What about David Niven?

This post isn’t just an end-of-season compilation clips show, promise. But remember this?

Coy of the Rovers

And the shooting in that game — here are three long-range goals from two years ago:

That’s PES2013.

Remember PES2013? Remember Coynborough? Minandinho? Remember boots, boots, boots? Remember that shooting?

Ah, PES2013 — arguably the true George Lazenby of PES games. To continue the analogy: PES6 would be the Sean Connery — because (sigh) everyone loves PES6… PES2008 the Roger Moore. PES2015 the Timothy Dalton. PES2 the Pierce Brosnan. PES2014 the Woody Allen. PES2012 the Daniel Craig. And PES5 would be the Bob Holness. (Yes, each of those named people have played James Bond in some way. You don’t have to check.)

What’s going on? Am I playing PES2013? Why am I playing PES2013?

It’s the time of year when there are lots of traditions. Huge long forum postings of high-resolution player faces have already started appearing, and will be coming to all PES forums and fansites near you over the next week or two. I’ve never been one to gaze raptly at player faces but I appreciate there are those who like doing that sort of thing. Who am I to judge them?

One tradition I subscribe to almost every year is the Old Game Hypothetical Scenario. OGHS for short.

This is when in an idle moment between the end of one game and the arrival of another, you dig out and play an older game of PES (or FIFA) and enjoy it so much that you end up saying, in all seriousness: ‘You know, if [upcoming game name] wasn’t coming out in a few weeks, I’d be happy playing [old game name] for the next year…’

OGHS works because it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It establishes football games on an equivalent footing with books and movies (because they are). Just like books and movies, football games can be critically reappraised years later, and you don’t have to wait for some Academy of Football Gaming to do it. You can fire up your old console and do it yourself!

I powered up my trusy old PS3 the other day for the first time in a  few weeks. I had come to play the only Metal Gear Solid game I’ve never played (MGS: Peace Walker). Instead I saw the PES2013 disc was sitting in the system tray for reasons unknown. And, what can I say — an irresistible impulse compelled me to start ‘er up…

I’ve played three full sessions of PES2013 over the last few days, and I love it.

With caveats. There’s a need for house rules of some kind with PES2013, as most people probably remember.

PES2013 blast from the past

What made the game a lesser light than its two close cousins (PES2012 and PES2011) were the ridiculously overpowered player development in Master League, coupled with the boots and accessories farrago, coupled with the howitzer-style shooting.

The shooting is still there, and is still sumptuous. (The halfway-line goal mentioned in the screenshot above is here.) In any ‘Best PES Shooting’ list, PES2013 would have to be near the top. (PES5 takes the crown for me, in shooting as in so much else.)

I started up a non-dev Master league, playing in Spain — fully licensed — with Atletico Madrid, because I’m shallow and I like their kits, home and away.

Original squad, because this brief window of time is no time to mess with Defaults.

Classic players ON, because it’s simply not Master League if there’s no possibility of signing Trevor Francis and Zinedine Zidane in one fell swoop.

Maybe my biggest decision was playing zero-bar passing assistance.

I recall attempting zero-bar passing back in the original Year of PES2013, along with a few commenters. We found that there seemed to be a last-third passing nerf where control seemed to be suspiciously overridden in a way that was often favourable to the AI.

This time around, I’ve yet to notice that nerf effect, and it’s been brilliant.

I haven’t scored any goals of note, but I’ve had some great matches. All on Professional difficulty. I’ve played 10, won 2, drawn 3, lost 5, including a 4-1 whupping in the Europa League group stages at the hands of FC Copenhagen, a dear old ML adversary.

Manual passing too often breaks down due to lack of attention, and devolves into (I have to say it) FIFA-style midfield tussles and turnovers that go on too long for comfort. PES has always had a beautiful flow, and rarely gets bogged down in stalemate (PES2015 possibly excepted).

But with focus and concentration, zero-bar passing on PES2013 produces some wonderful PES+ sort of gameplay: short, sharp passes, trying to pull the opposition out of shape and expose gaps to exploit. Football 1-2-3.

You know, if PES2016 wasn’t coming out in a few weeks, I think I’d be happy playing PES2013 for the next year.


NOTICE: This coming Friday’s post will appear at 3pm instead of the usual midday, to allow me more time to digest the PES2016 demo. It’s always fun pretending that a PES demo gives us a great deal of knowledge about what playing the final game will be like.


  1. although if Konami genuinely do not care at all about offline PES these days then why do they continue to pay so much for the full Champions League licenses?

  2. its already been remarked that there PS3 and PC versions of the game will be stripped down versions of the PS4 equivalent, the PS3 demo for example, only has the juventus stadium, not corinthians as per PS4 demo, and graphics aren’t next gen level.

  3. Paul – Yeah, saw that and to be honest I’m really not bothered about stadia and graphics unless the PS3 serves up something really nasty.

    I’m thinking if the gameplay is fairly similar, I might just stick in the past gen a little while longer.

    Basically, I need to work out if PES 2016 on the PS4 is £300 better than on PS3.

  4. NG – dead means dead is an online community idea where you treat your life as singular and over once you die. Players then post how far they got before the inevitable. I’m still saving and I will of course continue once that life is gone – who could be arsed to keep going through the escape sequence – but in the meantime it adds a real seat of the pants experience – do you open that door and risk an adept Mage, is the cave bear going to come any closer, etc. So far I’ve gone after people but avoided a frost troll and a couple of ice wraiths as I knew they wipe out my level 5 bushcrafter. Not going to river wood adds another angle in so far as who knows what quest I might stumble on, I talked to a few storm cloaks and a shop keeper but no one suggested anything.

    Took me about two hours to get pes demo, is there a fifa one sometime, I’d forgotten these things existed till the last week.

  5. Abbeyhill – Just got my FIFA 16 beta confirmation email along with the redeem code for downloading.

  6. Added my tuppence to ultra.

  7. Chris99 – me too, now just need the wife to stop watching some dismal sounding programme about bad schools and get off the TV!

  8. I’ll get my lad to download it tomorrow. “My lad” is not a euphemism by the way, I can only hope the same can be said of Turf’s use of the word tuppence.

  9. arf arf, Carry On Master League

  10. Chris – as a FIFA player, can you comment much on the foul system from FIFA15? Does the CPU conceded many?

    Just curious.

  11. Tommy – It tends not to lunge in wildly or do the old “I know I’m the last man, but I either bring you down or you’re through on goal” type fouls that a desperate human player might, but their are plenty on niggles given your way, and you can draw them into fouling, even in their penalty area. Also CPU offsides occur too.

  12. Managed a couple of games on the PES 2016 PS3 demo last night. I’m pleased that just about everything positive reported in the next gen version seems present last gen – apart from shiny graphics and some cut scenes.

    Playing the game – which does feel weirdly like PES 2013 – it did occur to me what a funny little chapter of PES 2014 and 15 are likely to be, looking back.

    Anyway, I like the responsiveness, the end to that way passes were so often intercepted by the AI on ’15 and the retention of the stick-twiddling skill/first touch system.

    Graphics on PS3 are fine – like an enhanced PES 2013 – and playing in rain really took me back to those “classic” PES days on the PS2. Some nice new animations too.

    I played two games on Superstar (coz I’m ‘ard!). Lost the first 2-0 and won the next 1-0 playing as Brazil Vs France. One foul in my favour in those two games and only three or so against. Not much AI crossing either.

    I’m most pleased to see shooting get some more variables too.

    I’ll have a couple more games as I quite fancy trying full manual passing – if only to balance up difficulty levels – but otherwise I must finish my last 2015 ML season ahead of what for me will be another PS3 PES. The upgrade is worth £40, not the £300 I’d need to splash out on a PS4.

  13. My own take on FIFA15’s fouls is that I saw plenty when I was playing last year in the weeks after release, but every time I’ve been back for little spells since (including over the past few weeks), I’m afraid I’ve seen PES2015-style levels, i.e. very few or none at all. I have seen AI players get carded for their fouls though. So the situation with FIFA fouls is slightly better. So much for the mother of simulations, PES.

    Shed – that is good news for you, and I am definitely going to grab the PS3 demo later this morning. Game sounds more intriguing than the next-gen version!

  14. John – good news matey. My ps3 is still used for dvd and Skyrim purposes. Good to hear about the rain too, but did it seem “dynamic” as promised?

    I hope there are more cut scenes when you sub peeps. I only ever really got em when it was about 80+

  15. I’d say FIFA15 fouls are ok, I get quite a few pens and scored from a great angled free kick last night, although ideally there would be more

  16. werd – I wouldn’t say the rain was very dynamic, no. Certainly not as dynamic as the deluge we had down here yesterday.

    I think the ball maybe zips a bit. As for puddles and the like, I guess modern pitches don’t suffer such things these days so they’re not in the game.

    Undersoil heating in modern stadia would also suggest no more snowy pitches either.

    But then the “simulation” aspect of real footy somewhat falls down when there are virtually no fouls or free kicks doesn’t it?

  17. Shed – ‘virtually’ none implies that you’ve had some. Luxury! I’ve had none at all so far! None! 10 matches, and counting.

  18. BOOM. 2nd League title won with 1 game to spare. Too much to do in CL, knocked out in Semis. Noticed something quite cool after the League winning game, after all the celebrations the camera panned round the now empty away ground apart from my fans still there celebrating in the corner. Nice. Won the last game 7-0 against Cardiff. Boom.

  19. Lloyd – it’s good that you still can’t get that 2nd Treble. This was a departure for PES2015. Time was that a Treble was virtually guaranteed every season after the first one.

    Today’s post will be up at the normal time of 12:00. I got it done quicker than I thought.

  20. n-G – The foul system is identical to PES 2015 I think other then now the AI is left looking expectantly at the ref too – if it had a face of course (hmm, I wonder what the PES AI would look like…).

    Just as in PES 2015, the trick to getting “virtually” no fouls – i.e. some – is in getting to grips with the body serving/dribbling. This is something I am trying to do but, like you n-G, I’m more the pass and move type.

  21. NG – one more season to try and get it.

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