Change of plan today. I was going to post my FIFA10 end-of-year review—that’s for Wednesday now. Instead, I have to talk about my weekend’s PES-related activities.
In a nutshell: Civilization V has changed the course of my PES2011 destiny. Let me explain.
As I mentioned on Friday, later this week sees the release of Civilization V. I absolutely must play that game or suffer intolerable mental anguish.
For the sake of Civilization V, I have bought myself a gaming laptop PC. And of course I installed the PES2011 PC demo and then the community tweaks to the demo. The ones that make the matches last longer than 10 minutes and boost the number of available teams to more than thirty.
It’s been quite good, it’s fair to say.
I bought myself an Alienware M11x gaming laptop, before anyone asks. I did research the purchase, and I’m very happy with it. My credit card is begging for mercy, but to hell with that. Live for the moment. Yeah.
The M11x is touted as being a gaming laptop, rather than just a laptop that also plays games. It is living up to its billing. It plays PES2011 perfectly. As anyone knows who’s ever gamed on a laptop or desktop, results can vary. Often it’s more trouble than it’s worth to get games running well and keep them running well. That’s been my past experience anyway.
Before I installed all the patches I played a few matches with the four teams already included. The game felt a little weird, but I put it down to the unfamiliarity of playing on a laptop with a smaller screen. I scored a beauty with Iniesta, a half-volley from a cleared corner that’s the first goal on the clip further below.
After I installed the patches I played England versus Scotland, which caused me a bit of a dilemma. It’s my usual opening fixture that I play on Day 1 of the full game, every year. I felt a bit bad playing it now, semi-illicitly, but what’s a man supposed to do?
It was very weird suddenly playing this familiar old demo with new players and teams. Scotland thumped me 2-0. I was playing on Professional difficulty and I barely had a kick. This was in a 20-minute match as well. I had about 3 shots on goal. The AI-controlled Scotland had 5 shots on goal.
Next I played a couple of matches as Manchester United against Inter Milan. And once again the game felt totally different.
The players and team handled totally differently. And again I got soundly beaten, in both matches, with me barely able to string passes together at times. And here’s the thing: I was now playing on Regular difficulty.
At one point an AI-controlled Inter player attempted something that I’ve never seen an AI attempt. It was a ‘reverse hook’ type of shot from 35 yards that hit the bar, bounced down and was bundled in—it’s the last part of the short clip below, appearing at approx. 00:41 secs:
(The blurry quality of those clips is down to my inexperience with filming directly from a glossy PC screen with different refresh rates, or something. I might use Fraps in the future if this PC lark takes off.)
I can only conclude that the deaded phrase ‘new build’ could apply to the PC demo. It just feels more refined than the PS3 and 360 version. That makes sense actually. The submission process takes longer for console versions of demos than it does for PC versions, which presumably don’t have to pass through a 3rd-party approval process before release.
All I can say is, if my feeling from playing these (admittedly few) PC demo matches is correct, then PES2011 is going to be an even better game than I already think it is.
In another session of this expanded demo I played a series of matches between Ireland and Australia. Four 10-minute matches with me taking both sides twice. Three of them ended 0-0; the fourth ended 0-1 against me (I conceded yet another penalty). I didn’t score a goal but the matches were all packed with magic PES moments.
At the time of writing , Sunday evening, I haven’t played any more of the demo. Truth be told, I get weary quite quickly of playing Exhibition matches. My main interest is in road-testing the game.
I’m not even very interested in player stats, but I took a snapshot of Rooney’s anyway. Is it me or has he been slightly downgraded after his summertime no-show at the World Cup?
As of this Friday, Civ 5 day, I will probably stop playing the PES2011 demo entirely. Unless the PC gaming community finds a way to unlock other game modes, which is a possibility. Anything’s possible in PC gaming, I’m discovering.