Crouching panther, hidden treasure

Photo 22-01-2016, 12 34 37It’s not a bad-looking game, PES2014. I’m one of the few who thinks the PS4 graphics for PES2016 were excellent, and a decent step up from PES2015’s chalkiness. So one of the trickiest things about stepping back a generation to a PS3 PES is the graphics – as well as the loading times, and the lack of convenient record-to-HD features, of which more later.

Of these niggles, the graphics are the least nigglesome to me. It’s great footy gaming I crave more than anything else. I’m capable of playing PES5 on PC without batting an eye at those graphics. So PS3-level graphics are not an issue at all.

There’s my new kit for Season 7 on show, by the way. The Option File I’m using has official kits for all other teams, but I’m doing my own season-by-season, as in the old days. The familiar mashup of sky blue, darker blue, a random stripe, some piping on the shorts…. It’s good to be home again.

The season has started not badly at all. I’ve stayed on the same settings for now: Top Player; 1-bar passing; normal shooting; default gamespeed.

I feel that I’m getting a great game of video-gamey football each time I take it out for a spin. The feel of a great match in PES2014 is more like the old PES feel than the more recent games can ever hope to get to. That feeling of working hard for a result and relishing the grittiness of a victory. PES2014 as a whole – the PES game nobody played – is like discovering buried treasure.

There are also dull, forgettable matches, which Konami have worked hard to eliminate from PES2016, but these are the salt on the meal in my view. After the success of PES2016, and the nerfing of FIFA16 to make it more like PES2016, no football game will ever be published again that meets the ‘old-timer’ criteria of greatness. From now on, button-mashing and goal extravaganzas are the order of the day. Yes, I know I’m being unkind. The thing is, I’m not being that unkind.

New signings: mainly Youths. Among the unknowns, I recruited regen GOMIS. Seems good so far. A goal or two. We shall see how he develops. I’m glad he’s stopped scoring in real-life as I dislike that prowling panther celebration, and am very glad it’s not replicated in this game.

Here’s a distance goal from the kid, which also shows me trying a different free kick routine:

Re. the terrible picture quality: it was a sunny day, and the light played havoc with the phone camera. I could have closed the curtains, but I was already breaking my immersion by recording to begin with. This is the biggest problem with going back to the PS3, for me. Over the next few weeks and months of PES2014, I’ll only be recording very special moments, that’s for sure.

Next up is some AI goodness – this is very interesting indeed. First round of the FA Cup, I came up against Liverpool. After 7 seasons in this ML world, they’re a team made up of almost nobody recognisable. But they’ve still got Suarez, and he did this against me:

So very Suarez, and so very PES. It’s moments like the above, from the AI, that I almost never saw in either PES2015 or PES2016. I’m saying ‘almost never’ mainly out of respect for what ’15 and ’16 both did well. I don’t remember anything like the above example of AI individuality in those games.

Part of my whole PES2014 adventure will be frequent musing on how PES has changed in the two years since its peculiar year of non-life, and what those changes mean for the future of the series.

I beat Liverpool 1-0 in this match, at their place, in one of my most satisfying results of this born-again PES2014 career.

I also met Chelsea and Manchester City back-to-back in the league, and lost badly against them. Chelsea beat me 3-0, Man City 2-0. There was a definite sense of being in a boss battle during all three matches against the big boys.

PES2014 season 7 after 9


  1. I thought the PES2014 graphics were horrific when I first started, notably worse than 2012 & 13, but it might have been down to the display – now that the PS3 has pride of place again under our main TV it actually looks quite good, nice animations.

    The AI is another splendid aspect of PES2014, the opposition teams play in different ways even amongst the fictitious D2 teams. And within games there is great variety of team AI, with the opposition mixing it up between short passing, dribbling, long balls, crosses etc. Good contrast to the more metronomic approaches of PES2015 and FIFA 14/15.

    Limped to mid-season 4 on 6-2-9, lower mid table. But I did have a pile of cash in the bank, so was thrilled by the regens coming through e.g. Juninho, Abate, even Crouch. However then tabbed across to ‘probability of signing %’ to find they were all 0%, all the way down to high 70s OVR players. Hmm….

  2. I’m really enjoying your PES 14 updates, NG, as I continue to suffer my FIFA struggles. I particularly like that Suarez clip and, i have to be honest, it fills this Liverpool supporter with a strange sense of melancholy (sniff).

    I’ve reverted to Operation Sport’s finalised community sliders in my FIFA 16 foray and am enjoying a 10 minute per game sim-style slog fest with lots of midefield battles punctuated by moments of brilliance (generally from the AI). I did have a satifying moment last night as Charlie Austin fumbled control of a bobbling ball in the area only to be scythed down by the AI defender to win a penalty. As the big man stepped up to take the penalty, I noticed he hobbled to the spot. Going to the team selection I realised he’d picked up an injury in the challenge so subbed him off and converted the penalty off the bar with Leroy Fer. It’s the little things.

    This set has got a very lower league feel to it, which is OK in the Championship, however I’ll be interested to see how this translates to the Premier League as I continue my inevitable march to promotion.

    Interestingly, reading the sticky post from the chap who’s spearheaded the construction of this particular slider set, it appears that EA buckled under pressure from the hideous online majority and renegged on their initial promise and direction with the game by patching the sh*t out of it in 1.04 and 1.5. In my current melancholy mood, I do tend to think we’re heading for a football game apocolypse, as predicted on here many times already. Or maybe we’re just getting old.

    I do love ‘real’ games, but there will always be a hole in my life without a brand spanking new footy game to play; a bit like the one that little maniac Suarez left in my heart that fateful summer…

  3. that’s a great summary Chris, and I agree with you. What a shame about FIFA 16, which looked brilliant on the career mode closed beta. For a while I was trying to play PES2015 on the PS4 alternately with 2014 on PS3 but that made it crystal clear that something seriously f*cked up had happened to PES

  4. abbeyhill – the variety of goals that the AI scores in PES2014 is very pleasing indeed. And they can get them from anywhere. The other day it scored one from a long, raking, looping cross to the back post that my keeper thought about coming for, but checked back. Johnny AI kept the ball in play and fired in a shot from an acute angle that caromed in off the near post. Seems routine now I describe it, but it’s this bread and butter stuff that the AI hasn’t been doing in PES recently, as the football games move their focus to mass-multiplayer online and the new god of Responsive Gameplay, which is a byword for ‘arcade handling’.

    Chris – I thought Liverpool fans would appreciate the reminder of what they’ve lost. Just wait till I sign regen Stevie G. It’ll happen. It always does.

    Sounds as if you’re having a good time on FIFA16. I’ll catch up there eventually.

  5. Actually there seems to be an exploit on PES2014 on regens – although the top 4 OVR options on 0% probability turned me down at the start of the winter transfer window, that seemed to disrupt their auto transfers to anointed clubs, so on the second phase of the transfer window it suddenly went up to 70% for Juninho, Maicon, Zanetti and Lucio, and I got them all. If I can’t achieve promotion with these guys then I shall need a serious think about my PES abilities

    Just listening to Bowie’s Outside album on a whim, it really is his best by some distance outside the classic years

    real life Saturday morning football hits an all time low as the opposition call the police following a slightly over-exuberant challenge by our central midfielder….

  6. I was playing my first footy game in ages last night whilst the misses was out. I put on PES 2015 and although it was quite enjoyable I did have a headache when I finished from the end to end nature of the game. So today I purchased an old PS3 as I had planned and bought PES 2013 for £1. What a revelation as to how the last couple of PES games have gone so wrong and reflects the comments made recently. The most obvious thing was how much more midfield play there is and on 1 bar passing you have loads more control over your passes and shooting as everything now is more contextual. I loved it!!!!! I know 13 was a bit of a short lived affair due to the over development of players but I don’t care as I will get the most out of it and move on to 2014 or maybe 2011 next and revisit these games in a whole new light.

  7. abbeyhill – what a cunning little exploit you (may) have discovered there… I’m having such a good time on a sane difficulty level in the Premier League right now that I won’t ever use it myself, probably. If you continue to struggle you will continue on Superstar/0-bar I know, so you’ll deserve the minor fillip of treating yourself to some decent players.

    Darryl – welcome back to the PS3 club! I have no idea why anyone would trade in a console that still delivers the way the PS3 does. Do yourself a favour and stick with one football game for now, don’t be tempted to stray. You’ll never settle down for dinner if you start picking from the buffet table. Stock up on the other desired games as and when you see them in shops/online. Get a full collection from PES2008 to PES2014! Shouldn’t cost much at all. I love having my collection ready to hand, although it’s mainly as objet d’art of course.

    PES2013 will treat you well. Shame about the over-development in ML. Looking back, that over-dev was a sign of things to come.

  8. NG – That is the plan as my game hopping days are a thing of the past as I like to focus on one game at a time. I will have the none footy game (Fallout 4) on the PS4. That console will be for them type of games, which I will play one at a time and the PS3 will be my footy game player.

  9. that’s a great idea Darryl, PES2012-14 on the PS3 pretty much up there with PES03-05 PS2 classic years in my eyes. My PS4 sadly abandoned for the moment but I am sure it will have its day. So what’s your plan for PES2013? A vanilla defaults ML career?

  10. Darryl – good stuff and good luck, as even I am tempted by the forum talk at the moment of all the other games. The PC modders are doing interesting things with the PES2016 AI and settings and I caught myself thinking about it this morning.

    Definitely though the passage of time has give us a new vantage point on the PS3 years, and it could be said with justification that PES2010, 11, 12, and 13 were classics in the series as a whole. I’d personally add PES2009 as a minor classic. PES2008 was a rush-job that had some merits but mainly performed the unfortunate function of equipping us with the idea that PES could be bad. PES2014 is yet to be classified, and seems a bizarre side-experiment that I’m still studying with fascination.

  11. Can I play devil’s advocate nG? When I read “time has give us a new vantage point on the PS3 years, and it could be said with justification that PES2010, 11, 12, and 13 were classics in the series” in my mind I heard “we found faults with them at the time, but with hindsight they are better than what is being sold to us now”. Does that make each of them a classic?

  12. Chris — what you heard in your head isn’t my meaning at all, particularly the second part (‘they’re better than what is being sold to us now’). The old games of whatever vintage stand up in their own right. What is a classic? Who decides? Surely classics are only ever decided in retrospect, long after the fact. Classics are always contextual and open to reassessment. I didn’t stumble blinking out of a cinema in 1981 having just seen Raiders of the Lost Ark thinking I’d seen a classic. The passage of time and the nature of the influence that the film had on me and on the wider culture ended up determining its classic status. (When was that, that people started thinking of Raiders as a classic? As early as the end of the 80s? As late as the end of the 2000s?). Similarly, I don’t recall anyone in the year of PES5 asserting that it was a classic. Instead we moaned about its many shortcomings (no crowd in the stadium, scripting (aka God Mode), etc.).

  13. Abbeyhill – I was doing my editing last night and am all set to go. Have played a few champions league matches and have to say it seemed bloody tough compared with last few years as chances are hard to create. I think I am going to go with normal speed, 1 bar passing and Superstar from the outset. I wasnt sure wether to play as PNE and edit the names of the default players or put Celtic in D2 and select the club team line up.

  14. Played my first 5 games of my new ML campaign on PES 2013. Thought I would start out on pro level in the end. I won 2, drew 2 and lost 1. There were some real tight scrappy games amongst them and loved every minute of playing them. The biggest difference apart from having loads more fouls and may midfield battles is using the contain button as this is not only the most successful form of defending as you get skimmed alive if you try to defend like you did in 15 & 16 but it also natrually slows the play down and cuts out the crazy end to end feeling. It means you can play on the default speed setting, which is much better.

  15. Sorry meant hold up play button (Circle).

  16. nG – I didn’t mean to imply that was what you meant, merely that was what I heard. My point was that if you were to chart 2010 to 2013 in isolation then that would be a slightly spiky chart IMHO, but if you were to include 2009 to 2016 then they would be a flatter plateau in the middle of the chart. Or, as you pointed out, perhaps I was equating “classic” with “excellent” which isn’t necessarily the case; after all Plan 9 FROM Outer Space can be regarded as a classic.

  17. Darryl – circle for hold-up play?! If you mean secondary pressure, that’s Square! I take it you’re another one of these FIFA controller button layout people? That’s OK. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s a valid lifestyle decision…

    Re. your PES2013 ML in general, did you go dev or non-dev in the end? Smart money is on non-dev, but at this stage of the gaming year I’d have been tempted to go full-on dev.

    Chris – I do believe classic should mean, or strongly overlap with excellent, even if we ourselves don’t agree. It’s something that’s formed by broad consensus from lots of sources over time. E.g. Citizen Kane is a classic film, but I don’t really like it, however I’d acknowledge the reasons it’s held up as being so. There are tons of examples from every genre, film, TV, books, games. I always remember when Channel 4 started up in 1982, my older relatives were very excited that it was showing I Love Lucy and they told me I’d love it. I didn’t love it at all, and still don’t. Sitcoms don’t age well. I’ve never liked Dad’s Army, but it’s still a classic for what it’s meant in the life of the country.

    Despite my remark yesterday I think it’s still too early to afford PES2010-13 full classic status (not that I or anyone else ever gets to decide; instead it’s an emerging consensus from interested parties). Another few years of reflection and digestion will decide it, but I think it’s likely they’ll be seen as PES classics. If we’re still talking about those games, playing them, etc., in 5-10 years’ time, then yes they’ll be classics. I think PES2014 will be in there too. Now there’s a PES version of Plan 9 From Outer Space for you…

  18. NG – It could be the square button you may be right but it can be used as well as secondary pressure as if you press it with your main defender facing an opposition CPU attacker he keeps his distance and faces the player and this holds up the play. The very idea has gone now from the latest games as it does not fit the multi player ethos.

    I am going with development on.

    With regards to classics I can’t see the last two PES games or any in the future ever gaining that status due to the framework now being in place as we are just going to get similar bland games. Very sad.

  19. NG – Forgot to say I am a Fifa button layout person mainly because of the sprint button and shooting button as I was brought up on Fifa games and it feels alien otherwise.

  20. Darryl – if you’re on the FIFA layout then Circle is indeed secondary pressure, but it doesn’t make players stand off – do you mean the R2 jockey/contain?

    Re. classic PES editions, I think PES2015 has a chance. Maybe even PES2016, who knows. It depends what we get in the next few years. I think what EA have done with FIFA16 post-release is a depressing signal of which way the wind is blowing, and how the football game devs are all too keen to bend with it.

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