PES2014: The Road Not Taken

PES2014 thumbshot

It’s here! The PES game that nearly everybody back in 2013-14 — me included — abandoned in dismay and disgust after a month or two!

The PES game that could have changed football gaming forever, but manifestly… didn’t.

Obligatory thumb shot on the left here. This blog was on hiatus for the entire length of PES2014’s ‘life’. The game was never covered. That will now change.

I’ve been wanting to play PES2014 for a long time, since summer 2014 in fact, but I was waiting for a decent opportunity to give it an extended run. That time is now. PES2014 is my current football game, and the early signs are that it will be so for some time.

I’m playing the fully patched PlayStation3 version of PES2014. That ‘fully patched’ business is very important to me, because it means I’ll be able to score long-range goals.

On release, one of PES2014’s big issues was the complete lack of goals from 20+ yards. You could bag the odd one from a yard outside the box, but no farther. It was literally impossible.

Thankfully, the game was eventually patched (around April 2014), and now you can do this:

(Yes, slightly shaky, somewhat blurry handheld vids and pics are back on the blog.)

I scored that one in a session over the weekend just gone. Very… PESish, isn’t it? Well, that’s the stuff I like. And they’re still not very common in PES2014, even with all the patches. Scarcity breeds value, and I value these goals in PES2014. I’ve played the equivalent of half a season in the past week and not scored another like the above.

There’s a school of thought out there that the original release version of PES2014, warts and all, is the purest PES game ever made. I think there’s an argument to be had there, but I also think there’s a strong case for this final patched version of PES2014 to occupy that lofty place. More on this question in future posts, no doubt.

PES2014 end of season 5I’ll be picking up the same ML savegame that I started way back in 2013, and have played on and off since. I’ve got a decent Option File installed that I don’t remember ever installing. I grow old…

My settings are: Top Player difficulty, 1-bar passing, normal shooting. On PES2014, 1-bar assistance feels much like PES2016’s Unassisted setting.

My team, the usual ersatz COVENTRY CITY, finished 10th in Division 2 at the end of Season 5. I’ve started Season 6 in good style:

PES2014 season 6 after 12Of course I was tempted to completely start afresh, but I wanted to see this original save through more than I wanted to start again. I’ve built my current Season 5-6 squad up over a long time and don’t want to throw away the most lengthily-assembled ML team I have ever had.

Here’s my Squad — this is the view that show’s PES2014’s notorious ‘Heart’ feature. Note the full red chests of most of my players. More on Heart in the weeks to come.

PES2014 XI and SquadThey’re all individuals, too. ISMAIL at left-back is a little dynamo of a bustling full-back, the best at that position since Ruskin. LAPREVOTTE, in central AMF, scored the goal above. I’m going with a single DMF for now in classic PES style.

So I’ll play PES2014 until I reach some sort of closure. The usual rule of thumb — a Treble, preferably on Superstar — will probably be that closure, but we’ll see.

Amid all the gushing, the game has plenty of issues. Every footy game does. I will address them as I find them.

On the issue of PES2014’s famous so-called ‘lack of responsiveness’, I say HALLELUJAH. A football game where you actually have to think ahead and plan a few passes in advance. How utterly shocking! In my first post-PES2016 sessions on PES2014, I grinned every time one of my players clumsily failed to turn on a sixpence, or ran the ball out of play, or whatever. I GRINNED.

I hate how ‘responsiveness’ has become the watchword for football games. Just one instance where PES2014 singularly failed to change the course of gaming history, I suppose.

Anyway, perhaps the worst thing about PES2014 isn’t its so-called lack of responsiveness.

It’s the L O A D I N G  T I M E S….

L   O   A   D   I   N   G      T   I   M   E   S

L      O     A     D     I     N     G          T     I     M     E     S



(I have a feeling I’ll be echoing this often.)

My opinions and enthusiasms are all my own. Based on my current findings, the next few weeks and months are likely to see an overall positive account of my experience of playing PES2014 in the year 2016. My views do not and will not constitute any kind of recommendation that anybody goes out and gets a copy of PES2014 and/or a PlayStation3 or Xbox360 to play it on. (You wouldn’t be able to patch it up anyway. Konami switched off the update servers last year.)

If my imminent PES2014 posts seem intriguing, and if you go to extraordinary lengths to get the game and play it (PC owners always have options…), I cannot be held responsible for financial costs, marital discord, spiritual turmoil — or even just plain old disappointment. I seem to rather like PES2014; a great many people never will.


  1. Call me Ismail….surely a headline waiting to happen?

    but Jon Toral and Andy Polo? they are so unPES-like names.

    I was fortunate to take note of your comments at the time and patch said 2014. I sought to do a bit of editing too but dear Lord, that delay brought back images of Paul at his most Charlton Heston-like ‘God damn you all to hell…’!

  2. NG – aah retro shaky hand held cam shots…bliss. I of course had the unpatched 2014 and hated the slight judder when a long shot “just missed” for the 32nd time!. Good luck though, you may be the last person playing a patched 2014, true pioneer.

    Turf – I h a t e d t h e s l o w e d i t…….snore

  3. n-G – I laughed at that disclaimer. I do have a tendency to be tempted by someone else’s positive experiences with a game but I feel not even a touch enthused for PES 2014. Good luck to you though.

    I’ll be sticking with PES 2016 for now and then I’m tempted by FIFA 15 or maybe 16 if it gets a lot cheaper.

    But, I have to say, Star Wars Battlefront has showed me that I’ve been missing out on a lot of gamey-games down the years.

  4. uncle turf — Toral and Polo are signings made (I think) during my previous little run on the game in that summer of 2014 when I was commenting about PES2014 on Paul’s blog. (He’s let the domain name expire after the new year, I noticed.)

    The loading times are the worst I’ve known since the days of the Spectrum! I’m actually on a fully digital installation of the game too, as they gave it away free to PS+ members in April 2014. So these are the best the loading times can be. I timed it yesterday and from starting up the game to arriving at your ML Main Menu: 2 minutes 24 seconds. From there to actually starting a match, leaving aside Squad selection and fiddling: another 2 minutes. We’re spoiled by the PS4’s swooshiness, but PES2014’s loading times are bad even for the PS3.

  5. werd — the ‘just missed’ long shots are still in, with the difference that some of them do go in now. It’s all fascinatingly tied into the much-derided Heart feature, from what I can tell. I think there are still people out there playing PES2014. By coincidence, a couple of the PES forums are currently going through a retro PES craze, mainly focused around PES2013 it seems, but PES2014 is getting some positive mentions too.

  6. Shed — playing PES2016 at the steady rate you do is probably the best way to play it. FIFA16 will retain its price for a while yet, but you won’t go wrong with FIFA15. I find the poor reception that game got from many football gamers baffling. Slap a PES sticker on the box and it would’ve been worshipped.

  7. I enjoyed it back in the summer of 2015, 12 seasons in fact. The Master League starts to evolve very strangely after a while as per every PES I suppose. Good luck enjoying it.

    I’ve just bought a PS4 so I’m replaying PES 2016 ML after a flirt with MyClub before Christmas. It is a better game on PS4 but not by much.

  8. NG – such a shame it was a hurried job when it came out. I saw the potential when I first switched on the new look shook me a little but it felt like a new step from 2013. A few games in I was loving the new feel and heaviness and how individual players moved, a few more though it showed it cracks, lack of long shots, plastic faces, load times, advanced shooting producing the same off the crossbar off the keepers head 9 time out of ten etc.

  9. Hurrah! Loved reading this not-Greg. Has the obligatory thumb shot been recreated especially or is it from 2013? Loading times are bad but hadn’t realised they were as shocking as your timings suggest; it could be that I’m so used to just switching to my phone and checking twitter, share prices etc etc, but I’m sure it’s much less than 2 minutes for me – will time tomorrow.

    Now, these red hearts are perplexing. In a typical match I only get one glowing red heart, usually for regen Forlan, but sometimes zero. Hence three seasons of losing almost every match. Are you anywhere near a theory about how they are allocated, or do you reckon entirely random?

  10. Cook – I’ve already bumped into the Regens still with their previous incarnation finishing stats – at first I was dismayed, but now I’m quite intrigued to see how this skews the ML long-term.

    werd – advanced shooting has never worked as advertised – that in-off-the-bar thing is still being complained about in ’15 and ’16.

    abbeyhill – it’s a new thumbshot, filmed on location the other morning. The blog wasn’t running in the year of PES2014.

    Re. heart, your comment suggests that you think the feature is allocated on a match-by-match basis, like the form arrows? If so, nothing could be further from the truth. Think of it instead as functioning like morale in Football Manager, across a span of games. Get good heart in your team and they’ll have good heart for the next match. I doubt you’ve seen a proper run of good morale/heart at all in any of your PES2014 play. The feel is totally different. Apparently the feature also models different phases of play in the matches themselves, momentum swings and so on. If you score just before half-time, for example, your players will come in at half-time glowing red, and vice versa if you concede of course. The consensus is that the feature was half-baked and didn’t work as billed, but I’ve found that it works just fine. The problem coming when you get in a rut of no-heart, your players can’t seem to dig out of it very easily.

  11. The challenge of scottish league two goalkeepers becomes apparent as Albion rovers beat Alloa in the cup 14-13 on penalties…

    The Redskins franchise is on hold till ive got through the Americans and any gothams I don’t see at the time.

  12. not-Greg – yes of course I remember your blog was shut at that point, but was still wondering if you took a PES thumbshot then just for old time’s sake! Although obviously looking at the screen behind makes it clear

    Now your analysis of the heart system sounds plausible and would explain a lot – I’ve been stuck in this rut for three seasons, hence one red heart against your eight in the starting team, and none of my players going on good attacking runs, defending properly and so on. So I need to find a way of getting out of this rut. Obviously suggestions of turning down the difficulty will be treated with the contempt they deserve…..

    Turf I’m quite sad your American football match reports are over for now, they were great to read even though I had precisely no idea what you were on about!

  13. uncle turf – I too will miss the Madden reports for now. I suspect the matches were too long and gruelling? I saw a copy of Madden in CeX today for the first time – £40. It was Madden16 though.

    abbeyhill – always pick a purple-arrowed player with heart before you pick a red-arrowed player with none. The PES world turned upside down… Think of Heart as Morale instead and you’ll know what to do. Fight for crumbs, and build on them. A team playing with good Heart/Morale in numerous positions plays with an unmistakeably different flow. The things you try with low Heart/Morale that don’t come off, do come off when it’s medium-high to high.

  14. Turf – I recently got an hd recorder as Mrs Werd complained all her programmes were on too late and do with them recording whilst on her maternity leave.
    Whilst we had some progs in HD now we have BBC and ITV in hd for all progs, last night I saw the road to the superbowl was on bbc 2 and decided to peruse while drinking a pint of 7up and gin. It looked great in hd and I really got into it.
    I used to watch the NFL in the late 80’s and had a soft spot for Denver and Detroit. I still have virtually no idea what going on but some of the passes and runs really impressed.

  15. werd – given that you’re already sort-of familiar with the game, it’d take you no time at all to brush up on the rules and rhythms of American Football. I’ve just had a look on YouTube and predictably there are dozens of Introductions to American Football, some lighthearted and short, some serious and long, some lighthearted and long, some serious and short, etc. Worth doing as it’s probably the greatest tactical team sport in the world. I can’t think of another like it. I also love baseball, another sport where you have to know what’s happening and why to appreciate it.

    Never got into ice hockey or basketball though. With ice hockey I can never see the damn puck, and no, it’s not good enough watching to see where the players are. I need to see the puck all the time, and I can’t.

    Basketball is slightly better and I can enjoy a good match, but the incessant end-to-end rhythms of play there on a small court make it seem slightly ‘cheap’.

  16. It’s to my great regret that the only time I was in the States (about 3 months nearly 20 years ago) I could only get to an ice hockey game – Philadelphia v Pittsburgh – because of where my hosts lived. I should have done more to get to one of the other two US sports I really like but the size of the place was such a shock, it was hours just to get to anything bigger than a corner shop.

    Don’t worry, the Redskins franchise is only on a few days suspension – I’m already caught up on Gotham and have 3 of the Americans in the bag. I’m getting a bit confused with who has done what and how they are on to the wife hence the need for a little more concentration.

    Werd – I have programmes still on my sky box from 2012 – mainly science documentaries – every time I think I’ll watch them I find something far easier on the brain.

  17. My NFL “knowledge” also comes from the Eighties and Channel 4’s NFL coverage headed by the Vicious Boys. Remember them? I adopted the Seattle Seahawks as my team purely because, well, they’re a bit like Seagulls (sorry to remind you of that Woolies moment Uncle Turf). I even remember making American footy my chosen school project one year, complete with a collection of NFL player cards that came free with Wagon Wheels back in the days when they were bigger – Wagon Wheels that is.

    I’ve since tried to occasionally watch the Super Bowl but I struggle to do late night telly these days. I could record the odd game but Mrs Shed won’t be up for watching.

    Got a surprise early SW Battlefront session in after work yesterday which freed me up for a PES session before bed. Default Courtinho back on form with a hattrick away to some made-up nonsense team in the Europa League followed by a last gasp equaliser in a great 1-1 away to Everton. All very satisfying – enough to put Fifa 15/16 way down on my gaming shopping list.

  18. NG – may peruse on me lunch. Theres also a book I’ve got my eye detailing the history of the NFL from the 40’s onwards. I love stuff like that. There was a Scottish footy history book I read 10 years ago and I lapped it up.

    Turf – I thought I wouldn’t use the HD box much but Ive recorded most of Palins 80 day (in homage to my dad as we used to watch it together in the late 80’s) a few bbc 4 docs I want to keep incase Mini Werd 2 is crying through the first play and random sitcoms like Sorry! and Rising Damp incase theres nowt on.

    Shed – wagon wheels were bigger and monster munch even though the “new bigger “packs state the old size its pizzle and I’m sure its not down to my head growing since I was a kid 🙂

  19. before the Vicious boys travesty there was the smooth coverage of Nicky Horne and regular Mick Luckhurst features.

    One thing I’ve struggled with is the post 80s altered divisions owing to the expansion of teams, it’s like a load of new kids sitting in your class after you’ve been off school ill for a week. Seattle sounds like it would be a good footy-like atmosphere;

    (so completely different to Brighton then…)

  20. uncle turf/Shed – the memories:

    Opening titles were a lot more… leisurely in those days, weren’t they? Nicky Horne at the end there.

    I barely follow either of my favourite US sports at all anymore as my timezones are all out of whack. When I was unemployed 10-11 years ago (the same period I played 40+ ML seasons in PES5), was the last time I was able to follow them properly.

  21. It missed the classic 4 logo transformed into a snorting stick man player!

    I’d love to follow baseball but won’t pay for the extra channel and the idea of having four hours free to watch is a non starter. I don’t have a baseball team to follow either, I always decided on a game by game basis who to like out of the two. I’d love to go to one of the old fashioned fields before they are all bulldozed for domes.

  22. any thoughts about player (lack of) development in PES2014 yet, not-Greg? Very few of my young defaults/youths have progressed, and the 20 year old LB Jorquera and RMF Stakhovski I bought 2 seasons ago have remained stuck on OVR 76 & 77 despite playing every game. Maybe this is all to do with Heart too!

    Massive clear out at the end of the season after three consecutive last place finishes. Those two jokers above sold plus a variety of other wasters have slimmed the squad right down to a lean, tight-knit group ready (hopefully) to fight all the way for each other. Also freed up cash to bring in regen Giggs. Season 4 is going to be excellent…..

  23. abbeyhill – I certainly haven’t noticed non-development, but I’m on a different path to your Iron Man approach. It’s perfectly feasible that bad results and bad play equals no development, but I couldn’t say for sure. And in case you haven’t already twigged, one of the most awkward bugs of all Master Leagues afflicts PES2014. All the Regens come back with their previous incarnation’s finishing stats. Your Regen Giggs should be a 90+OVR wonderkid… I plan to treat myself to a few, but most will of course head out to other teams and play for them. It’ll be interesting to see how they skew the ML world as a whole over the long term.

  24. yes he’s 93 OVR, and still 87 when I play him out on the left. It already feels like he is ‘the’ player who lifts the entire team, there are suddenly all sorts of possibilities. 2 wins to start season 4, albeit with no glowing red hearts at all

  25. You should now have at least a few yellow chests. The red ones come after a good long run of positive results. Beware though, they can easily dip, just a defeat and a draw or something like that and team form can slide.

  26. Three consecutive last place finishes – those were the days.

    Ive been ill so nothing much of anything except reading the name of the wind, well done whoever recommend it – shed, chris99?

    Darryl – when do we get an outline of your book? Is it sci fi, thriller, fleetwood noir?

  27. Uncle Turf — you do seem to be ill a lot. Are your kids young, i.e., plague vectors on legs? I think it was Chris99 who recommended Name of the Wind. I have the audiobook version, but an audiobook is a huge commitment and many of the reviews I’ve read of the book itself say ‘not much really happens for a fantasy novel’, which puts me off. I want my fantasy and sci-fi excursions to be action- and thrill-packed. Is it true?

  28. Turf – Illness has slightly got in the way of things as I was making good progress. The chore theme is philosophy and told through events of the last year or so in my life and is full of old stories, anecdotes and characters I meet along the way. There is a little bit in there about following North End in the eighties and gaming etc. Hopefully I will return to good health on Monday as I have only 5 chapters to finish. My Frater sowed the first seeds of an idea for a book when I went to London for heart screening and he said I should write a book.

  29. NG – yes, still at the must be taken to school age so I huddle in the rain with similarly afflicted parents. I get colds frequently so I must have enough exposure to be infected but not enough to gain a strong immune system. When I worked outside – golf course, farm, etc – I dont ever remember getting anything, no sore throats, sniffles, nothing.

    I’m still mid name of the wind but am very happy with the action so far. It could be misconstrued as being a bit grown up Harry Potter in so far as its a mysterious guy re telling his life story which centres around getting to and being at university learning magic n shit but it’s got some very dark overtones, a real sense of something heavy to come and lots of humour of the joe Abercrombie type vein. I believe there is a sequel so I’m not expecting a one book beginning, middle and end and it’s not for you if you want druss the legend swinging an axe from page one. Chris99 may elaborate better than me.

    Darryl – an autobiography then, or more fiction based on real life? Give the sterility of academic writing and having to watch every comma I’d love to write for pleasure, I can see why iain banks chucked his PhD once he started writing rebus. Sadly ive got no original ideas to work on!

  30. Darryl – that will be very interesting to see when you’re finished, particularly if you’ve dovetailed the philosophy and personal anecdotes in a certain way.

    Uncle Turf – it’s a surprisingly little-known fact that nobody has ever caught a cold or any virus from being outside in general or from cold weather in particular. We always – as in, 100% of all viruses – catch them by spread from other people. (Try suggesting this to almost anyone and witness the outrage. My favourite reaction: ‘well, why are they called colds, then?’)

  31. Darryl – sounds good Frater, baggsy me to do illustrations.

    Mini Werd won some football tickets…to the Sunderland/Bournemouth game this Sat! My most hated team is Sunderland, nearly as bad as sitting in the Boro end during a QPR game a few years back. I’m hoping she will get bored and want to leave before half time. I’ll think I will go postal if she wants Mackem Scarf, shirt etc 🙂 Just to be typical me im going in my Leicester Shirt and Dortmund scarf.

  32. The Name of the Wind is new to me, in fact I’ve never read any Patrick Rothfuss. I am however looking for a new trilogy as I have a pocket full of Amazon vouchers from Christmas.

    Working from home today, so I may fire up FIFA now it is lunchtime and finally decide whether or not to blow all my money on a striker…

  33. Mysteriously, a search back through comments yields no results for either ‘Rothfuss’ or ‘name of the wind’.

  34. I was going to comment with the theme from The Twilight Zone, but realised it was just a load of doo-s

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