Oh how we rejoiced when we heard that the option to save replay to HD had made it’s way into Fifa 11. It’s taken far too long, but it’s back. No more “honestly it flew in from 35 yards”, now you can save your replays and keep proof of those wonderful peices of skill, great goals or moments of extreme fluke. Well, 5 of them anyway.
No, that’s not a reference to the Upload slots on EAFW, you really are limited to 5 save slots on the hard drive. Why? i’ve no idea. I’m still trying to understand it myself. I see no reason to cap the amount of replays you can save, the only limit should be the available space on your hard disk. Sadly EA don’t see it this way and the limit is there. Hopefully this can be addressed in a future update as well as possibly increasing the current length from 11 seconds.
Continuing on the theme of negativity, saving to the Replay Theatre takes just as long as uploading a video to EAFW. It’s painfully slow. To make matters worse, the video quality of replays saved to theatre is poor, the video is blurry and pixellated.
Here’s the final nail. It saves video files, not replay files. Once a file is saved, it’s fixed on the angles used when you save. You can’t quickly save a file at the end of a match and go back to edit it later, much like uploading to EAFW, you need to do all of your pans and camera editing before commiting to save.
On a more positive note, the addition of replay theatre does now mean that you can save highlights from online games. At the end of the match you now have an extra option in the menu, Highlights. In here you will find ten highlights selected from the game. On top of any goals scored, there will be saves and near misses for you to review and save if you wish. This does work well, the highlights it selects are nearly always the best bits from the game, I have only once found a highlight I wanted that wasn’t presented at the end of the game, although i’m sure as I go on I will find this happening more often, if you have a particularly eventful game then ten highlights will never be enough to pick out all of the action.
Even considering that it’s the first outing of Replay Theatre, the lack of options are baffling. I might have been expecting too much and ideally we will eventually see the option to save full replay files, so that you can go back and properly review moments captured in game, as well as a system that doesn’t restrict the number of files you can keep. These two details would make a huge difference.
Looking forward, the foundation is laid, but there need to be some serious improvements to make this a valid addition. It was such a promising idea but I don’t think replay theatre is going to be much use to people until these issues are addressed.