Oh Dear Diary

What else is a blog but a public diary? It’s like a private journal that anybody can read. This blog is—or should be—a daily record of my ups and downs, ins and outs, good times and bad, in the halls of Pro Evolution Soccer. So here we go, warts and all.

PES2009 and I are going through a bad spell at the moment. Today’s post is the final one of this week. I’m skipping tomorrow’s post (Saturday) due to a combination of sheer idleness and—temporarily, one hopes—a mounting sense of disgust.

No, it’s nothing to do with ‘scripting’. That’s one of my favourite topics on the blog, and one of my biggest bugbears with the whole PES franchise over the past four years. I do talk about scripting a lot, but that’s moot today. I’m not worried about scripting at the moment.

I’m in the doldrums. I’m starting to lose interest in playing PES2009. I have no motivation. In truth, for the last few sessions I have only played for the blog’s sake, to have something to write about. Back when I started PES Chronicles that’s something I swore would never happen. Well, it’s happened.

Could this be the beginning of the end for me and PES2009? I don’t think it’ll come to that, but never say never as they say. It could come to that—I could abandon PES2009 in the future. There’s no point pretending it’s not possible. There are various faults with PES2009 that have only really come to vex me after all these many hours’ play. My in-game Track Record shows that I have now played for 165 hours. That’s a lot of time to spend with any game. And we all know what familiarity breeds.

I’ve discovered and pretty much mastered the PES2009 equivalent of PES2008’s notorious wonder dribble. The ‘wonder dribble’ was my name for the way PES2008 (next-gen) simply let you dribble all over the pitch and score a goal with any player of above-average ability, on the supposedly hardest difficulty setting.

That wonder dribble has been taken out of PES2009, but it has its own version, and it’s just as dispiriting. The zig-zag dribble, I call it.

The zig-zag dribble does exactly what it says on the tin. Whilst running at a CPU player, just change direction 45Β degrees. The CPU player will be left floundering. Then, when necessary, change back—and so on, thus zig-zagging your way through to goal.

It’s not 100% effective, as the wonder dribble virtually was. You need good timing to perform the zig-zag dribble, and a player with a nice burst of pace on him. But the fact is that it is possible. It’s usually worth roughly one goal per game, and a hatful of good chances.

I feel disenchanted and disillusioned with the whole football game scene, really. I haven’t even looked at FIFA09 for a month now. I haven’t loaded up my Football Manager 2008 save for a week or two. PES2009 is crumbling to dust before my eyes.

I think I know what started this off. Over Christmas I played Mirror’s Edge, and it’s given me back an appetite for playing other games. Proper games. Games that aren’t football games. I want to go and play Uncharted and Lost Odyssey and Valkyria Chronicles and Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and Fallout 3 and Ninja Gaiden 2 and… many more. They call me. So I think that I will go and play them.

For the record, I’ve won a few matches in my Treble campaign. Then I lost to Palermo, as shown by the screenshot (with some wonderfully twee Japanglish phrasing). Then I won a few more. I’m still top of the League and still in both Cups. The Treble is still very much on. At some point I will drag myself out of this mental slump and take that Treble. I should be back on Monday to resume the ‘fight’…



  1. Did somebody say become a legend?

    I can sort of relate to what your saying as i found myself feeling a bit of pes overkill. I’ve not played since monday and am now desperate to play tonight. (girlfriend is out so a green light).

    I’ve also been playing the odd session on other games, and after you posted about the old champ man 01/02, i discovered that there is a site dedicated to updating that game with today’s players. http://Www.champman0102.co.uk. Might be worth a few hours?

  2. Liam – I’m on a downer with all football games at the moment, so BaL won’t rescue me. When I do return with the wind in my sails, though, I think a break from Master League will be in order (after season 2018 of course—which I have already completed and will post about on Monday & Tuesday).

    I came across that CM0102 site when I started playing CM0102. I’m not very interested in updating the rosters (as you might have expected given my lack of interest in Editing on PES). It’s much more interesting playing CM0102 with the 0102 players. That was only seven/eight years ago but it feels like a lot longer when you see what players are where.

    I’m indulging myself in lots of other games at the moment. Valkyria Chronicles is as amazing as all the buzz says it is. I just completed Uncharted this morning – talk about late to the party, what a game that is. I’m trying to get back into my favourite PC strategy games. I must have sunk PES-like hundreds of hours into the Civilization series over the past ten years but it’s amazing how soon you can get rusty.

  3. ^
    I don’t know why i persist with this name when you clearly ‘know’ who I am (in gaming psn names anyway).

    This isn’t a bad thing at all! You should answer the call to play these games because some of them should not be missed. I am addicted to Fallout 3 currently, and spending every available hour exploring it’s wastelands. Other RPGs like Last Remnant and VC are on the horizon to play too.

    I know this may sound sacrilege, but have you ever considered a general gaming weblog- with PES included anytime you want. You need to do what you really feel like doing, because slogging through a game with no paticular enjoyment as it’s what you ‘should’ be doing is crazy- believe me I have done the same and regretted it. You could play any game you want, and however long you want to play it and write about it. PES wouldn’t have to be left out either- updates to the ML would be easy enough to do anytime you’d played it. A general gaming weblog would also give you the scope to do whatever you want. So if you feel like playing PES every second of the day, you can, but equally you can explore any other game too.

    The ‘fact’ is PES can’t stand up to rigorous play all year round. Eventually patterns in the play will be learnt (zig zaggings ALWAYS been there, even in 5!) and with scripting being the only way to keep it challenging, no wonder it get’s tiresome to play. Easy wins or matches your not ALLOWED to win? I don’t know which one’s worse.

    If you wouldn’t even consider that, that’s fine- as I said do what you enjoy doing. But those 165 hours could be spent on Fallout alone, never mind the many other games out there which you could equal that. Maybe getting a taste of all them will allow PES to be played less- but with far more involvement when you do play. It isn’t the amount of seasons you get through, especially if half of them you are just playing to appease people reading the weblog, and not for your own pleasure.

  4. Hello mate, sorry to hear your disinterest with PES as of late, it even came across in your writing which is usually very literate, approriate and eloquent, but kinda had a ‘cant be bothered’ feel to it today!!

    You know the old saying ‘ change is as good as a rest’.

    Congrats on completing Uncharted, i have too, it still remains my fave ever Video game to date!! For an early PS3 release, the graphics are nothing short of breath taking, with that retro-esque, prince of persia like animation feel to it!
    I couldn’t put it down, just HAD to know what happens next in the story, a true mark of a great game to be able to captivate the pleyers interest all the way through.

    Cannot wait for Uncharted 2 later this year!!!!
    Check the teaser trailer if you havent already.

    with a couple of hrs at most of an evening to play games, i struggle to find time to fit them all in.
    I currently have the following games all on the go:
    PES09, CoD5, farcry 2, Kane n Lynch, Assassins Creed, WWE SVR 09, Motorstorm 2, Battfield:Bad Company and I havent even taken the cellophane wrapper off conflict denied ops or Metal Gear Solid 4 yet!!!!

    On a slightly obscure note, ive just noticed that tiny little smiley face right at the bottom of the blog page!! was that intentional ?? lol

  5. Fair enough with the football fatigue. I too own unchartered but have never played for more than 5 minutes. Same as assasins creed. I know i should play them, but all my gaming time goes to pro evo.

    I have recently started playing call of duty four which deserves more time as well. Looking back at a year of owning a ps3, i’ve really neglected it aside from pro evo.

  6. Been at work all day away from the Internet. The pain…

    Not Given – Indeed, it does seem that PES is no longer up to year-round play. The problem for me I think over the past two instalments is that’s how I’ve always played ISS and PES—pretty much every day, with undying enthusiasm. I sure picked a bad time in October 2007 to start a PES blog. October 2004 would have been fantastic, but what’s done is done. I think I’ve done well to get over 100 hours out of PES2008, and now 165 hours out of PES2009.

    And—Zig-zag dribbling has always been in PES? Eh?! I’ll have to test that out when I next load up PES2008 on the PSP. That was going to happen this evening, but I’ve decided to maintain my break from football games until next week at least.

    I have often thought about turning PES Chronicles into a general gaming blog with regular mentions of PES, and to be honest I think I’m probably just a week or two from doing that. I kind of experimented with this last year during that whole FIFA08/Sensible Soccer/FM Live phase. I think I know how it could work on a wider scale, as I do love gaming in general and the last few days of Uncharted etc have been wonderful, a real jolt of gaming joy again, but I’ll see.

    Paul – My sole criticism of Uncharted is that a few of the puzzles were just a bit random. The one where there’s a pattern on the floor, but [SPOILER ALERT] the solution has nothing directly to do with the pattern, and there are no clues about this in the environment, was frustrating and I admit I peeked at a Gamefaq to solve it. I don’t have the time nowadays to spend hours wandering around trying weird things (as I used to love doing when playing the Tomb Raiders in years past). Overall though this was one of the best games I’ve ever played. I loved the frequent shootouts, which I recall many reviewers at the time being critical of.

    The smiley face on the blog is a WordPress feature—nothing to do with me. I might dig into the code and change it to an unsmiley face for the current period…

    Liam – I’ve lingered too long in that zone myself. I’ve also got a copy of Assassin’s Creed that I’ve played once—for an hour—just to see what it was like, and I’ve never gone back to it despite being impressed. A lot of that is due to PES and FIFA, and lately Football Manager, taking up so much gaming time. And playing sport games is just so easy to do when you work full-time and have a lot of other things to do besides gaming. In a football game there’s no story to follow, no environments to remember, no characters to get to know, just a continuous career.

  7. yeah, maybe it’s time to take a break, otherwise you’ll end up hating PES.

    I finished my first ML season this week, its taken me approx 3 months from release date to do this, which for me is a sign that I too am not enjoying PES like I used to.

    I finished rock bottom in D2, with just 2 wins all season. Despite active negotiations, I only manged to sign Fouque (with a name like that, you know my team is Fouqued πŸ™‚

    So ahead lies another season of trouncings, as I basically have the same team as before (Huylens retires at the end of season 1). Usually I’d roll up my sleeves and relish the challenge, but the motivation is lacking, PES just doesn’t tickle my fancy for that kind of ML campaign.

    I’ll probably go back to playing World Cup tournaments, or random Exibition games with the Summer/Day setting (there are too many rainy gamedays in the ML calender IMO). But getting thrashed in ML doesn’t appeal right now…

  8. diego – I still say PES2009 is loads better than PES2008, and that it’s the PES we should have got last year. I’ve throughly enjoyed myself for 90% of the time I’ve played PES2009. My current disaffection with PES2009 is probably more to do with overplaying it, but I have to say the game’s various negatives do seem pretty, well, negative to me at the moment. Having said that, I hope to extend its lifespan by not playing it and hopefully coming back refreshed in a week or two. (This Monday & Tuesday I’ll wrap up the story of season 2018 first, of course.)

    I’ve also got to make a serious effort to play BaL at some point. I think when I come back, that’s what I’ll play. I’m lukewarm about FIFA’s Be a Pro, but so many people have consistently recommended BaL that I’m really curious. Can it really be a more focused Master League-type experience, as some say?

  9. Tbf thats my mood with football games at the moment.

    I had plenty of games on the shelf waiting to be played (despite the fact I’ve only had it a month!).

    You mentioned Valkyria Chronicles, hope you give it a go. Its on the side at the moment for me, trying to get 100% on GTA IV atm but then I’ll go back to it. Played the demo and loved it, read the review sites and so did they. Played the first ‘chapter’ now and its a bit slow going but looking forward to getting in to it.

    My fifa manager mode hasn’t been touched for a while now.

  10. Happy days — the Coventry City FA Cup match tomorrow is televised in the states, so I’ll get to see it! What’s the word around town, is everyone hopeful? What City players should I keep an eye on?

  11. Paww – I’m about 8 hours into Valkyria Chronicles now. The buzz on various games forums about it is that it’s the first essential PS3-only game since MGS4 (and maybe more so than that). I agree so far—but then I like this kind of game.

    ck – the match is all over now and I bet you’ve seen it but in case you haven’t all I’ll say is: non-league oppositon scare the life out of a CCFC-follower (Sutton Utd and all that), and I understand the lad Gunnarsson is one to watch (don’t see the fuss myself). There are no clues there about the match outcome, promise.

  12. Thanks for not spoiling — I TIVO’d it and am at the 63rd minute. Bezulein (sp?) just came on. I see why the phrase “Blue Square Premier” might invoke a sense of dread. Come on you Sky Blues!

    Michael Mifsud is always epic for me on PES, although I never play him wide right. πŸ™‚

    Hahaha, just as I typed that, Mifsud was trying to streak down the flank and somehow managed to send the ball directly behind himself when he was trying to whip around a defender.

  13. Elliot Ward! It’s going to be a nail-biting last 6 mins or so. Hang on City!

  14. What’s interesting about this match from a football gaming point of view is after you’ve watched a team 63 places below Coventry come in and boss the match for long stretches, what is the difference between a non-league side on a good day and a Championship side on a poor one?

    It’s the handful of touches that go awry, the finishing that just . . . can’t . . . find the mark, etc. I don’t think that the athletic ability of the lower league players is significantly less — they’re not remarkably slower and weaker than their Championship counterparts, but they don’t combine athletics with class within a single player as often.

    In PES terms, their lead striker might have a 82/84 for Speed/Acceleration and a 82 Balance, but his Technique is only 72 and his Shot Accuracy is 68. But you’d still put him in the first team because his blistering shot power of 88 means that every once in a while, he’ll net you a real belter, and if he can pull it off in the FA Cup . . .

    That said, I think the “league at the top of the league” probably has a class gap that is frankly insurmountable. The gap between CCFC and Manchester United might be larger than the gap between CCFC and Torquay! The money gap surely is!

    I was watching the Fulham Kettering Town tie last night and it was the same story — Kettering Town had a couple of really good players (one little midfielder whose name I forget that was exceptional — wonderful on the ball and extremely poised) and Kettering Town hung in there with Fulham for most of the match (“Premier League, you’re havin’ a laugh”). It’s the sort of match that makes the FA Cup (or here in the states, March Madness) so watchable to the unaffiliated fan — on any given day the little club might get a legendary upset. Every year you see one tiny provincial football club playing the biggest game of their entire football history. That’s extremely cool, even if they usually lose that game. πŸ™‚

    That said, the difference between the Torquay or Kettering Town organization and that of CCFC would be sizable — in terms of facilities, training, physio, etc. CCFC should have a massive performance advantage, and over the course of several seasons, it would explain why Coventry are in the Championship and Torquay are struggling to get into the League.

  15. ck – closed your tag for you πŸ˜‰

    And it was a pretty good game overall wasn’t it? I had the pleasure of watching extended highlights only, of course, but I know someone who went to Torquay and he said although it looked like being a 0-0 all the way through, it was as good a 0-0 as you could hope to see. And then Ward went and pinched it…

    Over the past 10 years or so the likelihood of Cup upsets—David besting Goliath—has increased, because the bigger clubs just don’t take it as seriously. The littler club turns up for the biggest match of its season, but the bigger club turns up in a bad mood, just wanting to get the fixture out of the way. That’s the unromantic, hardheaded view of things, anyway.

    Even a club like CCFC would rather concentrate on the League, I feel, although now having somehow got to the last 16 there’s a bit more interest.

  16. Sorry to hear about you becoming fed up with PES. I can see why you’ve become disillusioned with it to be honest. I’m a massive PES fanboy, and I know that the last couple haven’t been anything close to the standards of the old PES games, but I still much prefer it over FIFA, but a lot of friends have converted over to the dark side as I call it :P, and I doubt that even if 2010 is a major improvement, they’ll come back to Pro Evo which is sad because all I’ve ever known really is PES and unless everyone is at my house, FIFA is now the order of the day.

    I stumbled across this blog a couple of months ago when you were updating your Master League regularly and really enjoyed reading your updates, which was one of the reasons behind me starting a blog about my new Master League team, Ayresome Athletic.

    I decided to do it slightly differently from a normal blog, and decided to try and make it almost like an official club’s website, with news, match reports, interviews and that sort of stuff.

    Thought you might fancy checking it out, and possibly swapping links if you’re interested?

  17. James – I plan to go back to updating my ML regularly, in time. Hopefully the current schedule of every second or third day is just a rest break for the current period. I really am going through a phase of wanting to play games other than the football games I’ve spent 95% of my gaming time playing for the last 3 or 4 years now. I’m enjoying those other games, but will probably end up resuming the football game habit after my backlog of games is cleared a bit.

    re. FIFA vs. PES (the eternal struggle), as you may have seen I’ve swung between one side and the other, and still am not really settled. Next-gen PES has been a massive disappointment (to put it mildly) and although PES2009 is a good PES game and is a lot better than last year’s terrible effort, it’s still nowhere near the level that we all expected it to be and where it should be. PES2010 will, I think, genuinely be Last Chance Saloon for the franchise in the current console generation.

    I really like the layout and concept of your site, by the way. I’ll get a chance to update my links tomorrow, and I will add yours. There are a few blogs like ours around now, but as you’ll have found yourself the main challenge is keeping up the posting rate.

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