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Manual Goalkeepers – FIFA 13 And Beyond

by Craig ColeJune 22, 2012

Poor goalkeepers, you just can’t win! Make a mistake and you’re rubbish. Make a save and you’re stupidly over-powered!

“KEEPEEEEEEERED”

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.

FIFA Goalkeeper Punch

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.

Superhuman

FIFA Superhuman GoalkeeperAlthough I’m a big advocate for manual goalkeepers they’re not without their flaws. They do possess superhuman powers at times.

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

Auto-Positioning

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.

Goalkeeper Dive

Footwork Attribute

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.

FIFA 13 Screenshot Neuer

Diving

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).

Summary

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.

FIFA 13 Goalkeeper SummaryYes, FIFA goalkeepers are overpowered at the moment but don’t call to get rid of them. They create so much variety, diversity and challenges that make attacking so much more enjoyable.

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.

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Craig Cole
Founder of UltimateFIFA.com, Evertonian *groan*, entrepreneur. I'm a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment which I put to good use in the Ultimate Team market. ;)
10 Comments
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  • Jason
    June 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Well goalkeepers are almost the heart and soul of any club nowadays, without them it would become too repetitive and who ever can shoot the most would pretty much win. They have there flaws in regards to making saves without touching the ball and teleporting several feet when the ball is near, but i believe goalkeepers could be more balanced if the auto position is removed, not just LB but the indicator as to where you need to be standing. If feel this would make it much more skilllful and more shots would go in based on that they may get the positioning wrong more often.

    • June 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Do you not think that removing the auto position would make keeping too difficult and swing the balance too far the other way?

      • alassane
        June 24, 2012 at 3:14 am

        i think it should stay the way it is, REMOVING WILL make it more complicate

        • Oliver
          July 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm

          As a Goalkeeper within the game, I personally do not use LB nor take the Auto-Position circle into account at all, so these wouldn’t affect me too much, I can’t say the same for any others though. But removing them would be a big step into making things balanced, and sort the good keepers from the down right stupid ones.

  • Willy
    June 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I agree with all the suggestions made in the article, but, knowing EA, they’ll need like 2-3 years to introduce some new features and fix GK’s and Clubs mode overall, you’ll see.

    • June 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      I’ve got my fingers crossed this year. After a disappointing year for Pro Clubs last year (apart from fixing problems) I’d like to think there’ll be some additions on the way.

      Hopefully they’ll be more than token gestures though.

  • Chris
    July 2, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Good article, I agree. EA needs to fix them, but if they don’t then remove them.

  • July 13, 2012 at 12:30 am

    HAHA Funny stuff Craig. You are right though. The positioning makes it SOOO hard to score.

    I have a friend who mastered this. The only way to score is to chip or score a header.

    It’s fairly new feature, and I am confident EA will get it right in FIFA 13. Also suprisingly, most people have no clue how to use manual GKs. Lucky me :)

  • AlanCJ
    September 6, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I can’t agree anymore, I totally think the filter in FIFA 13 will ruin the pro club game play

  • Joe
    September 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Anyone that has played keeper can tell you that against a poor club autopositioning makes it easy. Against a good club..sometimes detrimental..autofixing to a corner can throw you off easily with a quick flick or pass. The best players can beat keepers regularly. As a 91 keeper I play very tactically rushing out etc..faking like Im going to cover the man with the ball but lingering mid center with thumb on the right trigger so that i can rush out and block the pass to his buddy coming in on the right.

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