The biggest sport outside of North America takes form again in EA Sports’ FIFA Soccer 09. EA has done their best to add on to an already successful franchise and has, once again, taken futball to another level. This year’s installment features the most depth and the most realistic gameplay that we’ve seen. With only a few minor drawbacks, this makes for a great pick up.
FIFA Soccer 09 is once again the strongest title when it comes to soccer. This year involves more then just the standard “Tournament,” “Practice,” and “League” modes, with the inclusion of a very in-depth online mode. You can now choose to “Be a Pro” and take four seasons to customize your player and then join with your other futball fanatics online and play together. This opens up more options then just you sitting in your living room playing against the A.I. (and also involves a little more smack talk).
Speaking of A.I., like in FIFA 08 it still presents some frustrating problems. As you start playing you will notice the A.I. consistently makes unusually incredible goal saves. You will make a picture perfect shot to the open corner and out of nowhere the goalie will literally get a finger on the ball and deflect it out of bounds. It can be frustrating to say the least. You will also notice that the computer is very good at poking the ball out of your reach and taking control. In trying to make the A.I. as realistic as possible EA made the A.I. almost too good, but unlike FIFA 08 this is not a problem that can’t be overcome.
In the 08 version, the controls were made for the experienced veteran. This caused the difficult A.I. to win out many times on new players because the controls weren’t very accessible. In FIFA 09, thumbsticking is easier than ever and makes controlling the players much more user friendly. It won’t be long before you’ll consider yourself a pro. Another area that was expanded on this year was the movement of players. You’ll notice that the player animations are as a true to life as ever before. It fits that taller, more muscular players run slower than smaller, athletic players. However, the bigger players have the realistic ability to bump smaller players and to rough them up more. The animations are the best in any FIFA version of previous years. That includes their ability to pass the ball effectively. One touch passes are much more effective this year than in recent years (though no pass is effective when the goalie makes insane saves!).
FIFA 09 also incorporates a new Adidas Live Season where real updates from actual teams are being sent to your console weekly. This changes the actual ratings of real players too, which means that if your favorite player is doing well in real games, his rating will allow him to play better in the video game as well. And of course, that goes the same for bad streaks and injuries. Despite the fact that it can be expensive to purchase updates for English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Mexican premier leagues, it is a must have for those fans wanting the best experience.
FIFA Soccer 09 looks the best it ever has, the controls make it user friendly, and the improvements to player movement and animations make it the most realistic soccer game on the market. With the new additions of “Be a Pro” mode and the real time updates sent to your console, its as much fun for the average fan as it is for the hardcore fanatic. FIFA 09 is a great pick up for everyone.