Poor goalkeepers, you just can’t win! Make a mistake and you’re rubbish. Make a save and you’re stupidly over-powered!
We’re talking Pro Clubs of course and the ability for your virtual pro to become a 6ft 10” super human, Jedi Knight, mutant ninja goalkeeper.
I hear it all the time, “Get rid of manual goalkeepers EA – they’re too good!” *Troll voice*
And I usually reply with the standard “Man up and grow a set!” response.
You can’t take manual keepers out FIFA 13! Pro clubs would turn into a game of “who can get the ball to the edge of the box the most” because invariably that results in a goal against AI goalkeepers.
I don’t get any sense of achievement from scoring past an AI goalkeeper any more.
I know that in certain areas of the pitch if I hit my shot a certain way I’ll score 99% of the time.
If anything, the only thing I feel now is frustration on the rare occasions that I don’t score.
Scoring past manual goalkeepers however is still a thrill. Ok, it’s more difficult but it’s an exciting game of wits.
You have to outsmart your opponent with clever movement, fake shots and intelligent passing.
There’s no guaranteed outcome and every goal you score is different.
Admittedly it does turn clubs into a bit of a sweatfest where the cutback is king but goals are much more rewarding than in head to head.
Catching 100 mph shots from point blank range, invulnerability to finesse shots, immunity from challenges in the air. Oh and not forgetting the odd Jedi mind trick save without touching the ball.
So how do you improve goalkeepers in FIFA 13 and Beyond? Here’s our suggestions.
FIFA 13 Manual Goalkeepers: Ideas
The reason you can’t score finesse shots past manual goalkeepers is because of auto-positioning means they’re rarely out of position.
Add to that the fact the when auto-positioned they’re able to cover every inch of the goal from a standing dive. I can’t think of any real goalkeepers that can do that.
We have two arguments regarding auto-positioning:
Removing auto-positioning altogether would make keepers have to think for themselves. Lapses in concentration will make taking finesse shots worthwhile again.
The counter argument is that this will swing the pendulum the other way and would disadvantage goalkeeper too much.
Adding the ability to move slightly around the auto-position (in a similar way to how you’ll be able to move forwards, backwards and laterally whilst containing in FIFA 13) would mean goalkeepers would have to anticipate and commit in order to make world class saves.
As previously mentioned, goalkeepers are able to cover every inch of the goal from a standing dive; no keeper can physically do that.
The way goalkeepers often make great diving saves is the quickness of their feet whilst the ball is in flight rather than the actual athletic ability of a dive.
More emphasis should be placed on Goalkeepers having to move their feet (using the left analog) rather than just flicking a stick.
Reactions And Realism
In a one on one situation, goalkeepers are taught to sprint out and narrow the angle as the best way to keep the ball away from the goal.
In FIFA, however, there’s no incentive for them to come off their line.
In fact to do so would lower their chances of making the save.
Even with 99 reactions, keepers should be limited to how much of the goal they can cover. The emphasis should be on positioning and how well the keeper comes off his line, narrows the angle and anticipates what the striker is going to do.
Just like in reality if he stays on his line he should most probably concede a goal.
This would be the same scenario for any close range activity.
To pull off a fantastic save from close range, keepers need to read the striker’s intention and commit to diving as or slightly before the ball is struck to be able to make the save.
This should be no different in FIFA. If they guess the wrong way, unlucky.
Randomly flicking the thumbstick on any direction shouldn’t make your keeper dive the correct way each time.
Keepers should have to move the stick in the correct direction in order to make the save.
If they pick the wrong direction, animate the keeper going the wrong way, becoming off balance, going to one knee etc. and taking time to regain his balance.
Similarly, if they misjudge the situation and no shot is taken, animate the keeper off balance.
The small amount of time it takes the keeper to regain his composure is punishment enough for wrong decisions but would be enough to provide a wealth of new (and realistic) scoring opportunities.
Let Them Be Challenged
As it stands, if a goalkeeper is underneath the ball, 100% of the time he’ll catch it.
Attackers should be able to challenge goalkeepers and occasionally win headers.
If nothing else it should put the keeper off causing dropped catches.
Keepers would have to think about whether to try catching the ball under a challenge or take the safer option to punch it away.
Excessive challenging would cause free kicks (and no doubt prompt excessive moaning about overprotective referees).
The implementation of Goalkeepers is a fantastic achievement and they’re an excellent (and no doubt challenging) addition to the FIFA series but they need some work.
FIFA 13 seems to be focused around striking a balance all over the pitch and one of the largest gaps to close is that between shooting and saving.
As it stands there’s no reward being a goalkeeper. Every time you concede it’s looked upon as a horrendous mistake. (usually to the shout of KEEPEEEEEEEEEEEERED!)
Yet you pull off the most amazing saves and nobody bats an eyelid. Because of the overpowered goalkeepers you’re just expected to save it.
You can’t win…
Leveling the playing field for manual goalkeepers and attackers benefits both parties and hopefully EA will take the same leaps forward in this area as they look to be doing in so many other.
And then there’s AI keepers but we’ll save that for a post in the near future……..
What’s your view on Manual Goalkeepers in FIFA 13? Should they stay or should they go? Have you got any suggestions for making them more realistic? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks to ChrissyG for his suggestions whilst putting this post together.