EA has revealed a brand new Ultimate Team card-trading mode for FIFA 09.
EA will be snipping the price of the FIFA 09 Live Seasons from Thursday to keep up with the reshuffling of the January football transfer window.
FIFA 09 has spent a second consecutive week atop the UK all-formats chart, beating Call of Duty: World at War into second place by just 400 sales.
FIFA 09 was the best-selling UK game of 2008, with a whopping 2 million copies shifted since early October.
Sales of FIFA 09 surged this week in the UK to give EA its sixth Christmas No. 1 in eight years, just a week after Call of Duty: World at War outsold it by 27,000 units.
The latest bloody skirmish begins here. Seven more cross-platform releases are appraised for your feverish attentions across the next few pages, backed - as usual - by the best range of comparison assets on the internet. That'll be full 720p and 1080p HDMI 24-bit RGB screengrabs, and h.264-powered 1:1 precision videos.
Before we begin proper, let's kick off with a bit of good news. 2K has just updated BioShock with a brand new patch for the disappointing PlayStation 3 conversion of the game. The numerous promised bug-fixes have all materialised, but better than that, the vastly annoying blur effect has been substantially reduced. What blur there is now appears to be down to the reduced sub-720p resolution and, alas, this combined with the wildly variable frame-rate remain. More details on the befores and afters at the author's blog.
Getting back to the present, there's an intriguing selection of seven games in the line-up, including one of my personal favourite games of the year: DICE's innovative Mirror's Edge.
So round one to FIFA then. A hard fought victory it may have been, but FIFA's superior player fluidity, robustness and buffed visuals gave it the edge in the single-player and local multiplayer department over its more rigid, aesthetically inferior rival. Time then for the return leg, only this time it's PES's Legends mode taking on FIFA's 10 vs. 10 online multiplayer.
FIFA 09 has reached top spot in the the UK All-Formats Top 40 chart for a second week, holding off newcomer LEGO Batman in the process.
FIFA 09 has scored a number one debut in the UK All-Formats chart this week, becoming the fastest selling instalment ever in the football series.
The myth that EA makes the bimbo football game and Konami makes the cultured one is probably dead by now, but just in case, I have sent it to McDonald's at 2am to spill Joey Barton's pint. FIFA has long since put its dark, deformed days of knee-length grass and knee-deep gameplay behind it, and with this 2009th instalment it delivers solid, realistic football along with its trademark compellingly polished presentation. And careful, because it probably is trademarked.
What's more, it's got more good ideas than FIFA's dad, Sepp Blatter, has had in his entire career. There's Adidas Live Season, which allows you to download form updates for your favourite league, and benefit from them in exhibition, ranked online matches and Interactive Leagues. Interactive Leagues were a good idea from last year, you may remember; you pick your favourite team, and then play against people who represent your next real-life opponent. Worldwide results in these fixtures determine worldwide positions on the Interactive League table. (The game will also support the FIFA Interactive World Cup.)
FIFA 09 also allows you to define tactical presets, and then map these plans to a d-pad menu, so if you go behind late in the game, you could push your full-backs forward and press for an equaliser at the touch of a button, or if you're 2-0 up you could load the midfield. There are slider bars for all sorts of variables, and toggles for things like playing the offside trap. As ever, whether your team can do all the things you ask of them is down to their individual stats, and you still have the option to pick and tweak standard formations, set up man marking and kick takers, and drop Dirk Kuyt even though you love him, in the standard way.
EA is running another World Cup tournament in FIFA 09 on PlayStation 3, which is all set to launch in Europe on 3rd October.
Sony has updated the PlayStation Store with all sorts of exciting new content. Hahahaha. No, but seriously, there's a few new bits and pieces including the long overdue 1942: Joint Strike (GBP 6.99) and a demo of the same.
There's also the FIFA 09 demo we told you about yesterday, an Elefunk demo, a PlayTV demo that uses pre-recorded content to showcase how Sony's new PVR thingy works, and PAIN Amusement Park (GBP 3.49), which gives fans of the physics-based slapstick-'em-up a new environment to violently explore.
Also on the downloadable content front, there's a new Rock Band section featuring album, tracks and track pack areas. The Cars, Judas Priest (both GBP 7.49) and The Who (GBP 9.99) have albums there, while there are too many tracks and track packs to list, but they range from GBP 0.99 for a single song to GBP 4.99 for six-track bundles.
EA Sports has added an online clan system to the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of FIFA 09.
EA Sports and Gillette will be running an enormous Xbox Live competition in October to win a trip to Florida and chance to take on sports stars such as Tiger Woods at their own game.
EA has released a PC demo of FIFA 09 ahead of today's release of the Xbox 360 and PS3 demos.
EA Sports boss Peter Moore has said he doesn't support the move to sue consumers for illegal downloading - warning, "It didn't work for the music industry."
EA has unveiled Adidas Live Season for FIFA 09, an online service that alters player attributes each week based on their real-life performances. [Apart from Fernando Torres, obviously, who is perfect in every way. - Ed]
Scouts around the world will funnel data from the Premiership, La Liga (a newly-acquired licence), Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A and the Mexican Premier Division into PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game each week.
Live Season will be a paid-for service, but a free trial restricted to one of the leagues will be offered and run from activation through to the end of the season. Otherwise, subscription costs are unknown.
Following on from last month's in-depth previews of the next-gen and Wii versions of FIFA 09, we were recently given hands-on time with the latest next-gen and PC code, the latter of which proved to be the surprise package of the afternoon.
EA Sports boss Peter Moore has said videogames are responsible for making FIFA a globally recognised brand.
Peter Moore believes the real "movement" for Xbox 360 and PS3 sports games in the future will be making them more approachable.
Some gameplay snaps for once.
Have you heard the one about the Englishman, the Scotsman and the Jamaican-Canadian? EA's lead FIFA team comprises staff of over 18 nationalities, which, were it a real squad, would no doubt have shifty FIFA president Sepp Blatter railing against the vile destruction of home-grown talent.
If you think the main FIFA team is tired of being asked about PES, spare a thought for the Wii guys. With Konami edging perilously close to the piss-take with its lethargy in giving fans a genuine from-the-ground-up kickabout on 360 and PS3, EA must have felt quietly confident that it would have a clear sight of goal with proper motion-controlled gameplay for this year's update.