My FIFA backlog is finally near the end. It’s been a long journey but a hype one nonetheless. I can’t really say that my skills have evolved much over this period of time but what I can say is that the older FIFA titles do seem to be more fun than the new ones. At this point they start to become really similar though as there is really nothing separating 09 from 10.
When you boot up the game you’re given a whole lot of options. You’ve got the usual play now, franchise, online matches, training, etc. There’s always a lot of options in these sport games and so long as you enjoy the gameplay then the replay value is basically limitless. So as it all boils down to the gameplay lets talk about it. I feel more confident with my kicks and passes now and the arcade style gameplay definitely makes it more solid.
As it’s a team based game you always want to keep track of everyone on the field. Your passes and kicks must always take them into account or you’ll get the ball stolen. At low difficulties you can definitely get by on quick passes and then shooting the easy goal, but on higher difficulties that’s just not going to cover it. You’ve got to pull off a lot of maneuvers. I definitely still think that FIFA is one of the toughest sport games out there. NBA and Madden I can handle a lot of the difficulty levels, but on FIFA it’s just so hard to land a goal. Playing defense is easy, but on the attack side I can easily go a whole game without scoring.
So, this isn’t a “pick up and play” kind of title. You will need to put in the work and learn the mechanics quite well if you really want to succeed. In a way this is pretty nice I suppose. At the very least it doesn’t feel hopeless like in some of the other FIFA titles. You always feel like you’ve got a shot at the very least. After all, since you’ll be holding the opponent to only 1 goal at most you can always try to bring it back. Plus I do feel like I can always fire off a shot even if I don’t get close enough for it to matter. In the newer FIFA titles you also have to account for direction and power more which makes it very difficult to get the goal.
As with FIFA 10 I do enjoy the 1 on 1 practice mode that plays during the loading screens. I really do think that a 1 on 1 mode would have a whole lot of potential. It makes the whole thing pretty high stakes since if the opponent gets past you it’s a free goal. Sort of like the 1 on 1 NBA drills which are cool. FIFA’s probably couldn’t be a full game, but it would at least make for a pretty sound minigame.
Graphically the game holds up just as well as all of the other FIFA titles. There’s a lot of solid animations and victory dances here. They’re programmed to work for every character and the soccer ball is as realistic as you can reasonably expect it to be. There isn’t much of a soundtrack so I can’t speak to the music. It’s definitely not nearly as expansive as NBA or Madden.
There are a lot of different customizations for the games so you can choose the time, difficulty, arena, team, etc. You can recreate whatever kind of situation you need and that’s definitely nice. It’s easy to take that for granted, but EA does give you all the tools you’ll need to succeed. As long as you enjoy the game of soccer (and hopefully you do if you bought this game) then there’s really nothing to dislike here. It’s a very solid all around FIFA experience. While there may not be much reason to play it so long as the newer ones exist, it’s not as if the quality declines just by existing. It’s as solid as it ever was.
One last tip I’ll leave you with is that it’s very easy to cheese the game once you have the lead. Just stay in your territory and keep on passing to your teammates once you have the lead. It’s very easy to confirm the win this way but there is a good reason why most people don’t do it. The simple answer is that it’s very boring and you almost may as well not be playing the game at that point. If that’s your strategy for winning tourneys and all that’s fine, but cheesing against a computer like this? I wouldn’t be able to last for many games doing that. It becomes a running simulator at that point. Might as well go for gold even if it ends up forcing the loss.
Overall, FIFA 09 is definitely a soccer game that you will want to add to your roster. It brings a significant amount of content for only around 2 bucks at this point. I suppose I should add the disclaimer that the online modes do not currently work as the game is too old so you shouldn’t count that in the replay value section. Either way with local multiplayer and franchise options there is enough content where you can fairly say that the game is basically infinite with how long you can play it. I don’t imagine anyone will be buying 09 this late in the game, but if you are tempted to do so then know that I do recommend it as a quality purchase.