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05-August-2010 9:45 AM

FIFA 11 : Digging Deeper into Career Mode

Phil Wride delves deeper into FIFA 11 Career Mode; Could he be the next up and coming manager to shine?

FIFA 11 : Digging Deeper into Career Mode

Following the great reception for the first article about the FIFA 11 Career Mode I thought I may as well look to write this second one to add a bit more detail and talk around some of the other areas of the mode I only briefly touched on last time. Having now spent a bit more time with it I have finally started to get to grips with some of the ins and outs but that doesn’t mean I’ve mastered it by any means.

The first article started with a look at a Player-Manager career and I want to carry this on before I jump into the Player Career. So I managed to take Man Utd to FA Cup victory but only managed a 5th place finish in the league after simming all the matches to get through the season. Whilst there wasn’t a celebration or cutscene for winning the FA Cup what happened at the end of the season was quite interesting. I got a few emails from the board stating that they weren’t very happy with my performance during the season as I hadn’t met the objectives they set me (Top 4 finish). They did however offer me a contract extension on the basis that I had showed some potential and that hopefully what I had learnt from the first season would put me in with a chance for Season 2. The contract was offered and surprisingly I was also offered a contract offer by Man City at the same time. Tough choice being a Man Utd fan so I opted to stay where I was to see if I could build on my FA Cup victory from the first season. One thing I did notice as soon as I started the new season though (or rather the summer transfer period) was that my reputation had dropped down a bit and I was still a half-star manager. Looks like my failure to meet the board objectives for the first season have tarnished my reputation.

In the forums there have been some questions about transfers, training, player growth and a whole bunch of other things. To try and answer some of these here is what I experienced whilst playing; West Ham sold Matthew Upson to Sunderland and then made a bid on Paul Scholes when I put him on the market. I loaned some of my youth players out and you have the option to set for a 3 month loan or a season long loan. You can also cancel a loan if you want to bring them back at any stage but there is a penalty fee attached if you bring them back early. In the build that I am playing there doesn’t look to be an option to offer cash and a player or do a player exchange when negotiating to buy a player. There is a plus side though with the two-tiered transfer system, you can now be outbid and “sniped” when making transfers. Given that you have to first get the club to accept a bid and then discuss terms with the player the club could accept two bids and you could still lose the player if they accept personal terms from a rival.

Player growth does happen, I had a series of emails from the coach telling me that a player had improved, and those that were getting older were losing their overall rating (Giggs went down by a point over the course of the season). I also got emails telling me that a player had hit form and suggesting that I should include them in my line-up for the next match or give them a bit more responsibility. On the player growth screen you actually get comments from the coach like “Has reached his potential, isn’t going to grown anymore” or “could develop quickly if given game time”.

Given that this is completely new code and doesn’t borrow from FIFA 10 there are a couple of things that have been stripped to ensure that this fresh start for Career Mode lives up to expectations. For now there are no training options, or those to improve your stadium, negotiator, coaches etc. One of the new elements when it comes to budget and transfers though is the “Budget Allocator”, you can change the proportion of your budget allocated to transfer fees and to player wages based on a sliding scale. So I may start with a 80/20 split with £50 Million to spend and £200K wage budget, change the slider to 60/40 and that may be £40 Million to spend and £250K wage budget. This gives some flexibility if you are trying to buy specific players but haven’t got the wages to cover it, or don’t need the wages and want a bit more free cash. There is a limit however, when doing this you get the notification this is only available 3 times so you need to make your decisions wisely.

Playing Career Mode as a Player

Having flirted with Player-Manager I thought I better get to grips with what it is like in the Player Mode, what was essentially Be a Pro Seasons in FIFA 10. For this I created my VP, the fantastically named C. Elito and joined Arsenal for a bit of a change. I got the option to take long socks or short socks, shirt tucked or untucked, ankle tape or no ankle tape and a few others when creating my VP and I think I can go back and change them at a later date if I get bored of how he looks.

When I jumped into the friendly matches before the season started I had a 0/8 rating as a “Prospect” and was given the opportunity to play all the matches to show the Manager how good I was. Things didn’t quite go to plan, I managed to get reasonable ratings but didn’t score in any of the matches so my rating stayed at 0/8. I did however get an email from the coach telling me that one of my team mates had been injured in one of the friendly matches along with notification of how long he would be absent for, quite a nice touch I thought.

Moving to the first game of the season I was picked to start against Man Utd playing alongside Fabregas and Co. The game ended in a draw, 1-1, with Fab scoring a penalty I created by bustling my way into the box but overall my performance wasn’t great. After the match I got an email from the Manager letting me know that although I played well I wasn’t yet ready for the limelight and that I wouldn’t be playing the next match. I advanced through the days and had to sim the next match, and the one after that, and the one after that so much like in real life, if you don’t take the opportunities presented with both hands you will spend time on the sidelines watching. I need to make sure that next time I get to play I score a hat-trick and then see what the Manager has to say.

Other bits and pieces

I’ve also dabbled with the pure Manager element of Career Mode and this leans quite heavily to what you experience in Player-Manager however the playing element is a little different. You can still do transfers, select the team, alter the formations and have the board challenges to go against but when playing matches you control the whole team as you did last year. There is also no option to create a player or VP and have them as part of your squad. I guess this is where the line is drawn between the 3 elements of Career Mode. Player Mode you can play as your VP, get accomplishments and develop aiming for individual and international glory whilst Player-Manager you have the stresses and strains of management whilst also being able to develop a VP if you want to. All 3 have playing options in them but they each differ; Player Mode has you playing in the BAP camera mode controlling just your VP or the full team, Player-Manager has you playing in a traditional camera view (although you can change it) and who you control depends on the management decisions you make, put yourself in the starting line-up and you will only control yourself, leave your playing self off the starting 11 and you can control the whole team. As a Manager you control the whole team in the traditional kick-off style.

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