The Myth of Castello

For the second time I have reached the final of an International Tournament with Slovakia. I’m playing tournaments with a variety of teams, in a game—PES2011—that I have, frankly, come to despise. Stumble. Step-around. Elephant touch. Player selection. That is all.

PES2011’s days are numbered, and this time I don’t think I’ll come crawling back. I’ve got other gaming options now—football and otherwise—of which more later.

I started this would-be sequence of international tournaments with Slovakia, and this was my umpteenth attempt. I haven’t kept count, but I’d estimate this was attempt #15.

For this attempt, I hopped over to the PS3, complete with its option file. As regular readers will know, a few weeks ago I picked up a copy of PES2011 for the Xbox360, knowing that it was exactly the same game. Like so many PES fans wandering the wilderness, I was delusional. I made myself believe in the hair’s-breadth of a possibility that the other console’s PES2011 might actually prove to be a different version, with none of the gameplay features that I loathe so much.

PES2011 is the same game on PS3 and 360. End of. I repudiate all beliefs and anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

In my latest tournament the gameplay was really shocking. A lot of the time I sincerely believe that PES2011 is the most awkward, stumbliest, crappest football game ever made. Worse than PES2008(PS3) at its worst. Oh yes, I’m going there.

I got out of the group, slogged my way through the following rounds, and saw that Germany were my opponents in the Final.

It was as tough as my last Final against Spain—tight, dour, and I was always up against it, as you would expect.

They went 1-0 up after 50 minutes, and to be honest I really thought that would be it. The time limped on and nothing was happening for me. In the last five minutes I went 3-4-3, then subbed my entire knackered front 3. Time for one last mighty effort.

With a minute left, 30 yards out, I squared the ball to that hero of Slovakia, a great midfielder called Welden, and aimed for the top corner. It flew in. 1-1. Extra time.

I hit the post in extra time, and enjoyed a lively spell of pressure that seemed certain to yield the winning goal, but somehow never did. There was a grim inevitability about penalties against Germany, and so they came.

I scored my first two. So did Germany. I’m good at saving penalties in PES2011 and dived the right way for both, but the ball squirmed in. I was playing with a blue-arrowed keeper, and this was some of PES’s legendary stats-modelling, I’m sure. No real complaints.

I missed my third penalty, and Germany scored theirs. I scored my fourth, but it was moot as Germany slammed home the deciding penalty, and that was that.

Another final lost. Gutted.

Will there be another attempt? Maybe, but probably not.

I’ve been off work for the past week, supposedly to work on a university assignment. I haven’t bothered with that yet (I’ve got two days left—it’ll be fine…).

Instead I have turned my attention to the gaming laptop that I bought last year. PC gaming could be the future for me, you know. Just an inkling I have.

Do you know there are still hundreds of people playing CounterStrike, at all hours of the day and night? It’s 5 years or so since I was a regular player but I can still remember my way around the maps. I’m still rubbish, too. If I get 1 kill it’s a good round.

I’ve caught up with Mount and Blade, a fantastic indie game that has become an established name over the past three years. It’s like a first-person Total War with beefy strategy/RPG elements. I played for 10 hours like a true noob, wandering around the world with no men, no weapons, and frequently no shirt on.

Once I knew what I was doing I started again with a new character—who bears a grand old Pro Evo name…

I haven’t got time to waste on games that I don’t really want to play—games that I’m only playing out of habit, because there’s nothing else on.

There are other football games available, including the greatest football game ever made in my view: PES5.

Over the past week I’ve been playing the PC version of PES5. Probably about 20 matches all told. I like to play a few either side of a Mount and Blade session.

The only thing I’ve got against PES5 now is that it’s fast. Too fast for my taste nowadays. But for that speed issue, I’d already be playing a PES5(PC) Master League right now. I’m trying to get used to the speed before taking that step.

At the time of writing—Sunday evening—I don’t know what Wednesday’s post will be about. The chances of it being about PES2011 are very slim, but not impossible. Never underestimate the power of convenience, which is what has kept me going for so long despite my overall disgust with the game.


  1. I’d like to see a trend graph by month showing your interest/love/hate of PES 2011. Would make for one hell of a rollercoaster!

    Interestingly enough, I scored my 100th Castolo goal yesterday. Was a momentous occasion. All done in around 120 games too. He’s very good for me now.

  2. I would love a quality laptop to play games on but the funds just won’t stretch that far – Mount & Blade looks right up my street. Hope you keep it up.
    I’m still loving my ML and have just won the Champions League in my first attempt. It all started inconspicuously with a 2-0 defeat a home to FC Copenhagen and ended with a glorious 1-0 scrap against a Man City side who had a truly awful forward playing up front on his own – Baxter.
    When I saw his name on the teamsheet and Tevez leftout with purple-arrow knack, I knew I had a chance.
    I think, if I win the Prem this season and then win a cup and the league again next season I shall put pro evo to one side and try and get through my back catalogue before November’s influx of goodies.

  3. Liam—way back in the day, as you might remember, I did keep graphs of how I viewed the game(s)—I think it was PES2009 and FIFA09. A similar graph today would show PES2011 starting near the top of the chart last September with the demo and the first few days post-release in October. Then it would dip just slightly as the gameplay problems surfaced, but while I was still discovering the pleasures of the game. Then i’d go along roughly level for a bit, only to collapse in late November/early December. A recovery in January, followed by another dip. Another recovery in February/March(?), followed by another dip. Another recovery in April, and another dip. Another recovery in May, and now another dip. I’m getting the message from myself. PES2011 might not be for me.

    But is this more the game’s fault, or mine? Could something be shifting in me—could my affinity for football games in general, and PES in particular, be dying on its arse? Wednesday’s post might be an interesting one, is all I’ll say now.

  4. Chris—the first Mount and Blade game (the one I’m playing with great enjoyment, although I got the whole trilogy) came out in 2008 and was designed to run on mid-spec machines even then. Try the demo (you get 10 hours gameplay from it) and see how it runs. Although you might not want yet another game on top of the pile of games to get through.

    Well done on the Big Cup victory. I know from bitter experience how hard PES2011 makes it to win—rightly so, even if I have doubts about the methods used. I bet that no-name Baxter fellow almost played better than Tevez would have.

    Wednesday will see a change of direction on the blog, whatever happens. I think it’s clear that the time for PES2011 and its million second chances is past for me.

  5. Grilled Seabass

    You might have inspired me to play CounterStrike again. Is this the original or the graphically updated CounterStrike: Source? I too was rubbish but played it incessantly around 2002-03.

  6. Grilled Seabass—it’s the original CounterStrike. When I installed Steam on my laptop 6 months ago, it remembered that I had it from 2004 and offered to reinstall, and I thought, why not. Never believing that it was still an active, viable game—which it is, in buckets. CounterStrike is my kind of online gaming, actually. You’re allowed to come and go whenever you please.

    The various Source sequels and versions and whatnot are all still going too, but I can only directly verify that there are hundreds of people still playing the cherished old original.

    Jumping down from a ledge on de_dust2 once upon a time in the year 2004, armed only with a handgun, I headshotted two of the enemy with two shots, bang-bang, just like that. A total fluke, and they must have been low on health anyway. A few other players on my team nearby saw it happen and thought I was some kind of uber-player. They followed me around until I blundered around a corner into disaster, as usual, and got us all killed. I had to quit that server immediately, I was so embarrassed.

  7. Grilled Seabass

    Not-greg – Thank you! A quick download of Steam and an account recovery, and it remembered my purchase of Half-Life 2 all those years ago. Included in the package was CounterStrike Source! I’ve never played Source but I believe it has all the same maps. Now to make some space on my laptop to download it! Thanks!

  8. I’ll give the demo a go but I’m pretty sure it’ll grind to a halt on my steam-powered hardware, procured from a skip.
    Believe it or not the whole City team played like crap in the final – Baxter was particularly poor. Mind you, the game had to kick me in the teeth beforehand running almost exactly the same routine in the two league games running up to the final.
    An undeserved free kick (triggered by a foul, committed by a defender I wasn’t even controlling) was awarded and the resulting shot went straight through my player positioned on the line. This was followed up by a defence splitting pass almost from kickoff which the game stopped me defending by performing a little cursor switcheroo 2 or 3 times.
    This happened at almost the SAME TIME in the game, two matches running. Disgraceful. I swear I almost ripped my controller in two.

  9. That Mount and Blade game looks fantastic. I loved medieval total war (the original one) and my experience with Oblivion has showed me I also love rpgs, despite what I used to think (sooo looking forward to Skyrim!). Unfortunately I only have a crappy old laptop and a lot of Ps3 games to get through. You shoudn’t force yourself to play pro evo if you don’t truly want to, it’ll only kill your passion for games. Unfortunately I’m playing Pes quite rarely at the moment, I’ve started playing Bioshock (I’m so far behind with games), have GT5 on the go, and a lot of unfinished business with Oblivion!

  10. Filbert – I think Skyrim is going to take over my Christmas… I’d avoid the forums though; no doubt they’ll be full of PC gamers saying it’s ‘dumbed down’ and people whinging about bugs

  11. Unbelievable – the original Mount and Blade works on my heanous old laptop!!!! Thanks for the added addiction not-Greg, just what I needed…

  12. Grilled Seabass—I loaded up CS in honour of your download, and was stunned to see to see hundreds of populated servers fill up the screen. I jumped into one, de_dust2, and got killed quickly, twice. And quit in a hurry…

  13. Chris—yep, M&B was meant to run on low- and mid-spec machines in 2008, so you were always in with a chance. Don’t neglect your F1, F2, F3… etc. keys, to control your army (and yes, a few peasants are an army!) to begin with. Sometimes it’s best to order them to halt while you go on ahead and whittle the numbers down.

    And one of the things about next-gen PES that is most tiresome to me is the “surge from kick-off” that the AI is allowed to have. It’s a little one to two minute spell that won’t end until they’ve had their shot, or scored their goal. I find it so transparently managed, with my players not responding, kicking the ball in strange directions back to the AI or out of play etc. I’ll be glad to leave all that behind me, possibly… but more on that tomorrow.

  14. Filbert—Mount and Blade is like a cross between Total War (the battles) and Oblivion. It’s not as deep on either side as those games, but in combination it produces its own depth.

    I still need to play Bioshock 2 as well. The original Bioshock is probably my single favourite next-gen game. My copy of Bioshock 2 has been on the shelf unopened for 8 months now. This is the gaming life that you have to put up with when you have a job and at least a semblance of a life. To hell with having a job and living a life!

  15. I know what you’re saying not-Greg, but PES Master League is still immersive enough for me to stop any other game getting in the drive. Bear in mind this is only my 5th season as I’ve spread play out whilst completing a couple of other games (a not-Greg pipe dream, I know).
    I should imagine, in another couple of seasons, the game will be put down more or less for good, leaving me with a clean run at my 360 game pile before the good stuff starts appearing towards the end of the year (well, that was the plan until you mentioned Mount & Blade and it’s ability to run via hamster wheel)

  16. Chris—my PES-playing will also go on, and on, and most probably on, too… It’s not the case that I’m only still persisting with PES (2011 or any other flavour) because of the blog. I could easily play PES three times a week and keep the blog going. Hell, I could keep the blog going on once-a-week sessions—there’s always the accumulated lore and memories of 12+ years of ISS/PES to dig down into. But it’s my habit to play a football game every day, or nearly every day, and that habit’s showing no signs of dying. Tomorrow’s post will see some news of a departure, with all due apologies of course to everybody who suggested teams to play International Tournament with in PES2011.

  17. I have been addicted to FortressCraft and managed to build a huge world. It had 3 different platforming levels and I was working on the fourth- then the xbox red ringed for the 7th time.


    Try FC not-greg, although im sure its not everyones cup of tea. (its an xbox minecraft of course)

  18. Not Given—Interesting tip, thanks for that. I put 60+ hours into Minecraft last summer. FortressCraft looks like a good development of the idea. I’ll look into it tomorrow. Have you looked at or tried Ace of Spades on PC? It’s Minecraft+multiplayer+guns, currently in free Beta, and probably will be for some time judging by the graphics.

    I was just thinking about taking another crack at Dwarf Fortress. I sort of got into it about a year ago, and it is easier to get a certain way along than you’d think (especially if you use this guide, oh, and use a graphical tileset). But after that certain point, the Hardest Game In The World’s infamous learning curve becomes a brick wall. I saw that I could get past it with time, but didn’t have any.

    Sorry to hear about yet another RROD for you. Isn’t your 360 now of the latest ones? I thought RROD wasn’t so much of an inevitability with them?

  19. Finally Finished my 10th season in ML last night, went into the final game of the season top by 2 points, needing only a draw at home to Liverpool to clinch the Premiership (and my first) trophy.
    Half time I led 2-1 with Spurs (the team in second place) winning 3-0, the game finished a close fought 3-2 win for us and saw us clinch the title!!!!
    I ended the season as champions, and FA cup finalists, my club ranking rose form 60 to 10th which I thought was very fair and realistic.
    As a result ive now seen my transfer targets list be populated with players in the high 80s and upwards OVR.
    Welliton, my Brazilian 31yr old CF also finished the season as Top scorer and claimed the MVP award.

    One thing that did perturb me slightly was the kind of low key title winning celebrations that took place.
    PES has always been known for rewarding the player with good cut scenes and trophy celebrations but on this occasion, my players all huddled and congratulated eachother then waved to the crowd on the pitch etc …but no cup or trophy in sight and no presentation!?! slightly dissappointed.

  20. Paul—congratulations, and that sounds like you had a tense run-in overall, not just a last-day drama. I don’t know what’s gone on with all the low-key trophy celebrations in all the next-gen football titles. You’d think all they’d have to do would be to copy the old-gen games’ FMVand tart it up a bit, but seemingly not.

Comments are closed.

© 2017 PES Chronicles Frontier Theme