My new best friend

Last time I said that next time (i.e. this time) I’d speak about how I’m getting on with FIFA08 at the moment. I’ll have to postpone that to my regular Sunday FIFA slot now.

Too much has been happening on the PES2009 front. I can’t let it pass without comment. Since last week I’ve been holding off going into great depth about how PES2009 is being previewed, leaked, filmed, and discussed across the Internet. Such talk doesn’t really belong here. This site is meant to be just a personal blog about my daily interactions with PES and other football games. It is not a news aggregator site and never will be.

Like most people, I suspect, I’ve been obsessively checking all the major PES and FIFA09 sites across the Internet every day. Sometimes every hour. I’ve been constantly refreshing webpages. F5 is my new best friend. All I want is something, anything new—the merest scrap or morsel of new information; the slightest glimmer of hope that PES2009 might actually be pretty good.

I’m finding it all pretty exhausting. It’s hard on the nerves. I’m hardly getting anything else done. I cannot wait for the actual games to be released. Then I can waste all my time playing them instead of reading about them…

I’ve stayed well clear of the official EA FIFA forums. I pop in maybe once a day just to have a look, and usually withdraw moments later, wincing.

With all due respect to the people who must work very hard to keep the EA FIFA forums going, they are possibly the very worst games forums I have ever encountered anywhere on the Internet. Every second discussion thread seems to be packed with 13-year-old trolls. The threads themselves are rarely actually about anything of interest to me. Why is it so bad over there? I suppose it could be a legacy of the old-style FIFA’s traditionally younger demographic. Ah, well. Now that the FIFA franchise has attracted us snooty PES types, at least we can still look down our noses at their forums. Oh yes, there’s always a silver lining….

Anyway, I started out wanting to say something about the way FIFA09 is being anticipated by the PES community this year. I have noticed a trend that greatly annoys me. A trend that looks as if it’s here to stay. It’s this: there are clearly a great number of die-hard PES fans who have never played FIFA08 (or have only played the demo—for five minutes or something) but still feel entitled to criticise it.

It’s manifesting itself in all kinds of ways. The familiar PES vs FIFA arguments are more bitter than ever this year, and with good reason. PES2008 was terrible; FIFA08 was very good.

As has been shouted from the rooftops, oh, at least a million times by now, this state of affairs is a complete inversion of the usual state of affairs. It’s an irony that still has me shaking my head in wonder every so often. Seriously. I can be sitting on a bus in the middle of a regular day, on my way somewhere or other, and I’ll remember that PES was bad and FIFA was good this year. And I will shake my head. The fall of the Eastern Bloc in the early 1990s didn’t even have that kind of an effect on me. I can’t think of anything that really has. That’s what PES has meant to me—and still means to me, really—for an entire decade of my life. That’s how deeply it’s penetrated into my heart and mind. And then came the steaming pile of turd that was PES2008. Curse you, Seabass.


  1. not-Greg,

    What do you mean you’re not a news aggregator??? This is my one stop visit for all things PES2009 (and FIFA09 if PES turns out to be another cloud of poisonous guff).

    Your considered opinion is invaluable to our PES league as we debate whether to jump ship and give Seabass the fingers.

    p.s. Unlucky against Newcastle. Keegan was harping on about how seriously he takes the cups as they have no chance of winning the league, I was roaring you on as I listened on 5-live.

  2. Big Al – ha, I shudder to think of anyone hanging on my word on ‘the street’ re. anything at all, never mind PES. Even if I had time (and I don’t) the world doesn’t need yet another PES news aggregator site. There’s more than enough out there to be getting on with, and I always conceived of my blog as just a blog. A journal about my daily play with ramblings about the general state of football games. I’ll be getting back to that very soon.

    I’ve still got a feeling that PES2009 will be a good game. It’ll be old-style, ‘classic’ PES on the HD consoles, which is what I wanted last year. I’ll settle for it this year, but Konami will still get loads of stick and they’ll deserve it.

    FIFA09, peculiarly, will settle a lot of arguments one way or the other. I get the feeling from the WENB boys that they’re deliberately downplaying FIFA09. Suff in particular was effusive about it after his trip to Vancouver. “Plays like Pro Evo used to.” “The first true next-gen football game.” We’ve heard none of that since. If FIFA09 gets the formula right—the right combination of sim-style gameplay and instinctive footballing fun (like PES used to feel)—we might really be on the cusp of a paradigm shift. That it should come to this!

  3. heraldo – big news indeed. Given the acrimonious history between FIFA games and the various OPM mags (going all the way back to the PS1) that’s an amazing score. It will make waves on all the forums. Should be an interesting read for the next few days.

  4. There is a lot of talk about it being very similar to PES 5, and most are saying that’s a good thing. I don’t believe it is though, 5 was a great game in its day but it’s arcadey by todays high standards (that FIFA has set).

    I am not interested in buying an HD PES 5. I’ll read a lot of reviews, but it looks like i’ll be giving PES a miss this year. I only have loyalty to a good game and I won’t spend more money on crap just because its a KONAMI game.

  5. Not Given – agree with all you’ve said. You might remember me trying to go back to PES5 earlier this year. I found it impossibly fast and arcadey. I really didn’t like it. But I remembered it as being my favourite PES ever – yes, there’s a lot of contradiction here.

    The new FIFA has really changed my expectation of a football game. I now want slower, considered gameplay with few goals. I want games that will frustrate me, and where I struggle to create chances or even string a few passes together.

    PES2009 might still do that. I’ve seen a couple of videos that made me feel almost sick to my stomach at the thought of what PES is becoming (an arcade kids’ game). But I’ve seen a few other videos where the gameplay does seem slower and more considered – where it does seem like being the slow, stately PES that I remember.

    Time will tell. I still haven’t pre-ordered the game (but I have pre-ordered FIFA09). I won’t be trusting any reviews, really. After last year the magazines and the main review sites have little credibility in my eyes. I think it’s all going to depend on the demo.

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