My lovely Schwarz, running through the field

What’s odd about this screenshot? No, it’s not that there’s a penalty taking place in a PES game – that’s only become a total rarity in recent years. This is PES5(PC), which I’m still playing.

It’s the keeper standing a foot or two off his line, of course. Even in these days of cowardly real-life referees (and they all are), you wouldn’t see any of them allowing that to happen.

The PES2018 online beta that started yesterday might as well be taking place in another reality, and be about another game completely – because it is. PES in its online guise has never borne more than a passing resemblance to the game I know and love. The day PES turned its face to the online demographic was the day it grew sick. Everything bad that has happened in PES in recent years is because of online. ‘But without online, there wouldn’t even be a PES nowadays…’ I know.

Back at a real football game, PES5, I haven’t paid any attention to the league table since I resumed play a week or so ago. I couldn’t tell you what stage of the season it is. Until I played in the Cup, the D1 Cup no less, against ADO Den Haag, which always sounds more like a walled citadel in a fantasy novel than a football club.

I was 2-1 down from the first leg, and went 1-0 down here – at their place. Right. I rolled up my sleeves and started a good old-fashioned comeback against all the odds. I worked hard for two goals – Schwarz on target again, becoming my MVP for PES5, now – and got it back to 2-1 to me on the day, 3-3 on aggregate, with away goals being equal.

Alas, an old, old problem surfaced. The AI treats the score on the day as the score overall, and thought it was losing 2-1. It went into overdrive, and nabbed itself another when I could hardly keep the ball.

A couple of good wins in the league,. Good goals. Good gameplay. Here’s to the carefree, lazy, hazy days of summer.

Updated: 21st July 2017 — 09:57

28 Comments

  1. NG – great spot with the keeper. What ever happened to the old lazy, hazy days of summer. Even the seasons now blend into each other and lack that seasonal individuality, just like the footy games.

    I did have a couple of games on the BETA and saw no evidence of any such issue with the pass thing. Doubt I will put it back on. I saw little that stood out. One prediction I will make is that it will be a dribble friendly game just like 2016 was.

  2. Darryl – did you get enough time on the ball to notice the passing, though? To be fair the several vids of PES2018 online I’ve watched have featured players who played slow build-up and I didn’t notice anything untoward about the passing animations. I just didn’t really like the way all the players moved like triple-jointed ninja ballerinas.

    At my office the ladies had their portable plug-in heaters – those mini-radiators on wheels – switched on yesterday.

  3. I’ve played 3 games in the beta. I see what you mean about the special passing, but bear in mind the two teams are Brazil and France, so lesser players may keep it simple more often.

    Overall I enjoyed it and I think you will too, nG. It’s slow. Almost a little too slow in places, passing is a touch weak and players can be a bit labouring on the ball. But that will improve with practice, and overall I’m pleased with how it plays.

    As someone mentioned yesterday, I did notice an issue with the player switching. It seems a very unresponsive at times (maybe that’s an online thing??) and I couldn’t see anything untoward in the control settings.

    Some far in my 3 games (undefeated, I might add – arf!) I’ve not noticed any lag (not that you care, but bear with me). I’m wondering though if the player switching issue is just a form of online lag and may not effect the single player experience.

    Free kicks and corners will take some getting used to.

    Also, they made a bit song and dance about the new in-game stat boxes, but they don’t half get in the way!

  4. NG – yep with the more considered pace you do get more time on the ball. Agree with what Tommy is saying as the pace of the game made even play on-line seem not quite so frantic.

  5. n-G – There couldn’t be a more poignant time to be playing – and in my case reading about – PES 5 than while the majority are thrashing away at each other on beta PES 2018. Just that sounds like something out of sci-fi in comparison – PES 2018 beta.

    Anyway, I’ve finished with the beta now after another six games last night. Three or four were actually pretty good games. One was against the worst kind of online player – sprinting, high pressure and trick dribbles. Off the ball he or she was rather hotheaded and I ended up claiming victory in the name of all things Chronicles with a 4-1 victory against nine men.

    Lastly before I head back into deep space and No Man’s Sky, some more PES 2018 early impressions:

    1. Player individuality is no different than last year, in my opinion. In fact it might be worse given that big CBs and CFs feel less solid and physically imposing.

    2. I didn’t see many flicky passes and, as someone mentioned, I suspect it might be a star player thing.

    3. I now miss the dotted lines at corners and free kicks.

    4. Shooting is much the same despite what some on the forums are suggesting. It has lacked variety since PES 2014 though.

    5. Keepers are even better than they were in PES 2017 but not in a frustrating way.

    6. Through balls in this build sometimes cause that annoying thing where a defender seems locked as the ball rolls past them to the attacker.

    7. We’re getting the exact same commentary again aren’t we?

    8. Dribbling does seem very effective in the beta although most of the attackers are world class players. I’ll worry if we can go all Escape to Victory Pele in ML with a default player.

    9. Overall, there seems enough tweaks and changes to make another round of ML worth a go but I really can’t see what all the hype about this being a big, new dawn for PES came from post E3. It’s an evolution of PES 2017 but with a small e.

  6. Ah, it’s beta, that’s pre demo, and demo is always different so I’d take absolutely nothing from this stuff.

    What I really want to be playing is a golf game on ps4, imagine how great that might look. Sadly everybody seems to be saying avoid Rory mcilroy and that generic golf club thing. Why have they given up on the sport? Surely it has a bigger audience than don bradman, etc?

  7. Turf – Isn’t there a new Everybody’s Golf coming out? I used to love that back in the PS1 days.

  8. Tommy – I watched your highlight reel last night by the way. Your opponent played like I used to play online. Good composure for the second one – I’d have leathered it and probably missed.

    Darryl – if it was so welcoming, why are you not going back for more? That question to all of you beta-players…

    Shed – fouls and individuality make everything else in PES, when you analyse the question ‘what makes/made PES PES?’ Water either or both of those factors down, and PES is watered down. PES2017’s individuality only emerged after many ML seasons’ play, and even then I wouldn’t swear it wasn’t largely in my imagination. Looking at these PES2018 vids (from E3 and from now), none of the players have the player names turned on above their heads. All look as if they handle much the same. E.g. look at Tommy’s France-Brazil goals from last night (tail-end of previous post comments). I couldn’t tell you now just who he scored those goals with. I know 100% that 10 years ago I’d have taken careful note of the player(s) involved. I barely even took notice here in 2017. This isn’t down to failings by me. It’s the way the series has gone.

    Uncle Turf – the Beta side of this is the multiplayer code and infrastructure. There’s the usual talk of ‘demo will be another build’, ‘final game yet another build’, etc.

  9. n-G – I’m not playing the beta anymore for the same reason I’m not playing PES 2017 despite occasionally wanting to – I’m worried if I do, by the time PES 2018 is released, I’ll already be half way to needing a PES break.

    Basically, I’m hoping fasting from footy games will have me gagging for things I’m rather bored of in PES like ML set up, same old defaults and presentation.

  10. Turf – Because golf isn’t so much a sport, more “rambling for pimps”.

  11. Turf -Rory Mcilroy golf is a fiver on ps store at the moment. I bought it yesterday and it’s not great but worth a fiver imo. It may be even cheaper second hand.

    I’ve played a bit of PES2017 recently. I’ve changed formation to 433 for the first time in forever and it’s alright. Makes defending tougher with little benefit going forward. Another difficulty modifier for the next 4 season ML.

    I hope some single player news will arrive soon for 2018. The hype train is being operated by Southern Rail this year.

  12. NG – I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was welcoming, just less frantic is about as good as it gets. So if on-line seemed slower, then imagine what it will feel like against the CPU.

  13. Turf – Rory McIlroy is not a bad game at all as it had a few updates and was much better than the original release.

  14. Uncle Turf – I agree, Rory McIlroy would be worth a fiver. I’d love a golf game like Tiger Woods 2002 again. Of course, there’s loads of great golf games on PS3 that you could- oh.

    Cook – I know when we’ll hear single player news. Sometime around 11th-12th September, i.e. a few days before release date, when the very first pre-orders start thudding onto doormats.

  15. Ah right, maybe those early reviews encouraged some updating. Of course I considered the PS3 but I’d be playing knowing it was visually inferior – something that always impacts my enjoyment (see just about every attempt to go back and play past pes’s, im a graphics whore).

    Just for Darryl – https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/22/spam-flavourful-as-hell-hawaii-spam-jam

  16. Turf – fantastic article and has given me some ideas for tea. I fancy Spam Burgers followed by Spam Ice Cream. Nice to know some folks appreciate this fine meat.

  17. Uncle Turf – you got rid of your PS3 though, didn’t you? That was the joke…

    Rory McIlroy has a few features that mar the enjoyment and take away from the skill aspect of a good golf game (a ridiculous aiming system for one). But worth a fiver for sure, and I think they patched in a few options that help with the annoyances.

    I’ve played a lot more Super Stickman Golf (1 and 2) on my phone in recent years than I ever have a console or PC golf game though.

  18. Yes, I did NG and my copy of tiger woods was a possible factor in swaying me the keep way, however I didn’t check out the ps4 options and simply assumed there was a yearly update so had numerous to pick from. Perhaps like Nike leaving the equipment manufacturing ea have decided golf is in terminal decline. It’s only the timing that is making me keen again, I haven’t swung an actual club in two years. Five quid is worth the punt though.

  19. Hullo Greg,

    In your blog you regularly refer to the lack of individuality in modern PES. I agree.

    I am forming a view that this shift is an accurate reflection of the modern game in real time. The success of the modern German football model of uber-coaching has lead to a distinct lack of individualism in the modern game. Didn’t Pep once say that he would prefer to play eleven midfielders in a team….

    For me PES 5 represents a sense of nostalgia for the sport as a whole. Stars like Recoba, Riquelme, Aimar, I rarely saw on Irish TV. They represent an almost mystical football culture that existed in the antipodes of the British game. So to control Recobas left foot in PES 5 is for me to re-experience a purer and more innocent epoch of football. In this lies its timeless charm.

    I would be delighted to have your views in response.

    Tadhg in Cork , Ireland.

  20. Blimey, no one suggested how long it would take to download the cheap Rory mcilroy game. This would be the major reason I’d opt for discs, still sitting here twiddling my thumbs with three hours still to go.

  21. Uncle Turf -I had a hard copy, so I would not have known. Download times is what puts me off digital copies.

    Tadhg -pretty much the same problem with the majority of sports now the players, athletes or whatever are all bland and clones of each other. Sport now lacks any kind of atmosphere as the only one’s that can afford to watch it are those with money. Meanwhile the rest of us are now turning away from watching on TV. SKY viewing figures have plummeted. I will make another observation and will point out that this is in no way sexist, but can’t understand this belief from the TV companies that we are now interested in the female versions of sports we can no longer give a stuff about.

  22. Tadhg – thanks for your comment and you have probably read my rants against ‘real-life’ football so I won’t repeat them here. Much.
    99% of the game’s serious problems would be solved by enforcing the rules consistently and (this is the crucial bit) without regard for any contextual consideration whatsoever. Red card offence by home team’s star player in 1st minute of big local derby? Off he goes. 20th instance of a defender’s hand gripping an attacker’s midriff in the penalty box? That’s the 20th penalty of the match. Players surrounding the referee? Yellow and red cards as required. One team down to 7 players? Match abandoned and a 3-0 victory awarded to opponents – plus a 5-points deduction and a million-pound fine to the offending team (scaled appropriately to the division). At the end of all that, we would have a sport worth watching again.

    The ascent of Spain 10 years or so ago precipitated the decline of football. Remember that classic blood-and-thunder match with Spain in it? Nope, me neither. I remember being amused by them playing without a striker. Little did we know the benighted era it would usher in that we are still living through today. Pep Guardiola is as anti-football as 1980s Wimbledon. You might be onto something with the view that the blandness of football today is reflected in the watering-down of everything valuable in PES.

    PES, and to a lesser extent FIFA, represent the true spirit of football far more ably than the game itself. There is more sport in a typical 10-minute match of PES (even the crummy editions) than in a typical 90 minutes of reality. So-called reality, I should keep saying.

    I’m still looking forward to the resumption of real-life football in a few weeks. I’ve got used to following the meta-story of the sport as the background hum of daily life. I do start to miss it during the summer of a non-World Cup/Euros year.

  23. Uncle Turf – tell me the Rory McIlroy aiming ring is gone, or if not gone, at least turn-offable (it wasn’t on release).

  24. No idea NG, so far it’s been downloading for 7 hours and has another 3 to go. Apparently that’s par for the course for this game (I thank you…)

    First and last time I go digital.

  25. Tadhg – aah That Inter Milan squad of PES 5 will always have a place in my heart.
    I edit all my own kits in PES(no option files etc) and Home brew classic players. My world takes on its own life mainly Bundesliga. I even have a history of the Bundesliga dvd box set(in german) no english subs. I love as its like a world I never knew but I try to recreate in PES.
    My stats and faces may not be to everyones taste or “correct” but its my world and I love it.

  26. Uncle Turf – I’m the complete opposite and would always take digital, even a 10-hour download. You must have got all excited about playing the game today (yesterday), but digital simply doesn’t work like that sometimes. Most of the time it’s a download that does finish in a day, sometimes in an agreeably small part of a day, but sometimes, nope. I remember GTAV taking several days. FIFA16 the same. It is how it is.

  27. Not good enough for me I’m afraid, especially when you have nothing to keep, no resale value. Mind for a fiver…

    So far, and I’ve not explored all the modes, I’m seeing a game that reminds me of an early tiger woods. In classic mode it’s pretty much the same aim, select and shoot it’s always been. Seems like there is a little less ball control but when boosted those later tiger games got ridiculous – spinning the ball a hundred yards on or through ninety degrees. It appears heavily u.s/Nike weighted all the cut scenes, endorsements, etc and im not a mcilroy fan but yes, it’s tidy and I think it will serve me well.

  28. Uncle Turf – I remember being annoyed by – the caddy feature! That was it – the most annoying feature in any golf game ever. Is it gone, or turn-offable?

    The real value of digital is not having to disc-swap. Digital games are simply always there a button-press away, without any messy disc-inserting and removing. Whether you like it or not, 5 years from now – 10 years, tops – there’ll be no other content medium than digital. The era is already here for me. PES is the only game I buy on disc now. Everything else is digital.

    The final branch of GAME closed in Coventry city centre about 6 months ago. There used to be three. Places like CeX will keep going, but watch those shelves of preowned games shrink ever-smaller as digital takes firm hold from the PS5-era onward. Laptop PCs have come without DVD drives for several years now. The PS5 and the Next-Xbox will both likely be driveless and digital-content-only. Even if a disc drive just scrapes in, as is still possible (the werds are still many), it’ll definitely be gone by the console after them for sure.

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