FIFA 09 Review - 27/11/2008

The latest in the arguably, “premier” football franchise has upped its game, but is it enough to conquer the PES series in this year’s fight for the footy-game title?

At the end of last year, EA Sports produced and finished FIFA 08, it was another pinnacle moment for them. They improved vastly on the online capabilities and greatly enhanced the overall speed of the play. FIFA 09 adds to everything, as well as throwing in a new and exciting 20 player mode for online matches. Whilst not achieving the goal of 22 player games online, EA have made Be A Pro mode online possible. This is truly a phenomenon in online gaming, and comes in only a small section of the game that still contains the usual 1 vs. 1 affairs, that can be played with local guests against other online players.

FIFA 09 also keeps to the same format as 08, with an Arena mode before the main menu, and during loading screens. I can honestly say that I’ve had almost as much fun in that, than I have in any other of the modes. I don’t mean that statement in a bad way, either, I just really enjoy taking free kicks, practising penalties, testing my shot ability and generally fine-tuning my “mad skillz”. You can use every move that you do in this mode in the actual game, and is a perfect place to start for beginners, the only down-side being that it’s only for 1 player, so your mates can’t join in the fun whilst waiting for a match to begin.

The character models are getting better year-on-year.

The modes are the same as last year (with the addition of the 20 player online) and includes; Be A Pro, where you select one outfield player (or one you create) to play a match as, Exhibition, the classic affair for up to 4 players, Tournament mode, where you set up your own tournament-club or international teams, and finally, Manager Mode, where you manage a club for 16 seasons. Be A Pro has seen numerous improvements, mainly being the AI. They actually pass to you when you call for the ball this time, and react differently in different situations, and this can be said for all the modes. When under pressure from attackers, defenders will hoof the ball out of the danger zone, and when attackers are crowded with defenders, they struggle to create a clean finish or perform more complicated skills. It all adds to the realism that last year’s effort made.

The controls are the same as last year, but this time you can alternate to a more PES style-with Square to shoot, and O to cross. R2 is sprint, and you can hold various shoulder buttons, as well as the face buttons, to pull of certain manoeuvres. For instance, holding L1 whilst you pass (X) will allow you to move off the ball, creating space and an easier opportunity for a 1-2 pass.

This FIFA has and will continue to draw PES fans away from their beloved product.

FIFA also has the option to purchase a Live Season download. This updates your game each week, and changes each player’s stats, depending on how well they played. This is a great addition to the series, and can force players to experience different teams, just in case Manchester United have a bad week and you have to opt for an up-and-coming team that have proven their worth, like Hull.

Overall, FIFA 09 is almost the same game as FIFA 08, with the obvious transfers and team changes, but also adds some really good subtle systems, that recreate the beautiful game…beautifully. You may not realise all 251 enhancements, but you will definitely see a handful of improved functions. Whether it be the online, the 20 Player Matches, or the “Pressure System”, they all make it a decent purchase, that any footy fan will love, even if they have the previous iteration.

- Sam Foster


Great improvements since last year.


Faster pace.

Almost perfectly realistic.

20-player online works great and multiplayer - no more sharing!


Pretty much the same game from '97.






EA Sports
EA Canada