My PES2014 adventure has come to an end, and with it one of the most rewarding and personally satisfying spells I’ve enjoyed on any PES game.
For 3 years, PES2014 was always The One That Got Away.
The one that almost nobody played. The one that almost everybody disliked, or even hated.
I didn’t like it either, originally. I can forgive lots of things in PES, but PES2014’s complete absence of long-range shooting was unforgivable. Long-range shooting is the ‘moneyshot’ of football gaming. You can’t have a great footy game without it. It took them far too long to even partially fix this issue with patches.
The late patches in April-May 2014 resolved most of the game’s issues, and even made it possible to score some long-rangers. I picked up the game and played it, off and on, every now and then, and looked forward to a time when I would give it a proper go.
That time came along this year. I’ve played 11 seasons in Master League. It’s been a remarkable experience. The past five months’ blog posts must be seen as constituting my detailed impressions, so I won’t recap everything here. But I will sum things up.
The final table of my final season:
This was the Team of the Season:
Bit disappointing to get just two players in there.
And I lost the Champions League final to Barcelona, who were as good as their billing.
The AI in PES2014 is one of the strongest I’ve ever come across in a football game. Its variation of attacks and goals is pretty outstanding. Yes, there are moments of stupidity, but these came to seem part of the charm of this eccentric edition of PES. If I was scoring PES2014 on its AI alone, it’d get a solid 9/10 from me.
Those readers who have watched Tuesday’s spoken-track video will already know from my sign-off that I regard PES2014 as the last football game of its kind. What does that mean?
It’s my settled view that PES2014 was the last football game designed with the single player uppermost in mind.
After the caning that Konami got for a risky PES – one that tried a few new things, that not enough people liked – multiplayer became the priority. I understand why, even if I deplore it. It’s just the reality of the market. There’s little point bemoaning it, although of course I will continue to do that.
I started playing PES2014 in January this year. That’s five months of solid football gaming.
My main finding is that ‘responsiveness’ – automatically seen as a good thing on the PES forums – is a grotesquely overrated commodity in football gaming.
PES2014’s notorious lack of responsiveness is the game’s best feature.
Lack of responsiveness is what makes a football game a football game, rather than an arcade-em-up with 22 nimble ninjas pinging a ball around a green rectangle. Yes, that is an unfair description of PES2016, but it’s not completely unfair.
Football games of 2016 and beyond could do with more sluggishness, more clumsiness, and more all-round lack of responsiveness. Sadly, the expectations of online multiplayers now dictate the content and style of football games. Online multiplayers expect fast, flowing, responsive, ‘fun’ gameplay.
PES2014 often isn’t fun. But here’s the kicker: Classic PES was never about fun.
It’s a flagrant rewriting of history to claim that ‘fun’ was the defining characteristic of the era of PES that everybody harks back to (PES2 to PES6).
Yes, it was fun – but it was so much more than fun. Fun was just a subset of its greatness. PES2014 harks back to that hallowed tradition. Fun has its place, but it’s not at the forefront of the experience. It’s not dished up to you. You have to work for it.
In that sense alone, PES2014 was perhaps the last game of its kind.
And so we come to my final review-style score for PES2014, which poses me a problem.
9/10 would be too high. 8/10, on the other hand, would be too low. 8.5/10 would feel just right, but I don’t deal with halves…
So I’m going to invent my own unit of measurement, and give PES2014 a final score of
43 RESPONSIVENESSES OUT OF 50
Which is a cunning method of giving it about 8.5/10 anyway.
8.5/10 (or 43 Responsivenesses out of 50) is at least double the score I’d have given it back in 2013/14 itself.
It took a lot of patching and a lot of time for PES2014 to come up to snuff. And I would still say that PES2014’s shooting is the least satisfying shooting we have ever seen in PES.
PES2014, it has been a pleasure.