This is not a review of PES2010. This is a post entirely about my first impressions of the full game after a total of about 4 hours’ play. Over the next week I’ll post about my daily impressions of the game. I’ll award PES2010 a daily score, and keep a running average. I did a similar thing with FIFA10—its first week’s average was 8.42/10. (Call it 84%.)
What will my PES2010 score be at the end of its maiden week? Lower, higher, about the same? Right now, I couldn’t say.
I was ecstatic after my first session on FIFA10. I’d characterise my mood after the first long session on PES2010 as contented and happy, a notch or two below ecstatic. What does that signal? This early in the year-long odyssey that is a football gamer’s routine, it signals nothing. Nothing at all. FIFA10 was fresh, startling, and intoxicating, hence the ecstasy. PES2010 is a heavy dose of the football gaming style I’ve known and loved for 10 years now, hence the ‘mere’ contented happiness.
PES2010 is definitely the best PES on PS3/360. I think I can say that with confidence at least. The same wonderful heaviness and inertia of the players and the ball—most importantly the ball—is carried over from the demo. There’s also the same pleasing weightiness about the overall pace. The game does have its more frantic periods, which I don’t recall being in the demo. They took me by surprise a few times. That’s inevitable with proper match times and lots of teams, I suppose, and probably necessary for variation’s sake. And after about 8 matches I found I could largely dictate the pace anyway.
I got the game yesterday, Wednesday, the earliest I’ve got a new PES since the year of PES4. After an all-too-brief session, I had to go out to work. That really hurt.
I only managed to play 3 matches in my traditional opening-day fixture list. I always start with England vs Scotland, the classic International match-up. I posted some brief impressions at the end of yesterday’s post.
This morning I was able to resume, and played about 9 matches. I played a few more England-Scotland games, then went straight into an International Tournament. I saved my progress there after the group games and started a Champions League tournament, playing as Fiorentina. I played only on Regular and Professional difficulties all morning. I’m not one of these straight-onto-Top-Player players. I like to keep the CPU at bay while I’m ‘moving in’ with a new game, so I have relative peace to learn its little ways.
It’s a passing game. PES was always a passing game, really, but the last two iterations took the series in another direction, encouraging fast, direct football. I think that’s still there in PES2010, but it’s far less effective. The relatively cumbersome response time system gets the thumbs-up from me (for now…) because it promotes the kind of passing game that brings out the best in PES. Receiving the ball, you have to make damn sure you’ve got it under control before looking for the next pass. I’ve already had dozens of instances where I’ve lost the ball in ways that a PES2008/9 player would regard as ‘broken’. I don’t see it that way. This is the new game, and it’s there to be learned.
On the negative side I have had several occasions where my passes were shooting off to the wrong players completely. However, I seem to have re-adapted my game to PES, and made the appropriate allowances. Misplaced passes are actually my fault for trying to make PES something it’s not (yet). It’s not FIFA, and doesn’t have FIFA’s superior (IMO) passing model. Sadly, it’s a hurdle many will find tough to get over.
That’s something else that’s striking about PES2010: it has a settling-in period, just like classic PES of old. Or at least it did for me, and for plenty of others. The forums are rife with the usual stories of people winning 9-0 in their first matches. And I remember that from years gone by too.
Every year we play the same mini-game: what member of the family does the new PES look like? Whose nose has it got? Whose chin? Whose vicious temper? It’s a game with no objective result, just opinion. I agree, for now, with those who’d slot PES2010 into the family tree alongside PES5 and PES6. The heaviness reminds me of 5, the overall handling of 6. I’m more strongly reminded of PES6 on the Xbox 360 than the PS2 version. (Probably due to my recent exposure to that game.)
The forums are going a bit wild at the moment. An ad hoc committee of PES veterans, fans, and Guardians of the One True Game are heralding the return of the king. I understand the sheer desire for that to be true, and currently I believe it is true to some extent. But it’s not what a football game feels like on Day 1 that determines its place in the pit or the pantheon. It’s what it feels like on day 100 that decides the issue.
End-of-session score (just for today, and emphatically NOT a final review score): 8.5/10
I’ll post again tomorrow. Here’s a short clip of a few goals from my first few hours with the game. The first is my very first full PES2010 goal, scored in Game 1 yesterday, and saved for posterity. (Doesn’t everyone do that?) There’s also a bullet from Beckham in there. (The shooting in PES2010 deserves a massive post all of its own. I love it.) My favourite goal of the four comes right at the end, a diving header after some nice one-touch build-up play. The cross was an L1+circle affair, a rare one for me. I’m usually a double-tap crosser.