I played PES2010 a lot over the weekend, and frequently thought: could we have been given the wrong game? Could Konami have packaged up the code for Winning Eleven—traditonally a faster and easier game than PES—and given it to Europe by mistake? I’m not being facetious (or not entirely facetious). It’d be a logical explanation for the often frantic pace and low difficulty of PES2010.
I’ve played lots of one-off Exhibition matches and Champions League tournaments. Occasionally I’ve found it disturbingly close to PES2008-levels of difficulty. Over the whole five days, those occasions have been in the minority: about 1 match in 4, say. But that’s still too high.
Helsinki 1-1 Brazil
I set up a 15-minute match on Top Player, playing as one of the weakest club sides, Helsinki, against the mighty Brazil. I should have been outplayed by Brazil, particularly as this is still a new PES game for me. And indeed things started promisingly. Brazil swept forward from the kick-off and bundled the ball over my goal-line to take the lead. But that was all they did in the whole 15-minute match.
They had 3 more shots, none of any consequence. I was able to dominate play with the Helsinki players. I had 15 shots, 8 of them on-target. I scored an equaliser that came thanks to an appalling ‘glitch’ (see below for more on that). Granted, I ‘only’ had 54% possession, but Brazil did nothing with that 46% except aimlessly pass it about in midfield, occasionally going on feeble exploratory runs that I soon snuffed out.
In PES games of years gone by, I believe I would have lost this match by a couple of goals. Or at least been comprehensively outplayed by the AI. Have I suddenly acquired elite Pro Evo skillz? I don’t think so. I’m the same average player I’ve aways been.
Lucky to get nil
I started three Champions League tournaments, on Regular difficulty (with Standard Liege), on Professional (with Fiorentina), and on Top Player (with Juventus). In my first two matches as Juventus on Top Player, against Arsenal and Dynamo Kiev, I scored 9 goals and conceded 0. I can’t remember ever being in serious danger of conceding.
However, there is encouraging news. Once those early group games were done with, the game seemed to step up a few gears. Arsenal thrashed me 4-1 at home. I was obliterated by them. I scraped through the group stage in the end. I squeaked through the first knockout stage on away goals. Then I met Barcelona in the quarter-finals. Again I was soundly beaten in both legs. Barcelona went through me like a hot knife through butter. I lost away 3-1 and I lost at home 1-2. It was quite a relief. In all of these more competitive matches I felt that old familiar Pro Evo buzz of satisfaction.
So just what’s going on with those easy games on Top Player? It’s not that the general gameplay suddenly becomes particularly easy. When I have the ball I still have to work for an opening. The problem lies with the CPU teams’ AI. It strangely goes very passive, and when it advances it’s almost completely toothless. It almost never does anything. Sometimes it’ll mount an attack, and sometimes it’ll bumble its way through my defences, and sometimes it’ll grab a goal.
PES2010’s difficulty is a hot topic on the forums, and rightly so. Could it be something to do with individual quirks of form arrows, or the new team sliders, or some mysterious ‘random seed’ element that Konami could have introduced for PES2010?
It might not be a glitch; it might be a feature
[Edit@20.30, 26 October 2009: I’ve looked further into this on the Training pitch, and now believe it may actually be a feature. Some players simply don’t jump, and it does seem random—at least on the Training pitch. Possibly I just happened to run into 3 instances of it in a row. I’ll talk some more about this in Wednesday’s post, but for now I’m only 50/50 about it being a glitch. This morning I was 100% sure it was a nasty bug, and I was angry about it. This being a blog, and manifestly NOT a regular games site with journalistic ambitions, I’ll leave my subjective and possibly unfair little rant just as it was.]
And now about that ‘glitch’. I haven’t seen this mentioned on the forums yet, but I’m sure it will be. Look away now if you don’t want your PES2010 experience potentially ruined. The ‘glitch’ is that serious IMO.
I’m saying ‘glitch’ in inverted commas because these days everything seems to be a ‘glitch’. It’s become a devalued term that means everything and nothing. It’s one of the most overused buzzwords in football gaming, coming a close second to the phrase ‘ping-pong passing’, but I digress.
I’ve seen this free-kick ‘glitch’ twice now. If I’d only seen it once, I wouldn’t even mention it. The first time I thought it had to be a one-off. The second time, I groaned. Groaned aloud.
Here it is. Here they are. In both cases, I’m holding the stick down and trying to delicately pop a shot over the defensive wall. The first replay is from a Juventus Champions League match, with a Wide view first to set the scene; the second is my equalising goal from that Helsinki-Brazil match:
See what happened? In both cases, the player(s) in the defensive wall who stand in the flight-path of the ball don’t jump. The ball flies over their head(s). Their teammates alongside them all jump, but they don’t, in order to allow me to score. The game gave me these goals. Gift-wrapped them. The game might just as well have smacked me in the face.
In the case of the Helsinki goal, there were two players in the Brazil wall who were underneath the ball’s flightpath. And so both of those players, ridiculously, had to be stopped from jumping. I felt pretty nauseated watching those replays. This is the kind of thing that makes me furious with any game. With PES2010, it makes me furious and dejected and embarrassed all at once.
This morning I experienced the free kick ‘glitch’ on my new Master League. I scored my very first goal with it. Not happy at all. I anticipate the obvious solution: don’t do it, then. But what am I supposed to do with free kicks? Blast them all into row Z, just to be on the safe side?
I don’t know where any of this is heading any more. I’ll just play the games and write the blog and let the future take me where it will.
Starting my Master League this morning has perked up my spirits. Wednesday’s post will be about the setting-up process and the first games.
All through this first week I’ve been awarding PES2010 daily scores.
Saturday’s score was 7.5/10. Not a bad day with the game really. Despite the increased speed this plays a decent game of PES. But sometimes I have to ask, why won’t the AI do things?
Sunday was the day of the free kick ‘glitches’: 7.5/10*.
Running average score (4 days): 7.87/10*
*In light of the ‘glitch’ possibly being an actual feature, I’ve amended those scores accordingly. Sunday’s score was 6.5/10 when I thought it was definitely a glitch—it’s now 7.5/10. I’ve adjusted the running average accordingly from 7.32/10 to 7.87/10. Whew. This blogging lark is tiring me out. I just want to go and play a few games now.