I’m still playing a bit of PES6 on the 360. After a dip last week, it’s back on the rise again. I have found that it does not do to mix football games. I cannot switch easily between PES and FIFA and back again. It nullifies everything that is good about both games, because I automatically try to transpose what works in one game into the other, and it doesn’t work. The two games’ rhythms are totally different.
I might have one last tilt at FIFA09 throughout September. As FIFA10 draws near, I’ll allow FIFA09 to quietly expire with honour. FIFA09 was the best football game of season 2008-2009. No, I didn’t play it as much even as PES2009, but that’s my PES background for you.
Speaking of PES background (segue alert), I played some PES2 the other day. I’m still putting my repaired PlayStation3 through its paces. And I was interested to see what the old game would be like anyway.
I sat through PES2’s famous We Will Rock You intro with the hairs standing up on the back of my neck. Here it is in full.
It’s packed with moments that make me smile in remembrance, and freeze with the kind of regretful nostalgia for the recent past that suddenly comes over you in your 30s (believe me). When the words ‘Pro Evolution Soccer 2’ first appear on screen, and the guitar kicks in; when the penalty kick is hit up the middle of a muddy goal, and the diving keeper futilely kicks his leg at it; when Batistuta spins around with his arms outstretched as the camera follows; and so many more moments—it’s just the eeriest feeling. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I get goosebumps, the works.
How does the actual game stand up, 7 years later? Pretty good, actually. I played a full match on 2* difficulty, just to get a feel for the passing and shooting. I won 5-1. (How did I concede that goal? Scripting, that’s how…) Granted, the handling feels quite primitive even in comparison to its successor, PES3. In my opinion PES2 is closer in the family tree to the old ISS games than to the later PES ones.
Another moment of nostalgia came after I scored a goal and watched the replay accompanied by that music—the cheesey, chintzy, Europop synth music. It also plays over the end-of-game highlights. I recorded those, with a manly tear in my eye:
Beckham’s goal at 0:25 (he’s got his old Mohican!) is pure ISS in terms of animation and execution. Just a year later PES3 would be a whole new ball game, the first ‘proper’ PES title in my opinion. Hmmm. The third title on the then-new PS2 hardware… Does that bode well for PES2010? Probably not, but that won’t stop me waiting and hoping. Despite the disappointments of the past few years, PES is still very much in credit on my balance sheet.
I’ve placed my FIFA10 pre-order, with some reservations. The Gamescom videos were totally underwhelming. I almost wish I hadn’t seen them. They were just too fast. The football on show was boring and ugly (an ‘online football’ style was the order of the day). And there were no long-distance shots or goals. The solitary distance goal I’ve seen so far (a pretty darn special one too) came in PES2010.
Still, the various write-ups from hands-on previewers have told me enough to make me put in that pre-order. WENB’s current podcast featuring the Finnish games journalist known as Riot was a very intriguing listen. It whetted my appetite for PES2010 and FIFA10. It was amazing hearing the self-confessed jaded lifelong gamer describe how FIFA10 has got under his skin. EA will be getting forty quid from me again this year.
I still haven’t put in my PES2010 pre-order. I was very tempted to place the order, especially after hearing Riot’s thoughts. I have warmed to PES2010 a lot since the shock of those first videos last Wednesday. I like some of the videos where the slower gameplay is clearly visible, and it excites me. That sounds like a pervy thing for a grown man to say about a computer game, but it’s true. God help me, it’s true.
I know I’ll end up getting PES2010 and everybody who reads this blog knows I’ll end up getting it too. So the non-ordering thing is pretty pointless. Maybe I just need to believe that I’m being difficult with Konami this year.