The Great Gamescom Enigma

In Friday’s post I queried the lack of long-range goal attempts in any of the PES2010 and FIFA10 videos coming out of Gamescom. I actually wrote the post on the Thursday, one day into Gamescom. I thought that by the time the post was published, it would make me look slightly foolish. I was certain that we would be awash in 35-yard screamers by then.

Even after it was published and there were still no long-range shots or goals, I was sure it was only a matter of time. Somebody would have a go sooner or later, surely? Even if it was just for a laugh, or by accident, somebody would let loose from outside the box. Right?

Well… Gamescom is over and I do believe we never saw a single long-range effort, never mind an actual goal. (I can’t have seen every video. So I stand ready and more than willing to be corrected.)

Am I alone in thinking this is really, really, REALLY weird? Hundreds of people sampled both games. Many of them—probably most of them—will have picked up a football game at some point in their lives. And yet they all chose to play what I think of as ‘online football’—direct, always sprinting, and always trying either to create one-on-ones or work the ball into the box (preferably the 6-yard box) before risking a shot on goal.

This approach, amazingly, made up 100% of the tactics on display in all the videos I saw. Nobody worked the space for a shot from distance and then took the shot. Nobody. Whenever anybody did create space (by accident), they ignored it and carried on trying to walk the ball into the net.

I saw one solitary goal scored from the edge of the box. It came about via the trusty old PES manoeuvre of pulling a 180-turn on the wing and then sprinting inside, parallel to the 18-yard line, to create the chance before shooting across the keeper. It wasn’t the kind of long-range goal I mean. This is more like the kind of thing I mean:

Link: Mathieu PES6 Xbox360

That’s me playing PES6 on the Xbox 360 the other day. It’s not a particularly special goal. In PES, it’s a fairly common type of goal. That kind of opportunity is straightforward to create on PES and always has been. The effectiveness of the first-time shot from distance can vary from PES to PES, but the underlying framework is always in place. You can always do it.

But nobody did it, or anything remotely like it, in hundreds of games over the whole of Gamescom. (Assuming the couple of dozen videos in circulation are a representative sample.)  Nobody did it on FIFA10 either, but at least FIFA has the excuse of not being noted for its long-range shooting in recent years. PES has no such excuse. Exquisite and explosive long-range shooting practically built PES.

It’s a mystery that will now never get solved. I will always wonder. When I go to next year’s event, I might get my answer.


POSTSCRIPT, added 25 August

At last, we have a long-range goal. Thanks to commenter BlueChampion for the tip-off. His £20 prize is already on its way*.

Link: PES2010 Gamescom long ranger

What a beauty that is—struck whilst running sideways too. At the end a player can be heard saying something in German that sounds a lot like “Who’d have thought it?” Exactly, mein freund. Exactly.

Seeing this gorgeous long-ranger comes as a relief, but now I’ve just got to ask: why was there only one long-range goal at Gamescom…..?

*not actually true


  1. Ah all this talk of long shots has got me pining for PES again. I swapped PES for FIFA a few months back and have not had one satisfying distance goal the whole time. Oh how I miss them. The elation as your beast of a Master League DMC strides forward and unleashes a rocket into the top corner, surely one of the best feelings when playing a football game. FIFA just can’t do that (for me anyway) so I can’t wait for the PES.

  2. Grilled Seabass—my point exactly. I doubt there’s a single PES fan who doesn’t know the joy of belting one in from distance. I also doubt that every one of the players in the Gamescom videos were non-PES-players, so what was going on? Why so timid?!

    I bet that you or I or 99% of everybody who’s ever played PES would have found the chance to test the long-range shooting in the first few minutes.

    What was going on out there on the floor? What strange pressures were at work to ensure that didn’t happen?

    We hear tales of social pressure from the waiting queues—lots of eyes on your screen and the back of your neck, waiting to judge you and your style of play. But so what? Was every person who played the game a quivering 12-year-old in thrall to peer judgement? I don’t think that they were.

    Just get the ball in some space 25-40 yards out, which isn’t very hard to do in PES (e.g., my clip above), and have a pop. Too much to ask? Evidently, for the PES2010 Gamescom players, yes, it was too much to ask. But WHY?! I have to know.

    When I go to next year’s Gamescom (and this is no idle pipe-dream: I’m going), I’ll be able to find out. Maybe I’ll even be affected, who knows.

    Sorry to hear you’re still not getting the long-rangers on FIFA09, but not surprised. Mine are still few and far between, but I do get some—probably because I try it so often. Law of percentages and all that.

  3. i fully agree grilled seabass….i’ve given fifa09 more than enough ‘chances’ but for the life of me, just nothing ever…happens. long distance shots? nope. scoring a goal? nothing happens.
    it all looks great but the ‘feel’ isn’t there. what a shame though as i believe the game has a ton of potential.

    just started a new ML campaign in PES 09 , just for the heck of it, and having a great time. off to play a few matches again!

  4. #1—I hope the news about FIFA10’s great long-range shooting prove true. If so, it’ll finally be the dreaded PES-beater. There was no evidence of improved long-range shooting at Gamescom, but there was no evidence of any shooting outside the box on any game at Gamescom, so let’s assume the players were all scared by the spectators.

    FIFA09 can be played in a satisfying way, I’ve found, it just takes a lot more time to tease out the quality—time that I concede most PES fans aren’t prepared to give when they could be playing and enjoying PES immediately. I’ve succumbed to this myself so many times, and still do.

  5. FIFA 10 needs long-range shooting to be sure, but it also needs a bit of variety in defenders’ responses to crosses and corners. They don’t make many mistakes. Honestly, outside of first touch and passing ability, I can’t tell the difference in play between a 62 CB or GK or a 82 CB or GK. They play 100% the same. The mentality stats appear to be just for show — they don’t affect play in any noticeable way.

    FIFA Needs:

    1. Goals from distance
    2. Goals from shooting opportunities that aren’t 1-on-1 or volleys off rebounds/deflections (i.e. shots from within the box that aren’t 1-on-1)
    3. Goals from crosses; early, late and corners
    4. More variety in player responses to situations, based on stats. Characters with high aggression (for example) might make runs earlier and more often, those with low Positioning shouldn’t be in the right spot for clearances.

    PES’ top needs:

    1. AI, AI, AI – the AI needs to be overhauled. PES 09 players are just rat-stupid.
    2. More fluidity with animations — the robot should only be a goal celebration.
    3. Look and feel upgrade (we know they’ve already achieved this).
    4. Deeper editing tools (global editing, more slots for kit templates, etc.) to support the editing community that has been making their game better for years.

  6. Hey Not-Greg

    Check this link:

    Didn’t you announce a $20 reward for anyone who can find a video with a long shot goal 😉


  7. ck—I always overlook Editing. It’s way, way down on my own mental list of best features, possibly even below Online (no, come to think of it, nothing is below Online for me). I know that for many Editing is almost a separate game in its own right. No wonder PES2008 is so loathed by nearly everyone!

  8. Editing becomes mission-critical when you don’t have licenses for entire 1st divisions, and don’t have 2nd division sides at all! The PES editing community have essentially negated FIFAs best advantage for years now, and deserve a little love from the Konami dev team.

    As has been discussed on this blog, global editing can change the way the game moves and handles, and should be included to help extend shelf-life.

  9. BlueChampion—thank you very much, that is a greater weight off my mind than I would like to admit. I was really getting worried there. And what a great long-ranger it is too. I’m going to embed it in this post as a postscript tomorrow morning when I get time. I’m too busy with Trials HD right now. ‘Gaming crack’ is an overused tagline, but it applies to Trials HD, oh yes it does…

    That totally genuine offer of a £20 bounty expired at 1200 GMT today, unfortunately—sorry! It was clearly stated in the terms and conditions. I’ll be running a new competition soon, so check back.

  10. Not-Greg

    I was certainly not after the 20 pounds 🙂 I see you getting more and more worried about the lack of long shots. And that’s the only reason why I jumped in when I saw this video. Cheers!

  11. Fair comments, but I wonder if the later versions of ‘last-gen’ PES made long distance shooting too easy (I’m thinking particularly of PES6 and the PSP editions), sending the ball screaming into the top corner without much skilled input by the player which eventually feels a bit hollow

    Greg, do you ever achieve long distance goals in FIFA09 with average players, or does it require high shooting stats? And is there any ‘official’ verification that double trigger shooting (i.e. holding down both the pace control and finesse buttons) makes a difference? I still can’t decide, despite lots of experimentation in the arena

  12. A lot of these FIFA players at Gamescon were playing the game on ‘fast’ setting with unfamiliar control settings apparently. I wouldn’t put too much stead into the footage – in fact, I only watched one vid and decided to not bother looking at any more until a proper gameplay vid comes out on a proper setting with guys who can play the game and use a bit of imagination with the new dribbling, shooting etc. It’s sad that the online cult of rubbish, unrealistic gameplay at high speed seems to have permeated through what seems to be the majority. I’ve tried time and time again to get into online play with a variety of games and I just can’t stick with it. I think it says it all when you see these idiots asking the Manager Mode dev about changing players’ boots midway through a career. On the other hand, maybe I’m just a right old fart!

  13. For me, online mode and higher difficulty/better AI are the two aspects of PES that need improving, I think the two actually go hand in hand too. The ease in which a fast player can run through the opposition defence, or a fast strong player (ie Drogba) can crash through a defence has been a detriment not only to online multiplayer but offline multiplayer too. Pre-PES2008 you had sprint-junkies (online and offline) but they were never really that effective. With my varied passing game I never had much of a problem playing the sprint-junkies, because I’d often win.
    A perfect example is a friend of mind who NEVER passes the ball backwards or sideways. You know the type. He just passes forward looking for the strikers who then sprint towards goal. Thats fine if he wants to play that way, but in reality it wouldn’t work and it rarely did pre-PES2008. I would win 90% of the time. Then in PES2008/PES2009 that ratio dropped to 50%-60%. He would select Chelsea, pass it up to Drogba and crash through my defence holding sprint. I’m passing it around, working space, taking long shots, crossing, dribbling with skill, yet theres no need to do that, I could have just held sprint. This is the major flaw in the recent PESs for me, and it’s not necessarily the game speed, it just seems to have lost that elusive balance that made it the perfect game.

  14. abbeyhill—one of the general criticisms of my beloved PES5 was that it made long-range shooting too easy. It was certainly the first PES I remember where I was looking to shoot from distance more often than I was working it into the box. PES6 restored some balance, but there was still that palpable sense of ooomph when you launched one. And it has always been in PES. Playing PES2 the other day, I was surprised at how strong the shooting was. Ditto PES3. I remember PES4 as having floatier shooting, but that could be a false memory as well.

    Re. FIFA09’s distance goals—some of my best ones have been with full backs. Average stats in the shooting dept (or overall) are no barrier. Good or bad thing? It could be argued both ways.

    I’ve never seen anything official about holding both triggers, but it does seem to work. Certainly in the Arena when you pull the finesse trigger, and then the close control/trick trigger, the camera tightens up and the effects on the ball change.

  15. Chris said:
    A lot of these FIFA players at Gamescon were playing the game on ‘fast’ setting with unfamiliar control settings apparently

    That’s the word on the forums, certainly—but all of them, at all times, playing on ‘fast’ with reversed controls? The ‘fast’ thing I can understand more than the controls. After the match has started you can’t change the speed, but I think there would be very few people who wouldn’t take the 10 seconds needed to pause the game and swap the controls around once they discovered the rogue setting.

    Like you, Chris, I just cannot see myself ever getting into online football. I’ll stick with the odd match every few months and that’ll do me. I have a good feeling about PES2010’s online setup, but it’ll be exactly like the gameplay we’ve seen on the Gamescom PES2010 videos and the really terrible online play we’ve seen on FIFA09 all year. As Grilled Seabass says above, the balance has been changed to favour the direct, sprinting, walk-the-ball-into-the-net style of play. If the devs were selling advertising spots between matches I could understand their desire to have it optimised for 1000mph play, but they’re not.

    If—IF—PES2010 is a slower game that favours pass and move, things could be different. Never say never and so on.

  16. Grilled Seabass—its a well-known fact that people who pass the ball sideways and backwards in football games, and try to build up play from the back, probing for space and weaknesses, are gay noobs

    I really do hope online players finally get the lag- and teleportation-free online PES they want on the PS3/360, and somehow I think that this will be the year. If it’s not the year, Konami might just as well go and commit seppuku right now.

    Will the supposedly slowed-down gameplay force the direct sprinters to look for other options? If the Gamescom vids are any guide, no, they’ll just carry on. I don’t want to depress you, but did you notice in the videos that showed people playing with Barcelona how they just constantly looked to feed Messi and then run with him? You could be seeing that a lot for most of the next year. (Although it was slightly heartening how often the Messi runners were unsuccessful with him.)

    PES4 was my first online PES. It was the PC version and it was brillant—probably my best time online with a football game to date. I played more matches on PES4, sitting at my PC, than on all the console PESes and FIFAs put together. I might be looking back through rose-tinted spectacles, but I don’t recall my hands being twisted into claws after a few games as I desperately sprinted to keep up with maniacal opponents.

    Where will PES2010 slot into on the family tree? If Konami do put out the demo on October 1st, we’ll find out 5 weeks on Thursday.

  17. The anti-sprint technology is going to be given a runout in PES 10 for the Wii this year.

    In essence, it’s “run stamina” — a separate stamina guage that will track down as the player runs. If you want to sprint with the ball, great, but you’ll lose touch and control as you go. It’s an interesting fix, and if it’s calibrated correctly, it should put the breaks on the R2-clamp sprinters.

  18. ck—EA should bite the bullet and make its own version of that in PS3/360 FIFA work in the same way. It’s supposed to work that way, but somehow it doesn’t, as we all know.

    I’m still very much anti-Wii. I’d only get one (again) if there was any point to the motion control aspect for games other than PES. I had the chance to try out the new motion control+ thing a few weeks ago and it still doesn’t work properly. There needs to be a 100% correlation between what I’m doing with the motion controller and what happens on the screen, otherwise I’m not interested and am never going to be. 100%!

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