Fear of the dark

I’m going through one of those spells with PES at the moment. I’m still playing with enjoyment and absorption in my ongoing Master League story, but my mind is partly elsewhere. It’s PES fatigue—the result of playing the game too much for too long.

PES fatigue is affecting you when you see what is average and poor about the game all too clearly, and you see what is good and great about it very dimly—or not at all. I’ve had spells of fatigue before during this PES year, and I’ve had them in previous PES years as well. The solution is to play the game a bit less, of course.

Right now there’s just so much going on in the PES world and in the world of football gaming in general. PES2009 is but a relative hop, skip, and a jump away. I’ve got HIGH hopes. And what’s that coming over the hill? It’s a monster—it’s FIFA09, the game that could potentially change everything. Konami and Seabass had better be really, really focused this year or they’ll pay the price. I’m sure of it. Their many friends in the gaming media are very unlikely to give them another pass, as happened last year.

I also have unfinished business with FIFA08. I never have mastered that game on any difficulty level higher than Professional. It’s time for PES fans like me to stop feeling ashamed of our newfound regard for ‘the dark side’. The dark side is no longer dark. Those PES fans who insist that the dark side is still dark have got their eyes firmly closed.

Away from the world of football gaming, I have other gaming needs that aren’t being met right now. Is it a crime to have unplayed copies of Halo3, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Call of Duty 4, GTA4, and others? Yes, it is a crime, or it darn well should be. I also have Ninja Gaiden 2 and MGS4 arriving over the next few weeks. So, all in all, a natural break is coming.

The daily blogging will carry on. The difference will be that I’ll talk a lot more about other football games, particularly FIFA. Inevitably this means I’ll be slower to get through the PES seasons…

…of which today’s post is an example. I have only one more league game to report on, rather than the usual clutch of games.

It was my second game of season 2017. The opponents were Atletico Madrid, a decidedly odd team. They were relegated to Division 2 a few seasons ago, but came back up at the start of last season and have been one of Division 1’s best sides ever since. They thumped me in a key fixture last year.

This season’s corresponding fixture stank to high heaven. I was talking above about how PES fatigue makes you see the bad side of the game all too well… This game ended 4-4, not the kind of scoreline I like to see in PES. I think the reason why high-scoring games are relatively common this year is that defending has been made harder—or arguably impossible in certain circumstances. The CPU will get its goal(s) and that’s all there is to it. This is probably unfair, probably inaccurate—but hey, PES fatigue and all that. I’m afflicted.

At least all my strikers got on the scoresheet again. Cole played in this game and broke his duck for the season. Giggs got another tidy finish from the outside left position. Kim Cyun Hi got his 5th goal in two games. And Dos Santos rounded things off with my fourth. Atletico wrecked it all by keeping pace with me, scoring almost immediately whenever I scored. The spoilsports.


  1. Greg

    Thanks for the podcast link yesterday. 50 minutes it lasted, I put in on my iPod and listened when taking the dog out.

    Interesting what the 2 guys said, they don’t expect to see a game engine change till 2010. They expect to see game play similar to PES6, and full edit, with the same graphics as PES 2008.

    I would expect to see a major graphics rehaul, they have had 2 years to work on next gen.

    They were quite disrespectful to FIFA series. To say the game play on PES 2008 is better than FIFA 08 is a JOKE. UEFA is everything a football game should be, it’s getting better each time I play it. That’s the STANDARD they have to reach.

    I am still going back to play PES on my PS2 ML. Theres something which keeps pulling me back, those stats ADRIANO posted are scary. Never seen anything like them.

  2. heraldo – the WENB boys have been very admiring of the all-new FIFA engine in the past. This week’s podcast was as critical of it as they’ve ever been. They’ve also been highly critical of PES2008 in the past. This time of year, May to September, is their biggest time of the year as PES fans start to visit their site again for all the latest news. As you’ll have heard they’ve got pretty good contacts at Konami and have apparently had access to privileged information which required them to sign non-disclosure agreements! So I think a lot of their remarks about FIFA should be seen as positioning themselves in the best possible way with Konami. If you mooch through some of the older WENB podcasts – especially the ones just after the PES2008 release last year — they were quite savage towards PES game and slightly aggrieved at Konami. One of them (‘Suff’, I think) said he’d give PES2008 6/10 at best, while FIFA08 was an 8/10.

    If anyone else is wondering what WENB is, it’s Winning Eleven Next-gen Blog – http://www.winningelevenblog.com/

    Their most recent podcast with news and speculation about PES2009 is here – http://www.winningelevenblog.com/news/podcast-027-a-new-season/

    Last year they really did an excellent job keeping the excitement and news going all summer until release. We’ll get more of the same from them this year, but even better, I think. If their increased closeness with Konami yields more and better news as the next few months go by, I can live with their (IMO) wrong view of FIFA. It’ll be interesting to see if they mention UEFA2008 in their next podcast.

  3. It’s ‘good’ to know that by the time Konami finally releases a REAL next-gen PES I’ll have already bought myself a next-gen console.

  4. Adriano – indeed, and the WENB lads were keen to point out in the podcast that next-gen FIFA08 was EA’s fourth next-gen football game release, compared to Konami’s first (or second if you count the 360’s version of PES6, which I don’t). I think it will be 2010/2011 before we see anything truly revolutionary from Konami, if ever. In the meantime I’d settle for something acceptable, I really would. I think the bulk of the PES fanbase would feel the same. Give us a solid, year-long next-gen PES with deep gameplay and a flawless online experience, and we’ll wait happily until 2010. Anything less and FIFA09 will clean up this year.

  5. Greg

    You’ll not believe this, I downloaded the PS3 option file from the guys over in PESfan and they have done a great job, improved stats for improved game play.

    IMO it has improved the game, I have played it all afternoon. IMO the game

    I will stick my neck out after listening again to the podcast and playing the game again today, Konami WILL produce the goods with PES 2009. I read the forum on WNEB and they are looking for clearance from Konami to explain the licensing, they said it’s got nothing to do with money. I take your point it’s EA’s 4th attempt. I missed that yesterday, heard it today.

    I will be looking in on WNEB regularly, all we as PES fans want is a title worthy to the series and these guys seem to have inside info. I am regaining faith, after my afternoon session with the improved option file.

    Again thanks for the link, I have never came across that site before.

  6. I think they were being far too kind on Konami. I do expect big things, and if the game is another let down, i WILL start buying the best football game on the market. Whichever one is better is the one I will buy. Euro 2008 had done nearly everything better than PES. The only thing I agreed with them on was the difference in players in PES is better. In Fifa, I only felt a real difference with Rooney and Gerrard. Everyone else felt quite similar. Where as in PES each player has their different feel, and buying new players is more worthwhile. In the Euro Cup Micheal Owen went down to overall rating of 65, yet he felt no less skilled as he was in the 80s. He was just as regular a goal scorer!

  7. heraldo – that’s interesting… I might have to have a look-see at the stats-changes. As I’ve remarked before, for all my dislike of next-gen PES2008 there was a period of a few weeks at the start where I thought it was good. Not brilliant, but just good enough. Can you link me to the option file? I just had a quick look but I’ve never bothered with files like that before and I couldn’t immediately see where it might be and it’s late…

    Not Given – I think you might’ve passed the initial flush of first-love with the new FIFA/UEFA engine, and are starting to see its faults?

    It’s true that all the players feel mostly the same, and most of the teams too. It’s even truer in FIFA08 than in UEFA, I think.

    The dozen minor niggling faults that stop FIFA from being a great game become apparent after only a short time; perhaps UEFA’s equivalent faults, if they exist, do too.

    This is what I mean by a niggling fault – in FIFA, the AI will make great chances for headed goals a few yards out, but head them ridiculously over the bar, time after time after time. You can overlook it successfully the first few times, but after a while it makes you wince. From what I’ve seen, they fixed it for UEFA2008, and thus FIFA09 should be free of it too. we’ll have weather, night matches in Manager Mode (inexplicably missing from FIFA08), and so, so much more. I’d pay £100 for the game I think FIFA09 is going to be, really I would. A year ago I’d have said the same about the game I thought PES2008 was going to be on the PS3, and look what happened. It’s left a scar that refuses to heal…

    The new FIFA core gameplay is superb, great, fantastic, just what we’ve been waiting for as footy game fans, etc. etc.- but the devil is in the detail and it’s in the detail that FIFA ultimately has to improve just as next-gen PES has to improve. FIFA09 looks as if it’s going to address some or all of the dozen niggles. As much as I’m excited about PES2009, if I was a betting man and had to put my house on one of the two games delivering on its potential right now, it’d go on FIFA09. Warts and all, FIFA’s currently the safer bet after last year’s shenanigans.

  8. I have heard a lot of people (yourself included greg) saying how they will be happy with a PES game that delivers the solid gameplay we’ve come to expect in the past with a healthy dose of next-gen graphics, at first I agreed with this but having thought a bit about it I really think PES needs a total revamp to be even close to challenging FIFA from here on out.

    What I mean is that the game modes need a good upgrade, this is especially true in Master League. If we’re totally honest, although it has been the best game mode in any game, ever for a good few years now I am really starting to find it becoming a bit stale as really it is exactly the same every year (with the slight exception of the increase to a 20 team D2 in next-gen 08 which as we’ve discussed before wasn’t necessarily a good thing).

    For me to be putting my money on the table for PES2009 they will have to do something special. As much as I love the ML I will not be paying out another $120 just for a game with better graphics and a few players at different clubs, I want something new that doesn’t leave me staring at the same screen for another 12 months doing exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 4 years.

  9. Hi again! Long time, no post!

    I hear you on the defending being next-to-impossible in next-gen PES. I actually found that if you shift your holding midfielder just inside the defensive third and make him a CWP, it does wonders for your water-fastness.

    Once you’ve set him as a CWP, your DMF will do what I tend to think of as his primary job — lurk above the center-backs and disrupt attacks.

    If you use a player with reasonably high attack values (say 60+), he’ll move forward and support your midfield when you’re in attack.

    And then I just pull a Chelsea and call my 5-4-1 a 4-3-3*. 🙂

    *Is little joke. You like, no? Please no tell Abromovich, or maybe I get radiation poisoning. In Old Soviet Russia, PES jokes make *you*.

  10. And to throw my tuppence into the hat regarding FIFA vs. PES on next-gen systems, the reason I went back to PS2 was because I can mod it! I can actually add Championship sides and use them in my ML, and continue the story of Aylesbury Vale.

    For me, as critical as gameplay is, I need a strong, robust editor. I want to be able to network with other American PES fans and create a German 2nd Division, or (for ef’s sake) the Blue Square Premier North so I can send Ebbsfleet United out against Cambridge United.

    I get that licenses are a bridge to far for Konami — but that’s where option file swapping and fan mods come in.

    This is a *huge* value-add for the brand, and for myself, the difference maker.

    I love the gameplay on my N. American PS3 version. But the editing is so poor, so time-consuming and niggling, that I really can’t be bothered.

    When so many of us are going back to older systems, you’ve blown it. Complexity in potential (i.e. hardware) shouldn’t net out in complexity in practice (i.e. the end-user).

  11. Greg

    Link here buddy, I got enjoyment from it yesterday


  12. stinger – I’m only calling for a next-gen version of the existing last-gen gameplay because I think the timescale is too short for them to do anything else. I worry that PES2009 will attempt to build on its near-disastrous predecessor. They ran out of time and had to push something unfinished out of the door before – it could happen again.

    I agree that Master League – much as I love it, and much as I’ve probably spent twice the amount of time playing it over the years than every other game I’ve ever played in my life put together – is looking (and feeling) tired now. They don’t need the licenses to put together a 3 or 4 Division structure, so they could do that. They don’t need the licenses to have lots more than 4 Leagues. These would be just minor makeovers but they’d be a start. I’d love to see the transfer system overhauled. There’s loads they could do with it, but will it be done in time for PEs2009? I really doubt it, which is why, for just this year, I’d settle for a ‘classic’ PES with hi-def graphics at least. And even that is kind of letting Konami off the hook. FIFA09 could end them if things go the way they might very well go this Autumn…

    ck – Great to hear you’re still enjoying the N American next-gen PES2008. I take it there’s been no sudden start of ‘wonder dribbling’ as yet? You’re a lucky man if not. As mentioned above, I’m thinking of giving an option file a try that downgrades players’ stats and thus affects gameplay in teh Euro version. Yes, the next-gen version might see the inside of my console once again! (If you ever see a demo of the N American version pop up on your PSN, please let me know.)

    It’s odd how much PES fans love the Editing facilities that past versions have given them. As I think you remarked before, what started out as something that was included to soften the blow of being license-less, became a positive asset to the series. I’m not big on it myself, but I do at least like to change a few teams’ names and add sponsor logo of my own making to my ML team’s shirts. Licenses are not needed for PES if it’s got robust editing. If they push out PES2009 without a proper editor, I fear for the series, I really do.

    Oh, and reading between the lines of the WENB podcast, I believe they’ve either seen or played a version of PES2009 at Konami headquarters. Non-disclosure agreements would be unlikely to be used for any other reason. If you re-listen to their discussion assuming that they have seen or played PES2009 as it substantially will be come release, it makes things sound very interesting.

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