This blog wasn’t around for PES2014. Complicated reasons, old history now.
If I had been around for PES2014, my initial reaction upon release would have been my usual puppylike enthusiasm for any new football game.
Quickly followed by baffled disbelief. This was not a good football game.
Then I would have gone quiet on PES2014 for a few months, and probably played FIFA14 on my shiny new PlayStation4, before returning to PES2014 in spring of 2014 once all major patching work had been carried out by Konami.
One year ago, after the final April patch, I did play PES2014 quite extensively, for about 6 weeks, covering a couple of Master League seasons.
And this week I powered up the PS3 once more and played a couple of short sessions. Just to see what I think now.
This time around, well, the first thing upon picking up a PS3 controller for the first time in a few months is – what the hell, these things are so light! Seriously, picking up a PS3 controller today is like picking up something filled with feathers, compared to the PS4’s controller.
Another pleasant surprise was the PS3 graphics. They’re quite good. This impression is perhaps more due to PES2015’s poor graphics on the PS4. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that playing PES2014 on PS3 wasn’t as aesthetically challenging as I’d been braced for it to be. Colours were sharp and vivid. The game moved in a very attractive manner.
With PES2014 on the PS3, you have to get used to seeing this:
I have the PS+ digital download that was given away last April. So in theory, the loading times should be substantially shorter than the full disc version.
The old menus are strange to see now. Not just because they’re as hilariously awful as anything Konami ever came up with, but mainly because I spent so little time with the game as a whole and they’re still unfamiliar.
Yes. PES2014 is my least-played PES.
Those generic faces… *shudder*.
The greatness of the PS3 versions of PES (and the PC versions, of course) is the availability of option files. I’ve got a great one installed that I nabbed from somewhere last April. I recall at the time noting that PES2014 seemed to have been abandoned by almost everyone who could usually be relied upon to keep the eternal PES flame burning, even during a poor year.
The main Master League menu is pretty much the same as PES2015’s:
Last year I played up to April 2017 in-game, the tail-end of season 3, and had time to get a few decent players. Adebayor was a great buy. I remember the first few matches with him leading the line feeling like a proper PES game again.
And remember the much-maligned ‘heart’ feature?
IFA there at CB would have been useless beyond belief if picked to play in a match. Heart was overpowered as a feature, and just another layer of player selection criteria that we didn’t need. The form arrows are all we ever need in PES. If you’re going to introduce another layer, at least do it right. Konami were pilloried for introducing heart in such a hamfisted way.
But all that aside, how does PES2014 play, now, in 2015? After all the trouble, after all the patches, after all the wailing and gnashing of teeth?
Even last year, post-April, I was positive about PES2014 compared to many, so it should come as little surprise that I think PES2014 plays pretty good now.
Even after so many months of PES2015 and FIFA15 goodness, PES2014 has positive qualities.
The elements that became the heart of PES2015 are all here. Some are actually better. The ball in PES2014 feels heavier and freer, more like an actual object that your players are chasing around and tussling over.
I still don’t like the shooting or the keepers. I was baffled, post-April, to see the forumz declaring that the shooting and the keepers were now fixed. My experience of PES2014 has never included good shooting at any time, and the keepers were only improved to the level of old-school PES. They still patted the ball out back into danger far too often, and were still often comically late to dive, or strangely unbeatable at other times.
I played two short sessions this week, and enjoyed both of them. Whether I would enjoy continued play across many weeks and months is open to question, of course. PES2014’s ML will always be one of the unfinished ones. Truly, the one that got away.
I never did make it out of the Sky Bet Championship:
Here’s a short video showing all the goals I saved to the PS3’s hard drive for the entire duration of the game’s lifespan. Goal number 1 is from Wayne Rooney during my early Exhibition phase. Goal 2 was scored with Liverpool during a Champions League tournament. The remaining five are all from Master League.
It took ages the other night to load all those goals for the purpose of recording them…
All in all, my final take on PES2014 is that it is a good game, but was fatally wounded by being hideously unfinished on release. It damaged the cult of PES, making it more vulnerable to undermining doubts than it already was. Most of the ire directed PES2015’s way, I’m convinced, is a result of PES2014’s dire state upon release. In a similar fashion, PES2009 — a perfectly decent football game — suffered needlessly thanks to the sins of PES2008.
On release, PES2014 was a poor game, and a 4/10 score at that stage would have been generous.
By Christmas 2013, a patch or two had nudged things up slightly, but it was still only borderline playable. Just a 5/10 at that point.
Post-April 2014, with all patches done, I do believe that – setting aside the shooting and the keeping and the loading times and the generic faces – PES2014 had become a good football game.
My final score for the game on this blog, had it been going at the time, would have been something like 7/10 – seriously. No messing with 6.5/10 or anything like that. A solid, creditable 7.
Readers with continued access to PES2014 could do a lot worse than to return to the game with a more open mind.
But is it worth getting now, anew, just to experience it? Only if you’re a PES completist, as I am. Only if you’re curious. Otherwise… nah. In the league table of great football games, PES2014 wouldn’t trouble the top half. But it’s not the automatic relegation fodder that many suppose.