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.