As promised, as I got off my lazy bones and decided to post some gaming impressions. I have put in a few games of FIFA 2005, and the following are a few random thoughts in no particular order.
At first glance the game is much improved over its predecessor in many areas. The gameplay is better, but there are still issues. The graphics are wonderful; I have yet to see slowdown. The ball physics are greatly improved. The new player inertia physics are a welcome addition. Basically it seems as if the developers finally rebuilt FIFA.
At times the AI is really stupid (CPU players on offense and defense tend to watch too much of the action), but at other times they actually try to help. I am not sure what the pattern is or I would share. I am sick of CPU controlled players in the box watching rebounds instead of clearing (on defense) or putting in a quick shot.
I do not remember the CPU aggressively attacking the ball when trailing in last year’s game, but in FIFA 2005 the defenders get more and more tenacious as the clock counts down towards the end of the game.
I have seen the CPU draw plenty of penalties, cards (no red yet), and I was event awarded a penalty kick, which is something I do not think I saw at all last year.
Thus far I have three disappointing aspects of the game: magnetic posts, cross buildups, and lack of detailed statistics. First, all shots seem to gravitate towards the posts. In fact I would say that 95% of the shots I have seen (my own and the CPU) have been towards the posts. It is almost as if there is some magnetic quality. The variety is decent once the ball reaches the goalie – either he saves, there is a rebound off the goalie, there is a rebound off the post, or the ball somehow sneaks into the net.
Another disappointment is that the CPU only builds attacks along the sidelines in attempts to land crosses. I am hard pressed to think of a buildup down the middle, a simple break away, or anything of the link. Buildups that end in crosses into the box seem to be the rule of the day.
I have yet to play the career mode so maybe complaining about the lack of statistics may be premature. I just want to see more than a few simple game summary stats, bookings, and goal scorers. In this regard, Winning Eleven has me spoiled. Even the older World Tour Soccer releases did a better job of game statistics. FIFA continues to get this wrong year in and year out.
I have had a great time keeping possession with simple passes, lobs, and through balls as I play “keep away” or try to build up for a decent attempt. One thing I have not been successful with is taking the ball from end to end because the CPU defenders usually shut me down. I am sure this may change once I get a handle on the current skill moves.
I have yet to see the CPU try a blast from well outside the penalty area, but I know it is possible to score from 22 or so feet out, as I managed to drill one in (to the far post of course) from the corner of the penalty area.
I’ll end on a few random items that do not directly affect the gameplay, but nevertheless are worth mentioning. I am not sure how much it will matter to readers but the manual sucks; it is only 12 or so pages. The music also sucks. Most of the other EA Sports games come with strong licenses. Not sure what is going on with FIFA 2005, but the music does not do it for me. The save feature also sucks – looks like you can only save to the 1st memory card slot. I think the announcers are unbelievably repetitive; after a few games I think I have heard all they have to say.
Wow. Been a long time since I hit hard with an impression, and I have to say that it feels nice.
More to come later.