The in-betweener

Things have been a bit quiet for me on the blog recently. For most of this past year I’ve updated here every single day without fail. Recently that became several times a week. I will be getting back to daily updates in due course—probably after the release of FIFA09. For now, though, things just feel odd.

We’re firmly in the middle of the ‘phoney war’ phase leading up to this year’s big game releases. I’ve also been distracted by a few things in real life that I won’t go into here. All in all, my game-playing habits have taken a massive hit. This past week is probably the first week in around eight years that I haven’t played a single game of Pro Evolution Soccer.

My attitude to PES2008 on the PS3 is well-documented on this blog. But I had—and still have—a lot of time for the PS2/PSP version of the game. By rights, I should have been playing that. Ah, but times have changed. Things have moved on in the football gaming world. I’ve had the FIFA09 demo to distract me.

Below is a replay of probably the best goal I’ve scored on the demo. The quality is poor, but you can just make out what goes on. In case it’s not clear, the goal is a finessed lob-shot from the outer corner of the box that flies over the keeper into the far corner of the net.

Granted, it was on Amateur difficulty. I don’t expect to be curling them in for fun in the full game. But I am getting the hang of FIFA09’s much-maligned new shooting system. I’ve been amazed by the negative reaction to it in some quarters. To me it feels wonderfully intuitive and satisfying to let rip with ‘Bobby Charlton’-style shots. It reminds me of PES5’s shooting system, when you just had to feather the shoot button at the right moment to fire a rocket. We’ll see how this FIFA09 shooting plays in the full game.

As for PES2009, I await its demo with impatience. Part of me suspects that we won’t see it until days before the full game’s release, after sentimentalists like me have finally cracked and put in our pre-orders.

I’m still cautiously optimistic about PES2009. Despite the arcade handling (and it took FIFA08 to show us that, yes, PES is arcadey and always has been), that famous core gameplay—the classic PES gameplay—is something I very much want to see executed properly on the next-gen consoles.

Browsing the forums, it’s noticeable that the PES/FIFA arguments this year are fiercer than they’ve ever been. I’m amused to see legions of PES fans confidently declare that nothing has changed in FIFA for ten years, when in fact everything has changed, and massively so. It’s also amusing to see the same arguments that PES players always used against FIFA turned by FIFA fans against PES. Too arcadey. Too fast. Too many goals. A football game for kids

I’m not a FIFA fan—not yet. But, crucially, it’d be a stretch, after 2008, to still call myself a PES fan. I’m a pre-PES2008 PES fan. Yes, that’s probably about right.

Like I said, I await PES2009. With great interest.


  1. Hi Greg

    My hard drive on my laptop died over the weekend, I have lost all my DEMO videos I was going to post.

    Bizarrely a trip to the Apple store today seen me receiving a hard drive with more memory at no cost!!!! The warranty expired a year ago. I am not complaining, I couldn’t get out of the store quick enough 😆

    Nice goal. I am loving the demo more and more with each play. I cannot believe the cirticism from PES fans on the forums. They just cannot accept a good FIFA. Jesus it’s only a computer game for crying out loud.

    Like you I want 2 good football games this year. As both are different. I must be in the minority.

    I must say I am liking the photos WENB posted from the foreign site.

    Do you think Konami will post the demo on the 2nd October? That seems to be the opinionon the forums.

    I downloaded an all time classic game from the Marketplace, a game I played religiously on my Amiga many moons ago, SPEEDBALL 2 and I am enjoying it all over again.

  2. heraldo – I feel your hard drive pain… About 6 months ago my PC failed to start (still don’t know why) and I lost everything. I’d backed up my most important files and folders, but there was lots of ‘random tat’ on there – songs, videos, pictures, things like that – that weren’t backed up.

    Never mind about the demo vids. I’m over the demo now, and probably won’t play it again at all before next Thursday (yes, Thursday: pre-ordering with GAME usually means getting the game the day before release!). I can’t wait and, apart from concerns about Manager Mode, I don’t think the full game will disappoint.

    Re. the PES2009 demo, I wouldn’t bet against a spoilerish release next week. I also wouldn’t bet against the demo not coming out until Oct 16th. Konami are just like that. I still think PES2009 will be a good game. Will it be good enough? That is the question.

    And while you’re playing Marketplace games, you’ve got to at least try Sensible Soccer. I missed out on Sensi the first time around in the early 90s, and I’ve found it embarrassingly hard. Yes, it’s a harder football game than FIFA08 on Legendary!

  3. Greg

    Yeah it’s a bit of a disappointment that Manager Mode will remain unchanged this year. As EA said and you can see from the demo that the gameplay has been their priority this year. I have my three MM careers ready to go Celtic, Man City and Villarreal. I can’t wait, hopefully I will receive a day earlier also I have pre-ordered from shopto along with PES 2009 (£32.99 and £3 off voucher).

    I could never get into Sensi in the Amiga days, it never ever rocked my boat. All my mates played and still do. There is an absolute gem of a game called Braid a puzzle (which is hard) platformer which plays along the lines of the mario games. I have just about completed it. For the next-gen (or current gen) technology sometimes you cannot beat the classic gameplay of yesteryear.

  4. I am looking forward to your daily posts again! I had got into the habit of checking your blog every day, not that I blame you for the inactivity at the moment. Not much to write on, FIFA looks great- advancing the genre again, PES looks tired and the same old. First time in a long while I cannot afford both games (I can barely afford one). It will be FIFA for sure this year- Euro 08 converted me.

  5. Not Given – when FIFA09 comes out I’ll start posting nearly every day again. Then when PES2009 arrives, it’ll be back to every day. Although I might take just one day off per week. There’s a definite post frequency/quality correlation. The more posts, the lower the quality. We’ll see how it goes.

    There isn’t much to write about at the moment at all. I’m playing FIFA08 and WipeOutHD at the moment, and not very much of them. Thanks to being busy in real life at the moment I haven’t got time for gaming – shocking, I know – but happily that will all change from next week. I should be able to devote as much time as needed to FIFA09 and then PES2009.

    I still have high hopes for PES2009 but I don’t blame you for choosing FIFA09 as your one game this year.

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