Firefly: good, but overrated

PES5 current formation and XI

I’m sticking with my PES2012-style formation in PES5, but it’s not really getting me anywhere. I’ve only scored two goals in four matches using the 4-2-2-2.

I probably need to push Mathieu and Camacho forward. Their deep-lying nature is a relic of PES2012 and PES2013. The super-dribbling AI is not a problem in PES5. The super-passing one is. The super-possession one is. When this AI decides it wants to play keepball, it plays keepball, and that’s that.

I cannot decide what my best strikeforce is. It’s Bergkamp and Almeida in the screenshot. Usually I go with Schwarz instead of Bergkamp, but the big legend was tired for this match.

It was against Sao Paolo—an English Division 1 team in this ML world. It was the latest match where I struggled to score or do anything by way of threatening the goal.

I kept switching to my attacking alt-formation (a ridiculously swashbuckling 1-2-2-5 lineup) to try and get something going up front. Which would often leave me very vulnerable at the back. I conceded a goal to a Sao Paolo breakaway after half-time, and that looked like being the final result.

Then, with the last move of the game… the one where you know that as soon as you lose the ball and the AI moves it up towards the halfway line, the whistle will go, so there’s pressure, there’s pressure…

Some bonus sound from Brackley and Brooking there.

A punch-the-air moment! I’d huffed and puffed to no real purpose all game, and deserved to lose, but by sticking with it I’d salvaged a point.

And that was that. One session, one match.

Sessions of PES these days are short and to the point. It now seems like another life where I often spent hours playing on the PS3. I couldn’t do that nowadays even if I wanted to.

Fortunately, I don’t want to. I’m catching up with some reading. I’m finally watching the excellent Breaking Bad (never knew it’d be so funny). I’m debating whether to rewatch Firefly again—which I thoroughly enjoyed a few years ago, but its notorious early cancellation left an empty, unsatisfying feeling.


  1. There’s something about that PES5 font that just looks so much from another time. I’m almost of the verge of font nerdiness and I resist as I know those that do go that way get hopelessly lost in it.

    I am lost from football at the moment though – CK2. Played 2 hours last night as the Earl of Ulster. I married, had a daughter, a son, tried to remove the local mayor, he refused, I sieged his castle but as he had more men than me we spent a year doing nothing but glaring at each other, then I died at the ripe old age of 44. I am so bad at this game it’s unreal. But I will persist as I love the whole setup. Choosing people for my court to marry is particularly great fun – we’re all after a grey eminence lustful princess after all.

  2. Uncle Turf—top of my list for my next days off, above even PES2013, is another tilt at CK2. When ‘you’ die in the game, you carry on as your next-in-line of course, so much of the strategy is about lining up the best possible heir and inheritance for him to inherit. Sounds like you overreached with the siege. Some players of the game like to alter the inheritance rules and allow daughters to become the main characters, etc.

  3. NG – carrying across from the last thread, If your happy to wait until Sunday, as I wont get time before then, I will package up the Jenkey patches, in order of installation and get them over to you. Its all fairly easy to follow on the blog though once you get going.

    Great header from the edge of the box to save a point there. Thats one thing i noticed about PES5 when i dabbled with it, the way the CPU keep the ball and actually build attacks – its hard to get the ball back at times, fortunately its like that in the PES 13 JP patch too.

  4. is Fire Emblem 3DS on your list too, not-greg? Not my usual sort of thing, but the reviews look excellent

  5. abbeyhill—no, I’m afraid those days are gone. Regretfully gone, but gone.

  6. Paul—it’s OK, I can see the ‘order of patches’ on Jenkeys site well enough, just curious about why the latest patch isn’t cumulative when it says ‘full’ next to it.

    Re. that clip in the post, it was my first play-around with Fraps’s ‘half-size’ option ticked, and it resulted in a 120MB file for that short clip. The full-size version would have been 200-300MB or more. There’s a quality hit of course, but otherwise it’s much more manageable.

  7. NG – yes, I had gavelkind in place so ultimately I wasn’t worried about succession – it’s a great idea though isn’t it – if you detest your character, or even if he’s a bit weak you can elevate the next in line. My problem was the kids were 1 and a few weeks old and I really didn’t fancy playing as that so soon in my practicing. I wouldn’t care, my wife was a bit of a fox and a princess in Hungary so I had a weak claim to their throne! I had everything to live for…and yet the Gods sought to mock me.

  8. I’ve been playing PES 5 myself for the last couple weeks, and am just continually amazed that the gameplay is so much better than its descendants on the PS2.

    The range of possible outcomes when any given action is attempted is quite a bit wider than even PES 6. Later PES generations reduce this complexity straw by straw (presumably to shoehorn in more modes and graphics).

    The AI is also quite a bit better, and develops a wider range of attacks, and can actually finish. In later iterations, defending is cursory at best — follow this pattern, channel the play here, take the ball away, rinse repeat.

    The first time I saw the AI take a short corner I almost laughed. In PES 6 forward, every corner goes to the same spot, every time.

    I’ve been frustrated with the difficulty of PES 5 in the past (an hence generally played PES 6 forward), but am now of the opinion that this was the high-water mark for the series. I’m looking forward to playing a few seasons in the PES bizarro-world.

    I could see an online hack of the PC version with up-to-date rosters, kits, stadiums and a full league and Champions League structure being the end-all-be-all of football games . . .

  9. NG – The video I posted was actually recorded at half setting on Fraps, it does shrink them down a bit even if not by actual half like the name suggests.
    I then re-encoded them from avi to HD MP4 for ease of use on the mac.

    As for the patch, I just recall the latest version saying it needed v3.7 to work, and for v3.7 thats inclusive of the others so could probably get away with just installing those 2.

  10. NG – just as last time you mentioned choosing a poor marriage in CK2, I find this breadcrumb quite poor. If you choose yourself then find wife you get a relatively short list, but if you search characters you get the full list, can choose anyone and can then arrange marriage for them and select yourself. There seem a few menu oddities like this. In my new game I’ve somehow acquired a son yet have no obvious dead wife or bastardy trait – guess it’s a quirk of random generation mid history.

  11. whats this CK and marriage stuff???

  12. Breaking Bad’s been recommended to me at work and, I must admit, I like the premise.
    Think I’ll give it a go and to hell with the 2% memory remaining on my Sky box.
    On the gaming front I’m playing Far Cry 3 solidly still. For somebody who doesn’t like FPS’ I cannot believe how much time I’ve sunk into it.

  13. Paul – Crusader Kings II. NG mentioned it in a post and put a link to the demo. Medieval dynasty building and hooked me immediately. I know it will be a major factor in me failing to learn Spanish for another year, crawling to bed at 2am and humping a laptop around every time I go on a train journey.

    Chris – BB was given to me as a Christmas present. Shamefully unopened so far but I was told it was tremendous – sort of Wire/Sopranos bracket. I just managed to wangle 6 months of Sky Sports for £3.50/mth. Think I caught them on a ‘must hit target’ day.

  14. Uncle Turf—CK2 has been out for a while and patched to within an inch of its life, but these things linger. If this is your first Paradox Interactive game, they specialise in producing these kinds of bizarre, fantastically complex games. The interfaces have numerous quirks and oddities and outright bugs, sometimes. Very Dwarf Fortress-like.

  15. ck—I do remember you being a PES6-era convert to the game back in the day, and PES5 being more or less a ‘lost’ game to you. Well, now you see the extra toughness that was lost in PES6 and made me look at PES6 differently from yourself.

    I’m intrigued to see PES2013 running on the Mac, but am hip-deep in my short-session PES5. Having played 40+ seasons back in the day, it’s all coming back to me.

    You should give the PC version a look on a Bootcamped partition. I know, I know, it’s contaminating the Purity of Essence of OSX, but Apple have really done a good job on making the hardware run Windows like a dream.

  16. Chris—Breaking Bad is brilliant. I’d say it’s a lot more accessible than The Wire. What I wasn’t expecting from Breaking Bad is how funny it so often is. I was braced for grittiness, but the humour is an important part. I’m nearly at the end of season 2 and it just gets better. I thought this was a good time to start watching it, as the fifth and final season is about to start on US TV. So I should be able to watch the whole thing over the course of the next few months.

  17. I wonder if anyone could help me to remember a football management game I used to play on the spectrum. In the game you had the option of seeing chances only or you could opt for the text version to flash on the screen. For the home side these would flash in blue and the away side in red. Within each league the teams would be rated 1-4 and the 1 rated teams would be expected to be premoted. This made the game more addictive as there was more pressure on you to make the results count against lower rated teams. Just can’t remember the title.

  18. Darryl6464—I think you’re old enough to know about the early-80s Football Manager series (or at least be aware of it via reputation), so it can’t be that one. And I’m not aware of any other management sims on the Spectrum. Mind you, for me the Spectrum era ended before the 128k keyboarded models came out, so you’re probably thinking of a game from that period. Late 80s, early 90s.

  19. not-Greg – After some trawling through the World of Spectrum website I eventualy found it and was a game called Proffessional Soccer, which was a game from the budget £1.99 range. Your powers of deduction were spot on as it was released in 1989.

  20. Ng-if i may ask why did your speccy era end before the 128’s?

  21. werd llitrah—of course, and that’s a very illuminating question considering what’s been happening recently. When I was 15 I suddenly found that playing on the Spectrum suddenly didn’t feel as compelling as it used to. Over a period of months I lost most of my interest in the games I had and the games that were still to come. I had a 48K rubber-keyboard Spectrum. I sold it to a schoolmate and bought a guitar instead that I never learned to play. I didn’t own another games platform of my own for another 10 years.

  22. Ng-lux et veritas. History repeats first platform was 48k then 128a,nes,snes,n64,ps1,ps2,gamecube,ps3.the your sinclair website is a boon for speccy gamers like me.

  23. My spectrum gaming virtually ended with the 128k+ because of the massive compatibility issues it suffered. I reckon about 55-60% of games just wouldn’t work with the ‘upgraded’ system .
    I then ended up with an ST which was always the inferior of it’s Amiga rival – ‘But look at it’s MIDI capabilities’ I would cry in the yard at secondary school. Who the hell was I fooling?
    I even got a letter published in C&VG expressing my outrage after they called the Amiga ‘everybody’s favourite platform’.
    Sorry for recounting tedious memories but it makes me laugh when ‘youngsters’ today complain about loading times. They don’t know what a loading time is – harrumph! They want to try an ‘R Tape Loading Error’.

  24. Chris – Ahh the old schoolyard argument. “Whats better Spectrum vs Commodore 64, Sega vs Nintendo”It never changes does it?
    I used to love getting tapes on the front of mags and your mate filling a C90 tape full of games. My first experience of Dizzy was like that.

  25. Werd Llitrah—but isn’t Speccy gaming—as well as pretty much all retro gaming beyond a certain point—nothing more than the equivalent of looking at old holiday snaps and remembering good times? One of gaming’s biggest problems as a medium is that it ages very badly, in a way no other medium does. I love the nostalgia of C90 tapes and azimuth adjustments and all that, but there’s no substance to the actual games from back then any more, for me. Just last week I got a copy of Lords of Midnight for the phone (LoM was my Civilization, in 1984). Played it for 5 minutes, probably never will again.

  26. Load ” ” ……. Enter…… Play…….
    I Loved the speccy, had several 128k’s over my childhood years, and had stacker shelves in my bedroom with over 600 games (tape cassettes) lined up neatly in rows …….

    Still playing a ML on PES13 PC ver with Jenkeys JSPatch installed, bloody hell its hard, even with the AI balancing and enhancements turned OFF, and the game level set to professional, I’m losing every game.
    Still plays wonderfully though.

  27. Chris—your development curve was a few years behind mine (my increased age being the critical factor of course). I only ever saw the keyboard Spectrum at somebody else’s house, once, and impressed them (a cousin) by programming a simple game of Snake in Sinclair BASIC. I remember he put on a proper game, and I remember being utterly disinterested in it. I was 20 or so by then, out gallivanting all the time, chasing women (why u run so fast?), being hungover, etc. Clearly things go through phases.

  28. NG – true. I only look at Your Sinclair for a nostalgia fix. I couldnt really play.Even the classics such back to skool and my fave Skull!!. I even bought Zelda for my 3DS. Its a great game but I realised I spent £25+on a nostalgia trip!.PES 3 my first, it’ll always be my first, but it plays like an arcade game in a pub now.
    As with dithering, procrastinating is another vice. The ps2 will probs be put back in its box soon and will back out again in a few months.

  29. Paul—I had a similar amount of games, but multiple ones crammed onto long C90 tapes. I only ever bought the smaller cassettes (C10? something like that) when I wanted to feel all computer-y and ‘proper’.

    I’m still deeply sceptical that Jenky could have deactivated the ‘AI Cheats’. That stuff is fundamental, and I remain more than half-certain the Cheats toggle switch is a placebo button. When you go 1-0 up in PES2013 now, what happens? Does the AI go into its overdrive mode, or not?

    I suppose the proof of this pudding will come in the eating-it-for-myself stage.

  30. I never had any ‘copied’ games on the speccy, all originals.
    Well the ‘Remove bad AI Script’ toggle is described as reducing the disabler effect the CPU enforces when it feels like it, which is specifically stamina, pass and shot stats and a few other bits.
    I have played close to 50 matches on the patch now, never once had a bout of rage like I did on the PS3 … so draw your own conclusions.
    Its definitely ramped the difficulty level up though, am struggling to score and losing every game, alas haven’t gone ‘1-0’ up !!!

    You really do need to try it for yourself, when you see the detail and complexity that’s gone into this patch, disabling a few lines of code that trigger a decrease in stats/stamina is certainly not impossible.

  31. Paul –ooh get you no copies Paul 😉
    I did buy all my Dizzys after try before I buy. Even though it only contained a glorified leaflet I think thats where my manual fetish started!.
    I’m well jel of your pimped jenky world Paul. Like you I hope PES2014 is remotely like it. I myself cannot sample this pudding but your reports are like a scratch and sniff.

  32. Purely because I was quite young Werd, my speccy days ranged from when I was about 8-10 through to early teens, where it was replaced by the Commodore Amiga, NESand SNES.
    I had many a copied game in my Amiga days 🙂

    The Jenkey patched PES13 is just a completely new game. but as I said, bloody hard!!!!
    If you have a PC WERD which Id imagine you do, then PES13 may well run fine for you.

  33. Paul—you had 600 original Speccy games?! They weren’t cheap in them days—is your Dad Richard Branson?

  34. I played football, watched football and revelled in Brighton securing a place in the play offs but this weekend I didn’t play a single moment of video game football.

    Paul – Do you think you will ever go back to your FIFA 13 CM? I thought you were in for the long haul given how much you liked that game. That pimped-up PES does look and sound the business.

  35. John—the playoffs have a habit of delivering a ‘boring’ outcome, i.e. usually the team with experience that’s been there and done it all before will get the promotion spot. So somebody like Bolton will have to be favourites. Good luck, though. It’d be nice to see an old name like Brighton back in the top flight.

    Re. footy gaming, I think our PES2012 arcs followed similar paths and filled the reservoir a heck of a lot last year—to me that’s the likeliest culprit.

  36. Yep NG – My dad was into the Speccy too so he brought me a lot of games, as did my mum every time we went out, I guess I was spoilt, I’ve never wanted for anything, even when my parents couldn’t afford things I still got them, All these years later i recognise the sacrifices they made for me which is probably why i have such a strong relationship with them now, as I try to give back as much as I can…… anyway enough deep & meaninful stuff.

    John – dont know in all honesty mate, I was really enjoying FIFA’s CM, and I want to give it a fair chance, but as we all know, that magic, secret ingredient PES has always lures us in, and as the patched PC version is pretty much a ‘finished’ PES 13 – the product it could and perhaps should have been, its like playing a shiny new game all over again, so we’ll see ….
    I’m just playing what i want to play right now with now thought on if i should be playing something else just because I’ve started it etc.
    The PC ver also gave me the chance to fiddle with the mac and tech and get it all bootcamped, optimised and patched, and I’m a bit of a gadget geek, I love fiddling so it satisfied several pangs.

  37. Paul—I’ve come to accept that the PES factor will always exert a powerful gravitational pull. But playing what you want to play, or not playing at all and just doing what you want to do—this is the secret of spare-time contentment. I love a good tinker myself, and just took delivery of a new ereader device that I’m happily going to spend a few hours on today setting up.

  38. N-G – I fear you might be right on the play offs. It’s nice to dream of course.

    I also agree on the effect PES2012 has had on this footy gaming year. I still like the odd game now and again but I’m not in it for a big campaign. In fact, despite Brighton’s extended season I’ll be glad for a footy break over the summer. That usually makes me want to play more or at least have me gagging for the new season and new PES.

  39. Exactly that NG – my little sister was quite poorly this weekend and was taken to hospital so the fiddling with the PES patch and trying different settings,camera angles etc fitted in nicely with the odd half hour here and there I got in between going to see her and doing things round the house. I didn’t have to worry about the games mattering, or concentrate on picking up league points.
    The odd tinker was quite welcome, as a distraction from everything.

  40. Paul—just as football has seasons, and is defined by its seasons, so must football gaming have seasons. I’m more than content with things right now. While playing footy games for X hours per day, every day, I was always deeply frustrated at not being able to do other things. Those days are long gone, and it took my own family crisis around the turn of the year to instigate it. Hope it all went/goes well with your family.

  41. I had an Oric Atmos

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