Fifa 09 for the PC was rubbish. However, Fifa 09 for the consoles simply blooms with class and greatness. For once I felt that EA Sports had done a little something more to change the game for the better. The overall gameplay feels so much smoother and fun. Passing never felt this good before. Crossing becomes a greater asset for people who know how to make full use of it. Battles for the ball in air felt much less locked up and jostling is practically important if you want to win the header. In the previous series, Fifa 08 for example, I find myself spamming the button in order to head the ball. I had no idea how the heading system works and concluded that heading is based almost purely on luck. However, Fifa 09 changed my concept and understanding of challenging the ball whenever it is in the air. You first move your player to the correct position (whether is it in front or behind the opposing challenger), keep that position by preventing the opponent from pushing you away, and you hit the button (whether is it a shot or a pass) with the directional key pressed and there you go, you successfully won the challenge.
The passing, whether it is a direct or a through pass, feels as if there is more freedom given. Of course if you select the manual way of passing, you would have almost all the freedom in the world. However, if you are a semi-assisted/assisted user like me, you will definitely find the new way of passing much more delightful and fun to play with. In this year’s game, the passing displays a power bar (like those when you are shooting) and it does affect where the ball goes to some way or another. It works in the same way as it does in Fifa 08; hold onto the button longer the further the pass is. However, the developers seem to have tweaked and refined the mechanics a little so as to make passing much smoother and sweeter. I don’t know what went on backend but it just feels better. However, what I am sure of is that with the new passing, through passes becomes much more awesome. In the past, creating through passes that slice through the defense were rare and almost impossible. Now, it is different. With the correct power and position of the players on both ends, you can often make such beautiful passes. Soccer simulation has simply become much more wonderful in Fifa 09.
Other features, like the Adidas Live Season, add the finishing touches to the game making it wholesomely fun. You would eagerly anticipate for the next update as you watch your team destroy another in real life. For when the team plays well in the real world, they would as well in the virtual realm. Collision detection seems to be working really well. Players feel as if they really touch the ball to kick it. Sliding is as useful but dangerous at the same time for referees are much stricter and will show no hesitation when producing the red card. However, with so much positive comments on the game, there definitely are some parts which irk the players and fans alike.
The goalkeeper is still as stupid as ever. When the ball rolls by him (Let us say going out for a corner. Therefore it would be smart of the goalkeeper if he would approach it and pick it up), even if the ball is moving at snail speed, he would watch the ball roll by. Yes, you will see him turning his body as the ball rolls by. Bugs and exploits such as bouncing balls would beat the keeper, keeper moving backwards instead of taking the ball allowing a striker to run forward to take the ball and so on.
Players seem to have a weird bug of walking backwards when the ball approaches them. This happens frequently and sometimes frustrates the players, especially when they are losing. Invisible players happen often when playing online. And others you might face but isn’t as frequent as those I listed. Nonetheless all these bugs and irritating keeper AI shouldn’t stop you from purchasing the game and enjoy the tweaked to near perfection (yet) gameplay.