I did say ‘no Tuesday post’ for PES2016’s release week, but something happened.
I finally got Windows 10’s new screen-recording feature working with PES5. I played a few matches Monday afternoon – and recorded a full game. This fixture is away to Birmingham in a long-running Master League campaign.
It has been said that all philosophy is a footnote to Plato.
It could be said that all football gaming is a footnote to PES5.
Here is that full match. Here is PES5, the greatest football game ever made.
In the end, nobody can tell you whether a glass of water is cold or warm. Because nobody can drink the water for you. In the end, you have to pick it up and drink it for yourself. Then you know.
Just the first minute or two showcases the greatness of PES5 in so many ways. See how I fail to build any kind of meaningful attack, how I’m forced to probe down the wings. Old-school graphics and handling might fool the 2015-conditioned player into thinking that all it takes is couple of passes, a bit of sprinting, and you’re in. No. You’re not.
Watch the thoughtful, tactical play – and spare a moment to wonder at how the concept of ‘fun fun fun fun fun’ has crept into the PES dictionary over the past ten years, to the point where almost every single review of PES2016 praises it for being FUN, as if that’s automatically what we’re looking for, first and foremost
There was a time when FIFA was called ‘fun’, you know. And it was not a compliment. That was how we insulted a football game.
The superb depth and perfect balancing of PES5 is the yardstick by which all sensible football gamers (those whose minds aren’t addled by the trance of online button-squeezing) should measure any football game.
All football gaming is just an echo of PES5’s greatness.
The gameplay of PES5 has never been surpassed and never will be.
The so-called ‘freedom’ of football gaming in recent years has brought us nothing. Nothing.
It is impossible to overstate the greatness of PES5. I post this semi-humourous look back at a ten-year-old game not to disparage PES2016 before I’ve even seen it, but to underscore that I’m pretty relaxed about the new game, really, because I already know that nothing compares to PES5.
- Look at the pass to Camacho after 18 seconds that he scuffs with his weaker foot into the keeper’s midriff. My last real chance for a long time, and it wasn’t even a real chance.
- Look at the heaviness of many players’ touches and turns (no responsive, nimble ninjas here).
- Look at the AI passing the ball around and back to the keeper.
- Look at the long ball – by BOTH sides – and how effective it can be – no pre-determined outcomes, or if there are any, they’re well-hidden by a master magician, the Great Seabass.
- Look at the frequent overhit passes and crosses.
- Look at the proper physical modelling of player-on-player collisions, with outcomes that frequently – horror of horrors! – interrupt the flow of the game for a free kick to take to place.
- And just look at that fouls/free kicks count on the post-match screen.
- Also look at the physical tussles that aren’t given as fouls, such as the cheeky nudge in the back on Bergkamp after 1:05. You’d think that’d automatically be a foul, but no, it’s waved on. See, PES5 can do the flowing thing too.
This game had it all. It had everything except a crowd in the stands. Maybe that was Seabass being a poet and telling us that he made this game just for YOU, the single-player, and nobody else was invited.
And so PES5 gets a final score of
Eleventy Million/10 – the best football game I have ever played
21st Century Football Gamer might object: “Boohoohoohoo/that ball sound is ridiculous/this is 2015/Emile Heskey is ridiculous/I need something other than a decade-old football game/LOL you don’t play proper/wahwahwah/I want fun loose flowing fluid organic responsive freedom….'”
He’ll be very happy with PES2016, by the sound of things, then.
I hope I am too. With so much football gaming greatness to fall back on if the worst happens, I’m relaxed about PES2016 and looking forward to it. Here’s to the future. The golden past is secure.