The long running EA Sports soccer series, Fifa, has gone through its share of ups and downs. Until Fifa 08 came along and proved to be a massive leap forward for the series that, although not illustrated by sales, was considered by many to be inferior to the Pro Evo series for many years. Can Fifa 09 improve upon the good formula used in Fifa 08, or is it back to the bench for the EA Sports series?
The area of the biggest improvement in Fifa 08 was the gameplay. The fast arcade speed was greatly reduced, the controls were remapped and put more into alignment with the Pro Evo series and the physics on the pitch were dramatically improved. With Fifa 09 things have been improved even further with tighter, more responsive controls. The speed of the game has been increased slightly to just the right pace as some felt that Fifa 08 was too slow and didn’t quite recreate the pace of the world game. The ball physics have been improved even further with tighter, more responsive controls. The speed of the game has been increased a bit to just the right pace as some felt that Fifa 08 was too slow and didn’t quite recreate the pace of the world game. The ball physics have improved dramatically as well. Now the ball reacts just like it would in real life and a good example of this is how realistically the ball reacts off the boot as the curve the ball takes in the air is pretty much how it reacts when a real soccer ball is kicked by the pros. All your usual modes are back, but there is one particular innovation/improvement that has both a good aspect and a bad one. Similar to NBA Live and NBA2K, EA have introduced Adidas Live Season. This is where you will receive weekly player updates based on real world data through the adidas Live season service. While being able to have up to date squads with a click of a button sounds awesome, the problem in Fifa and one of my biggest gripes is that you can’t have all the leagues/teams in the game updated for free. You choose 1 free league and the rest you have to pay for. That’s right, just paying for the game doesn’t entitle you to the squad updates for all the leagues in the game. One of the biggest additions last year was the Be A Pro mode. This year EA have added to that by allowing you to do four-year campaign in Be A Pro mode.
Pro Evo 08’s online mode copped massive critism for being laggy and basically unplayable, whereas Fifa 08’s was relatively smooth and well set up. EA this year have improved on last year with an even smoother experience. I have been able to play people from almost anywhere in the world with minimal lag, which is incredible and makes getting into an online game a quick and seamless experience. This is the way online play should be. This year EA have also made the bold move in allowing 20 players to play a 10 on 10 online multiplayer match. This in theory is a brilliant idea. However, it is really hard to get 19 other people that will play as a team and this can result in a frustrating game. If you can manage to get 19 mates to play with you then it would be one of the best multiplayer experiences going around.
Fifa’s graphics have always been one of its stronger points. EA’s game has always looked better than Konami’s game and this year is no exception. If you thought Fifa 08 was pretty in motion, wait till you see Fifa 09. Everything just seems like it has been ramped up in detail and the players and ball move and react to situations in a life like manner never before seen in a soccer or sports game for that matter.
The sound in Fifa 09 has been ramped up this year with even better sounding crowd reactions along with the yearly improvements in the vocabularly of the commentators. You can turn up the 5.1 surround sound on this game and close your eyes, and feel like your sitting in the stadium it sounds that good. The usual EA music selection is in tact and if you are a long time Fifa fan, you probably won’t even notice the new tunes.
Fifa 09 improves upon a good base that was Fifa 08 and again raises the bar for soccer games that will take some serious catching by Konami’s series.
Reponsive, easy to use controls make this one fun game to play.
The best soccer, if not the best looking sports game out there at the moment. Fluid, fast and realistic animations make this game very easy on the eye.
A blast online and in local MP, you just won’t get enough.
Great atmosphere and great commentary, you couldn’t ask for more.
The best soccer game package out there, enough said.
Reviewed and Written by Craig Cirillo