Up for grabs today are some FIFA 09 hints and tips from me; I can’t claim to be the world’s best player but I’m playing the game every single minute of my spare time at the moment, so I think I’m qualified enough to hand over these handy little hints to you that I’ve been picking up since release!
FIFA 09 HINTS & TIPS GUIDE
Set up your controls
In FIFA you can set the controls to be manual, semi or assisted. The default configuration is all-assisted, but assisted isn’t the be-all and end-all. If you set passing to semi, for example, and there is a player you want to pass to with a defender between you, you can guide the ball just slightly onto the left or right side. This means you can look at the recipient’s position and judge where it will be best for him to take the ball (taking into account the position of defenders); on his left side or his right side. With fully assisted passing, the game decides for you, and it’s not always right. Some other examples; semi crossing allows you to put the ball where you want it to go once you’re used to it, with assisted crosses sometimes going to the wrong place or the wrong man, and manual through passing (once mastered) allows you to put a ball where the defence can never reach it. If you can learn to cope with them, you’re a lot better off using semi/manual controls.
Don’t hold onto the sprint button all of the time
This is something I keep doing from when I used to play Pro Evolution Soccer / Winning Eleven, where you could sprint for 90 minutes without suffering from any noticeable drawbacks. In FIFA though, if you sprint all the time, you will occasionally knock the ball forward into the path of the opponent (especially with aerial balls), or screw up a shooting opportunity (see below). Only use it when you have wide-open space in front of you!
Let go of sprint before you shoot
If you find a lot of shots are going over the bar, slow down before you shoot. Let go of the sprint button for a moment, and when you can see that the player has stopped running, belt that ball. Also try experimenting with the pace control button (see below).
Let go of sprint when you’re in a shooting position
When playing friends I’ve been complaining a lot about not being able to dribble around players; then, I slowed down my passing and started letting go of sprint more often, and I’ve found myself jinking past players a lot more easily (without even using the knock-ahead stick).
When you’re one-on-one with the keeper, try using a finesse shot instead of a normal one to curl the ball past the keeper. Hold the finesse shot button (the default is R1/RB) and press shoot.
Fed up of hitting the ball over the bar with rubbish players, even when you’re in and around the box? If you double-tap the shoot button, you’re filling up the shoot bar as little as possible with that first tap, which will keep the ball low but strike the shot hard. Think finesse shooting, but straight and more powerful.
Use the pace control button
Some people think that L2/LT, which I call the “trick button”, is just for setting off a string of tricks using the right stick. It’s not. The button is actually called the pace control button, and it slows your player down, allowing your player to keep the ball close to his feet. This has several benefits; it can be used to “steady” your player before he shoots, meaning that you’ll hit a much more accurate shot, and it can be used to dribble between players without kicking the ball so far ahead when moving that they simply knock the ball away from you.
Experiment with the formation editor PART ONE
The default formations are very basic, with players having the simplest of instructions. If you use the formation editor you can alter each player’s position on the pitch, “staggering” the CMs in a 4-4-2 for example (with one playing slightly further back and one slightly further forward) – but, that’s not the end of it. You can also set each player’s defence/attack mentality, which affects when and how they will move backwards or forwards with play. For example, you can set your wing-backs to have a medium defensive attitude, and a high attacking attitude, meaning that they will run forward to give passing options but then walk back into position when they think the opportunity for them to get involved has gone. Another example is setting a CM with great stamina to have both high defensive and high attacking attitudes, meaning that he will be constantly running back and forth to get involved in the defence and the attack.
Experiment with the formation editor PART TWO
You could be forgiven for thinking this does the same job as the above tip, but it’s totally different. The above affects a player’s mentality, e.g. whether he will come forward when he sees an opportunity to ask for the ball and pass it forward. With the defence/attack arrows, you can set a SPECIFIC path for that player to run into when you have possession (or when you lose it). For example, set the left CM’s attacking arrow to diagonal-right and he will move into a central position slightly further up the pitch when you have the ball. Another example would be to, with a three man defence (in a formation such as 3-5-2), set the left/right CBs to have an up/down arrow. They will then move out to the wings when the opposition gets the ball, to try and stop any oncoming wingers.
Create a set of custom formations and custom tactics
I’ve created four formations and four sets of custom tactics that perfectly compliment each other; defend, build-up, create and attack instructions. Each one is different, with “defend” obviously being very defensive (for when I want to hold onto a lead), “build-up” keeping players in position and waiting for a good opportunity rather than trying to force it, “creative” making players take lots of risk and make lots of forward runs, and “attack” being all-out attack.
Use quick tactics
Quick tactics is a feature where you can assign four different sets of custom tactics to the D-PAD. The default options are varied enough, but if you create a set of customised formations and tactics like I have above, you can assign them to the D-PAD and change your game plan in-game without having to pause. So using my example above, if I score a goal in a particularly tricky match, I will then switch to “defend” to try and keep the lead. If they score a goal, or if there are just minutes to go in a cup match, I will switch to all-out attack.
Use the in-game defence/attack indicators
If you just want to quickly change the line of your players, to move them a few feet further back or further forward (and give them a more defensive/attacking attitude quickly), simply press left or right on the D-PAD to move them backwards or forwards. You will see an indicator appear at the bottom of the screen – there are five options, from ultra-defensive to ultra-attacking. If you set this to ultra-attacking in the last few minutes of a game and you win a corner, you may see the goalkeeper run up to try and head the ball into the net – very handy!
Learn about your players PART ONE
Find out which foot they use
To see why this is important, go to the arena and select a right-footed player, then a left-footed player. With the right-footed player, walk straight forward to a point just short of the box, then hold down the finesse button, take one quick step diagonal-right (holding the stick in that direction) and tap the shoot button. Easy goal (nine times out of ten). Now change to the left-footed player and try the exact same thing. You should notice that the shot is a lot more awkward and doesn’t go in as often as it did with the right-footed player. So keep that left-footed player on and try the same thing again but this time, instead of taking a quick step diagonal-right, take a quick step diagonal-left and hold that direction. This should be a lot more successful. This applies in-game, so if you find yourself in a good position to move forward and shoot with a right-footed player, move from left to right and aim to the right of the goal to score more often.
Learn about your players PART TWO
Overall rating isn’t everything
As a Tranmere fan I was slightly disappointed to see some of the ratings given to our players. I felt like there were some inaccuracies, with good players given poor attributes. But then I clicked the right stick to check on a player’s playing positions, and I discovered that they were actually a lot more accurate than I realised. JUST BECAUSE A PLAYER HAS A POOR OVERALL RATING, DOESN’T MEAN HE ISN’T GOOD AT WHAT HE DOES! For example, you could be playing two strikers with high overall ratings, without realising that their finishing attributes are actually quite low! I have several young players who are rated poorly overall, but their finishing ability is actually worth playing them for. One of them has a better games-to-goals ratio than any of my senior players! And remember, each time you play someone they gain experience points, which helps them develop their game. It is important to play all of your players regularly, otherwise you will have a great first team and no substitutes or reserves who can replace them.
Difficulty level (too easy)
If you’re mostly playing against the AI and you’re finding it too easy, try starting a career with a poorer side and “building up” to manage one of the bigger teams, like you would in real life (you wouldn’t land a job at Manchester United on your first day in football). Professional difficulty is hard enough with a 1½-star team like the team I play as (my beloved Tranmere Rovers). But, if you can’t stand the idea of being anyone but your favourite Premier League team, try playing on all-manual controls. It takes a lot of getting used to but it will make the game a lot harder and more realistic.
Difficulty level (too hard)
Likewise, if you’re finding it too hard (if you start as someone like Tranmere then it almost certainly will be), set the difficulty level to professional or lower and try manual controls. It takes some getting used to but again, you’ll find it a lot more realistic, especially if you’re playing as a lower-league team; the opposition will misplace a lot of passes and so will you!
Change the weather
If you play Manager Mode, don’t settle for playing every game of every season in the sun. From the FIFA 09 main menu screen, select the exhibition match option and select your team as the home team (it doesn’t matter who the away team is). On the next screen you should see a picture of the stadium in the middle – select game settings and change the conditions to whatever you want (I recommend overcast, that way it can be dry, it can rain, or it can snow). Then press back repeatedly until you’re back on the main menu, and load your Manager Mode game from there.
And finally, just for fun…
If the commentary is getting repetitive, try changing the commentary language in the audio options screen – it’s a lot less repetitive when you have no idea what they’re saying, and very funny when the words sound vaguely English (I swear one of the Swedish commentators says “lick the lick the tractor”)!
Do you have any hints and tips you’d like to share? Tell us about them in the comments section!