Category: FIFA2010

FIFA10 demo, Day 2: now I want to go home

Today is Part 2 of the FIFA10 demo special. I’ll be back to normal service on Monday.

Another session of about 5 matches on the FIFA10 demo this morning. You know what? Unlike yesterday, I didn’t really have that good a time. I thought I was playing FIFA09 for most of it (and that, perhaps, is the problem). #1 on my worry list: where, and exactly what, is the 360-dribbling supposed to be?

I spent most of last night reading the forums. Many were like me: unable to detect the 360-dribbling. I could see it, or something I thought might have been it, in the Arena. But that looked like 16-way directional movement at best.

I have run the ball out of play a few times when I thought I was dribbling in a straight line down the wings. Is that 360-dribbling in action? I think it is. If so, I just need to adapt to it and learn to use it to my advantage in normal play.

Within an hour of the demo going live there were videos of long-range FIFA10 goals popping up on YouTube. Sumptuous 35-yarders. Clever 25-yard dinks. Piledrivers from near the halfway line. Free kicks that arced up into the wide blue yonder only to miraculously descend again and finish in the back of the net. Which only makes me even more puzzled about what the hell was going on at Gamescom a few weeks ago.

Here’s my best few goals so far. First there’s a messing-around curler in the Arena with Lampard. Then comes a very basic 20-yard strike in my first proper match. And lastly, one of my patented ‘floaters’—a shot taken whilst pulling both triggers (pace control+finesse) from outside the box.

Link: FIFA10 Demo goals

Neither is anything really special compared to the festival of dazzling strikes we’ve had the pleasure of seeing over the past 24 hours. But they’re still both goals scored from outside the box. That’s the area of the pitch that’s outside the penalty area. You are allowed to shoot from there after all. Are you watching, Gamescom people? Eh? Are you?

And now I’ve got to make a confession. This is the sting in the tail. I’ve got to give early warning of something big that might be afoot.

I might be turning back to PES in a big way. After my FIFA10 session this morning, I went and had a couple of games in my Master League career on the Xbox 360 version of PES6. It was like drinking a refreshing glass of cold water on a parching hot day. Everything that had bothered me in FIFA10 was gone. There was a spontaneity and energy in PES6 that I’ve never felt in next-gen FIFA, not even during the good times.

PES6(360) takes me back to the glory days of PES2-PES5, when the greatness of PES was axiomatic. I’m starting to come round to a view that I’ve slightly mocked in the past. I mean the dreaded ‘special feeling’ of PES! No doubt I’ll come back to address this in more detail over the next month. And no doubt I’ll end up repudiating it all. But for now, it’s the way things are.

Certain goals in PES still get me blowing kisses at the bedroom walls. Here’s one from today. It was 1-1 in a tight, tight, tight match against Manchester United. It’s my first season challenging for the D1 title, and I needed a win. I’d been knocking the ball around looking for an opening and not finding one. I was getting very frustrated (in a good way) and thought, sod it, I’ll try a ridiculous first-time shot… It was with Huddlestone, a good but unspectacular player for me.

Link: PES6 Huddlestone cracker

Recently I’ve said, almost off-handedly, that I can really only see me playing one game this winter. I can only really play and enjoy one game at a time. Mixing them up together doesn’t work for me (as this post is strong evidence of). Yes, it’s more flip-flopping. I’d love to find a singularly great game and settle down with it and cleave unto no other, but the past two years just hasn’t gone that way.

Right now, hand on heart, I would like my main game this year to be PES2010. Isn’t that a weird thing? There’s still time for this slightly ‘meh’ phase with FIFA and FIFA10 to pass and for the undeniable greatness of it to pull me back in. But this is a blog—a daily journal. I can only say what I’m feeling each day, and today, I love PES. It’s all that PES6’s fault, you know.

FIFA10 demo – very early impressions

A special Thursday post just to look at my first impressions of the FIFA10 demo. At the time of writing—just after midday—I’ve played about 5 full games on it, on a variety of settings.

FIFA10 downloadI must have been one of the first to grab the Xbox 360 version of the demo this morning. One moment I’d looked and it wasn’t there; the next moment, BAM—it was there. I dived straight in. It was pretty quick to download for a 979MB monster.

There’s a new EA Sports ‘it’s in the game’ animation! They’ve combined the circle around the logo with a football field’s centre circle. Just think: somebody got paid a living salary to come up with that. That was probably their whole job, all year. Life just isn’t fair.

I made an initial mistake and set the game difficulty to World Class. It’s when the game asks you what your level of experience is. I forgot it did the same in last year’s demo, and this was the difficulty setting. You can’t change it without quitting the demo completely. Oops.

The very first impression. Moving a player in the Arena. Very happy with the handling. And I mean delighted. It’s immediately slower than FIFA09. The player feels as if he has proper weight and inertia. The shooting values felt weird, but I expected them to. Only after a few goes did I get one on target. Deliberately tried a few ridiculous ones from long range without using modifiers. They seemed to fly harder and lower than their notorious FIFA09 equivalents. So far so good.

Played Chelsea-Barcelona. On World Class. On a new football game. I lost 0-3 and barely got a shot in. Didn’t notice the 360-degree dribbling. The game feels a lot like FIFA09, but – oh, the pace. It seems perfect. This was a big worry, so I’m very happy. It’s very FIFA08ish, but with more ‘zip’ somehow. Like the best of both worlds. (And this was on the Normal game speed—when I switched it to Slow, a game later, I was in heaven.)

Quit and restarted the demo to get a few games on the lowest difficulty. Want to pass it around and shoot and generally just put the game through its paces without worrying about getting the ball back from the AI. Incidentally: clamping sprint+tackle+pressure to get the ball back no longer seems to work almost infallibly.

Played a few as Barcelona against Chicago Fire. Won 2-0. Still don’t really see the 360 dribbling. But the shooting… It’s so, so much better than FIFA09. The values are different. I am so used to feathering the shoot button in FIFA09 that I was sending tricklers into the keeper’s hands for a while. Then I started giving it some welly. Results followed.

Switched control settings to my favourite mix of semi-assisted and manual. Suddenly the easiest difficulty level isn’t so easy.

I hit the bar twice in the same game from distance. Tut-tut. I thought this was eliminated in FIFA10?

Player individuality. Ibrahimovic seems large and slow, but effective in possession. Messi is a virtual cheat player—so fast and skilful. Barcelona overall are strong. It’s going to be another ‘fun’ year online, I think.

Martin Tyler has some new lines. In one he says a defender has ‘served his team nobly’. Except he says nobly ‘no-buh-lee’ instead of ‘no-blee’. Last time I looked, ‘nobly’ was a two-syllable word. Sack him.

Noticed the 360 dribbling in my last few games. But what actual effect has it had on the gameplay for me so far? None that I can tell. Early days yet though.

Loving the shooting. For me, long-range shooting is more important than skill moves etc. in a football game. Early days for shooting as well, but it seems very satisfying.

I’l post a bit more tomorrow after a few more games. I’ve got a couple of replays saved up as well.

Initially I’m very happy, much more than I thought I was going to be. But… there’s got to be a but. I was happy with the FIFA09 demo last year as well. It took the full game to bring out FIFA09’s bad points. So I won’t be hanging out the bunting just yet.

ISS Deluxe redux

Another end-of-term post today. Tomorrow’s shadow looms large. It’s the UK release of the FIFA10 demo, in case you hadn’t heard.

What will FIFA10 be like? Can the demo possibly live up to the hype? It’s virtually guaranteed that those who are opposed to FIFA as a matter of ideology—and they are many—will be out in force afterwards, proclaiming: “Is that it?”. Perhaps lots of pro-FIFA players will be saying that as well. I just hope the demo does the game justice. The forums will be good reading tomorrow night regardless.

FIFA and I are not on speaking terms at the moment. My belated discovery of the scandal regarding the lack of midweek night matches in Manager Mode’s lower leagues is still fresh in my mind. Sadly, it seems ‘the community’ has largely moved on and let EA off the hook (after they promised and everything). Although I wonder how many people have missed the news completely, as I did, and still don’t know?

For most people the argument ‘gameplay is all’ is the beginning, middle, and end of the matter. That’s pretty much the case for me as well, but for various reasons I need a sturdy, realistic, offline career mode. That’s the only mode I’ve ever played and it’s likely all that I’ll ever play. I’ve waited two long years for a Manager Mode even close to the standard of FIFA’s overall gameplay. The night matches issue in FIFA10 is like a sucker-punch in the stomach. I think it’ll turn out to be forgivable in the long run, as the lower league teams teams can be assigned to night-enabled stadia, but it’s a nasty turd to find in the punchbowl.

I’ve still been playing football games over the past week. I’ve been getting my kicks from the Xbox 360 version of PES6—I’ll come to that later. First, I’ve acquired a handheld emulator and a stack of games, among them the SNES version of ISS Deluxe.

I picked up a Wiz games console a while back. It’s not available in any shops. Its primary function is the emulation of old games and platforms. And thus have I rediscovered a universal truth of gaming: old games are rubbish.

Seriously: back in the day, I thought European PGA Tour II on the MegaDrive was the greatest golf game/greatest game I’d ever played. I played it again the other day for the first time in about ten years and… I was shocked. It was really, really bad in every way. Remember the first generation of Java games on mobile phones? Worse than that. NHL94 and FIFA97, both decent games in their day, also seem poor now. I had a few minutes on FIFA97, playing in the celebrated indoor arena, but had to switch it off. FIFA has certainly come a long, long way since then.

Only the wonderful Cannon Fodder really stands the test of time. And, over on the SNES side of things, International Superstar Soccer Deluxe.

This short clip is out of focus almost all the way through. Sorry about that, but you can make out what’s happening on-screen:

Link: Retro Meddling

I never played ISS Deluxe the first time around. The 1990s was mostly a games-free decade for me. I’ve played just about every other ISS/PES game in existence.

ISS Deluxe is a cracking game! Okay, it’s primitive even by the standards of the first ISS game on the PS1. But it handles decently, and it does to perfection what I first loved about ISS all those years ago: it forces you to pass the ball around and look for space and probe for openings. Wonder-dribbling—of the kind that has sadly infected the PES side of the family tree in recent years—is nowhere to be seen (except on the very lowest difficulty levels, which is fair enough).

I’ve played a few Tournaments. Naturally, the lasting appeal is limited. How could it not be? But I’m glad to have filled in one of my ISS/PES blanks. Now I do believe the only blank left is the mobile phone version of PES2008. Give me some time…

My main gaming time has been spent on PES6(360). I’m back in love with it. I’ve really got back into its rhythms. Dare I say it, I’ve really got back into a PES groove. Like its humble SNES ancestor, it forces a more pass-and-move style of play, but still allows you to dribble with certain players under certain conditions. It’s great.

The lack of Editing is a pain. I’m still not used to seeing my Master League team called PES United.

To finish off today, here’s a compilation video of some recent goals in PES6(360). To forestall the ‘licensed music ban fairy’ that haunts every video-hosting website nowadays, I’ve tacked on a classical tune that is presumably out of copyright.

NB: these goals are all at PES6’s actual game speed. If PES2010 is faster than this, I for one will be extremely disappointed. (Also—after some computer maintenance, I’m temporarily running a browser without an ad-blocker for the first time in years. Have floating adverts always randomly appeared on Sevenload clips?!)

Link: Goals from PES6 (360)

My two favourite goals appear together late on. First at around 0:55 there’s a vintage strike from Mathieu, which had me sitting up and punching the air. It’s a good strike in its own right, but in context it was a GREAT strike. I was 0-1 down to West Midlands Village and despite having all the possession and all the chances it was one of those PES games when nothing would go right. In the 89th minute I thought ‘I’m not having this’, and you can see me adjusting Mathieu’s run to take the venomous shot… That, in a nutshell, is the famous ‘special feeling’ of PES that people keep banging on about. Good old PES.

Immediately afterwards comes probably my favourite goal overall so far in PES6. It’s a flowing movement that culminates in a delicate through-ball that sets up a first-time rifled shot high into the corner.

So. On the eve of the long-awaited FIFA10 demo, I’m seriously hacked off with FIFA, and I’ve fallen back in love with PES. Interesting times indeed.

The Diary of a Madman

I didn’t have time to write a proper post today, so instead here is an extract from my actual, real, genuine diary.

Sunday 6th September 2009


With the FIFA10 demo less than one week away, and so much other football gaming goodness not far away, what’s not to love about this mild, relaxing Sunday afternoon?

Why not spend it looking through the PES and FIFA forums?

I haven’t really checked in on the forums much over the past week or two. Just had a glance every day to see if any new earth-shattering news has appeared. This is the ideal chance to catch up.

Time to wallow in some quality football game chat!


Hmmm, not much going on in the PES forums.

The usual minor sniping and backbiting. Nothing exciting. No fireworks.

PES fans are treading water. Biding our time. There’s a definite air of confidence that was missing last year—I feel it too. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be misplaced confidence.

Over in the FIFA forums, there’s little new going on either. It’s all a question of passing the time until Thursday.

The only thing different today is on EvoWeb’s FIFA10 discussion thread. They’re having some kind of ‘Gameface’ theme day. Looking back a few pages, it started yesterday, Saturday, and has carried on today. It seems to involve uploading a photo to EA and having it transformed into a computer game face.

Maybe I should just head off to the Monster Hunter forums? I bet the self-declared veterans are still hazing newbies about using flash bombs…


Oh—wait a second. Wait just one goddamn second.

What’s this?

Somewhere on the FIFA Soccer Blog forums, I come across a shard of a long-running conversation going on in one of the threads.

Somebody says something along the lines of ‘oh what a shame there’ll be no night matches in Manager Mode, maybe they can do it as DLC?’.

I blink, sit up, figuratively rub my eyes, and read it again.

No, I didn’t misread it. That’s not the exact wording. But it’s the sense.

No night matches in Manager Mode.

It’s the fucking sense.


I read the rest of the page, and go back a few pages.

Nobody contradicts the—to me—utterly shocking statement that there will be no night matches in Manager Mode.

A few people explicitly repeat it—or seem to. For reasons I will discover only later, there is a murky confusion at the edges of this alarming ‘no night matches in Manager Mode’ thing.

But it’s there. No night matches in Manager Mode. What the FUCK?


I am wrath. I am a pure concentration of ire.

I head off in search of more information. I check the first pages of all the forums again. Then the second pages.

I don’t see any topics.

There’s no current discussion about night matches. I’m pretty sure there would be current discussion, if it was true about no night matches in Manager Mode. It’s not true!

How would I have missed it, if it was true?

I would never have missed it, therefore it’s not true.



I will just have one more check, though…

I perform a search on the official EA forum.

I search for ‘night matches’ and restrict the results to thread titles only. I figure that if it is true, somebody will have been moved enough to make a thread with the exact phrase ‘night matches’ in the title.

I key in the captcha letters (legible for once), and wait for those neutral, tense few seconds…


There are five or six results. Five or six recent threads, some of them multi-page.

No. Please, no.

I click the most recent, and start reading.

No, no, no, no, no.

I fucking knew we’d be stiffed somehow. I knew it. I fucking knew it. Didn’t I say it? Didn’t I say it? Didn’t I keep saying it?

I fucking knew it.


I’ve spent the past twenty minutes reading forum posts from over a week ago.

I found the layer of forum discussion about it all. It was like looking for geological evidence of a meteor strike.

I found the discussion clustered around the end of August. Thinking back, I was in a post-Gamescom lethargy and not the most attentive to the forums that I’ve ever been.

This is what I missed:

Most of the generic stadia in FIFA10 will not have night matches. Most lower-division teams play at those generic stadia. Ergo, no game played at those teams’ grounds will ever take place at night.

This is so disappointing to me that I almost have no words to express it. But I’ll have a go anyway.

For various reasons I tend not to curse on the blog here in my genuine diary, but this is un-cunting-believable.

I literally sat in front of the monitor with my face literally in my literal hands, literally. THREE FUCKING YEARS and we still haven’t got night matches in the all-singing, all-dancing, solid gold, la-di-da, supposedly next fucking generation FIFA.

I’m cancelling my pre-order. FIFA10 can fuck right off.


I had to get up and walk about for a bit. Clear my head.

There’s no lasting discussion of this on the forums. EA have more or less got away with it. They’ve been quite devious.

Predictably, there were many gripes about individual clubs’ stadia not being in the game. EA cannily replied only to those complaints.

There were just as many complaints about the information (which had to be deduced from the stadium list) that there will be no night matches in the lower leagues. In this way, EA have been able to shape it into a ‘wah wah wah why isn’t my team’s stadium in FIFA10’ discussion.

Perhaps EA have stated somewhere why they allowed various sources to trail FIFA10 as being a fully night-match-equipped game, when in fact it isn’t. It just fucking isn’t. If they have explicitly commented on night matches anywhere, I’d love to see it.


Right. So apparently there might be a workaround.

I don’t like it. I still shitting well don’t like it.

But some of the generic stadia do have night matches. And it’ll be possible to reassign those stadia to as many teams as desired.

I suppose it might be acceptable. But—oh, for fuck‘s sake…

Isn’t it meant to be the other game that makes you Edit stuff to make the game realistic? Names and kits and shit?

For two years I have played host to an inner voice. Now, what has that voice been saying?

It’s been saying: FIFA? FIFA? What the fuck am I doing, pissing around with FIFA?


Why am I so angry? Does it really matter? It matters to me. The various ‘night matches’ threads on the forums, predictably, are full of people saying it doesn’t matter, that gameplay is all that matters.

But that’s not quite true.

FIFA10 could be the most marvellous game of football ever created. It might well be that, I don’t know.

But at the end of the fucking, cunting, pissing, shitting day, that game has got to have something to do.

I won’t play online. I won’t ever play online, and that’s just a fact. Whatever that game is online, it’s not football. It’s ‘competitive sprint-clamping’ or something. It’s not for me.

It’s career mode or nothing for me. A great career mode lasts a long time. And, to be sustainable, a career mode has got to have the trappings of realism. Night matches are a massive part of that.


I contemplate putting together one of those Hitler Downfall videos for Monday’s post on the blog.

I’d have to get hold of the original clip and some subtitling software. I could probably do it on my computer’s built-in programs, but decide in the end to just suspend my blog’s non-swearing policy for one fucking day instead.

I won’t cancel my FIFA10 pre-order. The team-editing workaround thing might work out OK.

Thursday’s demo is still a must-have for me.

All I’ll say is, I hope it’s one seriously great demo.


Calm. I am fucking calm.