PES5 stakes its claim

And just like that, I’ve played a whole season of Master League in PES5(PC). It doesn’t really take long with the smaller Division 2 back in the old-school ML.

I started in traditional style as Coventry City (an edited PES United), using the Default squad, on 4* difficulty to ease myself back in.

I applied the Falkhon 4.0 patch that I found via the archive of some forum.

The patch has made all the teams, leagues, kits and badges as authentic as they can ever be in PES. It was just 1.5MB in size, and installation was so easy compared to the PS3. All I had to do was drop it into the relevant folder on my laptop’s hard drive.

A Windows PC is the ultimate games console.

I’d have played a lot more of PES5 if I hadn’t been busy sampling all the great PC games I’ve missed out on over the past few years. Mount and Blade: Warband will most likely be the only one I’ll stick with for any length of time, though.

So just how does this PES5 gameplay feel to me now? This is the burning question. It could define the rest of my football gaming year.

The Defaults are a lot better in PES5 than they’ve been probably since PES2008. They’re still not very good, but they’re not utterly terrible. You can play a decent game with them, much of the time.

I’m not so naive that I’d expect to resume my mid-2000s love affair with this instalment of PES. I know that playing a game in 2011 is a different prospect from playing it 5 or 6 years ago. No man goes down to the same river twice. You can never go home again. And so on.

I’m still undecided about PES5(PC), really. I’m definitely on the positive side of the equation, but it’s not a done deal yet.

I’ve had a couple of great sessions. Really great sessions. PES5 has definitely still got magic in its boots.

But there have been a couple of other sessions when I’ve thought, you know, actually… this isn’t so great after all.

Amusingly, I’ve noticed a lot of PES2011’s traits in PES5. At times the AI ramps up the pressure to swarming levels. PES5 also has its own version of the elephant touch: the famous R1 knock-on that it takes ages to remember how to use to your advantage—and of course how not to use it.

There are all kinds of old-fashioned touches that I’d clean forgotten about. Regulate condition. Pre-season friendlies. Player exchanges in transfers.

Regulate condition is always a surprise. This was where you could use up some stamina in an effort to improve your players’ form arrows.

After a time the differential always made doing this worthwhile, and it becomes an empty ritual that you perform automatically between matches. The only time you wouldn’t do it, I remember, was during fixture pile-up, when you couldn’t afford the stamina loss.

And then there’s the transfer system. Or, as I might have to get used to calling it again, the negotiations window.

In the 4-week mid-season window, I only managed to bring in one player. He was a young SS/CF called Zidan.

No, not Zidane. I’m a few seasons away from that.

My player is Zidan. He’s called “ZEE-dan” by Peter Brackley. Stress is on the first syllable. I don’t remember having him in ML before.

Here’s the final table for season 1:

As ever, goal-scoring is a problem for me in season #1 of a Master League.

I have never won promotion at the first attempt. My unscientific impression is that the majority of other PES players win first-time promotion as the norm. The struggle to get out of Division 2 is part of what defines me as an average player.

I’ve passed through the post-season negotiation window and picked up a few exciting new players. I’m very happy to have got players of such quality. One of them is a star of 2011 who was relatively unknown in 2005. I’ll save it for Monday’s post, by which time I should have a better idea of whether I’ll continue with PES5 as my main game.


  1. Do you think PES 5’s faults will start to bug you after a while?
    If so, then maybe you’ll have the answer to the qustion you asked a while ago – maybe you’ve changed rather than the game, maybe the way we all view gaming in general has changed (mainly thanks to t’internet I think)… I do wonder whether we’re more cynical and quick to pickup on faults than we used to be as gamers. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing but it does seem to hamper enjoyment of games sometimes.
    Well, I have to say PES 11 delivered for me in spades last night. I had one of the most thrilling season finales ever. Liverpool were 3 points behind me going into the last week of the season and they were playing a home banker against a very poor Bolton side.
    I had a home match against a West Brom team who had qualified for the Europa League and could boast Mata and Adriano on the wings.
    At half time I was nervy and hanging onto a 0-0 only to find Liverpool were 3-0 up which gave them the title by a single goal difference.
    After the break I started committing players forward in an attempt to finish West Brom off, only for Mata to hit me on the break and slot home with 25 mins remaining. Gutted!
    I started putting concerted pressure on their goal but nothing was doing until the 84th minute when Agbonlahor managed to open up a bit of room on the edge of the area with a neat little step – I took one stride into the area to tee up the drive and lashed home into the top left corner – cue me falling off the sofa with a strange warbling sound! Believe it or not West Brom hit the post in injury time but I held on for a famous double – absolutely amazing. Plus the goal saw Agbonlahor claim the golden boot!
    I now intend to put PES down and re-start Arkham Asylum or Red Dead Redemption… play whichever I choose right the way through and then head back to PES; give myself a bit of a summer break.

  2. Chris—PES5’s faults never got to me 5 years ago, even though I was fully aware of them. Nowadays, I do feel myself bristling at many instances of something ‘wrong’ happening on-screen. Not all of them, but enough for me to notice the change in myself.

    The difference in toleration levels nowadays is due to a couple of things. Maybe this applies to all of us, I don’t know, but I definitely think it applies to me. First and most importantly, my personal circumstances are different. I work full time now, having been unemployed for much of the PES5 year. Second I think the exponential growth of the Internet and gaming and TV and films and everything else in the world of which we are all aware, all promotes impatience and a short-term attention span in a way that I don’t think was as prevalent in 2005.

    With all that said, I’m enjoying PES5 so much right now, warts and all. I’ll admit that after a misplaced old-school PES pass this morning, I did catch myself wondering what it’d be like to play PES2011 again, and I will do that at some point soon just to see. But it’s looking more likely that PES5 Master League will be the one. If I still had my 60GB PS3 I’d go for PES2008(PS2/PSP)—or PES7 as it really should have been called. PES6 I remember as being too easy after too short a time. PES6(360) is the supersub on the bench. FIFA11 is nothing to me.

    Your season run-in there sounds as if it was epic. Truly the kind of events that PES was built upon. But I have to ask: if it was all so intense and brilliant, how can you suddenly drop PES2011 just like that? What about the next season, and fleshing out the squad even more, and the Treble, and so on? Having had an experience like that, why not go on and keep having them?

  3. Glad you’re going to get some value out of PES5; I personally think people expect so much more from their game nowadays that faults aren’t overlooked as they used to be. I would/will be interested to read your opinion on PES5 after a sustained amount of time with PES5 qand it’s old school ML, and whether or not the experience will have a bearing on your opinion of more recent titles.
    It really was an epic session for me last night but I made a vow to myself that I would punctuate each season’s end (which, for me, takes a long time to complete – I probably average at 1.5 games a day over a normal week at a rough guess) with an attempt at playing a game from my backlog.
    No matter if I want to or not – the real football season takes a break and leads to great anticipation for the next, I figured it can’t hurt for me to do the same. To be honest, this is the first time I’ve had such a backlog of quality games – it has to be dealt with over the summer one way or the other before the late autumn trickle of new titles begins!

  4. i strted pes 6 ML on top player with the patch version of the default players who are pretty bad except 2 average players. i thought it would be a challenge but i managed to win D2 in the second half of the season where i climbe from around 5th to 1st. now hlf way through the second season with a great team in the making.
    i do also see som of the faults popping up like the R1 elephant touch but i dnt see alot of scripting like in pes 2011. when im winning 1-0 it not aloways certain that the opponent will score whihc is great. i have also given up on fifa 11. after plying pes 6 for a while fifa just feels so slow, and the first touches are terrible.
    overall i think i will stick with pes 6 until pes 2012 comes out and then we will c wt happens.

  5. Of course, whether or not this actually happens is another matter completely…

  6. Used to love pre-season friendlies on PES. I’d ‘introduce’ my summer signings to the crowd by subbing them on one by one….

  7. Willian Ribeiro



  8. Chris—I have frequent bouts of swearing to play other games too, and I do fully mean to—I love games, all sorts of games—but the darn convenience and pick-up-and-play factor of a football game always reels me back in. There are no new buttons to learn with a football game. And you don’t have to remember whether SELECT brings up the map, or reloads your crossbow, etc. etc. And there’s no story to remember either. If I have an hour on a working day to play something, it usually has to be a footy game, because anything else isn’t going to fit as snugly into that time and allow me to just start and finish with the minimum of fuss.

    All the best with the likes of Red Dead though. It’s still on my shelf. I played it for 30 minutes the day I got it, 6 months ago or more, and haven’t been back to it since. If my lottery numbers come up, I swear there’ll be no yacht full of cocaine and prostitutes until I’ve played my fill of all the games I’ve never had the time or opportunity to get around to…

  9. abbeyhill—and the pre-season friendlies were ideal for helping you through a tight end-of-season budget window. I’ve just done it now. I was 1000 pts short on thewages, and knew that if I won 2 of the 3 pre-seasons I’d scheduled, I’d be fine. They were great for bedding your players into your team as well, so I always played them from the start for 90 minutes to get as much of that teamwork built up as possible before the real matches started, none of this ‘introducing them to the crowd’ lark!

  10. Willian Ribeiro—it’s PES5, and I never minded the made-up nonsense leagues with teams from everywhere. To be honest you pointing out Sao Paulo like that was the first time it had struck me. Oh, I’d noticed them of course, but I never felt they shouldn’t be there, and still don’t. It’s old-school PES. It is what it is—or what it was—and what it still is—and what it could be again!

  11. i never thought of playing friednlys to get extra bit of money. finished my second season with only 65 points left after buying a few players too build up my team. i always wanted the negotiation window for negotiating and just thought the matches got in the way. i better strt organising friendlies next season so i cn buy better players and not worry about how much i cn spend.

  12. Not Greg a question…. If you put all the gameplay flaws of 2011 to one side, what aspects of the previous additions of ML would you like brought back for 2012. You guys have talked about the whole friendlies thing, i was thinking about how you used to be able to swap players with teams or player plus cash, when that disappeared my negotiation skills went with it, I thought that it made me a bit more ‘arry Redknapp when I could swap most of my players around however i saw fit on a shoestring budget, any way i’d be interested to hear about your ML model improvements!!! Oh and I’d love it if you could go for a beer in BAL and get in a fight in a nightclub and get banned for six months for substance abuse, but i cant see this happening! good luck with the retro!

  13. ali—pre-season friendlies are just like any match, 800 points for a win, 400 for a draw. If you need to get through a tight financial situation, they’re ideal. I think they get in the way too and would much rather play ‘proper’ matches, but in the early seasons I often have no alternative but to play ’em. They’re always great for bedding new players down too.

  14. Lord Stanley—I love the wheeling & dealing too, but the old player exchange system was open to all kinds of exploitation, i.e offloading donkeys like Ximenez & co. to big clubs and getting their great players in return. If it comes back in the future it’d need to make sense.

    I heard a lot of hints on the most recent WENB podcast that there’s a lot of old-school PES touches making a comeback. They were probably talking about gameplay only though.

    I thought there was nothing much wrong with PES2010’s ML. It wasn’t broken, but they tried to fix it anyway. PES2011’s ML is awkward and buggy in many places (weird stats growth notifications, the non-injuries bug, the Advanced Start bug, etc.). All I hope for in PES2012 ML is PES2010’s slickness with perhaps some kind of player exchange ability, and optional pre-season friendlies, and a ‘skip to week’ option to negate the transfer window Voids. And the Moon on a pissing stick—I want that too.

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