As Is The lot of the PC gamer, this isn't the same game that is currently looking very tasty on the next-gen consoles, but as ever is instead the umpteenth iteration of 'old' FIFA. As if to emphasise the point, our review copy announced itself with an all-singing intro video that ended with the words FIFA 08 emblazoned on our PC's screen.
We spent a couple of minutes making sure the game was indeed FIFA 09, and that there were indeed some features unique to the PC: specifically two all-new mouse and keyboard control systems, perhaps included as an acknowledgment that it's virtually impossible to satisfactorily set up a joypad. First up, you can control the player with the keyboard and pass using the mouse, something that is initially like trying to simultaneously rub your belly and pat your head. However, with practice it becomes vaguely manageable, enabling you to genuinely play the ball into space. Furthermore, in what seems like a Wii-style gimmick, tricks are performed by holding down the middle mouse button and 'drawing' the trick on screen - so sketching a circle will result in a 360° turn, for instance.
A nonsense, but there's more, with a mouse-oriented mode that sees the player in possession haplessly chasing the cursor as yqu make him dance around the pitch. It's a bit like driving a car with your tongue, but perversely is all the more satisfying if you manage to score. All the same, while it's gratifying to see some concessions made to the PC, we struggle to see either control method replacing the humble joypad. This year, goal feasts seem to be the order of the day, as the review kicked off with a 4-3 win, followed by a succession of high-scoring affairs, accompanied by the crowd singing the sanitised, "You're so bad it's unbelievable."
Elsewhere, the Be A Pro mode (where you control one player over the season) is still an utterly absurd concept, and there's a footwear-sponsored live update feature that also enables you to buy further leagues. The commentary is still the best around, the graphics are OK, and there are about 10 million official licenses. All the same, we've seen it all before. What year is it again?
Download FIFA 09
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
I Haven't Touched a FIFA game since Road to World Cup, but even back in '981 had the idea of a mode in which you controlled just one player. This demo of FIFA 09 features this mode, and they've called it 'Be a Pro'. This name is inaccurate, as I spent 90 minutes chasing after the ball, trying to nick it from my own team, refusing to pass the ball once it was in my possession and acting silly during free kicks. I was as professional as a fart in a board meeting.
The demo also gives you the chance to see the widget-based menu. I don't know if that's new or not, but it's sort of interesting if you like positionable data outlets. You can get your online stats fed through to the main menu, and things like that, but for some reason all that HUD tomfoolery brings my FPS crashing to the floor. If we had to pay for demos, I'd be really quite annoyed about that.