Everything old is new again

It seems that PES5(PC) is here to stay for the near future. I’ve now played through season number 2 of Master League. The PC version is identical to the fabled PS2 game—but of course, it would be. Back in 2005 we didn’t have exotic theories about playing different versions of the same gamecode. And how much happier we were for it.

I’m playing with the Default squad as Coventry City (my own edited PES United) using a comprehensive option file from Oct ’05.

I played season #1 on 4-star difficulty and finished mid-table. For season #2 I moved up to 5-star difficulty. It’s just concluded and I finished… mid-table again.

The old-school gameplay is really coming back to life for me. Playing on is no effort. It’s a total pleasure.

In one match, just for fun, I laid off the R1 sprint button completely, not using it at all. Playing a self-enforced, one-touch, slow, methodical game made PES seem all brand-new again.

I lost 0-2. Sprint is a much-spammed offensive weapon, but it’s also a useful defensive technique that helps with tracking attackers and then clearing your lines.

I could never play without using R1 indefinitely. To echo a well-known gaming motto: if something’s in the game, it’s in the game. And it’s there to be used or abused. The game must be judged by its light. Next-gen FIFA’s sprint-clamp auto-ball-winning mechanic being a singular case in point.

I’ve been following this week’s FIFA12 news with interest. They’re making all the right noises, but I’ll believe the nerfing/removal of FIFA’s sprint-clamp auto-ball-winning thing if and when I experience it for myself.

I haven’t got any PES5(PC) goals to show off. I still haven’t scored what I consider a true long-range PES5 blockbuster, but it’s early days. I need the right players, and I need more time to re-familiarise myself with the game.

In fact goals of any kind are proving hard to come by. In the whole of Monday’s six-match session I scored just once. It was an epic build-up that culminated in a scuffed shot that wrong-footed the keeper and trickled over the line, grazing the post on its way into the net. I reached for the camera, thinking it was just notable enough to be worth recording. Then I thought: “Nah, I’ll score one or two much better ones soon…”

That was on Monday morning. In the rest of that session, no goals. And in Tuesday’s five or six matches, all the way to the end of the season, I also scored no goals. I never came very close either. I’ve had nil-nils and 0-1 defeats galore.

The season has ended with me in mid-table. My players’ salaries amount to 10500 points; I have 7200 points in the bank.

I’ve scheduled four pre-season friendlies. If I win all 4, I’ll make up virtually the whole of the 3300 shortfall.

If I can win two of them, that’s 1600 points of the difference. I would then make up the rest of the budget by releasing players and going down to a skeleton squad—a grand old Master League tradition for me.

But I’ll try to win them all. I could go down to 4- or even 3-star difficulty just for the friendlies, and pretty much ensure 4 wins and 3200 points, but I don’t like to do that kind of thing.

Updated: 31st May 2011 — 16:05


  1. Not-Greg … how does PES 5 gameplay differ from PES6 ?? is there much in it ?

  2. If it’s long distance goals you’re after, I just saw this from the real life Capuano (not sure if you previously posted it):


  3. Paul—I haven’t had the chance to install and play PES6 yet, but I will. I’m back at work this week and preparing for an OU exam in 2 weeks, so my few matches of PES5 every day are my only gaming time. I anticipate enjoying PES6 as it was a great game in its day on the PS2, my only misgiving being that it was easier than all the preceding PESes.

  4. Liam— can’t watch the vid at work now, but if it’s the one I think it is it has been posted and it was a typical full-back kind of goal. I.e. They never get many but when they do they tend to be spectacular. I remember a Lee Mills one for Man City about 5 years ago that was a real PES-style 35 yarder.

  5. It does genuinely look like EA are trying to nerf the auto-tackle which is a positive; but will they slow the gameplay down and, more importantly, move forward with career mode?
    EA’s approach to single player over the last few years resembles Homer Simpson repeatedly stepping on a rake and, as you’ve said till your blue in the face not-Greg; we’re not going to find out what improvements there are to the elements that matter (to us single players) until we play the game ourselves.
    To be honest, the constant references to multi-player in previews makes me really angry, a bit like seeing Alan Titmarsh on the telly.
    I also find it amusing that, generally, in the comments underneath these previews (amongst the usual ‘OMG THIS GAME WILL BE AWESOME’), people are screaming for playtests of career mode etc.
    We are not alone

  6. Chris—I think it was in the run-up to PES2010 coming out that I braved a PESfan forum thread to ask one of the early PES2010 playtesters why he and his colleague had spent the whole few hours on multiplayer. His answer was that they’d only gone there to test the game out, i.e. check out its mechanics and rhythms etc. Of course as we single players know very well, those mechanics and rhythms manifest themselves totally differently when your opponent is an AI.

    I didn’t pursue the argument. I think this is a lost battle. Preview season will always be multiplayer-focused, for various reasons.

    In a WENB podcast last year featuring Konami UK head honcho Jon Murphy, he touched on the problem, saying that they bring the journos to the PES previews, and then they (the journos) just get obsessed with beating each other in multiplayer face-offs. Konami reps at the sessions say to them “look at feature X, look at feature Y, good eh?” And the journos’ repsonse is basically “yeah yeah, whatever, dude”.

    Of course it could benefit Konami and EA for things to be this way. IMO a sturdy, long-lasting single-player game is still a football game’s crowning glory (or lack of). If that’s missing for whatever reason—shoddy AI, over-exploitable game mechanics, etc.—it’s best we don’t get to hear about it until we’ve paid our money.

  7. I think, in this respect, the internet is a great aid for the discerning (skint) buyer.
    It became obvious very quickly on the Evoweb Career Mode thread back in October that EA had shafted us again and, to be honest, after also seeing the gamespeed I didn’t really give FIFA a second thought.
    I definitely think the ‘once bitten twice shy’ rule neatly sums up my view on FIFA at the moment.

  8. P.S. Almost finished Arkham Asylum and then back to the business of my potentially treble winning season – I only signed a couple of squad players in the end and, instead, spent my new found wealth on upgrading all my staff – probably foolish but never mind.

  9. Chris—Ten years ago the Internet was still a luxury item. I think it’s only over the past few years that it’s become a staple feature of households, like gas/water/electricity etc. I do wonder about a correlation between what we might call ‘gaming dissatisfaction’ and the growth in the potential range of communication about games—?

    Anyway, my own non-football gaming has ground to a halt, as I knew it would have to if I’m to get through the OU course I’m doing. Mount & Blade and the other new things on the horizon are all on hold. Usually that means I’ll never go back to them, but in this case, as soon as my OU stuff is out of the way, I’ll be making a special effort to take them up again.

  10. after playing fifa online against someone who i drew 1-1 with he sent me an angry message about the way i play the game. he was angry because i played like barca, passing the ball around wih the midfield. this just amazed me in how people play online games. its like people expect you to play a certain way when playing online and if you dnt play that way than your playing the game wrong.

  11. I said the very same thing a few posts back regarding the correlation between the ever more prevelant internet and the potential for gaming disatisfaction.
    Going back to PES 5, the internet was not the domestic staple it is now, although obviously it was gaining momentum back then.
    I certainly didn’t read gaming forums and so took PS2 games on face value, ignoring their faults to a large degree and seeing the bigger picture. I think sports games in particular come in for excessive examination, in part due to the nature of how and how often we play them but, without reading other people’s hyper-critical thoughts and bug-bears (do you see what I did there?), there’s definitely a increased tolerance of a game’s quirks… it’s just human nature.
    Unfortunately, these forums and related news sites are an addiction that I struggle to kick, especially in the lead up to a game I’m particularly looking forward to.
    It’s much the same with the real life transfer window – you KNOW that link to gimmefootball.com with the headline on the new star player your club’s about to sign is rubbish… but still you look.

  12. ali—the few times I’ve played online over the past few years, I’ve noticed too that there’s a common way of playing online: very direct, very fast, with the absolute minimum of touches.

    I’m not surprised you got a rude message because you’d decided to pass it around a bit. They visibly get more and more annoyed as that goes on. It’s strange, I could always tell my few opponents were annoyed with me just by how they started tackling.

    They expect their sprint-clamp to win them the ball back, and have little notion about passing lanes or actually using the secondary pressure button just to press whilst move directly controlled players into blocking positions etc.

    Sprint-clamp as an idiot-proof universal defensive mechanic is behind it all. Undo that, nerf it or just get rid of it, and it’d be a very different game of football online. Which is precisely why it will never be changed.

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