PES2018 dropped through my letterbox earlier today. The Tuesday of release week. The earliest I have ever got PES.
It’s very welcome, and I hope nobody leans on SimplyGames (or any other early-dispatching retailer) to end the practice. Those of us with jobs and busy lives need these extra bonus days. Getting PES2018 today has made all the difference to my week.
The weather is always exactly the same for me on the day I get PES. Sunny, but cool, with variable, mottled cloud-cover. Chilly enough to wear a jumper, but not for the heating. It never rains on PES day. And it always gets unexpectedly dark while I’m playing my first session. I play long past the time when I should have turned on a light.
My first impressions of PES2018 are very good ones.
I wasn’t blown away by the recent PES2018 Demo, to say the least. In fact, after one session with the full game, I’d say the demo might be the worst demo ever released in the whole series.
It might be worth Konami skipping a PES2019 demo entirely next year, because there is no way the PES2018 Demo represented the quality of the final game.
I updated the game. Straight into my traditional opening fixture, England vs Scotland.
I’ve been playing this as my opening match since ISS days.
I always play the first fixture on Default settings. Regular difficulty (note that: Regular difficulty). 10 minutes. I almost turned off the new secondary ‘shadow cursor’. I decided to leave it for now.
The AI had the audacity to play reasonably well. It didn’t create many chances, but then you wouldn’t expect it to on Regular.
And I had the humiliation to see the first goal scored on PES2018 scored by me, for the AI. An own-goal. Here is that goal, at the end of a 1-minute clip that shows some of what PES2018 does right:
You can see me trying a few PES2017-type things in there, that just don’t work.
R1 seems to have been nerfed, in the sense that it’s now very easy to overrun a dribble – by getting greedy and trying for an extra yard – and lose the ball to a surprisingly tigerish AI defence.
Passes longer than short-range have a greater chance of being intercepted, it seems to me.
It all goes into the cocktail of what makes a football game complex and good, as opposed to routine and average.
There are tons of great ‘special moments’ in the penalty box. Work has clearly been done on the creation of these uncannily realistic events. Lots of goalkeeper additions have been made (although the slow-mo ‘superman’ dives need to go, asap).
Next is another video showing three things:
- A ‘special moment’ where I overhit a through-ball (with Gary Cahill), and the AI keeper scampers after it, but doesn’t get there, allowing me to slide a cross over. I saw similar things many times.
- My first proper ‘worked’ goal. PES2018 is very amenable to this kind of play. Time and again I tried to do PES2017-style powerups to create booming shooting chances. Chance-creation like this is more optimal in PES2018 right now. We’ll see what an ML team full of Team Spirit brings, though.
- And my first long-range Hollywood goal (playing England-Germany, with me in England’s change kit). I’d had a few opportunities like this, but taken them too quick. I let the ball run across Oxlade-Chamberlain before caressing the shoot button. If this is indicative of how long-range shooting in PES2018 works, I will approve.
I know the score. I always love the first session with any football game, PES or otherwise. New football game = joy to the world. That’s never not been the case with me. So I’m not counting future chickens – just relishing what I have now.
Here are the stats post-match for Game 1 – this went to EXTRA TIME and then penalties, I should stress:
Yes, a couple of fouls, and just as important, I was able to foul the AI. Massive improvement from the demo – and that held up across all 6-or-so matches I played.
And I moved onto something new pretty soon – 11-minute matches!
I just wanted that extra 30 seconds per half to experience the gameplay style. Build-up, patience. Bombing it forward, PES2016/17-style, wasn’t often working out for me. I might go up to 12 mins.
It’s difficult to convey in words how different the full game feels from the demo – how much better. And also how different the core gameplay feels, right now, from PES2017 and its immediate (accursed) predecessor.
I moved up to Professional soon enough, played Germany, won one, and lost the next one:
The AI scored two good goals here that I captured but haven’t got time to post here – a near-post flicked-in header was one of them.
So that’s Session 1 of Day 1. A great PES day, personally speaking, not least because the bouncy, energised feeling is the most difference between a demo and a full game that I can remember.
PES2018 is not the PES2017 clone that the demo made us believe it is. That’s for sure.
What PES game is it like? Superficially, yes, it is part of the same family of PESes that began with PES2014. That’s the game it’s the spiritual successor of, but I was reminded more of the general experience I had with another, much older PES.
I remember PES6 (not my favourite PES, but undoubtedly a classic) feeling similarly bewildering at first, and I remember unexpectedly losing and struggling on lower difficulty levels in that game.
I remember the day I got PES6 – it was a cool, cloudy, sunny day just like this one.
I’m tempted to start Master League right here, right now, today, but I will restrain myself. Until tomorrow at least.
I’ll definitely have started ML by Friday’s post.