.

Well, last Friday I started PES2011 by mistake. Windows key>’PES’>PES5 has always been how I’ve started PES5 on the PC. On this occasion, the same fast key combo happened to start PES2011, untouched for years. The hated PES2011.

I played a match just for the hell of it. And PES2011 made me feel good. I thought it played a brilliant game. PES2011 is the PES that I never ‘finished’, that I abandoned early, due to certain gameplay issues. The PES that got away…

Stop that smirking. What happened last year is unlikely to happen again—FIFA13 and Career Mode are just too good. But PES is always on my mind.