Season 6 of my born-again PES2014 Master League adventure has continued all week.
My enthusiasm for this venture hasn’t faded. I had been kind of prepared for a fade. I’d just finished 8 seasons on PES2016, a decent-if-unremarkable experience overall, and wondered if I was burnt out. And maybe going back to play regularly on the PS3 would prove too much. I wondered if I would soon be looking for the exit to FIFA16 and the home comforts of the PS4.
But now I’m starting to think I’m here with PES2014 for the long haul — at least until a Superstar Treble has been seriously attempted, and hopefully won.
This is a very good game of computer football. The most neglected runt in the PES litter does seem, to me, to be one of the strongest instalments of the series.
I’m about to start harping on a theme. It’s a theme that will recur again and again over the coming weeks, maybe months. Here is the theme: the reasons people give for disliking PES2014 are much the same reasons why it is a good edition.
I’ve now played well past halfway of my first full season. That’s Season 6 overall, of an ML career that I started in November 2013.
Here’s the current league table after 23 matches:
I’d like to think promotion is a certainty, but as I type I’ve hit a patch of poor form that has seen my team’s Heart rating dip dramatically.
Lack of Heart means that the team is less competent. Shots have less chance of going in. Tackles fail more often. Players in general are slower, dopier, and more rubbish. All of which means that a Keegan’s Newcastle-style collapse may be in progress – more on Tuesday. Today is more about PES2014’s general gameplay.
Perhaps the number one complaint people had/have about PES2014 is ‘button lag’.
This is where the game is slow to react to your button presses. Such an outcry went up about it that the word ‘responsiveness’ has since entered the PES lexicon as an unquestioned pro-word. Leading to the likes of PES2016 with its distinct lack of individuality and arcade handling. Arguing against silky-smooth responsiveness in football gaming is like arguing against democracy and human rights. People are shocked when you try it. But I will try it.
PES2014’s infamous lack of responsiveness isn’t a problem for me. Why? Because I don’t hammer R1 while playing PES2014.
We all hammer R1 when playing Pro Evo. We all hammer R1 when playing FIFA. People like to pretend they don’t hammer R1, but those people are all secret R1-hammerers too. In attack or defence, whether the ball’s at our feet or running out of play, in the first minute or the ninetieth, there’s one button we hammer more than any other. That button is R1
PES2014 is the only football game in my experience that overtly punishes misuse of R1. The way it does this is by delaying its response to your button inputs while you’re pressing R1.
The most notorious example of PES2014 button lag is when you’re sprinting a striker in on goal, and you press shoot – and nothing happens. The game completes a few more running animations first, and then allows your player to shoot — by which time the defenders and/or goalkeeper have smothered the shot. Aaaargh! Many a temper snapped numerous times over this, back in 2013-14.
But when you don’t hammer R1, when in fact you lay off it completely, the problem is — mostly — solved. First-time passes and first-time shots are all perfectly possible in PES2014 when R1 is left well alone.
This game won’t let you sprint willy-nilly. Well, you can, but there’s a cost. Sprint assumes ‘animation priority’, and will disrupt all your other actions. If you’re mashing R1 (and when is the modern football gamer not mashing R1?) and you press shoot, don’t expect PES2014 to peacefully cooperate
Here are some R1-free goals from a recent session.
Soundtrack courtesy of one of Coventry’s finest, there.
As you watch the above clip, shape your hands as if gripping an invisible controller and shadow my players’ movements as if you were the one playing – and feel your right forefinger wanting to bear down hard on R1 almost all the time.
See the moment at 0:05s when my player is running onto the ball in the box? If you’re mashing R1 in that situation and then press circle for a cross, then all that happens is the player runs the ball out of play. But I wasn’t pressing R1, and so the first-time cross was delivered for a first-time finish from Adebayor.
In any other football game — even The Greatest Football Game Ever Made, and regular readers know which game I mean there — I’d have had my finger on R1 at several points during the above vid, notably after playing the give and go at 0:45s. On PES2014, that would have wrecked the turn, the lay-off, and then the turn-and-shoot at 1:00 (strong echoes of PES2012 with that turn-and-shoot mechanic in PES2014, incidentally).
So there we have it. This is by no means a scientific conclusion. But every match, and dozens of situations in every match, bear out the truth of what I’m saying. PES2014 is a sprint-unfriendly game. We’re all R1 addicts. PES2014 tried to wean us off R1. Unsurprisingly, it failed.