eFIFA19 continues

You can almost feel the ‘damp Autumn night away to Stoke’ vibe coming off this picture, can’t you? One thing that FIFA certainly doesn’t skimp on is the atmosphere. It’s there in bucketloads.

I’m playing Career Mode. During setup I moved Coventry City from League 1 into the Championship, lock, stock and barrel. So I’m playing with a League 1 squad, with League 1 finances, in the Championship. And I’m playing on World Class – for now.

Last time, all was going well, but I was fretting about the lack of challenge posed by the AI. After coming from PES2019’s hyperdrive-level AI, the FIFA19 AI seemed plodding and passive by comparison.

For example – this was an early match in my first season that worried me a lot. It’s not just that I won it, but look at the goal attempt stats per side:On World Class, the AI managed 1 solitary shot on goal that wasn’t even on-target.

But I’m pleased to report that things soon turned. This is a more representative sample of more recent matches:Nearly every team is now turning the screw on me in a way that they weren’t doing at the start of the season. So much so that I’m considering dropping down to Professional for a while, just to score a few goals and get my bearings again.

I am the league’s lowest scoring team, something that the commentators and the pre-match captions are always keen to remind me.

The league table after 13 matches:

That Goals For column really does need beefing up, hence my plan to drop to Professional for a while to find my shooting boots again.

I had a good run in the Carabao Cup, beating two lower-league teams (one on penalties). But then I came up against Burnley from the Premier League. They thumped me 4-0. A true lesson in just how vicious this AI can be. I think it’s a good thing, overall, that the AI can be curiously passive sometimes. You never know what it’s going to do and not do at any moment.

I’ve also worked out that the d-pad left/right settings, which moves you from All-out defence to all-out attack – through 5 stages – ISN’T just a straightforward ATT/DEF thing, as it is in PES.

No, in FIFA the superficially ATT/DEF thing is a very flexible and deep system for setting up alternate formations and instructions that can be switched to on the fly in-game. You can have 5 different sets of formations, positions, and team/individual instructions, mapped to a simple d-pad toggle. This is just one of many systems in Career Mode – and in FIFA19 as a whole – that I am having a great time discovering for myself.

I have bungled nearly every transfer negotiation I’ve embarked upon. The agents and players usually just get up and walk out, and that’s it, no second chances.

I’ve gone back to Broadcast camera, and it finally feels natural and good.I’ve usually scuttled back to PES by this point. Which means that FIFA19 is already my most successful FIFA since FIFA15.

Another video to finish with.

A good goal to start, a nice mid-ranger. The feel of these shots in your hands as they happen is very rewarding. It takes work to find the space.

Then there’s a comical miscued volley that shows me still exorcising the PES muscle memory.

Next there’s an attempt to get on the end of a cross that shows me committing another PES muscle memory howler, and making my player jump way too early. I record and post these things to show how genuinely tricky it can be to move from one football game to another. In PES you can press the button that early without consequences. Not so here.

Then there’s a shot that was almost a spectacular first-time arrow-straight finish from my left-back, that cannons back off the crossbar.

Then I get one of my players sent off. It is possible!

Updated: 14th June 2019 — 10:12


  1. Nice goal from Kelly NG. Very satisfying to see, even though the GK should have saved that quite easily when you see where the ball ends up. Huge shame about the later strike. That was a beautiful hit! One thing though .. only 7 goals against in 13 matches and you’re thinking of dropping a level? Hmm.

  2. SockWulf – also following on from your comment on previous- I’m about 20 matches in now and the AI stepped up around matchday 8 for me, roughly where you are now. I was thinking of stepping down a difficulty because I just cannot seem to score. Defending isn’t much of a problem even when the AI decides to wake up, which is a bit of a downer.

    All in all I’m still not hearing the siren call back to PES but it sounds as if you are! Having done this dance every year recently I have a need to see it through. Having said that I am due my weekly PES5 session later (the Friday prayer in my personal cosmos), my first taste of PES since beginning FIFA19, so let’s see.

  3. NG – Yesterday was an additional batch of 8 games. I’d been playing prior to that so I’m about as far in as you are. Perhaps even a little more. Maybe playing on a Locked setting doesn’t suit FIFA as well as PES. There’s a lot I do like about FIFA, but my issues with the game will prevent a long-term love affair with it. Maybe stepping up to Legendary will enhance my game. As I said, I’m not giving up yet.

  4. n-G – It’s always a joy to get to grips with a new footy game – any new footy game, even PES 2008 – but then there’s that second phase you’re in now. Most FIFA’s have had my PES pangs raging by the second-phase point but maybe this is one of the few that doesn’t, maybe not at all.

    As I mentioned on Paul’s FIFAFX earlier, midi-Shed has dropped a rather large hint that I have FIFA 19 lined up to arrive digitally on my birthday in a couple of weeks. I didn’t ask for it and wouldn’t have even paid the £20 it is now but I’m looking forward to trying it.

    I don’t get much PS4 time so it’ll be slow progress if I start a Career Mode. Nothing will shift PES 5 as my main shed-based footy game. I’m on course for the title so far this season but intend to keep that ML rolling on with FIFA 19 as an alternative when I get the chance. I figure classic PS2 PES5 and nu eFIFA are so different that they may actually be the exception to that only-one-footy-game-at-a-time rule.

  5. SockWulf – (is that an Ultimate Play The Game-inspired moniker by the way) – I forgot you played locked, I think that changes everything as you’re having to play alongside AI vs AI action, and it’s bad enough when PES AI plays with itself. In the conventional 1p vs AI as the team world I now find the AI more formidable. I think the die is cast with you! I know the signs. There really is nothing like PES is there. Bloody ePEZ my arse…

  6. Shed – interesting development there and I think you will like it, it is very different from previous FIFAs. Slower and more methodical, and as you said the other day, the AI in classic PES isn’t that incisive either. The AI That We Need of nuPES is a very recent intruder in football games.

  7. NG – I loved the likes of Sabre Wulf, Pssst and Tranz Am back in the day, but no, it’s a moniker that I’ve adapted over time. The ‘Wulf’ part simply comes from the fact that I’m Wolverhampton born-and-bred.

    I’ve just tried 3 games on Legendary and while I concede it’s a minute trial there was no real change. Liverpool had just 5 shots against us and looked devoid of ideas, while Everton failed to register a shot of any kind. I’m still not done, but this game really isn’t helping itself with the way I play .. so ..

    I am now toying with keeping PES to get my ‘Fix’ – get it? Fix setting? Controlling one pla .. ah forget it – of one player action considering it does a solid job there for me, and giving FIFA a run in traditional 1P v AI mode. It might also make the experiences different enough that I can enjoy both dependant on my mood.

  8. n-G – I’ve always fancied FIFA and all the authenticity and presentation EA dollop on its footy game but the gameplay has never quite clicked with me in the long term. I think FIFA 16 was the one I played the most.

    I see there’s even more sliders, knobs and twiddlers in FIFA 19 than ever before. What’s this first-time shot feature? That looks interesting or is it one to turn off? The shooting does look nice and weighty with lots of variation.

  9. SockWulf – I disliked Pssst! but loved every other Ultimate game, right up to the Knight Lore and Alien 8 stage (these two being essentially the same game with different skins of course, as were Atic Atac and Sabre Wulf). Jet Pac changed my life.

    I’ve certainly found the FIFA19 AI a challenge to overcome (but relatively easy to defend against). This is more a measurement of me as a gamer, remember, than the game. We do tend to neglect the very obvious truth that we’re all different as gamers, with different skill levels and expectations of a game. I would bet I’m one of the least accomplished football gamers there could be – and I wouldn’t change that. It’s what makes them so compelling and moreish for me.

    Shed – if somebody you’re vaguely related to in some way has got you it as a present, you’ve kind of got to play it. Not quite sure there’s a first-time shot feature – there’s a double-tap shooting mechanic that supposedly enhances the accuracy and deadliness of a shot, but I haven’t been able to pull it off.

  10. n-G – I’m certainly not one to look a gift horse in the mouth so I’ll certainly be…erm, well, you know… taking this one out for a gallop when it comes in.

    That shot thingy is the shot thingy you mention. I’d best wait until I’ve got the game before trying to get my head around such things.

    Oh, as for eFootball or whatever International Superstar Soccer is going to become in 2020, I don’t like it. I don’t like Maradona or whoever being manager of MY club in ML and I very much doubt any of these new features have any effect on team progession. That said, that camera angle at least shows something may have improved for the better. PES Day as I’ve always celebrated it (with a day one purchase) is unlikely at this stage.

  11. NG – thanks.

    Ultimate was a mark of quality for me. Jetpac and Atic Atac were awesome games that I actually managed to finish. Later titles like Knight Lore and Sabrewulf looked amazing but left me scratching my head about what the end goal was. Pssst, Tranz Am and Cookie were just a bit too repetetive and hard, and some were just outright Ninja Gaiden – like Gunfright. I defy anyone to beat the better enemies on the draw with a Spectrum joystick. Overall I was more of a sim man on the Spectrum – football managers, gangsters, pirates, and of course Grendel.

  12. NG – Remember you are on legacy defending which makes a huge difference and is much easier to defend with. So the AI will seem a bit sterile as a result. I prefer it and have mainly stopped using the Tactical Defending as it just doesn’t work as the ability to close a player down, which is a fundamental part of football has been removed. It is time for one of the games to have a new way of defending.

    Great to see you getting to grips with what I regard to be the best Fifa I have played. Good stuff.

  13. I’m still enjoying Pes 2019. Despite its flaws, it handles very nicely and is way ahead of other current-gen iterations with the possible exception of 2015 IMO. Regarding camera settings, I’d really like to see a customisable Blimp camera to be able to zoom it in just a bit. Maybe the new camera setting everyone is talking about will offer that half-way house between Blimp and the most zoomed out options for other camera settings.

  14. eFIFA does look very good, as it always does. Always looks a bit samey, just like PES is just more of the same every year. I wonder if there’s a FIFA Chronicles site somewhere, with its own not-Greg in dismay at the current state of the online-biased game, reminiscing about the good old days of FIFA 2005.

    I’ve picked up where I left off with my ePES19 master league, and within a couple of games I’m loathing the one-dimensional AI again. I’m going to be selling a few games, so I might get rid and wait patiently for the next game. I have PES17 and FIFA16, now worth pennies, should I need a fix until then.

  15. The FIFA AI really can grind you down on a long session without you realising. You go from a 4-0 win at home to an open team like Spurs, to a series of games against mid-table sides who play the basics well and frustrate you unless you change something. I’m guilty of plan A or bust so it’s a big challenge for me. Unlike PES it doesn’t eventually become routine. Always find more hurdles, artificial or not in FIFA this year.

  16. Darryl – legacy defending is pretty decent, with a tendency to degenerate into button-mashing if you let it. As on PES course. I often have to un-squeeze the buttons and step back, then reapply the basics.

    Tommy – I played quite a bit of FIFA2005 on my crystal Xbox back in the day. Not great, not terrible.

    prsgame – it gets quite grindy for me as I find it so tough to break down most defences. Even on Professional, which I’ve dropped down to now.

  17. Already it’s on a par with 2019…

  18. Uncle Turf – lovely goal, and of course while Paul is (further) bronzing himself on a beach, no one will tell you that you only scored it because you pressed the buttons in the right way…

  19. I got FIFA 19 for Fathers Day rather than my birthday. Had a couple of matches this morning and fairly impressed.

  20. Shed – as we all know on the PES side of the aisle, it’s how you feel after 30 matches of a FIFA that decides it. I came to it with the PES2019 teat well and truly sucked dry, and am still loving it (with some misgivings, principally the passive AI). You with a PES5 story very much alive and ongoing, might be a different story…

  21. n-G – You may well be right as a morning of FIFA 19 has left me gagging for some PES5.

  22. Turf (from previous post) – can’t actually remember season 1 on PES2017 with the defaults, it took me 5 seasons to fluke a lucky promotion with them so the first one might well have been appalling. Although it’s an easy PES with good players I found I had to stick to a certain formation and tactics with the defaults. 4-2-3-1, overlapping runs from the full backs, low crosses. A Giorza low cross tapped in at the near post by Jarvis was my main source of goals

  23. Abbeyhill – cheers, it’s actually easing on me now my team spirit is higher and given how little chance I have of signing players even someone like hettich is proving useful. I’m still second off bottom in January though so hardly party time. I did manage to get lobato in my youth team, never a favourite of mine, he completely underwhelms but he will bring in some money when I move him on and he’s a useful stand in for arcas who I manage to swap with Monaco for a certain mbappe. However, he’s no more than a poor man’s Eto’o in this pes. I’ve knocked back a few low level job offers but I think I’ll probably take one rather than struggle on with sahoune and friends as I think it’s my team ranking that is killing any transfers. I haven’t been able to buy a single player so far.

  24. Uncle Turf – maybe try staying at the club and building it up over several seasons? That’s how I play PES and I find it compelling, year after year. It’s the only way to really sink your hooks deep into the game. Being a one-club man means a bad session or two is negated by the identification you have with the story of your club, how your players are doing, your progress etc. Moving on means you never have this experience and inevitably only get a few seasons in before stopping. You’ve got to cope with Sahoune & co.! Then you get one player who makes results better, which improves your standing, which allows for better players – there’s nothing like it (Career Mode in FIFA19 is great, but it doesn’t have the ML feel at all so far).

  25. Pfffl…you confuse me with someone with patience and depth. My ML is always about me. It’s what I always wanted from the game, the ability to move clubs, sadly the ultimate AI reliance on screwing you to prevent wins is what has cut short every career but i think the benefit of hindsight with revisiting old Pes’s means I stand more of a chance of seeing it through. Lens are a stepping stone to glory.

  26. Well, I enjoyed my Fathers Day FIFA 19 sessions although I think I’m facing the same challenge in getting into the game fully as I have with every FIFA I’ve played. No surprise there.

    I love the shooting (although scoring is a bit meh) but the general play still feels light and overly complicated to me. No fouls is a real downer and I see they’ve even removed handballs even though the option is still there in settings.

    Ended yesterday with a mammoth PES5 session in the shed, which really isn’t the thing to do if you want to get to grips with FIFA I know. I’ll have the odd match but Career Mode is out until I wi the title on PES5 ML at least once. I’m currently half way in my six-star ML season and six points behind leaders Man Utd.

    On a side note, I’ve conceded just three goals over the last 14 league games in PES5. It doesn’t feel like the AI is that useless in front of goal, but it’s certainly nothing like as ruthless as the recent ‘AI we need’ we’ve experienced in recent nuPES.

  27. My epic Ashes series continues. We are now heading into the last test and it is all level at 2-2. I was hoping to wrap things up in the last test and thought I had set Australia a tough target of 238 but they knocked tbem off with 7 wickets to spare to level things up. In the last test I have made a good start and bowled tbe Aussies all out for 120. This had them rattled and some unusual loose bowling from them has seen me move along to 150-2. After the series has finished I will play on with my individual career and maybe have a World Cup on the go.

  28. Uncle Turf – I still think you’d get more out of any PES by nurturing and loving the Sahounes and Hettiches. A psychiatrist in popular TV drama would suggest that you don’t want to play for longer than a few seasons and you have commitment issues.

    Shed – to go from PES5 – the most perfect fouls ever in a football game, and the gameplay that they bring about because of the discipline imposed on everyone on the pitch – to the complete opposite, almost literally no fouls at all…. I’m predicting a ‘big ask’ for you to play FIFA19 parallel to PES5. I’d finish with the latter before trying again. I had to really work PES2019 out of my system before heading off to other things and it’s working out.

    Darryl – the perfect time of year for you to be playing that game, and if you’re still on it come September… who knows. Is the career mode like BaL, or is it managing a county team à la Master League?

  29. I get bored easily, and I hate the defaults. The only default/youth teamer in the entire history of pes…I’ll say that again for impact…entire history (your Schwarz, your Matthieu, your castolo/is/inalton…) that I have bonded with is 2012s ribeiro. Once seen, never again. Everyone else is beneath me.

    And yet, getting rid of that rubbish is part of the fun, else it would be FIFA every time. While I can’t buy players due to low interest, it appears swapping them is ok. I’ve brought in Freddie woodman in goal and Harry maguire (2017) for giorza. Sahoune has gone and I would willingly accept any bid for anyone else, unfortunately I only have 16 players.

    Happened to hear the meltdown over the France penalty on the radio tonight. ‘If referees are going to apply the letter of the law…it’s certainly not in the spirit of the game…every penalty shootout would take forever….etc etc’ VAR will be a busted flush before long as they simply won’t play to the rules. Apparently french players were encroaching but it wasn’t hauled back for a third time.

  30. Uncle Turf – Ribeiro was indeed a Youth, not a Default, so only just counts. Crazy how a couple of years have made Maguire and Mbappe so much more than they were in season 2016-17. I remember everyone being wild about V Kompany in PES5 too.

    I saw the England-Argentina game on Monday and when England got a penalty I was very interested to see the referee spend ages marshalling all the players and warning them about encroachment. There’d been a VAR-retaken penalty for encroachment the day before I think. As the England player ran up to take the kick, one of the Argentine players took a full nervous step into the box. The kick was of course saved, and I waited with interest to see if VAR would do its thing – it didn’t. I have started to suspect that the VAR overseers are just as capable of making contextual decisions as their on-field counterparts. The Argentina team were all amateurs, and were all celebrating the save – it would have been very difficult in every sense for that kick to be retaken. Think about the story of the underdogs, as well as the sheer bother of having to calm everyone down. And so you can imagine the scene in the VAR room. ‘Shall we…? Shall we…? Nah.’

    You can already see and hear the atmosphere at every Premier League ground next season where that pressure on the VAR officials will be cranked up to 100. ‘Hmmm, Bournemouth have missed the penalty, but Man Utd players were clearly encroaching. It took our colleagues out there on the pitch 5 minutes to calm everyone down to get this one taken. If we get this retaken, all hell will break loose. Think we’ll just sit here and be quiet. No one will mind. It’s “common sense” after all…’

  31. NG – the career mode is more like BAL but is more suited to cricket as you can just concentrate on your own batting/bowling. Plus it has got a very good skills/perks system based upon your performance in the games. I usually play this solely but the Ashes presentation has got me hooked.

  32. Some weird stuff going on in my gaming life at the moment…enjoying 2017, not being able to buy anyone in the most simple squad assembling pes of all time, and now just sacked as manager of Stranraer. I can’t remember the last time I was sacked in FM. I was 6th. The only reason I can think is player power – I stripped the captain of the armband after his third dismissal of the season and we lost 4-0. I’m hugely embarassed. As I have no profile to speak of (I couldn’t even get a Div 2 job) I’ll realistically have to start again. I will do the old random team generator and see what comes up. Sacked from Stranraer though…

  33. nG – I was very much flying the Kompany flag in PES5. He was one of the must-have young centre-backs in the game, although I think I mostly played him as a DMF. Vandenborre, Bos… load up my PES5 save now, you will find them all there!

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