Review: FIFA 09 (PS3) by Anthony Barlow
October 7, 2008, 12:51 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

[By Anthony]

As many of our readers will know I have been a champion of the PS3 releases of EA’s footy sim for some time, and these whole hearted recomendations have been met with some hostility. On occasion I have been refered to as a ‘FIFA fanboy’ by some of our commenters, which is why I was reluctant to review the game at first. I would first like to dispel any talk of fanboyism and bias and want to let the readers know that nothing of the sort is ever published here on XeNonX and, although I love the FIFA franchise, this, like all of my reviews, are taken seriously and are not in any way compromised by my fondness for a franchise and/or developer.

Thankyou, Anthony. Hit the jump for the review.

Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series has been ‘the king of football (soccer) simulation’ in years past. Last year EA Sports raised their game and brought out two amazing titles that, the once great, Pro Evo could not contend with. 2007/2008 was still regarded as a victory for Pro Evo, despite it having a number of issues on the PS3, leaving many no option but to give FIFA a chance. EA have come back stronger than ever this year, ready to silence their critics and reclaim their crown as the best football game on the market.

With 250 new additions to the game FIFA is undoubtedly the most realistic football game out there. The guys at EA Sports are always making changes to their game and aim to make it the biggest and best, something which Konami have failed to do in recent years. Many of the additions will be minor and are things that the masses will not take notice of, but for the hardcore they make a whole lot of difference.

The biggest improvement this year has to be the A.I, both your teammates and opponents have been improved to make the overall feel of the game so much better. Your teammates will now make intelligent runs into space, allowing you to play that killer pass and pick your opponent’s defebce apart. Don’t think you’ll have it easy though, the opposition is on their A-game too, with the new jostling system making attacking that much harder and skipping past defenders with ease almost a thing of the past.

This new system has also been implemented into heading. Players can now jostle for the ball as it comes over the top and often smaller players will give their opponent a little shove in the back, helping them gain the advantage rather than trying to challenge for impossible headers in the air. The heading itself has been improved, many of the movements and animations are context based allowing you to dip low and nod it in at the back post if need be. Heading has been a shortfall of the FIFA franchise for some time and it’s nice to see EA addressing the concerns of the community.

Context is also an influence on shot selection in FIFA 09. Turning the assists off, like all players should if they want the full experience, will allow you to pull off some amazing volleys with players ajusting to meet the ball before controlling it and slotting it into the bottom corner or take a swing at it and hope they pull it off. This dosen’t always work in your favour, players will sometimes mistime shots and end up kicking nothing but air, this all depends on your players stats and the timing of your shot and is a major addition to the realism of the game, especially when the defender miskicks to allow you to latch onto the ball and score the winner, always a nice feeling.

I have found that passing has pretty much remained the same, it’s definitely harder to pull off that killer ball with the manual settings on, but once you’ve perfected it nothing can stop your team commanding the midfield.

As per usual, graphically the game is stunning. EA have ramped up the realism on the graphical side again, the generic face models are still there, but unlike in previous years they still look like real players rather than the poorly sculpted models that have previously adorned many a FIFA game. The one pet peeve I have is that many of the menus have been the same for the past few games, a new look would’ve been nice but it’s no biggie really.

The game modes are pretty vast this year too. Along with the ever engrossing ‘Manager Mode’ EA have added the ‘Be A Pro: Seasons’ mode that was featured in UEFA Euro 2008. This mode allows players to play as one player for four seasons and make them an international superstar. This mode is really cool and is a great expansion on the already amazing BAP mode. As per usual there’s the minor modes available too like Tournament mode and the FIFA Lounge.

The online game modes have been expanded on this year too. The already great base established in FIFA 08 returns alongside a really cool new option for players to create their own online team. This mode, which uses the improved 10 vs. 10 ‘Be A Pro’ online mode, is called ‘Be A Pro: Online Team Play’ and allows players to set up their own club and scout real players from around the world to join their team. I can see this really being a big hit and something EA will focus on in the future.

Overall FIFA 09 is amazing. Go with Pro Evo if you want, but be warned FIFA is not just EA’s cash cow anymore it’s a real competitor. Imagine it, if you will, as the video game equivalent of Wayne Rooney. Storming through the opponents defence and going on to score the winner.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Good review mate.

The only downside to FIFA 09 clubs is that most people play as “any” and not one specific position. Also most people play with assists on and it really does spoil the game. At least now they have the option of filtering out those who play with assists on/off when searching for normal Ranked games.

I was a longtime PES fan and after trying PES 2008 I decided that FIFA was the better game that year. After trying both demo’s this year I think FIFA is again the better game, but only once the assist are taken off.

It’s a shame they don’t default to off as most PES fanatics trying the demo will think it’s unrealistic that all shots hit the target. Like I have said before I was one of those guys, I think they (EA) need to make users more aware of the difference it makes.

Comment by Ad's

Agreed. The ammount of people i’ve spoken to who’ve said: “I hate FIFA, every shot is a goal” or something along those lines then taken my advice of turning assists off and loved it is amazing. I think that brand loyalty is getting in the way of what people think a good game is.

Comment by Anthony Barlow

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