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FIFA 09 Review

Posted by Kieran H on November 4, 2008

First review here, so don’t expect any great works of literature

Several big improvements from FIFA 08, the physics of the ball have been upgraded dramatically, it swings and curves in the air realistically, likewise the animations on the players when they are fouled (crunching players you don’t like with a late tackle is a joy), Be a Pro’s been greatly expanded to allow players to have a full career, as well as the doubling in size of the online version.  Other nice improvements include the variation in the background of the Arena (Rio de Janeiro, Urban Training Complex, Far Eastern City at night), and players moving off onto the sidelines when injured, sometimes to continue, sometimes to go off.  All teams have also been updated with as far as I can tell, flawless accuracy, unlike the latest installment of Pro Evolution Soccer.

The major problem with the new game in my view is one of the new features being used as a selling point – the Adidas Live Season.  The changes to a player’s ability based on his form, or even his current fitness are grossly exaggerated to the point where you’re selecting Dirk Kuyt upfront rather than Fernando Torres.  call me a traditionalist but I don’t want to be playing someone on FIFA and have to worry about the player’s real world fitness.  Stats aren’t just exaggerated on the downward side either, Rooney has had a few very good games recently, and his rating has shot up to 92.  This seems reasonable until you consider that franz Beckenbauer, the best player in FIFA 09’s Classic XI, has a rating of 91.  Ronaldo’s rating has also risen to 94, now I know they’re in good form, but this does not make them greater than the greatest of all time.

Speaking of the Classic XI, there are some extremely notable ommissions.  Keane, Zidane, Pele, Best, Maradona are all out of the squad entirely (although Abedi Pele [who?] does get in).  Now I’m aware that it’s almost certainly got to do with licensing but it’s a bit ridiculous to have an all time XI without most of the greatest players in history.  If they can’t do it properly they probably shouldn’t do it at all, it makes the game appear cheap.

Overall, the flaws mentioned in the last two paragraphs are far outweighed by the improvements, the passing is very nice and it actually feels for the first time like you’re controlling actual people rather than just characters.  I’m aware I’ve devoted more space to the Cons than the Pros but the Pros are actually difficult to describe until you play the game.  There are so many nice touches, it really feels like a finished version of FIFA 08, although this does make one question the wisdom of paying £40 for a game which is what you should have got a year ago.  Still, I suppose that’s why EA are such a succesful company.

Recommendation: Buy it.

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