The impending end of PES2018 threatens to colour everything I do on it. In a good way. Knowing that it’s my last season on this PES game and all nuPES games, forever, makes PES2018 seem more like what it is: just a good football game.
For all the moaning about PES2018, here and across the wider fandom, it should be borne in mind that it gets criticised for being a poor shadow of historical PES. But it achieves exactly what it sets out to do in the here and now, which is to be a decent FIFA-style football game (with PES flavouring) of the second decade of the 21st century.
There’s just enough of that PES nougaty goodness for me to kid myself that it’s still PES. Having the name ‘PES’ on the box got me through 8 full seasons, and a similar amount last year and the year before, which is a pretty remarkable feat of habit and self-hypnosis.
So PES2018 is ticking through its last matches in good form. My sampler of PES2011 last weekend was a substantial shock to the system. PES2011’s slow player turns, coupled with the immediately apparent sense of player individuality… no way are any kids playing anything like PES2011 online nowadays. It was like grappling with War and Peace in the era of Buzzfeed and ten-second attention spans. No wonder Konami changed everything.
Back to Season 8. I have passed through the mid-season transfer window and picked up 3 new players. AMBROSINI up front. BERGE at DMF. And JAGIELKA at the back
Ambrosini feels exactly like nearly every other striker I’ve had in the game. Lacazette, Stepinski, Raya, Boia, and many more – they’ve all been basically identical to one another. Only Veldwijk stood out in those early seasons, and Harry Kane too for a brief couple of sessions (not seasons, sessions).
Berge and Jagielka are both a bit more interesting, being involved more in build-up play. The way Konami have streamlined the game to shorten the travelling time from goalmouth-to-goalmouth has perhaps accounted for a good chunk of the reduction in PES individuality.
The table isn’t what I wanted it to be at this stage. A few ruinous draws have now made it very unlikely I’ll overhaul the leaders.
I’ll do very, very well to get anywhere near the title from here. I think I’d have to literally win every match between now and the end of the season, and as we all know, that just isn’t allowed.
Still, I will give it a good go.
I’ve had a couple of matches versus Stoke and Everton that felt authentically stodgy and unpleasant.
At this stage of PES history, when I am about to hop into my time machine and never come back (pending a drastic change of philosophy on Konami’s side that simply won’t happen), it’s a moot point for me to be looking for the positives and chewing over, for the umpteenth time, the negatives.
There’s just over a third of the season left – all the league matches, and I’m still in both Cups, domestic and European – so I’m going to be playing PES2018 for a while yet. I think my prediction of March for PES2011 will come true.
And that will bring to an end an unbroken annual PES tradition that stretches back 17 years to PES2. There are football gamers aged 17 who have never heard of PES, unless someone like me tells them about it. ‘There used to be a game that was so unlike FIFA, you wouldn’t believe…’