I really haven’t known what to do with myself for the past few days. How’s it been for you?
If Thursday’s postman delivers at the usual time, around midday, then sometime in the afternoon I should be snapping the now-traditional picture of me holding the new PES game still wrapped in its shiny cellophane.
Tuesday morning saw me play my last football game before PES2013. I am currently in the middle of 48 hours of abstinence. It’s like an athlete abstaining from sex before a big race.
I returned to the greatest ever football game, PES5, to pay my annual respects. Playing a few sessions on PES5 has become the equivalent of an annual pilgrimage to Mecca. But does the game still deserve its holy-site status?
Yes, on the whole, I think it does. But it’s getting less clearcut as the years go by.
We’ve got used to a new paradigm in football gaming where passes tend to go more or less in the direction you aim.
Time and again in PES5, I aimed a pass at one player and the game sent it in another direction completely. These arcade-style passing mechanics of old-school PES now feel very old-fashioned indeed. But still, the game as a whole functions. That is the amazing thing about old PES.
Other than PES5, I have played no other football games, and won’t now until PES2013 arrives.
I’ve continued my Dwarf Fortress obsession, where I’m starting my first ever mega-project (an above-ground castle). I’ve played a bit of Civilization V (the expansion pack has made it a good game at last). I’ve also played an indie ‘strategy roguelike’ called FTL that I’ve been following for months. I’ve watched a few films, read parts of a few books. I’ve even worked some more on my PES book. Yes, I will update that sidebar one day soon…
Yesterday afternoon I watched a slew of PES-related videos on YouTube, of which there are a pleasing multitude. One of the weirdest highlights was seeing the PES2008 intro video, which I always found strangely compulsive (and probably—no, definitely—the best thing about that game).
So. Is PES2013 going to be The One?
By which I don’t mean a perfect game. No PES game, and no football game, has been, or ever will be, a perfect football game.
But could it be anything like The One that we all (most of us anyway) expected to see back in 2007, however naive that might have been?
Just a really great game of Pro Evolution Soccer on the next-gen console(s)?
PES2012 and PES2010 were both very close for me, but neither game was universally loved in the way that the PS2 classics were loved. PES2010 could feel stiff and crude; its passing model was decidedly old-school. PES2012 had the most deflating, uninspiring shooting system of any PES game in history.
So, in this sense, could PES2013 be The One?
I’m pretty much exhausted just thinking about it. There are so many factors here that the best option is just to get on and play the game. That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow (hopefully).