Training mini-games are often pretty poor

147 posts Has Potential To Be Special
While I'm griping about shoddy game design/behaviour, the training mini-games in Career Mode are presumably supposed to do two things - both increase the computer player's stats, and improve the end user's game skills. Some of the training games are really poor at the latter, which is really disappointing.

Take the Advanced Free Kicks game, taking free kicks against a keeper with obstacles.

Firstly, the really obvious. There's no way to vary the location of the free kick, which the mini-game situates for you within a narrow distance range (and a limited set of angles related to the goal). That means that in matches you encounter a whole range of free kick locations that you can not practice with this mini-game, which fails the "improve the end user's game skills" test.

Secondly, unless I'm mistaken the reported distances in the mini-game are bogus. (I've never understood to what point that distance is measured, either in this mini-game or the real game). Visually free kicks that are in very similar locations on the pitch report distances that are several yards different, and a (visually) closer location may report a much larger distance than a visually more distant location does. I've had much better luck estimating the required kick power by ignoring the distance numbers and just using my eyes to get a feel for how far away my target point is than I have trying to calibrate my kick power to the distance numbers.

Thirdly, and most outrageously, in Player Career mode you play that mini-game with your own player, who (if you create your own) starts out with really mediocre free kick accuracy. If you play/simulate/achieve enough you can get his free kick accuracy waaaaaay up there (I've had one reach about 95). What happens with such a player when you play the training mini-game? He seems to revert to his initial mediocre accuracy, which sees many free kicks randomly sprayed anywhere up to 30 degrees or so from the intended direction or height (and it tends to over-hit more than under-hit). This wild inaccuracy not only fails to help the user develop their free kick taking skills, but it actively HURTS the skills they need with that player in matches because it trains them to optimise their shot attempts for the poor accuracy player rather than the in-match high accuracy player (e.g. use less power) and the optimal shot attempts for the match are often very different. And since you're stuck with high inaccuracy, you can't really attempt to learn some of the more interesting free kicks because they are even more likely to fly all over the place when the kicker is inaccurate, and even more likely to respond differently in-match vs the training game.

As someone who's been writing software for decades, one can imagine what a well designed game built with pride in the product might look like. This is not that game, which is a real shame as it has so much potential :-(


  • Bixer
    28 posts Last Pick at the Park
    Does anyone actually play those mini games? I tried each one once, but I've since only ever simulated each training session. Far too time consuming otherwise.
  • 10th4r
    147 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    Bixer wrote: »
    Does anyone actually play those mini games? I tried each one once, but I've since only ever simulated each training session. Far too time consuming otherwise.

    Depends how keen you are to get a better stats improvement than the average produced by simulating!

    You can waste a metric bucket load of time on them though.
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