James’ "Three F’s" Update – Fifa 09, Street FIGHTER and Call of Duty FOUR

May 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

Apologies for ignoring the manual for a good while now, as I took priority in other things going on in my life but alas, with a free week of AS revision ahead of me, I told myself there must be time to squeeze in a post to make it look like I’m still alive. Unfortunately, with exams and general distractions away from games, I’ve not been playing too many new stuff like my colleagues here.

What I have bought since my scathing review on Mirror’s Edge was Fifa 09. I may as well say it now, I enjoy football, hence this is the reason why I bought the game. If you honestly don’t like football or sports games then there’s not really too much point in reading the next paragraph. I will also go on to talk about Street Figher 4 and how Call of Duty 4 online has progressed over a year on.

So here goes. Fifa. A bit of context for you, this is my first Fifa game. Before I was very much a “Pro-evo” fan boy, having 4, 5 and 6 on PS2 and also 6 on PSP. What at the time, whilst I was playing Pro Evolution Soccer, which I saw as accurate and direct I now see as lazy and unrealistic. For any game that is based on events or activities obeying the laws of physics it has to at least attempt to do one thing…obey the laws of physics. Momentum must play a factor in ball passing as well as the acceleration of players and how they move in relation to how fast the ball moves. Fifa 09 is not perfection but it seems EA has perfection locked in it’s sight and this game in my opinion comes closest to it than any other football game. What struck me first about this game was the interactive loading screen. I know this was a feature in previous Fifa games but I never saw it before. In a third person action camera angle, you take control of arguably the most skillful player in the world, Ronaldinho, and you alone are in the final third of the pitch going one on one with the keeper. Not only does this serve as great entertainment for loading before matches but it lets you get a feel of how Fifa works. The game is now much more based around touch (as football is played) and it also shows off some of it’s skills which can be executed with any player as an individual during a game.

As I eagerly went into a game with my supported football team (Liverpool, the best team in the world) I found that firstly there was a huge selection of teams going from the Premiership all the way down to league two and having this equivalent internationally, and secondly the game cleverly saves which team is your favourite for you to manage if you choose the option, and as the first option for you to play with online. Okay I don’t want to talk about online but I’ll just say this. It fucking blows. I have two friends on PSN who have Fifa 09 and I try to play them but it just doesn’t work. I’ve looked this up and it’s a common problem, on Xbox however online is a treat. Also the ranked matches aren’t really ranked and when you manage to get ranked play working, it’s laggy as hell.

Okay, now what I really want to talk about is the gameplay and the mechanics. Fifa 09 differs from Pro Evo games in that the touch of the player is affected by the pace of the ball and the player’s body position. Let me paint you a mental picture with my technological paintbrush. Imagine you are one metre away from someone else with a football at your feet. You kick it gently towards the other person and his touch on the football (assuming he’s not a total spastic) controls it fairly well because the pace was slow. Now imagine you take a huge run up before kicking the ball and imagine it’s not actually you kicking it but the world’s best striker of the ball (so Steven Gerrard) and he’s kicking it as hard as he can. You won’t be able to control it as smoothly as before and your touch will take the ball away from you. Okay in Pro Evo it’s not that bad, and as the Pro Evo games have progressed its made slight improvements but I want to highlight how Fifa make realism a part of gameplay as well as feel for the game of football. This would be my next point.

In Pro Evo and it still is like this, it’s much more of a “video game.” I’m being incredibly vague with all my points and trust me this is best way I can put this. I mean its more of a “video game” because the movement of players, their passing and how they shoot is all dependent on button presses and timing. Now you’re thinking I’ve gone insane, because sports game, nay ALL games correspond to these simple actions. In Fifa however, how you score is much more dependent on you’re own understanding and feel of football. The best example I can think of is in Pro Evo, as you run down the wing and hit O, the player instantly sends in a cross into the area, directly straight from where you hit it. In Fifa, if the player is right footed from the right wing, he hits it with the inside of natural foot thus, curling the ball away from the target and then in. If you watch football or play it, then you know this is how players naturally cross the ball and so whilst aiming for a player to cross at, you must learn to judge how the ball moves depending on where you are crossing from or with what kind of player, something that most people that normally watch or play football already know.

Another thing that I love about this game in terms of realism is the break building. The crosses and passing buttons are now treated in the same way as shooting. How far you pass or cross is dependent on how long you hold the button down for (hence a bar on the bottom of the screen) this isn’t too different from the Wii version of Pro Evo but really that’s a different take on sports games altogether. My friend once asked me as we played together, “Do you think the fact that you watch football plays a part in how well you attack?” My response: “It makes all the difference in the world.” Why? As I talked about realism, one thing I did not like about Pro Evo was that players could effortlessly sprint past each other by just holding down R1. In Fifa, sprinting past players just doesn’t work, the intricate passing that I talked about makes this game and so with slower players and faster balls, the creation of space and pass selection shines through on how you score. Oh yeah one more thing. Remember the near impossible free kicks in Pro Evo? Finished. In Fifa, although they made it challenging, it’s now possible and cleverly they did not build a practice pitch for those that choose to perfect set pieces and get goals from them every time in online matches. Seriously, if you enjoy football and you have games console, this is a must buy. Not only is it wonderfully satisfying to play, it serves as a great party/drinking game with your mates.

Ah so one “F” down. Street Fighter 4 is not a game I own. I’m merely giving first impressions on it from two very unique perspectives. One, I was in London with a friend of mine for a gig a couple of months ago before it’s release, walking down Oxford Street when we both saw a gigantic presentation in the HMV. We walked in and in front of us, were 10 back to back arcade machines of the new street fighter. They apparently had a limited amount of 100 that they weren’t selling to the public but you could enter your name in to try and win it. We were offered the chance to play each other by one of the promoters and of course, still confused about what was happening, we sat down and played it. I think I was Chun-Li while my friend was Dahlsim. As I was a total newbie, I got my ass handed to me as this Dahlsim…thing, had the strangely presented natural ability of extending it’s limbs to attack a scrawny Chinese girl who was being controlled by a button bashing moron. My thoughts? It was the best Beat ’em Up experience I ever had but this was only because of the arcade machines. The graphics on the huge screens and the traditional joystick and arcade buttons fit perfectly with this newly revived game. Find an old 1UP yours podcast with Garnett Lee at the E3 round up last year, the podcast folk feel exactly the same way about these glorious arcade machines which I’m glad I had the chance to experience. More recently, a friend of mine rented it on Xbox and I was eager to try it out again. To my surprise, it’s still fairly decent. Of course button bashing is only fun up to a certain point but the game in HD and some of the combos I accidentally pulled off looked very impressive. Another game worth getting for fans of that genre.

Finally I leave you with this. The legendary game of the 7th gen, Call of Duty 4. The game that in my opinion epitomises what the future should be for online gaming. As I put it into my diskdrive on PS3, I was thinking one thing. Is the online community going to be the same as how I left it almost 8 months ago after reaching prestige? Answer: Yes. This game has stood the test of time and my worry was in the release of Call of Duty 4 World at War, oops I mean 5, there would be no one but the hardcore players left on the much better COD4. Still people are buying this game and getting into it as in matches I still see the “n00bs” getting their asses “pwned” and the “fucktards” who still insist on winning the awards for the worst trash talkers in the world. It has impressed me throughly that this game has stood the test of time against the fickle gaming public what with new releases constantly happening but I honestly can go back to this game and still find satisfaction in blowing people’s heads off in Vacant with a shotgun.

Hopefully, next post by me will be much sooner and apologies once again I left it to everyone else.

Unable to buy games because of Benicassim – James


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