My problem with FIFA06

I know this game has been released a long time ago, but with these annual iterations of sports games you kinda fall back on them to fill in the 15-20 minute breaks you seem to have often.

Anyway I’m a fan of Winning Eleven/Pro Evo primarily because I feel it has better gameplay. But I always gravitate towards FIFA when I’m playing alone for several reasons. First of all I actually like the commentating and the game’s audio in general, as opposed to Peter Brackley and that annoying retard who’s with him. They’re just so boring, along with WE’s braindead mind-numbing soundtrack. So usually when I play it I put on music, turn off all the game sounds, and set off to try and injure David Beckham.

Anyway because of the game audio and ambience as well as the FIFA challenges feature in FIFA06 I found myself spending more time playing FIFA than WE despite ignoring all FIFA iterations since 2002.

Now mind you I don’t suck in football games because I spent the better part of my childhood playing football games as a major past-time and the quality of football games were the main factor behind the purchase of any console.

So anyway I fire up FIFA and realise that the amateur and semi-pro difficulty settings are not at all challenging (as in they end with a minimum of 4-5 goals margins). Professional difficulty sees scarcer goals but I end up winning 3-0 with 25 attempts on goal as opposed to 1 attempt by the opposition. This is playing some random games in the English premiership.

So I raise the difficulty to World Class. After a couple weeks of playing, I realise that the reason world class is difficult is because the skill of the goalkeeper of the opposition is raised by like 10 notches. I can dominate the game, I get numerous 1 on 1 situations with the keeper, I can easily break the defense multiple times through passing or through the flanks, all without getting a lot of counter-attacks. But the goalkeepers have supernatural abilities to save blatant 1 on 1s, extremely powerful headers from 6 yards out, and blistering shots from all over the pitch. The result is a game where I end up having 17 shots on target as opposed to 2 for the opposition, and the score 1-0 for them or the more common occurrence, 0-0. This is ridiculous to the extent that almost all my goals in World Class difficult are shots inside the penalty area that get deflected and followed on by a loose striker who sends it into an empty goal, penalties, or headers that change direction by hitting a defender and go in, with the occasional (as in once) shot from far.

That’s when I realised the difficulty system is completely broken. This is really lazy AI for a game that gets annual cosmetic enhancements and roster updates when something like this needs to be ironed out. The only changes I can literally see are better possession by the AI and insane goalkeeping. I’m not trying to inflate it or something, I suppose they do get the job of limiting my goals done, and the AI is better in world class difficulty, but I get so many chances to score and so many shots and it’s unfair that the hindrance at winning is insane goalkeeping. I do get less chances than at lower difficulties, but I still get so many chances that winning should be a given most of the time. Maybe the improved difficulty level should actually prevent me from getting so many chances in the first place, instead of putting an insurmountable obstacle for when I actually do get the chance to score?