Holding steady in the top 6. A reasonable chance of making the Champions League. A few too many draws, but I’ll be disappointed if I don’t at least finish in the Europa League places. PES2018 Season 7 is ticking along very nicely indeed.
A good sign is that I have other games to play (my various Civilizations and XCOMs) and other things to do (plenty of books to read and TV to watch). But I am choosing to play PES2018 instead.
Context is everything. I had a dental appointment yesterday morning. Just a check-up, but beforehand I always worry incessantly that I’ll need a tooth filling or two. I struggle to cope with needles and numbness, and having to lay still while strangers loom over me, one of them with hands at my mouth. Pain is almost the least of it.
But I got the all-clear. When you walk out of a dental surgery as a middle-aged man with nothing to worry about for 6 months – which might as well be a hundred years away – the world looks very different to when you went in. I was buzzing. The sun was bright. Food and drink tasted great. Everything was wonderful – including PES2018.
I went home and played some PES2018. And had a great time. So good, in fact, that I want to praise PES2018 (before I bury it around the end of February).
PES2018 is a good football game. That’s what it does right. Plain and simple. No, it’s not a good PES game, but that isn’t PES2018’s ‘fault’, in a weird way. PES as we knew it was effectively retired after PES2014 hit the skids. It’s taken me four years to accept the truth. PES of the PS2 and PS3 eras is no more.
Let’s imagine that PES never existed in the past, and that PES2018 appeared on its own, out of the blue, without any historical context.
What would we think of it?
We’d be blown away by it!
If we didn’t have past-PES to compare, PES2018’s bare trickle of player individuality would seem like a lot more than it is.
The odd foul here and there would seem like just enough. (We’d have nothing to compare no-fouls to. No PES5 in this Mirror Universe, remember)
The offline career mode might seem a bit basic, but we’d be loving that too. ‘Nice to have a straightforward and simple managerial setup without all that player interaction and training rubbish, eh?’
Essentially, nuPES only seems like a poor effort because I so vividly recall everything that came before it. So I’m constantly wanting nuPES to do things that it’s not designed or intended to do. It’s designed and intended to be a fast-flowing, fun game of the year 2017-18. And it does that very well. PES2018 as a standalone football game – called Super Soccer Pro, or something – would be a secure 8/10 or even 9/10 computer game.
It’s only when I assess PES2018 as a PES game that it’s as weak as dishwater. As a PES game, PES2018 is a 5/10 effort at best. (Sneak preview of my end-of year score, there.)
But what if I stopped assessing it as a PES game and just played it for what it is?
That’s what I’ve been doing for the past few days, and particularly yesterday, post-dentist, it felt pretty good. I was up until 2am playing. I scraped through to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup after going down to 10 men against Millwall and staging a heroic comeback from 1-0 down.
Yes, all my players still feel almost the same as each other and there’s barely any interruption to the merciless ‘flow’, but I can get past that. When you stop wanting PES2018 to do what Golden Age PES did, the game works.
‘So! Does this mean you’re reconsidering your decision to boycott PES2019…?’
Groan. I’ve got 9 months of this.