I love football. Not the American gridiron game, but real football. The game that "sissy's" play with no padding on, colliding into each other, using only their feet, trying to shoot a ball into a net. You know, REAL football. So it is no surprise that I enjoy football games, particularly EA's FIFA series. Since this generation started, the FIFA series has been getting better and better. FIFA '07 was the first FIFA game to use real ball physics. FIFA '08 was the first FIFA game to feature Be A Pro mode. But those two games in the series have nothing on the new game, FIFA '09. This is by far the best FIFA game I've ever played.
During production, the FIFA team made a list of over 250 improvements they wanted to add to the game. These include a new jostling system, greater urgency to off-ball running, better responsiveness, and a new collision system. Let me start with the better responsiveness. Every year, the one big complaint that gamers have with the game is the responsiveness of the game. Well they have definitely fixed that issue in this game. In one of my first matches, I was racing down the sideline, getting ready to cross it towards the goal box. In previous versions of FIFA, it took a few steps for the player to get control of the ball and cross it if you were going at full speed. But in FIFA '09, right when I let go of the sprint button, he slowed down and got control of the ball. I was stunned.
The new jostling system is pretty awesome as well. It is easier to get the ball away from attackers now if the person you are controlling is good at jostling. If not, its neat to see the players running down the sideline pushing each other trying to win the ball. This sort of ties into the new collision system, which looks fantastic. The collisions look very realistic. This one time I was trying to pass the ball, and a defender came from my side and knocked the ball loose. He was a bigger guy, and when I tried to keep on going, he put his shoulder into me and I just fell straight on my back. It was really cool.
EA has also worked on the animation across the entire field. One area that I especially like is the new header animations. They look a lot more realistic than they have in the past. You have guys climbing on other guy's shoulders, and people flying in to get the ball. Mix that with the new collision system and you have some awesome mid-air collisions. I remember specifically this one time I went for a header and I got knocked down. My player just sat on the ground pouting because the opponent didn't get a foul. It was awesome.
FIFA '09 is great. It definitely feels like a great improvement over last years version. The graphics have been upgraded as well. Players look even more realistic. Also, there is a neat transition from the main menu arena to the pitch. If you have played the demo, you know what I'm talking about. My only complaint so far: how come the UK gets a really cool cover, and the US gets a shitty cover? I want Rooney on my cover. Check out what I'm talking about below. Anyway, if you like football, go play the demo. If you don't like football, well you are a tool.