This will rock you

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.

Link: PES2 Intro

Back in 2002-2003 I watched this intro all the way through nearly every time I played PES2. It was part of my gaming ritual.

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:

Link: PES2 highlights

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.

8 Comments

  1. Superb! And then when it plays ‘We are the Champions’ over a (strangely generic) highlights reel after you’ve won the World Cup……

  2. Well i’m officially bored of waiting for the new game. I haven’t played much since i lost my master league game, and although the start of the real football season distracted me for a while there really is no denying that i need pes2010 to come out very quickly!

    Good post today, think i’ll play the Fifa demo first before buying whereas pes will be purchased without question.

  3. abbeyhill—During that PES2 year I often used to play International Tournament just to see the We Are The Champions sequence at the end. You’re right, it was always highlights from your own final match, but the bits chosen to feature were just people running, a foul, someone leaping for a header, and bits of the lap of honour… That was a superbly-put-together game, and let’s face it, that era (PES2-PES6) was probably the high watermark of PES. Unless PES2010 shocks us. I want it to.

    I found another intro to an old game that takes me right back to the turn of the century. This is the intro to ISS Pro Evolution Soccer 2 on the PS1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnm_TfRghQ

    Not as memorable as the PES2 one, but I still remember watching it a fair few times.

  4. Liam—I’ve got ‘other gaming business’ to take care of between now and the new game(s) coming out. I’ll finally get some quality time in on Mass Effect, I think. I played some FIFA09 this morning and some PES6 last night, and I’m not feeling either of them really at the moment. There seems no point getting further invested in the careers I’ve got going on either game. The FIFA10 demo is two weeks tomorrow, the PES2010 demo (probably) three weeks after that. It’s almost upon us.

  5. Exactly. PES 2010 cannot be missed this year. As good as FIFA10 “sounds”, I guess I’ve seen enough of PES2010 footage to confirm they’ve taken the “revolution” path… even if they haven’t made it there yet..

    Don’t forget that PES2010 was a lot more incomplete than FIFA10 at Gamescom…

  6. Hello again!! Been a while since I posted here but thought id chip in with a few comments….

    Re the myriad of FIFA10 gameplay videos coming out of Gamescom, I find it suprising you wanst impressed with how the games looking or the speed.
    In all the gameplay videos I have watched, this must be 20 plus clips… some being full 6 minute halfs, I have been very impressed with how the game is shaping up.
    The fluidity of play is soooo much better, the animations vastly improved, and the speed is definitely a little slower than 2009’s version.
    just little things like defenders arching their backs to avoid fast paced passes that are not intended for them, referee’s jumping over the ball, the new nets etc … this gameplay video highlights some of these additions quite well http://tvgry.pl/?ID=570

    I also believe having seen how the 360 degree dribbling works that it will completely revolutionise the game, possibly even making PES2010 (however good it may turn out to be) completely unplayable, as people who have played the game say it gives you so much freedom of movement that you just cannot go back to b-way-bi-directional movement after trying the 360 deg.
    All this coupled with the new Virtual pro mode, and improved manager mode will just bring the game up the next level, I will hire PES2010 this year where as i usually buy both games every year.

  7. TareX—it’s still not a sure thing for me. I’m not convinced at all abotu the ‘revolution’ aspect, although Riot on the WENB podcast seemed happy with PES2010 (but notably a LOT happier with FIFA10).

    I will wait until the demo before decising on a pre-order. If PES2010 is just PES2009.5, I will hold off as I said I would from getting it new on release day. But I’m liking what I see with the slower gameplay, and I hear the return of proper, explosive Middle Shooting is at hand.

  8. Paul—hello again, and these FIFA10 videos must have some kind of Magic Eye thing going on. Remember them? They were popular about 10-15 years ago, and I have still never seen the alleged pictures behind the surface—not even one. I just can’t see the slow gameplay in any of the FIFA10 videos. I’ve seen it in only a few PES21010 videos and I was really happy about it, so I’m unhappy to have missed it somehow in the FIFA10 videos. As ever, it’ll all come down to how it handles with the joypad in hand.

    I’ve bought both games for the past few years too, and let’s face it I’ll probably end up doing the same again. I’m much more optimistic about FIFA10 than PES2010, but strangely more reassured by the PES2010 videos.

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