PES2011: disaster. I’m as sick of it and as disappointed with it as I ever was with next-gen PES2008.
This is a hard post to write, but it has to be done. Barring a last-minute miracle, PES2011 and I are about to part company.
This has been building up for a long time. It hasn’t come about because of one bad session. As it happens, my latest—possibly my last ever—session on PES2011 was a very productive one. I played through to week 31 of season 6, and won promotion.
After matchday 31, the post-match celebrations fired, taking me by surprise. I couldn’t reach my phone in time to capture the scenes. Here’s the table showing my mathematical promotion. I think I’ll be good for the title as well. If I play on.
But whether I ever play another match in PES2011 is seriously in doubt.
I have tried to love PES2011, but I don’t love it and I don’t think I ever will. I loved the demo. I loved the first week or two with the game. But it’s been sharply downhill ever since. After over 110 hours’ play now, I think it’s time for me to accept that.
It takes a lot to tear me away from Master League. This will be the first time I have ever abandoned a PES without playing my ML career through to some kind of conclusion.
I just don’t think PES2011 is a good game of football. I think it’s a bad PES game, one of the worst we’ve ever had. And I don’t want to play it anymore.
Please note that I say “I think”, not “this is what the objective truth is”. I’m perfectly well aware that many find PES2011 to be a good game, perhaps even a great one. And as a PES fan I do respect that (not least because I thought PES2010 was a great PES game, and not very many did!). There are also perfectly decent, perfectly rational PES fans who thought PES2008 was perfectly fine.
In my view, then, PES2011 is beset with issues that would see it get totally crucified if this was FIFA we were dealing with. But because it’s PES, they are overlooked or explained away.
What are my main gripes with PES2011? I don’t know where to begin.
One of the most celebrated characteristics of PES has always been the feeling you get from it that it is a superb representation of the actual game of football in all its guts and glory.
I think that PES2011 fails completely at doing this.
What part of real football is represented in PES2011 by my players suddenly becoming unresponsive and motionless when the cursor fails to decide where to go? Player switching issues affect me so much that I barely even notice them any more. It’s quite something that I’ve got used to having two CBs frozen in place while the ball rolls between them.
What part of real football is represented in PES2011 by my full-backs wandering into advanced AMF/CF roles at random, even with all relevant tactical sliders on zero? (No, I don’t want to hear “have 4 CBs instead”, as if that’s perfectly acceptable. Because if this was FIFA…)
What part of real football is represented in PES2011 by my players adopting an awkward shuffling animation when receiving the ball?
What part of real football is represented in PES2011 by my button-presses failing to register when the game decides it simply doesn’t want to register them? Through on goal yesterday, I pressed for an early shot. That shot never came.
What part of real football is represented in PES2011 by any defender being able to catch up with any striker from any distance away, and for the game to actively assist this bollocks by making my striker dwell on the ball for long enough?
What part of real football is represented in PES2011 by the infamous stumbling animation where a player will collide and stagger and be rendered insensible for several seconds?
What part of real football is represented in PES2011 by my goalkeeper punching the ball into the path of oncoming stikers, when Goakeeping 101 stipulates that “if you can’t catch it, make sure it goes behind or a long way to the sides”?
What part of real football is represented in PES2011 by the proximity of other players rendering shots floatier than a beachball filled with helium on a windy day? Oh my God, if this was FIFA… Can you imagine?
What part of real football is represented in PES2011 by two, three, four, sometimes five or six CPU players permanently crowding and hassling the ball-carrier? Even the most high-tempo, high-pressure real-life teams have never played such football, not for 90 minutes.
I’ve heard all the arguments about each of those things somehow representing PES’s celebrated stats-based game engine, and I’ve even believed in the excuses, but in PES2011’s case, I just don’t buy it anymore.
PES2011 is not a terrible game in the way that PES2008 was terrible. The latter game was insultingly easy.
I think it’s more that PES2011 has been stuffed with so many ‘limiters’—chunks of code designed to handicap the human player and keep scorelines low—that I end up having to overlook and tolerate too many instances of wrongness every single match.
It’s too much for me. Maybe I’m growing out of football games, or games in general (a common worry for us gamers with jobs)? Who knows.
Over the weekend I’ll be uninstalling patch 1.02 and playing a few matches, just to see. This could be the last-minute miracle that I referred to up there at the start of my rant. I’ll report back on how that went on Monday.
I have to at least try. I feel I owe it to myself and to PES and to the 110 hours that I’ve already sunk into this game.