The Pointer Sitters

Freshly-relegated Huddersfield Town gave me my stiffest test yet in my FIFA20 adventure. An adventure that is still going on. Not even the slightest sign of a traditional FIFA wobble here. Quite the opposite. FIFA20, on PC, with mods, is steady as a rock. At this stage I could play FIFA20 indefinitely.

I’ve started getting used to Professional difficulty. I’m still finding it tough enough that I’m only thinking about moving up to World Class, but I decided to play one test game on that level just to see what it felt like.

Cue a proper thrashing from a rampant AI.

This was the team and formation I went with for the World Class-level match away to Huddersfield. I also plumped for 7-minute halves.I present below the final five minutes of the above match. As we join it I am already 3-0 down. I post this segment of the match here so that the curious can see just what the modded AI on the PC version of FIFA20 can play like. Also what the low-down Broadcast camera looks like at one stadium in particular (it’s different at all). And there’s a penalty somewhere in here – for me! This penalty accounts for the ‘1’ bit of the 5-1 scoreline.

Three more big sessions since the last time and I’m still having an overall 9/10 level experience with FIFA20(PC, modded).

The lack of fouls is starting to become noticeable. There are options there – a fully-featured modding Editor for me to tinker with on PC – but it’s a testament to the overall quality of the gameplay that I can’t tear myself away from it for long enough.

I’m sure I will go a-modding eventually. Even if it’s a doomed quest. The Frosty Editor is the Lost Ark to my Indiana Jones. But as I say, for now, I’m not too bothered.

There’s plenty of time. We’re still over a month short of the halfway stage of the footy game year. I keep mentioning this because there’s a sense ‘out there’ that the footy game year is pretty much over – or if not over, that it’s so old that it might as well be over. But the truth is that it’s not yet even middle-aged. If the footy game year were a single day, it’s only about eleven o’clock in the morning.

The Championship table with January approaching:

I’m going to get promoted, as long as I stay on Professional of course.

Finally today yet another compilation of good goals and, for comparison, some ordinary goals. This clip contains 8 discrete talking points, which I talk about afterward:

NUMBER 1: yet another long-range goal from Hernandez – my whippet-like CAM with the thundering right foot. Nobody else has got a long-ranger for me so far. Shooting in general is a great plus-point for FIFA, but I am LOVING the distance shooting in particular. I posted this goal in comments a few days ago but here it is again for those who missed it.

Sorry about the mouse pointer in the middle of the screen, by the way. I genuinely did not notice it until it was pointed out to me. Which is incredible when you consider where it is and just how close to the action it is. How could I not see it? But no, I didn’t. The mouse pointer is due to a bad habit Ive picked up on the PC. Alt-Tabbing out of the game to check something or do something else on the computer.

NUMBER 2: not much later that same game, Hernandez got ANOTHER long-ranger. This one from a shorter distance and a slight angle, and a more subtle execution than his others so far. This was an R2 finesse shot that the game portrayed as a flick with the outside of the right boot. Lovely, as the slow-mo demonstrates. Sorry about the mouse pointer again.

NUMBER 3: This is an ordinary goal on the face of it, included here because of the way the ball bobbles just before it reaches Phillips in the box. I spotted that bobble in real-time and delayed my shot until the ball actually reached me. FIFA punishes mis-timed presses far more than a certain other game ever does. Sorry again about the mouse pointer in the middle of the screen.

NUMBER 4: a corner routine that I try whenever there’s a player in enough space lurking outside the box. This is the closest I’ve come. One day…

NUMBER 5: a nice straightforward bread-and-butter goal. See, FIFA does do them too.

NUMBERS 6 AND 7: two nice and tidy AI goals, to show that the AI not only does score against me but can play a bit too. The breakaway goal from Reading is of course the better goal, but the well-worked one from Luton (whose kit looks like training bibs) was nice too.

NUMBER 8: a preview of my first big signing, due to arrive in January. I’m very excited. Bamford is good but not great up front for me right now. Ditto Weismann, the journeyman striker I picked up in the first window. Aboubakar is going to be a proper striker by the looks of things. Only £8m too.

Individuals are real in FIFA20. I’ve played too much of the game and experienced too many unmistakable individualistic moments for there to be any other conclusion. PES loyalties be damned. FIFA20 is the real deal.

Updated: 4th February 2020 — 10:08


  1. That Bloody Mouse pointer, slap bang in the middle of the screen!!!
    I find it incredible how you do not see that when playing, at one point i mistakenly tried moving my own mouse out of the way so I could see what was going on!!! But it was your damn mouse pointer!!! haha!

    Looks like you are well bedded in with F20, I do feel a slight sense of delight having you on board the FIFA train, as my gleeful gushing of the game in 2018, then last year in 2019, is showing just how good the game can be when you give it proper time.

    I know the mods are a big part but they don’t change the core game play all that much, they just make it much more appealing to spend proper time on the game rather than ditching it after 5 matches which is what usually happens.

    The AI can definitely play, wait until you get into the Premier League, you’re in for a treat, if every stadium fully licensed, awesome presentation, and real intense matches where star players actually look and play like star players and tear you a new one, with the likes of Mané and Salah ripping your fullbacks to pieces, or Aguero sniping from the edge of the box, are your thing then the game is only going to get better for you.

    If I ever alt-Tab out of the game to do something, when going back into the game, the controller selector moves manically on its own whizzing around the menus, you can’t stop it, only fix is to quit FIFA entirely, go into game controllers, calibrate the controller again and reload FIFA, it does it every time if i tab out of the game and come back in, it did it with my other IFYOO controller and does it with my XBOX One controller, reading the forums it seems a lot of people experience it and has been a FIFA Bug for years, I take it you don’t see this?

    That bloody mouse pointer!!!!

  2. Paul – I also find it incredible and interesting how I didn’t notice the mouse pointer until it was pointed out to me – considering it’s slap-bang in the centre of the screen and mere pixels away from the main action at all times. An interesting perceptual quirk similar to the famous ‘invisible gorilla’ experiment that discovered about half of all people will fail to see something incredibly obvious that they’re not expecting to see whilst they’re concentrating on something else. 20+ years of footy gaming without the possibility of a mouse cursor in the middle my screen means I don’t expect to see it and therefore my perception edits it out.

    I don’t get the controller bug! Not entirely anyway. Every now and then my controller does do a weird thing where it’ll auto-move to the rightmost selection in one of FIFA20’s main menu screens, and the d-pad buttons won’t move up/down on the vertical email Inbox screen (the analogue up/down works fine) – but a full-on meltdown, no, never had that.

    FIFA20 has got legs and I find the gameplay mods do have an effect. I played vanilla a few months ago and liked it, but it left me mostly indifferent. The change in quality is apparent from the outset with mods. Of course there’s a whole suite of mods all working together to create the appearance (cosmetic, gameplay) of drastic change when perhaps it is minimal – but whether it’s real or illusion I love it.

    And I’ll be digging into Frosty soon enough, it’s just that when I get time to play I just want to play for now. As I say in the post above, we’re not even close to being halfway through the footy game year yet. While I’m in the ‘gotta play’ zone, I want to play. There’ll be time for my own modding.

  3. Like the way that you actually see your nose but your brain decides to ignore it.

    I have the occasional dig into the vast deep Frosty world too but mins turn to hours and by the time you’ve spent ages trawling through various directories, and files and values, trying to work out what they mean, changing them, exporting to a mod, firing the game up then testing the tweaks, a whole night has passed through just tinkering

    Keep me posted on your exploits though as there’s so much to be tweaked, and understand, 2 heads are better than one.

    You notice the game play mod right away with regards to the intensity of derby and cup matches, relegation battles, and the overall aggressiveness and intelligence of the AI, certainly not placebo.

  4. And I scored another Hernandez long-range special! I’ll save it for Friday’s post. This was in a session of 8 matches. I’m averaging one long-ranger per FIFA20 session at the moment, which is exactly the proportion I expect and want in a football game. (Much better than one a season, if I was lucky, in recent years on PES.) I do try them with other players and can get close, but only Hernandez seems allowed to score them right now.

    I have also been ploughing on with my BK Avarta FM2019 save, now just past the mid-winter break in Season 3 (2020-21). FM is partly responsible for my seeming conversion to FIFA, because of the appetite it created in me for the added complexity of Career Mode over Master League. (Will I ever be able to return to nuPES ML now? Or to nuPES?)

    I haven’t gone into detail about my FM2019 play in the posts as I’m caught up in the excitement of FIFA20 right now and that’s the main focus. But a refresher here for the interested and/or the sceptical, is in order. Can Football Manager sit comfortably inside a busy adult life, alongside other games and activities?

    I started as an unemployed nobody with zero coaching qualifications or experience, and was (unrealistically of course) offered the manager job by BK Avarta in the Danish 3rd tier. Currently in Season 3 I have got them up to the NordicBet Liga (Denmark’s 2nd tier) where we started well, winning our first four matches on the bounce to become one of those early-season surprise packages that sometimes happens in real life. I started to dream of back-to-back promotion, and the prospect of taking on the likes of FC Copenhagen and Brondby in the top tier. Then… I lost 7 matches in a row. Some of them proper thumpings. And currently sit 4 points and two places above the relegation zone. My semi-pro team had found their level, and that level was the predicted level of battling against relegation. I thought I’d lost the dressing room for a while there, and things are still a bit iffy.

    The Danish leagues have a proper winter break from end of November to early March, so when we broke up in in November it was with relief. 4 months to sort out some new players and a tactical rethink. Whenever the players return in March it’s like a pre-season all over again, playing 4-5 friendlies to get fitness back up to snuff. Started well and the players I brought in over the winter break are scoring goals, which is what helps. My current formation and First XI:

    The player pictures are about 2/3rds from the massive facepack (180,000+) I downloaded from somewhere. To have faces provided for Danish lower-league players is a great indicator of just how in-depth the FM community goes. Also there are authentic badges and kits for every team in every league, which is astounding. I haven’t been into CM/FM deep enough for many years to be aware that the community has business taken care of. In PES I was always a bit ‘meh’ about having an authetic footballing game world, but in FM, weirdly, I have to have everything. Even then there are always a few of the most obscure faces missing – but I looked for and added a few of those player pictures myself, which is easily done. The CF, the GK, and both CBs above are pictures I located myself on obscure websites, and also the RB – and this is the only picture I found online of the unfortunate L Henriksen:

    At the time of writing we have just won an important relegation 6-pointer 4-2, at home, after going 0-1 down early on, so it was one of the best results of the season and potentially decisive, I feel, as it’s changed the chemistry of the squad. Yes, I have got to the point with FM2019 where if my Wingers/Inside Forwards get in behind the opposition defence, and greedily shoot instead of squaring it to a free teammate, I shout at them. I shout at them.

  5. NG – Good to hear about your FM career again, I watched a couple of episodes of Park to Prem on Youtube, you’ve probably seen him, in charge of Tow Law Town or something, it does make me want to play FM but I know I just can’t, there just isn’t any time or space for it in my life, so your updates go some way to satisfying the urge.

    Heaviness, Player individuality, some fouls, presentation, real stadiums, long range goals…… FIFA 20 is fulfilling your ardent footy game checklist and some.

  6. Paul — FM was a gap in my gaming history that I was determined to fill. I had not had a serious tilt at CM/FM since FM2010, really, and that was quite a part-time effort back then (I remember playing 2 matches per day, a few times a week). My last real effort at it has to be CM4 back in 2003 or so. I think it’s a combination now of me wanting to do it, and the nature of the game having changed in recent years, i.e. instead of having a Lite mode they’ve given the player all the options in-game to offload duties to staff members. And the new design is very compelling. The match engine is great now too. You can really see your players pressin and biting into tackles etc., who’s playing well or badly, the lot. A few problems (1-on-1s result in a goal much less than you’d expect), but overall the matches are a great watch.

    FIFA20’s heaviness is a huge part in its attraction. That feeling when players tangle and the controller gives that little rumble… fantastic. the long-rangers help too, although I wonder if I’ll ever get any with any player other than Hernandez! I think the CAM position is FIFA’s equivalent of my Mathieu-like ‘DMF Hole’ though.

    I actually have other highlights to show off on Friday as well as the Hernandez long-ranger, so here it is, the latest and I think my favourite so far — different from the others because it’s at a slight angle, and with hernandez’ left peg, also the keeper is caught out slightly, which I LOVE after nuPES’s auto-positioned keepers.

  7. Handsome goal!!!
    Hard to judge because the pitch lines are differing widths but looks about 28 yards out!

    You’ll have to make sure you track down Hernandez’s re-gen when it comes about, which of course wont be named Hernandez or even look like him, but is his soul and skills and traits.

  8. Paul – yes there’s no ready-reckoner pitch guide as in PES, but I’m thinking 30+ virtual yards!

    At the moment I’m interested in scoring a few with another player. I do keep trying…

    I said the above is my favourite so far, but it’s my second-favourite really. My favourite Hernandez has to be the Bobby Charlton-style one from a few sessions ago – this one:

    They all seem to be in the away kit, oddly.

  9. Maybe that Black kit is the equivalent of the excrement kit !!!
    That clip above is definitely the best goal, love the way it rises into the roof of the net!!!

    A proper banger!

  10. Fifa is the real deal – you have me curious at this now. I did the full treble in last years version after PES fell away. I’ll see how the next few weeks how the real season pans out. Is the indoor mode any good?

  11. prsgame – the game semi-forces you to play a round of Volta on first install (skippable, but once you’re there you think ‘might as well…’) and I quite liked it, some rave about it, but only 1 match played for me so I can’t say for sure. The main game though is the real deal. As it might have been in previous years, but this year a perfect storm of factors have brought me on board.

    Paul – if I take up with CCFC at any stage in this FIFA20 adventure I’ll need an excrement kit! Doubt I will touch base with Cov though, I find myself wanting to try other things and teams.

  12. I will see where this Crystal palace career takes me but I really fancy, and almost went for, a La Liga Career mode.
    Take someone like Betis, or Mallorca or mid to lower table team and try to break Real and Barca’s dominance, complete with spanish commentary.

    with the FIFER CM mod even the Italian second division is licensed so an Empoli or Perrugia CM even. So Many choices.

  13. After two very late nights (with early get ups) I have finished the story of Death Stranding. An incredible experience that will stay with me. I won’t talk much about the game as you simply must experience it for yourself. Back on Fifa at the weekend as I really couldn’t play anything other than a footy game next. Problem going forward is what game can you play after that?

  14. Darryl – Playing DS in 1 hour chunks at the mo. I love the open landscape and love/hate the sound of thunder knowing BT’s are around the corner. It’s one of the most tense games I have ever played.

    Last night I nearly gave up after being tasked getting some tools for some snotty dude. Place riddled with BT’s, scraped out of there by the skin of my teeth, BB offline and no grenades left…playing it again tonight 🙂

  15. Darryl/werd – I’ve been playing DS in hour-long chunks too, most mornings for me though. It’s pretty much occupying the space that PES and ML used to until FIFA came along. It gets hammered by the unbelievers for being too much like life but there’s real game later on (it is SO reminiscent of the meat of MGS5 in so many ways). The story is the best in any game, hands down, and of course baffling as the proverbial. I’m just coming to the part where I’m thinking ‘is this really going to happen!’ and knowing Kojima it might, but I think I’d have heard about it in the Daily Mail by now if it was going to happen, so it probably won’t…

  16. NG/Werd – It really does play into your psychology as you really fear those BT’s and will do anything to avoid them. Plus the music is so haunting, which makes the game. Never heard of Low Roar prior to Death Stranding. Have started to listen to some of their music, which is an experience in itself.

  17. NG/Darryll – it really gets under the skin the tension I believe is its masochistic reward. The cut scenes are so well done and I never felt I had to skip one.
    I tried using ladders and scouting around the fringes of an area trying not to engage the BT’s, the game knows this and punishes me by saying no go. I still have not learned how to sneak past them and end up hammering square and trying to run when grabbed by the black gooey figures.

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