Warhawk and Peace

For the past five days or so, I’ve been playing PES2008 solely on the PSP. The little handheld console has got its knockers (missus), but I love it. I’ve actually got more games for my PSP than for any other platform. I love it. And I love playing PES on it—particularly the 2008 variety, which is the authentic handheld PES that we ended up having to wait three years for.

The past several days have been unusual for me. Usually I chop and change between the PSP and PS2 version (on my PS3) every day or two. It’s so utterly simple and straightforward to transfer the save file from one machine to the other. Literally the work of seconds. I haven’t really had time to use my PS3 recently, so my PES play has been all on the PSP, in odd moments during transit from home to work and back again, and during breaks, etc.

It’s an amazing luxury to play a proper game of Pro Evo whilst on the move. I often look down at the PSP in my hands, with a full-on football game running on it, and reflect that if I could take this thing back to 1980 or thereabouts, the people back then would think… well, they’d think I was from the future. Ahem.

I powered up my PS3 for the first time in almost a week. First of all I treated myself to a warm-up session on Warhawk and FIFA08. I just fancied a bit of next-gen wizardry before firing up the PS2 disc, with its faithful old chalky visuals. I hadn’t played Warhawk for about 6 months, and I was shocked to discover how expert the regular players have become. Before, I was able to more or less hold my own, but now I was just a walking bullseye.

On FIFA08, I played a couple more games of my Manager Mode career with Dagenham & Redbridge. It’d been a while since I played FIFA08 regularly, so I was just as rusty as I was in Warhawk. After several months now of regular PES2008 play, I’d forgotten how to play FIFA in an attacking sense. I was automatically trying my PES moves and strategies, which simply don’t work.

I went online for a game against a human opponent—my first in 6 months—and came up against a player who chose a four-star Mexican team. In my position, 99.99% of players would have instantly picked Barcelona, but I’d have been embarrassed to be seen as one of them. I flipped through the English Premiership teams and settled on Birmingham City, also a four-star team in FIFA08 (yeah, right).

FIFA08 online really does play as smoothly as offline (read ’em and weep, Seabass). There was no lag, no teleporting, none of that stuff. I took the lead with a pretty soft goal in the second half and got to the last few minutes by defending well. My opponent persevered, however, and scored in the 89th minute with a fine 25-yard shot straight into the top corner. I was gutted. I hardly ever win anything online. You should have seen my one (and so far only) attempt to play Halo3 online. Not pretty. Not pretty at all.

The match went to extra time. I rashly conceded a penalty during the second period. He converted it and that’s how the game ended, 2-1 to him. Yes, gutted is the word.

And so to PES2008.

It seemed that my time away from the bigger console had cost me dear. I couldn’t re-adjust back to a properly-sized controller. The extra two shoulder buttons seemed weird. Playing PES on the big screen seemed weird. I played three league games and drew them all 0-0. That happens in PES from time to time. Even after you’ve been playing a version for months on end, you’ll stumble into strange spells of scoring no goals and conceding no goals. I quite like it that this happens. I just couldn’t understand why I was finding the transition back to the PS3 so weird after only a few continuous days on the PSP.

Things picked up in Europe. After my Treble-winning antics of last season I didn’t have to qualify for the Champions League-equivalent, so the main group stage came around in the usual Week 9 or so. I played Almela, whose presence in the group took me slightly aback. Weren’t they a minnow team? How did they get into this competition? Anyway, whatever, I finally scored a goal—a scruffy affair from Camacho—and won it 1-0. Phew.

Then, to round off a busy night of gaming, I played a league game against Real Madrid and lost 3-1. Saviola was rampant—he’s good in PES2008, at least for the CPU. That result left me slightly out of touch in fifth place in the league, seven points adrift of the leaders Valencia. But there’s a long way to go.


  1. It’s funny about Saviola, I’ve taken Real Madrid a few times in the European Championship, and Saviola has yet to win a 1-on-1 against Bos and Sidnei.

  2. Adriano – last year I had Saviola in my PES6 ML team and he was good but not great. He was one of the first good strikers I got in my Default squad so he seemed brilliant at the start and I suffered if he was unfit, but as time passed and I got other players in, he came to seem average and I moved him on as he neared 30.

    Here in PES2008, he’s in his mid-30s now (I think) and always seems to have a stellar performance against me. Could there be some kind of random generator for each individual ML that determines things like this? It’s possible, but it’s more probable that my self-declared averageness at the game is the key factor. I suppose I should be thankful, as it’s that average ability that keeps me finding reasons to play the game day in, day out.

  3. I think players’ growth vary from one incarnation to the next. Or some players are more sensitive to the way/frequency you play them. If they get a lot of goals and good rankings, they develop better, maybe even above their predicted growth line.

    One thing I’d love to see changed in the future is the damn ranking system. In this version, I have yet to see any of my players get among the top ranked, even though players like Kim Cyun Hi and Bradley get consistent 7s and 8s.

  4. That’s one thing that has also bugged me too, the players overall rankings and ratings after games.

    I have never had a player in the top 5 overall rankings in years playing PES. I thought it was just me that this annoyed, I am glad someone agrees.

    Realistic player ratings after games, rather than the 5.5 or 7. I hope they change this in future. Your players have to score 4 or 5 goals per match and even then it’s only an 8!

    FIFA/EURO the ratings are more realistic, although sometimes they can be too high.

  5. I have actually been able to get a few 9s in this version of the game, but you need to score 4 or 5 goals with the same player. However, I’ve yet to get a 10, which I did get in a handful of ocasions in previous versions.

    But the ratings ranking is a joke. The top rated forward has something like 6,9, whereas our good old Kim Cyun Hi has been getting 7’s and 8’s consistently for quite a few seasons, and yet he’s never appeared in the ratings ranking.

    An ‘innovation’ that this year’s PES brought that I hated was that if a player doesn’t play well in a particular game, he doesn’t gain any points in a number of stats. That’s really a step back, in my opinion.

  6. Adriano – For several PESes now I’ve had occasional players in occasional games who’ll do something crazy like score 5 goals. I never look at player rating unless it’s to check up on such a performance, and every time I find a 7 or 8! It’s odd.

    I think the criteria used by the game to assess player ratings are things like possession, yards dribbled, number of times dispossessed, pass completion etc. – i.e. the kind of stats-fest beloved of sports like baseball and gridiron. This is in keeping with a generally North American feel to some aspects of the game. For example, the ‘uniform selection’ before games. ‘Uniform’ is solely a N American term for what the rest of the English-speaking footballing world calls a ‘kit’ or ‘strip’…

    heraldo – the FIFA/UEFA setup is slightly different and more European in feel as it mainly depends on goals scored and assists for goals scored. A player in real life can have a shocker of a game but score a hat trick and take the man of the match and get a 10/10 rating – rightly so IMO. In PES that would never happen (the 10/10) because of its ‘overall game’ angle on the rating.

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