Can you hear the drums, Hernandez?

Coming towards the end of the season in Season 1 of my Career Mode on FIFA20 (PC,  moddded).

Still ticking along at a steady 9/10 experience per session. Still marvelling at the slow, steady overall pace.

I really do need that feeling of inertia and heaviness in a football game. FIFA20 bursts into frantic action occasionally, but there’s a proper proportionality to it.

And long-shooting! I still can’t quite believe that this is finally a reality again in a modern-day football game. It is so strange to play a football game ‘nowadays’ where long-range goals are actually permitted. I thought the demands of online balancing killed them off years ago. I am ‘only’ playing on Professional difficulty right now, so we will see what the situation is like on higher levels when I get there (there’s a sneak preview of World Class below). But so far, so blinkin’ great.

Still no fouls, though. This is the only real fly in the FIFA ointment so far. My current average of about 0.75 fouls per match, for both sides, is poor. A great many matches end 0-0 on the fouls front. I could try to do something about that. But it is telling that I’m much more interested in playing the game than rolling my sleeves up and looking under the game’s hood with the Frosty Editor. There are over 6 months of the footy game year left for me to get my hands dirty in FIFA20’s innards.

So yes, a 9/10 score for FIFA so far. If I was a pre-release reviewer, I’ve already played way more of it than any of them ever do, and would unhesitatingly give the game that 9/10.

Whatever the cause of this is, whether it’s the mods, the platform, the timing, the co-existence of a real and growing Football Manager obsession, the disappointing nature of nuPES (particularly 2020), or whatever – this is happening, this is real, and this is showing no signs of ending anytime soon.

The table after 34 matches:

Readers may be aware that I have one player who regularly pops up with 35-yard blockbusters – my absolute favourite type of goal to score in football games (the absence of which is one of the reasons for The Decline Of PES).

That player is Pablo Hernandez, and here he is in the top 3 scorers in the division at the time of writing – not all of these were long-ramgers, but about half were:He’s got a chance of topping that table from the CAM position, particularly if the long-rangers keep flying in as they do. I’ll be on Professional at least until season’s end.

His latest long-ranger is one of the greatest, and is the first goal on show in today’s mini-compilation of ‘moments’. There is quite a miscellany of moments on show below. There is also an absolute glaring miss, which I can excuse on account of the ball unexpectedly going to Hernandez when I was trying to square it to a different player completely, and so my timing was thrown way off.

That’s a massive plus-point for FIFA, by the way: the timing required for everything. Even on vanilla assisted settings on FIFA20, it punishes mis-timed button-presses by daring to portray wayward passing and shooting.

As the weeks and months pass my PES muscle memories and expectations will start to fade. This could be the start of a full-on transition to ‘the other side’. I am thinking about this a lot as my expectations and habits start to take on a FIFA cast. It’s exciting and interesting, but also scary.

Here is a full match I recorded especially – a home Quarter Final in the Carabao Cup against Man Utd. I played this on World Class just to see what it was like. The full match:

The way the AI played in this match and the overall experience of it simply blew me away. FIFA20 (PC, modded) feels like the perfect game of football so much of the time. Worth watching just to see Pogba’s header from the edge of the box.

Updated: 7th February 2020 — 12:07


  1. Love the way Shaw sold Hernandez like a killer to whip that cross in for Pogba’s header.

    Great goal from Hernandez at the top of the clip too.

    I did some scouting and have signed a player from Wolfsburg, who has the Long Range Shooting trait and long range shots stats is 87, so hopefully may bag a few of these myself soon.

    Its great to see and feel so much variation in shots in FIFA, every single shot in PES would take on the same generic floaty path, so every shot felt the same and underwhelming, in FIFA, I’ve seen low stooped headers, diving looped headers, drives, flicks with the outside of the bot, daisy cutters, curlers, and no 2 shots are ever the same, a laces drive from the edge of the box with one player may have a low driven dip to it, whereas with another it may rise slightly, always feels new.

    Have you figured out FK’s now? They’re tricky to get used to, but once you do, they’re quite straight forward.

    I also downloaded RDBM, a FIFA database manager, that lets you edit in game values, much like Frosty, but real-time, you load the squad file you are using in, which in my case is the FIFER 1.3 Hotfix Squads file (did you load this into your CM?) and it displays all the games values in the database editor ready to tweak.

    From, the colours of short fonts and numbers, to shirt lettering colours, stadium assignments, adboard allocation etc, but one section of note was ‘Referee’ where it lists every single individual Referee in the game (theres tons) their name, values for physical appearance such as eyebrow Id etc, but 2 sections there are ‘Card Strictness’ and ‘Foul Strictness’.

    The values for foul strictness ranges from 0 to 2, and all the refs have a mixed value of 0,1 or 2.
    I assumed 0 was super lenient, and 2 was super strict, so changed every Ref’s foul strictness value to 2, and loaded up the game and played a match, I was able to pull off some very blatant fouls and not a single foul was given all game, so I’m thinking maybe the scale is in reverse logic, 2 is super lenient, and 0 is super strict.

    My next task is to change all the values to 0 and play a game and see if that brings about more fouls, I will report back when I do, or if you fancy having a play yourself I can hook you up with the tools.

  2. Paul – I’m about to head into my weekend of work, doubt I’ll be in-game until Monday (or Sunday night, best-case) and I now can’t wait to try that Ref ID thing for myself. If you get a chance to try it with them on 0 I’ll be fascinated to hear the results. Just an uptick of 2 or 3 per match would be great.

    That World Class vs Man U, was tough. I can see me getting not very many long-rangers at all with Hernandez or anyone else when I move up. Not that there’s any prospect of that just yet. Professional is still comfy but tough. As my results indicate, I can run out easy winners one match but then strangely stuggle the next. Just like the real Leeds then…

    I’m getting there with FKs, as that little clip shows. I included it because it’s the first time in any footy game that I’ve seen the ball hit the sharp point where the outside of post and crossbar meet – and ping off at a realistic velocity!

  3. I will tinker over the weekend (probably sunday for me too) and report back.

    I usually get 1 or 2 fouls minimum most games on vanilla, an extra 2 or 3 would be nice.

    Theres so much variation between team abilities and player stats that its realistic in the sense that as palace, I do well against all those teams around me, Newcastle, Brighton, Norwich etc, but play any of the better teams, a Spurs, Liverpool, Man Utd, (not so much), Wolves etc and its much harder, as it should be.

    Did you load the FIFER realism squad file into your CM ?

    and when you come to the end of the season you really should try the OS slider settings, adds so much more randomness to the matches, players misplacing passes, losing control etc.

  4. Paul – I haven’t added the squad update in, no. Is it too late to add after starting, is it essential for the in-game editor? Yes and no, probably, I’m thinking, and if so I’m fine with that – I’ll swing by the squads whenever I start my lower-league CM in the spring/summer.

    I will definitely give the OS sliders a try… but should I risk upsetting the applecart given that I’m currently loving vanilla sliders so much? I think I need to coast along just enjoying FIFA20 for now. This is already semi-miraculous and I don’t want to interrupt it.

  5. I’m in it’s 29.99 on digital sale on PS4 this week so that will force me to play it and not trade it for longer. I’ll admit it’s half superstition because I played it last season more than PES in the end and that turned out well. So here we go again. Let’s keep Villa up and play some 5 a side.

  6. NG – Ahhh, the FIFER squads add a lot more to the realism mod as they are all realistic stats, and have better retirement ages, emotional stats, mentality stats etc, it all ties in much better with the game play mod.
    That’s where you get the English players not often going abroad, foreign players taking time to adjust etc.

    The squads file also contains all the other data for the DB editor such as ref strictness, of course you can load the default squad file in and change that up if thats the one you are using, its just that the FIFER squad file ties in with the mod.

    And No, seeing as you are enjoying the game so much i wouldn’t worry about taking up the OS sliders for now, but definitely would if/when you start a lower league CM.
    Beauty of course with the sliders is that if you try them and for whatever reason don’t like them, you can just reset them back to default in a second.

    I just know the game is 20 x better with them, having played so much FIFA last few years, I can see the difference easily vs Vanilla.

    PRS – PS4 version will still be a great game, just a shame you cant experience what we are experiencing on the PC.

  7. NG – Don’t get too excited, but just had chance to test the fouls tweak, and I was purposely trying to foul and trying to draw fouls more than i would during normal play, but ……………

    View post on

  8. Paul – It’s time for a new one, PES has ran it’s course with me already, unfortunately. I should’ve gone with FIFA sooner but kept hoping PES would make it back to the demo state. If FIFA ripped off the Master League we would be flying.

  9. PRS – WHAT!?!!?! Nooooooooooooo!!!
    The last thing we need is the stale, hollow, shallowness of a Master League in FIFA, Career Mode is head and shoulders above Ml, in every aspect!!!
    Why the hell would you want the mode that has deteriorated so much in FIFA?

  10. Paul – I’m excited.

    Sadly my excitement has to go on hold until Sunday or Monday.

    prsgame – I second that, still reluctantly as ML meant so much to me for so many years (decades really). CM never consistently had the gameplay to back it up IMO, until now. Probably it always had the gameplay but it took a severe stutter by PES to tip me over.

  11. Paul – would you not love to start with a made-up team and players then have the superior negotiations, youth etc that FIFA have brought in? You can probably recreate it, but I like it as a separate mode in front of me.

  12. All that is possible on the PC version of FIFA PRS.
    Right now, if I wanted, I could change say Morecambe in League 2 to ‘FIFAFX FC’, load in a custom badge, custom kits, assign it a stadium, and start in a proper licensed League 2, and work my way up through the full English professional league system, complete with trophies and everything.

    Sure, the option when starting a career mode to choose ‘Fantasy Team’ and play like that would be easier, and available to PS4 etc, but would never happen due to licensing and image rights etc that FIFA have to conform to.

    I can’t ever see, whilst its in the state its in, PES and ML ever featuring in my life again, possibly for the first month of each new release until the FIFA modding tools etc are updated, only to play friendlies or whatever, but this world of FIFA customisation on PC had just shown how dead ML is.

  13. Right, that’s rise of the tomb raider finished. Really liked it, much less quick time, enjoyed the story, well worth the thruppence it cost or thereabouts. But…but…but…something I realised as I reached the last chapter. Not that I wasn’t aware of this I just hadn’t quite acknowledged it much. When I was young I had a load of spectrum games (all squeezed onto a few c90s of course). I finished quite a few of them – atic atac, jetpac et al. But I would still dig them out to play another day. With the likes of tomb raider and other platform jumpy shooty fps stealthy things there is no chance I will ever play them beyond the first one. And there is no chance you will not finish them (as long as you don’t give up). There are so many save points that you can try ‘that leap’, ‘that boss’ etc repeatedly without even playing back through the level. Ninja gaiden sigma they aren’t which feels so weird as it used to be such a badge of honour to finish a game. That’s why I keep coming back to sports games, just imagine if they gave you ten seasons then said game over. It was a weird realisation of just how much I value open world or endless gaming and how much easier some titles have become.

    Btw – ikea…is that a reflection on coventry’s taste for avoiding student digs furniture or a sad indictment of economic circumstances?

  14. prsgame — the edge that PES always had, gameplay, is all but gone for me. You can have an ML-like experience with CM without resorting to modding, via the strong Youth system. I think Master League is done really. PES2020’s version is a shocker. Even the minuscule amount of layers that it had in previous years were ruthlessly ripped out. Before, it would force you to look at things like the Best XI of the month and things like that by showing them to you after the calendar had progressed. But somebody had the brght idea to tell you that you could go to another menu to look at them if you wanted to. If the alleged 3-year plan for Master League was to make it the least compelling it’s ever been, the plan succeeded.

    Paul – it could be that my next encoutner with PES will be to download the PES2021 demo one sunny day in August. Of course it’ll have fouls in it. nuPES demos always do, honeytrap style.

    Uncle Turf – I wandered into that Ikea store once whilst walking the streets of Coventry looking for a store that would break release date for (I think) PES2013. I was looking for a public toilet. I wandered around the strange empty lobby and wandered out again.

    Story games are like the Olympics for me. One every 4 years. Otherwise for the reasons you mention and many others, sports and strategy games are the only way a game can be a constant presence in my life.

  15. Well I’ve had a good weekend with FIFA across all modes. Probably spent too much time on the indoor. It plays a good game. More blood and thunder than PES and the AI definitely react to the situation better.

  16. Had a quick return to pes 2020 and my arsenal opportunity last night. 0-0 awful, dominated possession, no routes to goal. They really have killed the variety on superstar, it’s just a slog every game. I may bumble along one or two matches at a time but there is no feeling in it any more.

  17. Prsgame – did you play Volta online? How is it?

    Uncle Turf – the one thing PES2020 has done for me is to prepare me for the inevitable false PES2021 demo in August. I will not believe anything it tries to tell me. And by then I might have been completely reprogrammed by FIFA anyway of course.

    Paul – I’ve got the Editor files and will be ploughing ahead later – after I play the long session I’ll be blogging about tomorrow. Testament to how good I’m finding my existing FIFA20 setup that I’m looking forward to playing it before testing out a possible referee fouls ‘fix’!

  18. Turf – Flogging a dead horse mate, PES is well and truly dead in every sense.

    NG – That littered fouls match was a ‘friendly’ and may have been a one off, I’ve had mixed encounters since, some matches with just 1 or 2 fouls, and others with more, one where I won 2-1 and all 3 goals were penalties, and there was a straight Red.

    Make sure you take a copy of your career save file before editing it with RDBM, in case anything goes wrong you can just revert.

    I’ve also been seeing, in season 2 of my CM, some ridiculous stats, Spurs, who pipped Liverpool to the league last season, are top again, and have scored 36 goals in 9 games, winning 5 and 6 nil every week, that must be a by product of the mod, not that impressed with it, didnt see this in season one.

  19. Paul – some of the chatter I saw around the Realism mod reported similar bizarre results, which is only to be expected with fan-made tools really. It’s something I’m quite relaxed about on the PC side (for now) as I’ve been modding other games for a few years on PC and it’s something I see from time to time. On football games, though, we expect certain constraints on excess. Keep an eye on the Spurs thing (as I will on my game world’s happenings), and if need be we’ll see if using the various tools there will be ways to modify the mod.

    I will get on the RDBM later – is there a written installation/instruction webpage (must be a single written webpage!)?

    As ever the YouTube tutorial is a waste of time. It’s not just FIFER, it’s all instructional vids on YouTube, it seems. Why oh why do YouTube tutorial makers follow the same ghastly routine:

    1. So you want to learn the best way to paint a wall?
    2. You Google it and spot a very nice-looking video on the best way to paint a wall.
    3. Great! Exactly what you had in mind. You click it.
    4. The video starts. The introduction tells you that this is a video about the best way to paint a wall. Um. Okay. I knew that, but fine, let’s get to the point now.
    5. THe video keeps telling you that this is a video about the best way to paint a wall. Getting annoyed now…
    6. The video interrupts itself to tell you about its other videos and/or a sponsor or two. Gritted teeth time. The clock counter shows a few minutes have passed.
    7. Finally we’re back at the main event. The best way to paint a wall. The video tells you that’s what it’s about (AGAIN) but you’ve stuck with it this far so you might as well go on to the bitter end now.
    8. Finally we’re into it, and OH SHIT it’s aimed at people who don’t know what paint is, and the video babysteps them through all the concepts surrounding paintbruishes and paint and walls…
    9. You exit the video pronto and look for a good old webpage-only step-by-step guide that assumes you already know what paintbrushes and paint and walls are, and that you can read and understand in literally 30 seconds.

    So the question is – where’s the number 9 guide to the RDBM? I had a quick look but every breadcrumb trail led to one of FIFER’s “this is a file that exists on a computer, and you must click on the file, and then look at the file” videos. Can’t watch.

  20. NG No am terrified of Volta online with all the hipster kids who would rather panna me than score a goal. How did a simple, nuts or meg turn to panna?

    It’s a decent challenge against the AI. I’m on World-class on FIFA from last years edition.

  21. NG – I had to LOL at your summary of the videos, exactly right too.
    RDBM is dead easy to use though, you’re an intelligent guy so I wont insult you by going over what the FIFER video does, but basically:

    Install RDBM

    You can then load different types of files into it, you can find the files at your default location (usually documents/FIFA20/settings)
    In here you will find career mode save files and squad files.

    Asd you seem to be using the default EA squad files you would need to click Open in RDBM and select that squad file from the above location, you can then manually edit any of the values under any of the categories, click save and it saves your amendments back to the file.

    If you want career mode specific values, change the file selector type under open file in RDBM to ‘Career Mode files’ and select your most recent career mode save (usually tell by the latest modified date)

    Under the different tabs DB1, DB2 etc you will find various values, such as ref strictness, force inflatables or confetti for matches, archway entrance, default ball, right through to player stats.

    Typically you make any team or player changes to the squads file and any UI, game play or career mode specific changes to the career save file.

    when you’re done changing values, just save the file

    you can export tables to excel for editing or bulk editing, and re-import it back into RDBM

    You DONT have to have FIFA open to use RDBM

    Always backup any squad or career save file before editing it.

  22. Paul – for the life of me I cannot find a link to any RDBM for FIFA20. The only one I can find is RDBM19 which I presume is for FIFA19. Is that the one? I see it does work with multiple FIFA versions.

  23. NG – did post a link here twice, but comments just disappeared both times, doesnt say awaiting moderation either, but yeah RDBM 19 works perfectly fine with FIFA 20, anything from FIFA 16 onwards should work with 20.

    I got mine from soccergaming thread

  24. Paul – I got it fine, thank you, no sign at all of your attempted comments. I’ve always had a problem with the WordPress software randomly chewing up comments with links in (against explicit instructions).

    I played a wonderful 8-match session without even dreaming about testing RDBM, just focused on the game I have right now, as it should be. I’ll look later at RDBM out of curiosity.

  25. Just played a slew of matches, they get better and better!
    Just posted a video in the comments on FIFAFX, showing a nice little graphical addon I made with RDBM

  26. Paul – I caught your vid on my recommendeds earlier tonight… after my own magnificent session that just does keep getting better and better.

    I opened up the database in RDBM and had a poke around, backed out without saving anything as I hadn’t backed up my current setup first (cardinal rule of modding). I’ll be all over that soon enough.

  27. NG – One IMPORTANT factor you must know…..

    If loading in a career save file to RDBM, there will be several files as the PC ver use automatic auto-save, make sure you load in the latest one (filename will have date that responds to the day you are at on the in-game calendar) make your changes in RDBM, and click Save, this then creates a copy of the career save file.

    So when you go back into FIFA, do NOT just choose continue career, move over to the ‘Play’ tile and RS through the career tile until you see ‘Load Career’ choose that then load in the save created by RDBM, otherwise you will NOT see any changes you made.

    This caught me out the first few times.

    Still hit and miss with fouls, some matches can have 2 or 3 penalties, red cards, other matches just one foul, its not the ref foul strictness thats an issue from what I see, its the lack of CPU aggression/will in making challenges that could lead to a foul.
    99% of time, if its a foul, its given, but there just aren’t usually a high enough number of foul-likely challenges from the AI.

    Frosty for that, if you know what to look for, I dont.

  28. Paul – I’m onto all that, had a late fiddle last night but like I say backed out without saving anything – I will back up that entire folder before committing to anything. No matter how careful you think you’re being there’s always the chance of inadvertent overwriting.

    Re. fouls, it’s always been the case that if the gameplay is good enough, the issue recedes or even disappears. And the existing mods do yield a scattering of fouls for me.

    Did you get your third hard drive sorted out? I ask because last night I approached my last 100GB free space on my 2nd 1TB drive. I do have a lot of Steam games and media though.

  29. NG – The only time I really notice lack of fouls being an issue is when im actively looking for them, ie after trying a mod tweak or whatever, like you say the game play is so good and so varied that I often forget about minimal fouls.

    I haven’t done anything about my 3rd HD yet but definitely will within next few weeks.

    I have about 200Gb of the 250GB available on my M.2 SSD which is used solely for the windows OS, everything else goes onto my 500GB SSD, of which there is only 200GB left, and I only have FIFA 20, PES20, and GTA V installed, plus a load of mods, modding software, images, video captures etc.

    I was looking at a 1TB Samsung Evo SSD for about £130, my only quibble is how to install it, looking at my PC innards, its all immaculately tidy, no wires or nothing, can only assume that all the cabling etc is housed in a void at the bottom of the case with a blanking plate over it, so would involve me unscrewing all that and finding out where/how to mount the SSD and where it plugs in to ? Assuming it would need to plug into the Motherboard via SATA cable and into the PSU ?

    Well out of the PC build game after so many years away from it in Mac world.

    I’ve ordered a set of anti-static wrist bands ready to do the job, so it is gonna happen, also have more RAM coming too so will give me 32GB of DDR 4 @2666Mhz

  30. Paul – no need to worry, all your wiring is in a ‘wall cavity’ behind the motherboard on the vertical side of the PC. I assume one side of your PC is a transparent panel that you can easily remove – well you’ll have a side panel on the other side too, and all the wires are neatly tucked away behind that. When you take that other panel off you should discover a spare power cable for you to attach the hard drive to, and then you just have to connect it to the motherboard with a SATA cable or similar.

    No unscrewing of floor panels or the like (unless you’ve got a non-standard current PC design). Look for thumbscrews or latches on the rear casing that release the panels – behind it you’ll see something that looks like the top picture in this article:

    It’s then a matter of finding where to screw the hard drive onto within the PC. If you look carefully you should see 3 or 4 spare hard drive slots with screwholes. You can just screw the SSD direct to them, no caddy needed. Soem people just leave a new SSD dangling free. On a difficulty scale it’s a 1/10. Maybe even a 0.5/10 as the main bother is having to take the other side panel off and then put it back on nicely once you’ve meddled with the manufacturer’s lovely cable management.

  31. Cheers for that NG, one side of my PC is a glass windows that unscrews, dont think theres a removeable panel on the opposite side, but think you may be right in saying that cables are housed behind a ‘screen’ plate behind motherboard, I’ll take a pic and post it later.

    quite confident I can do it no worries, just want to be as clued up as poss before I start fiddling with things.

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