On Saturday, I watched one of the many soccer clubs I follow win the UEFA Champions League. While I was nervously paying attention and fearing the worse for Chelsea, I began to notice the thought process of Chelsea Keeper Petr Cech. In all five of the shots he faced he guessed the correct direction the shooter was kicking the ball. Fine, he only actually stopped one of the five shots (and one did hit the post) but his ability to guess the spot the ball would travel was impressive.
But when you play a game like FIFA, essentially the role and control of the keeper is taken away. Yes, penalties are rare in the game but I canít tell you how many times I have had to defend the goal and not have any control of the keeper once the attack strikes it. I would predict the spot my opponent would shoot but rather than have my keeper jump in that direction, he would merely take a step back in shock at the power of the shot.
EA did a great job a few years ago by implementing a composure meter for the shooter. The players composure made paying attention to a shot actually important. Players who had poor composure or were taking that vital, deciding shot actually had to adjust for the likelihood they could miss. They have evolved this penalty system to some degree since introducing it in South Africa 2010 World Cup and it works extremely well, when youíre the one taking the shot.
Why isnít there something for the keeper? Ask most professional keepers and they will tell you that they can often tell where a player will shoot. Itís subtle clues like their running position, angle of the foot as it strikes the ball or natural tendencies (eg. A specific player always kicks low and to the right).
There should be something that helps gamers in saving a penalty outside of mere guessing. I donít think it should be a huge indicator or something truly obvious but something that lets the person controlling the keeper know the shooter is leaning their shot in a specific direction. Of course, the shooter can decide at the last minute to change the shot but it also means they could miss the net entirely.
Having played FIFA games for over a decade there is no greater in-game smack you can dish at your friends than saving a penalty. A penalty should never an equal an almost certain goal; every thing that happens should be earned.
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