Since the release of PES2008 there has been lots of speculation about it being an unfinished game that was rushed to market for commercial reasons.
Something has happened to me in the game that, to my mind, confirms the speculation. I still can’t believe it. I shake my head and grimace whenever I think about it. If I ever bump into Seabass in the street, I plan to give him a piece of my mind. And it won’t be a very nice piece. (I often bump into international games developers in the streets of Coventry, so it could happen.)
After my less-than-average opening run in Division 1, I came up against Chelsea. I was appropriately fearful before the game, but I was able to pick all of my First XI for once. Whenever Donadel, Shimizu, and Shaw can play together in midfield I feel pretty much invincible. #We’re gonna scoo-ore one moo-oore than you!# – that’s about the size of it.
The game started ominously, with Chelsea rampant down both wings and through the middle. Shevchenko looks like a monster of a player in PES2008. I couldn’t cope with him. His pace and his movement was phenomenal. He should have had a hat-trick within the first 30 minutes.
Somehow, I held on, and then in the second half I started to dominate the game. I was snuffing out everything at the back and creating chances up front. The holy triumvirate – Donadel, Shimizu, Shaw – were working their magic once more.
Then I had Guimaraes sent off. It was absolutely stupid. I had a free kick about twenty yards short of the halfway line. Suzuki was the taker. Donadel was standing directly ahead, but he was covered by a Chelsea player standing beside him. So I rotated the view all the way to the right until the camera was pointing at Guimaraes, standing on his own in the open. I pressed X, holding the analogue stick firmly to the right just to make sure… but the kick went to Donadel anyway. Why does this so often happen at free kicks in PES? I mean, why???
The Chelsea player easily got the ball – darting in front of the motionless Donadel – and raced off in Guimaraes’ direction. I was angry. Very angry. I took a wild swipe at the Chelsea player with Guimaraes… and was sent off.
But that wasn’t the awful thing that happened to me in this game. There was worse to come.
I dug deep with the 10 men. I’m used to playing with 10 men in PES2008. Time went on and it was almost as if I hadn’t even had a man sent off. It got to the 85th minute and I was settling for a point, knocking the ball around, probing cautiously up front to see if I could sneak a cheeky winning goal.
Then Chelsea scored. They had a throw-in almost level with my penalty box. A midfielder played a hopeful pass toward goal. Bramble blocked the pass. I pressed the Square button to hoof the ball clear. But nothing happened. I pressed it again, and again. Still nothing. A Chelsea player was lurking behind Bramble. Somehow he smuggled the ball away from Bramble, and then slotted the ball into a suddenly empty net….
At first sight I knew something wasn’t quite right about the Chelsea goal, but I had to see the replay for myself to (dis)believe it.
This is the first replay of a goal from a CPU team that I have posted on this blog, and there’s a couple of good reasons why. Watch carefully…
So. Bramble receives the ball to feet, and is jostled by the Chelsea player. This causes all kinds of fun and games. The ball partially disappears into Bramble’s left foot momentarily, then rolls toward his other leg and passes straight through it as if it isn’t there. Watch it a few times. I have.
Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough (and it is bad enough), my goalkeeper Kim U Don runs away from the goal in the opposite direction, leaving an easy tap-in for the Chelsea player (some dude called Halil Antintrop).
It’s possible that during the confusion I pressed Triangle to try to smother the loose ball with the keeper. I don’t specifically remember doing so, but I might have done it instinctively. But whether I pressed Triangle or didn’t press it, why is my keeper running away from the ball at a 90 degree angle? Kim U Don’t is his new official nickname.
I haven’t seen anything like this in 8 years of PES gaming. A bug? You’ve got to hope so. Because if this kind of thing is a deliberate programming decision by Seabass & co., we might as well all pack up and go home now.
Usually, I’m not one to mind too much about the many advantages that the CPU teams have over the human player. There has to be something to give the CPU a lift. Otherwise we’d be dribbling around 11 mannequins out there on the virtual pitch. Artificial Intelligence has yet to reproduce the functionality of an ant, never mind reproduce the mistakes and inconsistencies of a human being.
But this kind of thing goes beyond the pale. I would be just as unhappy to see an incident like this happen for me as I am to see it happen against me. (The incident last season where Kirkland carried the ball over the line wasn’t the same thing at all. There were no solid objects phasing through players’ limbs, or mysteriously scarpering keepers, in that one.)
The result leaves me fifth from bottom. If I had got the point out of the game that I deserved, I would be eyeing mid-table instead of looking nervously at the bottom 3. A relegation battle would be unprecedented for me on PES, but it is a real possibility. I can’t help thinking of how badly things went for me in Division 2 even after I started to get a good crop of players.
I had to switch off after this game. I had to calm down for a bit.