FIFA Soccer 09
The Beautiful Game!
Posted 4 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
EA Sports is back with its third Soccer title in the last thirteen months: FIFA Soccer 09. Wanting to ensure that soccer fans know they aren’t being short-changed, the game states pretty clearly that this edition has more than 250 improvements from last year. Changes range from subtle modifications to major additions. The time for FIFA to shine is now; how well it does depends on the way you approach the game.
This year’s edition of FIFA 09 focuses on their expanded ‘Be a Pro’ Mode. Last year, they offered this mode as a single-match option where you would control a single player on the field. This time around, they’ve copied the same formula from their NHL series and brought it to the grass. You create your player or choose an established one and try to develop them into a superstar. Your career starts on the reserve side and as you perform well on the pitch, you will gain experience and develop yourself into a world-class player. As your performance improves, the team coach takes notice and calls you up the main squad. Continue your performance and you’ll eventually become club captain.
For example, if you call for a pass, and your team-mate passes it to someone else, you get a negative to your rating. If there is a quick change in possession and your team is now on defense, you’ll get a negative because you’re out of position. When you play with your player locked, the further you are from the ball, the harder it is for you to see yourself on the field. The camera pans out to the corner flags to show the entire field. If you’re not involved in the play, then you might not be able to clearly see where you need to be which will give you a negative rating. Also, because of the constant running around, unless you use a large amount of your experience points to improve your Stamina, you will be playing the second half on fumes.
The game has extremely questionable AI which has existed for a long time. When playing against the computer, you will be perplexed on how they manage to hold on to the ball so well, yet are able to take it off of you so easily. You may also find it frustrating at how many easy chances you miss, but the computer will score on some of the weirdest plays around. FIFA veterans will have been used to this for a while, but those new to the series will get angry when you theoretically should be winning by a large score-line.
The other key feature is the 10v10 online. This time, you can take your created player and bring him onto the pitch for a game with 9 other online team-mates in a 20 player multiplayer game. While this is a great option, it doesn’t really work very well. For starters, it’s very difficult to get 19 other people to play a solid match as slow-down is all but a certainty. The other problem is that it ends up looking too much like watching a young kids soccer match. Everyone is trying to get the ball and it just looks messy. You will probably want to avoid this option, but the online in general is pretty simple to work with and fans of the series should still have a great time.
Graphics and Sounds
It is no easy feat to get the likeness of 22 or more players from over 300 different clubs, but EA Sports has time and time again done a great job in properly recreating the atmosphere of a true soccer match. Even the large amount of stadiums, both authentic and fictional, are all done extremely well which really add to the game’s incredible realism. This includes varied attendances depending on the type of match or opponent you’re playing against.
On the pitch, the game runs generally well. Yes, there is some minor slow down here and there, but never to the point of frustration. There are still the problems with collision detection primarily with tackles in which the attacking player will lose the ball, even though no proper contact was made. Outside of the minor problems with collision, animations are fairly well done. Player’s size is taken into affect both in regards to speed and strength. Small players will be quick, but a small tackle will take them off the ball, while larger players will be slower but harder to tackle. It’s a nice touch and really gives more depth to the practicality of the game. They even managed to give the goalkeeper a few more animations. In the past, if a keeper dropped to the ground after a first shot, the animation when he would get up was really awkward. This year, after he drops, the animation is much more realistic as he will try to jump or attempt to block the second challenge at goal.
The commentary and in-game sound effects are still as solid as they have been in past. The commentary team of Martin Tyler and Andy Gray work really well thanks to their great chemistry. If you are the kind of person who plays with a variety of different clubs or countries, the commentary will be extremely varied. If you stick to one club, you’ll eventually hear the same stories re-told. Outside of the repetition you’ll hear about specific clubs or venues, there is enough dialog for a really interesting match thanks to the insightful comments of both gentlemen.
When it comes to the music of FIFA, it never fails to introduce gamers to a large variety of different sounds. Unlike EA’s NHL which caters towards fans of Rock or the NBA’s Hip-Hop based soundtracks, FIFA comes with a little bit of everything including some great foreign language songs. You won’t know what they’re singing about, but you will still hum along.
There is something for everyone in FIFA. On top of this year’s key features, the regular Manager, Tournament and Lounge Modes return to the mix. There are no big changes to these three because they are still as solid as previous versions. If you can get a concrete group of friends over on a consistent basis, you may only need the Lounge to enjoy yourself and it has been one of my favourite parts of FIFA for quite some time.
Another addition to this year’s game is Adidas Live Season. In the past, EA would offer you periodical updates to all the rosters to ensure every club contains the right players. This year, they’ve gone the extra mile by giving you the ability to have weekly updates that correspond correctly with how the players actually performed the prior weekend. With every copy of FIFA, there is a promotion code that entitles you to one free league from
From the beginning, you need to realize that FIFA is not exactly a pick up and play sports title. In the past, the FIFA series was very simple and catered to the arcade sports fan with plenty of cool features and easy to learn controls. If you’re new to the series, I would strongly suggest playing around with a character on the practice pitch to get used to the controls. To truly master the game, you will need to learn how to approach the game in a specific manner. Another aspect that might bother new people to the game is the game’s continued problems with ‘defensive player select’. Thanks to the game’s default auto-semi switch, when trying to change players, it won’t always give you the player you want, forcing you to cycle through until you do. Because of this, your opposition will easily have a great attempt at goal. It would be nice to have this fixed by adding the direct player change similar to the Live series.
Thanks to the game’s more realistic approach, those looking for high-scoring games will be utterly disappointed. Don’t be surprised if your first few games all end in scoreless draws or with a single goal. This is not a bad thing, since every time you do manage to score a goal, you will feel like you’ve accomplished something.
It may seem like I did not enjoy FIFA, but that can’t be farther from the truth. EA Sports has finally gotten into gear with FIFA 09 after some very questionable releases over the past three years. The sound and graphics are among the best available in any sports game and the overall game-play has improved leaps and bounds from the past HD releases. There still is room for improvement and I am confident that the future editions of Be a Pro will be better tuned and more rewarding. If you’re not too keen on creating a player and fighting for a spot with the big boys, you’ll still have plenty of fun with everything else available.
+ Your ‘Be A Pro’ Character can be played offline or online
+ Very enjoyable Multiplayer both offline and online
+ Vast and Impressive Soundtrack
+ I love EA SportsWorld (these screen-shots are proof)
- While good, ‘Be a Pro’ could be better
- Questionable AI
- Adidas Live Season is not real-time and not that impressive (yet!)
- 10v10: nice in principal, not exactly suitable for online play.
- Defensive player selection still needs improvement
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Release Date : 2008/10/18
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : EA Sports
Developer : EA Canada
Category : Sports
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10