Heading towards Christmas in my first season of FIFA20’s Career Mode. Leeds United. Professional difficulty. On the PC platform. Mods installed.
How’s it going? Pretty bloody fantastic, is how it’s going.
I’m currently enjoying a consistent 9/10 per-sesssion experience across all sessions of FIFA20. I’d even say it’s at a 10/10 level, but that’d be getting silly (even though it’s pretty much the case). Because everyone knows that I can’t play FIFA, right?
Somehow though, I am playing FIFA. Everything else has receded into the background momentarily. I was (and still am) hip-deep in a great FM2019 career, but even that has been relegated to a supporting role for now. I haven’t played my probable Strategy Game Of All Time, XCOM2, at all for two weeks, the first time that’s happened in a long time. Death Stranding is still going, albeit at a reduced rate. (Death Stranding will never end. I think that’s the idea of it.)
Why is FIFA20 so great? Well, for well over a decade now FIFA has been good, at times verging on great, so it’s no real surprise that an edition in the series can close up the gap to the next level that takes it over the line for this diehard PES player. It’s important to remember that I’m playing a souped-up, modded version on PC. Would I be as enamoured of FIFA20 without the mods? Possibly, but I don’t know, and haven’t got the time to play vanilla and find out. I’m having too much of a good time trying to guide Leeds United into the Premier. The Championship table after 12 matches:
Modded FIFA20 on PC has great, slow, heavy gameplay, the stuff that I need at this time of my football gaming life.
And most importantly – the game allows the player to score great goals. Great, satisfying goals. Great, long-range, net-bursting goals…
One of the complaints I consistently had about PES2020 was its almost complete lack of inspiring goals. There was the odd one ‘allowed’, yes – a goal here or there that would have me grinning and shouting and fist-pumping in the non-masturbatory sense and all the rest of it. But fully 99% of all PES2020 goals were of the so-effing-what variety. Sad to say.
FIFA20 does the bread-and-butter goals as well, but it also does long-rangers, thumping headers, free kick routines, toe-pokes, instep swingers, laces rippers, the lot.
Whole weeks of real time would pass in PES2020 without me scoring a single goal worthy of posting on this blog.
Here’s a video of a few goals from my first full week on FIFA20 Career Mode. I didn’t come out with a video like the one below in 8 full seasons of Master League.
Regular readers will know how much I adore scoring from that ‘DMF hole’ about 30 yards out in front of goal. I might have to call it the CAM hole now I’m on FIFA. It’s been a few years since PES allowed scoring from that kind of position with any regularity.
Some might point out that there’s a few too many such ‘CAM hole’ goals on show above. That’s fine by me – I’m playing on Professional only, a middle difficulty level where the amount of space on the pitch and ability shown by opponents is scaled down accordingly. I would expect to be able to score a few goals like this, and I gleefully am scoring them. I’ll be moving up to World Class and perhaps beyond in due course, and I doubt they’ll be so freely available there.
I’m immersed in Career Mode. I almost can’t believe it myself. Bamford is adequate but not spectacular. Hernandez is great, a real gem, but he’s 34 and won’t be here forever. Phillips is a pony-tailed CDM worth every penny of the £16m that teams keep offering me for him (I refuse).
I only bought one player before the transfer window closed. I kept messing up negotiations for players I hadn’t Scouted. You have to Scout in Career Mode. Another layer of complexity.
I Scouted and bought Weimann, who got injured but has come back and started scoring. There’s Training to do. There are Youths to nurture (properly nurture, not simply play and watch develop).
For a FIFA game to come out of the blue at me in January of the football game year is almost without precedent.
I have to look back – way back – to the early PS3 days to find any comparable scenario to this. Back then, from FIFAs 08 to 10, I mixed it up quite a lot and spent whole months at a time playing Manager Mode, as the single-player career was then called.
This has been a long time coming back, but here it is.