It had to happen. Last week was a Gamescom orgy of wallowing in PES/FIFA forums and websites. I watched every video that appeared. I followed all the discussions and arguments down every path. Now? This week? I’m not so bothered. I’m like a kid who’s eaten too many sweets. When I think of PES2010 and FIFA10 right now, it’s with a certain weariness. So I have a feeling that I will be able to wait after all.
It’s all the Internet’s fault. Just a few years ago, games magazines were the primary source for previews and advance news. I don’t remember anything like the fevered speculation of today. Sites like WENB and FSB and PES Gaming et al either didn’t exist or were still at a bedroom-hobby level (like this site). No PES fan ever doubted that they were going to go out and get PES on release day and it was going to be brilliant, and we were all going to laugh at FIFA as usual. That was the way of the world. Anything else was literally inconceivable (the main reason that PES2008 effectively got a free pass when it first appeared).
The Internet was around, but it didn’t have anything like its current profile. It didn’t have the baleful influence it has on PES development today. I bet Seabass sits around at night and curses the Internet.
So, I’m not bothered about waiting for the 2010 games. They’ll come when they’ll come. What am I still playing? The answer is, not much. I’ve got 2009 fatigue as well. There seems little point in extending any of my careers on the 2009 games. I’d fire up my PSP PES2008 Master League career, but the handheld is occupied by another great Japanese gaming passion of mine, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite.
I have played several session of FIFA09 on the 360 over the past few days. I’ve ruined FIFA09 by spending those few weeks with PES6. During my purple patch with FIFA09—about 6 weeks ago now—I’d almost swear I was playing the greatest football game ever made. Now? Now I see all too clearly everything bad that any PES-schooled player has ever said about it. The main one being: you can’t score satisfying goals in FIFA09. This frustrates me even more now, because I regard it as something I’d largely disproved (if only to myself). I was belting them in from everywhere, using semi-manual shooting too. (Not as hardcore as full manual, but still harder core than all the lame-o online sprint-clamping assisted noobs, oh yeah…)
Here, once again, is a short compilation I made at the time of all my best FIFA09 goals. It’s now had the music removed, after Sevenload ‘did a YouTube’ and blocked the old version with The Smiths soundtrack:
Those were great days. FIFA09 played in its way on its own terms is one great game of football. Definitely the best football game on next-gen—so far.
But now I’m almost back to square one with FIFA09. I’m frustratedly air-shooting my way through 0-0 after 0-0, wondering what happened to my golden spell. What happened was that I went and played PES for a week or two, and that undid all the good work with FIFA09.
This teaches me a harsh lesson, one that I’ve already learned lots of times over the past two years, but don’t want to face up to. I cannot really play both games and get the best out of both games. No man can serve two masters. There could be some hard choices to come for me in season 2010.