Thumping for joy

Fantastic to get to the Premier League and be welcomed by a gorgeous new colour scheme.The FIFA20(PC) gameplay continues to be some of the best I’ve ever known in a football game. Until I explicitly say otherwise, I am playing Vanilla gameplay. Same as on console. And with no slider adjustments.

I have got one mod in operation, a Broadcast camera mod. Arguably this is a gameplay mod, as it radically changes the field of view and the overall experience of how you play. But that’s not a game mechanic thing, it’s a subjective feel thing.

Still makes a great difference though, not least because every stadium can have its own unique look. E.g., I played at Molineux and found a wonderful low-slung angle that made the game feel alive and vibrant in a way it would not have with a standard video-game camera. So even though I’m not running a gameplay mod (for now), the camera mod is almost filling in for one.

I played in the pre-season tournament, got knocked out in the groups, but scored this 25-yarder that’s most notable for being the first longish range FIFA20 goal scored in the white kit:

I’ve been playing on Professional difficulty with Legacy defending until now. For my first match in the Premier League, away to Liverpool, I decided to sample what World Class difficulty played like.

This is what World Class played like:Okay. That’s good, actually. Life in the Premier League shouldn’t be easy. This is what I’ve got to look forward to on World Class!

For my second match in the Premier League, I returned to Professional difficulty. At home to Spurs. No problem, right? Blow on Spurs and they fall over, right?


WHAT. I double-checked the setting just to be sure. Professional it was. OK then. Right.

Next match, Wolves away, still on Professional.

I decided to switch to Tactical Defending.

This is FIFA’s own version of defending that all PESheads tend to turn off quickly. but after this one match, I think I’m a convert.

Not that it helped me here. I’ve got a video at the end of the post that shows some of the comical defending I was doing on Tactical. Here is the result of the match:You pissing wot, m8?

The possession stats alone here give away that I was using a new Defending control scheme.

3 matches played in the Premier League and I had received 3 proper thumpings, and had yet to score a goal.

My next match was away to lowly old Mansfield Town in the Carabao Cup. I wanted to persist with Tactical Defending, but I also wanted that little bit of extra space and time to get used to it.

So I switched to Semi-Pro difficulty. Away to Mansfield Town. Of League 1. In the Carabao Cup.

No problem.

At least I had many more shots, as would be expected, but none of them went in, or even very close. I had my keeper sent off early which didn’t help.

I am still treating this Leeds CM save as a warm-up for the ‘real thing’, but I am also getting identified with the players, inevitably, That’s just what happens. I currently plan to play another season or two with Leeds and really get acquainted with everything I need to know, before starting a League 2 Career Mode save, probably.

Whatever happens next, this is my longest spell on FIFA since FIFA15. I’m going to predict that it’ll turn out to be my longest spell on FIFA since the heady days of 08 and 09 – it might even outstrip them.

The move to the PC platform has gone much more smoothly than I expected. Modern-day Windows is a champ at entering and exiting Hibernate and Sleep modes without thinking about it for chess-grandmaster lengths of time, like Windows of yore used to. This means that it’s trivial to resume play from where I left off after having dinner or watching some TV, for example, or even left overnight. The wired PC gamepad has to be unplugged and plugged back in, but that’s the only wrinkle.

What of the PS4?

I have been a console football gamer for so long – 25 years – that I was expecting it to be a wrench to leave the console platform and change all the routines I have associated with it. I’ve been playing Death Stranding on my PS4 so it hasn’t exactly sat idle, but I don’t miss playing footy games on it at all.

Finally here are some clips from the thumpings pictured above – some comical defending and misses from me on show here. Also great play from the AI. Adama Traore ripped me a new one in the Wolves match. Tactical Defending errors really bring out the AI.

Updated: 21st February 2020 — 11:51


  1. Must admit, was flabbergasted by those hefty defeats!!!
    8-0, 6-0 and 4-0, worst ever start to a Premier league campaign by any team!! haha.

    The defending for the last Wolves goal was comical, but its just that adjustment period between being able to clamp a single button down and know your play will hone in and take the ball and all other stats are ignored, and having to carefully focus, concentrate, jockey players, track runs, and time tackles all using multiple buttons, but as you rightly said, what this does is gives the AI time to really shine,and as per your video above, influential players like Adama really stand out and show individuality.

    That Wolves camera angle is lovely, I’ve adopted a similar low flung broadcast angle myself, but much more zoomed in, its beautiful, as everything is up closer the game feels slower, and you can see the intricate animations more clearly, I will get a video of a half uploaded over the weekend.

    Posted a video over on FIFAFX, which I’ll leave here too which is very interesting:

  2. Paul – ‘Force AI Fouling’ is just begging to be pressed – nice find, it’ll be Monday before I get back on the PC though… Might have a cheeky Sat or Sun night couple of matches, I’ll see.

    The slide tackle attempt on Traore at the end of the clip – the slide that was so far away it wasn’t a tackle – was pure PES muscle memory still affecting my play. The move to Tactical will finally cure me of that I hope, eventually. Tactical feels like a FIFA counterpart to the PES PA0 experiments I ran last summer. Incredibly weird at first but when mastered, so satisfying.

  3. I am back on Tactical Defending with pro difficulty in the Championship. First time round I didn’t really know what I was doing but got away with it in League 1. This was because of the poorer finishing of the CPU. Great isn’t it to have a game where stats count once more. Having played out the final games of last season on Tactical I now feel acclimatised. So far I have won 3 (including a cup game) and lost 1. Paul was spot on when he declared that it shows of the AI individuality a lot more. You also have to concentrate fully all way through the match to cover passing lanes and watch player runs. You can’t just zone out of a game like I used to with PES at times.

    I have to admit to being a bit jealous of the camera mods that yourself and Paul talk about.

  4. Darryl – it’s comedy central with me and Tactical at the moment but I will see this through, it brings out so much else in the gameplay. It is a shame there’s no other camera choices on console. At some stadia it’s possible to put the modded camera behind a stand and only see part of the pitch or none at all, so that’s why EA will never officially support the option, too ‘scruffy’.

  5. I’m fully used to Tactical defending after switching to it last year and playing 11 seasons of FIFA 19 CM with it on, couldn’t imagine going back to Legacy now.

    Darryl – its amazing how much just the visual element of a camera angle can affect the way you play the game and how it feels.
    I played a random couple of friendlies to try out the more zoomed in broadcast cam, one being me playing as RCD Espanyol at the licensed RCDE stadium, I played against Leganes, the closer in view, lush green pitch courtesy of Re-Shade app, Spanish sun soaking down on the pitch, La Liga official presentation, it felt beautiful, tighter more compact view but a nice balance between in close and still seeing enough of the pitch to build attacks etc, so have stuck with it and shall be playing with that cam through out this coming season with Palace.

    The great thing about the PC camera mod is that behind the scenes the values are all tied together, so what is one view in one stadium, may be much more zoomed in or out and higher or lower elevated in another stadium, you can tweak each one to your liking which means a unique broadcast view for every match, and you know yourself when playing at Bournemouth, the closer view makes it a much more intimate feel, and its a harder match to play.

  6. Wow, sounds like FIFA AI has got some teeth to it at long last in 20. Either that or you’re just really bad at it not-Greg!

  7. Paul – you did switch back to Legacy Defending last year after having some difficulties. I do think they have improved it this year though. I looked back on your posts and found this from you:-

    “Darryl – I switched back to legacy defending because IMO tactical doesn’t work as it should.
    With tactical you cannot pressure the ball carrier, it’s based around contain and then a timed tackle. Far too often the better players would turn me or shift the ball faster than I could react, and inside the box they got shots off to often when just containing.

    I find legacy better as the pressure button doesn’t just auto-hone in on a player but pressures them more tightly, then you can use second press or contain more efficiently.

    Using L2 and pushing the LS into the ball carrier is a good method too as that engages a physical contact, often dispossessing the Player or making it harder for him to play accurate passes or shots.

    I am top by 11pts and have the leagues best defensive record, so this tactic definitely works for me at least”.

  8. Darryl – I do recall saying that, and that conversation we had, but not too long after I switched back to tactical as I was going 12+ games in a row unbeaten and conceding very few goals.
    I played over half of my 11 seasons back on Tactical, as my comments above were my opinion at the time, but having sussed out how Tactical works, and what it brings to the game in terms of increased individuality etc, I reverted back and have been there since, especially as I use the OS sliders and the adjustments they make are geared towards using tactical defending.

    Both have their pro’s and cons but i think we all agree that tactical adds another difficulty layer and brings the best out of the AI.

  9. Paul – Indeed so and wasn’t trying to prove a point or anything like that as I wasn’t aware that you changed back. I definitely think they have improved on it this year. The more I use it the more I don’t think I can go back again, even if it means me staying on Pro for a while. I think Pro on the higher divisions and TD are a good balance.

  10. I didnt take it that way Darryl. That’s why I’m glad theres a few if us on ‘the other game’ now as to most it’s still a new experience and sharing experiences and tips etc with others playing and enjoying the game brings out the best in it.

    Just wish you could experience the pc side, which really is quite remarkably brilliant as opposed to console vanilla FIFA.

  11. Really struggling with tactical defending, or is it just a team morale thing after my bad start? My team, even in possession, just cannot seem to get anything going, every match is a nightmare. A good nightmare, I should add. I love this experience of being in the mire for once, which hasn’t happened in ML for over 10 years probably. I might be close to the sack.

  12. NG – have you gone into the team plan menus and setup tactics and instructions for each of the 4 game plans?
    and team morale and player contentment does affect team performance, runs etc.
    Do you answer the post match press conference questions?
    Its a good way to get morale up.

  13. Paul – I’ve done that menu tweaking, but not to a very deep level, so I will return and do more. Football Manager in FIFA is very much to my liking. I am still a FIFA noob and will regard myself as one until I win 3 matches in a row using Tactical Defending. I see what you and Darryl were saying about the seeming impossibility of close pressing, it takes way more focus and concentration than Legacy/PES-style defending.

    I’m likely going to record a full match with my own voiceover musings later today, for tomorrow’s post. Something different. And if it’s another thumping, something comical.

  14. The only real main advice I can give Re tactical defending is as follows:
    *Note I have my control scheme set to altenate, so Square is shoot and Circle is Cross.

    – Use LT to jockey the ball carrier
    – Press and hold X button to ‘contain’ the ball carrier, this will make your defender follow him….
    – Then use timed presses of Square button to tackle, a quick press is a lunge tackle, press and hold is a ‘hard tackle’
    – Use jockey/contain to track the ball carrier and use RS switching to flick to other players to track runs, this often forces the AI player into making mistakes.
    – Secondary press with RB Button.
    – Be patient, do not rush in to badly timed/premature tackles.

    Just practise, it takes a few matches but once it clicks you will be fine.
    The good thing about tactical is that very skilled players can and will rip you apart no mater how well you defend, this is realistic and means teams play like their real life counterparts, key danger players stand out, something we never ever had in PES.

    Look forward to the match recording and commentary, How will you record the commentary? in real time via a headset/mic?
    Its something I’ve been meaning to do also.

    new V5 of the GFX Mod camera, i like the subtle zoom-in when you get near the goal. Might grab this later.

  15. Paul – thanks for the tips, I didn’t know about RB secondary press! I have my controls remapped with R1/R2 swapped, so secondary press would be R2 for me I think. I’ll check the controller settings in-game later.

    I have a rudimentary microphone that I can plug in and record in real-time. I believe the GeForce Experience software is all I’ll need. I promise not to appear in the corner of the screen squealing and keepin’ it real.

  16. NG – Secondary press very useful for instructing your AI controlled team mates to close down players whilst you track runs.

    Also dont know if you knew but when attacking, as well as using L1 to trigger runs, you can use R1 to call for players to come short, i use this all the time when i have the ball probing in and around the AI Penalty box, as it gives you more options and draws COM defenders out of position as they often track the player who drops short.

  17. Paul – that’s one of the things I’m relishing about this FIFA thing, the feeling of discovery and being a noob all over again. I think I’m going to feel that feeling for another season or two with Leeds at least, before the (probable) League 2 save starts.

  18. NG – well as your Leeds CM is a ‘test bed’ save, you can try all these things and tinker with formations and team instructions etcand build up a good sound knowledge base to take into your ‘proper’ CM.

    As Darryl and others will testify to, team and player instructions are extremely important in FIFA and have so much more impact on how your team plays and how the AI responds, than they ever did in PES, so definitely worth exploring all those.

    plenty of other little tips for you, such as the ‘bobble pass’ …. double pressing the X (pass) button will produce a bobbled/mini-lofted type ground pass that bobbles about a foot off the ground, much harder for the CPU to intercept in tight spaces and a joy to hit first time from the edge of the box, resulting insome wicked driven shots.

  19. Cheers Paul and I liked the ‘driven pass’ in recent FIFAs – is it still in FIFA20?

  20. As for Squad Morale the ‘Squad Hub’ is a fantastic tool and gives you an indicator as to what is affecting the players morale. This is broken down into 4 areas and is fantastic:-

    – Player Performance
    – Team Performance
    – Playing Time
    – Contract

    It is worth paying more attention to this menu as it contains so much information and is one of the best aspects of CM.

  21. Second Darryl’s comments.

    NG – Yes it is in FIFA 20, press and hold R1 and either pass , lobbed Pass or new to FIFA 20, Through Pass to perform a driven pass, the new driven through pass is superb for playing the ball into space down the wings if you have pacey wingers who can run in behind on to the pass.

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