Any which way you Kane

My Superstar experiment with PES2018 lasted around 12 matches here in Season 8.

I’m returning now to Top Player, and will stay there until the end of my PES2018 career – which, I’ve now decided, will almost certainly be the end of this current season.

My first few matches on Superstar were respectably tough, and enjoyable. Solid 8/10 matches. Great stuff. Notably, they all came in the same session…

Session variance is very much still a thing in PES. Konami have removed much of the nuts and bolts of classic PES from the series. They’ve stripped back and consolidated player stats to the point where they often mean little (and sometimes nothing). And the majority of matches end with a big fat 0 (or a 1) next to the Free Kicks stat.

But they didn’t take away our precious session-to-session variance in the overall feel of the game.

Superstar in session 1 was great. In session 2, not so great. In sessions 3 and 4, bad-to-awful. In session 5, slightly improved – almost good again. Et cetera. This was always the PES way, and I suppose we should be thankful that there’s still something of the old girl left.

It wasn’t an easy decision to drop back down to Top Player. The chances are good of me romping to at least some sort of Double – and maybe the Treble.

Whatever happens, this season is now almost certainly my final season on PES2018 and nuPES. Konami’s overall strategy with nuPES is to jettison the stubborn single-player holdouts who don’t pay for things after purchase. It’s working! They can take their faces, boots, balls and tattoos, and they can stick them.

In my last session on Superstar I took on Barcelona in the final Champions League group-stage match. I’d already qualified for the knock-outs, as had Barca, so the fixture was a dead rubber. Nevertheless, it was a thrilling encounter.

This was a great match! One to remember in the months and years to come when I’m trying to think of the good in PES2018. I doubt that I’ll remember anything at all of PES2018 in 5 or 10 years’ time, but if I do, I’ll remember the ebbs and flows and epic feels of this one match. I had to work very hard for this win.

I beat Barca twice in the group stages, and took top spot on that basis. Nice to see the actual rules applied. Many an edition of PES would have awarded Barca the top spot on account of goals scored.

In the League, things are not quite so rosy at the moment.

The Superstar sessions saw me draw an incredible amount of games, lose one or two, and win a few as well. I slipped down the table. 10 points between me and the top spot. At this stage of the season, and back on Top Player, this is an easily surmountable gap. I’ll be there or thereabouts in May.

So, I’m 98% sure that this is my last season on PES2018 and on all new PES games, forever. It feels like the end of an era because it is one. It feels scary, knowing that in about a week, two weeks tops, I’ll be stepping off the carousel that I was so pleased and proud to be on for over twenty years.

I never wanted this stage to come. Lord knows I have tried my best to squeeze the essence of PES out of these nuPES games of the past few years. There is something of the old PES spirit in there – it’d be fatuous to deny that – but ultimately, there’s just not enough left.

I haven’t mentioned yesterday’s 1.04 patch because there wasn’t one. It was a boots and balls DLC. Which is nice for those who like that kind of thing, but eh, what’s a player like me supposed to think of it? Nothing, really, so I think nothing of it. I really don’t have anything else to say about it. It’s all part of the new culture of football gaming that I will soon be leaving behind for good.

Updated: 16th February 2018 — 10:57

60 Comments

  1. Lets hope not NG, the day Cricket becomes a regular discussion on here will be the day I stop reading and commenting.

    I probably would still be playing, and probably would enjoy as much if not more, as I wouldn’t have the PES-history to keep yearning for, the glory years of past, it would just have been a pretty good new football game.

    It’s only when you think of what used to be in PES compared to today, that it becomes a annoying issue, if PES 18 was a new game entered into the footy market and wasn’t a PES game, it would have gotten widespread acclaim.

  2. Paul – not sure if your last remark there was meant to be ‘wouldn’t’ instead of ‘would’. If it’s as-written, I tend to agree, only the acclaim wouldn’t have had the ‘dear old PES’ dimension that it had. PES2018 and its immediate predecessors all benefited massively with the critics from being PES-branded games. If it had come out under a generic title I think it’d have got the same kind of reviews that basketball games typically get outside North America (and soccer games get inside North America), i.e. ‘this is pretty good but so what?’ The mainstream reviews of PES have become increasingly aggravating in recent years as it’s clear to all of us who play them for longer than a few hours that the reviewers have basically just reviewed according to brandname.

    Similar thing happened with Final Fantasy XV – it got a massive break from having the FF name on it, but really it’s just a generic realtime RPG of the current era without any of the tactical magic that made the PS1 and PS2 FF games so special.

  3. Not sure what part you are referring to NG?

    The widespread acclaim part? I meant that if PES 18 was exactly as it is, but not made by Konami and not called PES, then it probably would have gotten very good reviews, as its a superb football game, it only becomes less superb, almost average when you then remember it is a PES title and remember back to the glory days of how PES used to be/feel.

  4. Paul – from context I wasn’t sure if you’d meant to type ‘wouldn’t’ instead of ‘would’, completely changing the meaning of what you were saying, which happens online a lot.

  5. I thought PES2018 did get very good reviews – metacritic score of 83 pretty much in line with FIFA? It’s only niche audiences like us who review it in comparison with its history

  6. No NG, I meant what I wrote.

    That metacritic score was largely made of up of online/games conference review scores which were all done prior to release, remember all those E3/GamesCom best game awards?
    All based purely on the black ball spinning, squad building, online side of the game.

    Can pretty much guarantee that if all those reviews were done now, taking offline and other modes into account, that score would be lower.

    I’d say its worthy of an 83 score, as a general football video game product, just not as a PES product.

  7. Got it, the game deserved much better reviews than the theoretical ones that it didn’t actually receive!!

  8. I think the game should be reviewed now, and its reviews sent back in time to take the place of the reviews that it did receive.

  9. IMO, It’s a 7.5/10 football game and a 5/10 PES, 83% average is generous. History shows I’m happy to play a 5/10 PES though as per 2016, 2017, 2008, 2013.

    I won the league and cup double yesterday. The cup final was won on penalties with my GK saving 3 spot kicks, all very exciting. The penalty system is easily the best I’ve used on PES.

  10. Cook – the presence of the PES name automatically makes us play it, pure and simple. Which begs the question, for me, of what I might get out of a FIFA if I gave it the same kind of indulgence that a PES gets. One for the coming months and years there.

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