Month: August 2018

Assing Persistence

I was going to download the PES2019 PC demo and use the time expander to play some longer matches, but have not got around to it. So far. I will do it eventually, but probably not until next week. Or I might just leave it, as the full game will then be just over one week away…

I’ve played another 7 or so matches versus the AI in the PS4 demo. My view on the demo is unchanged. Positive, and cautiously optimistic. The fouling environment is a very positive development. Will it make it into retail? Will it last the course over hundreds of Master League matches? We shall see.

Notably, I also played two online matches. The latter were interesting for various reasons.

First, both were 10-minute matches. I lost the first one, quite comprehensively, against a good player who was only an ass 5% of the time. It seems obligatory to be an ass some of the time online. Even I am, with my keep-ball antics that visibly angers many opponents.

Look at my possession % up there. I was Liverpool. That’s the second match, in which my opponent was an ass 100% of the time, which shows amazing commitment to the cause. Every time I scored he would pause for the full minute. By the end, he wasn’t even playing. Good old Johnny Online, to a tee.

The only fouls in this match were committed by me, despite my opponent being considerably more aggressive. Several times there were tackles and collisions that I am certain would have been whistled versus the AI, but were not here.

I hope one of the themes of PES2019 doesn’t turn out to be ‘Whatever Happened to Visual Fatigue?’

I clean forgot Visual Fatigue was supposed to be a thing until I sat down to write this post this morning. I spotted a stray comment on a PES forum asking if everyone has already forgotten that Visual Fatigue is supposed to be a thing. The answer is: nearly.

I have forgotten Visual Fatigue. I never experience it myself. I never notice it in the opposition.

In my two online matches, my opponents sprint-barged for the entire duration, and I wasn’t shy in doing so when necessary (which it unfortunately is). Not a single thought in my head about Visual Fatigue, neither mine nor the opponent’s.

Let’s see what the deal is with Visual Fatigue in the full game. If we get fouls but don’t get Visual Fatigue, I will consider it a good deal. Konami can give it a bit of Marketing-PR flannel, as long as the nuts and bolts – fouls – are back.

But if fouls are gone and Visual Fatigue is barely existent, or (more likely) non-existent, no more proof will be needed about what PES is meant to be in the year 2019.

But anyway, all doom-laden notes aside, this is the most bouncy and positive I can remember feeling before a PES release since PES2015.

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No new post this Friday, 17th August 2018. The irregular summer schedule continues. I will of course remain fairly active in comments throughout.

I will be back with a full post – hopefully about the time-expanded PC demo – next Tuesday, 21st August 2018. Regular Tuesday/Friday posts will resume from then.

 

Born free kick

Those are the camera settings I have ended up on for the PES2019 demo (as seen in today’s short highlight, further down the page).

This is likely to be the camera I play the full game with. The perfect mix of close-upness to enjoy the graphics and immersion, and far-enough-awayness to play the video game. It’s broadcast-like, without the annoying zoom to the sidelines.

I have now played approximately 25 of the 5-minute matches that the PES2019 demo has to offer. I have used most of the sides. I have played on all difficulties.

I have not played with or against Barcelona, because I am so pissing tired of that whole ‘Barca’ thing with PES. I could cope with never seeing or hearing about ‘Barca’ in PES ever again. Same goes for all the Reals and Uniteds and Ronnies and Ibras and all that glittery garbage that has done such harm to the series. I am well aware of the PR and marketing dynamics that force a developer’s hand when it comes to big clubs and big stars. What I’m saying is that I don’t like it. But this is a side-issue.

The main issue is that this is the best PES demo I can remember since… Right now I haven’t got the time to look back over the blog records. I think not since PES2015, maybe, have I really liked a PES demo.

This one is very good.

It has fouls. It has injuries and fatigue. I haven’t seen much of Visual Fatigue in any great quantity. The 5-minute matches don’t represent the feature very well. But I have seen enough reports in the wild, and from commenters on this blog, to be confident that, yes, Visual Fatigue is a thing in PES2019. For now.

Because it all depends. It depends on Konami not watering it all down for retail. And even if the game gets past that hurdle unscathed, not watering it all down in a patch or two after release.

Both of these prospects are very real dangers. Konami have a history of putting out relatively slow, more sim-oriented demos, and following them up with faster, more arcade-oriented retail releases, and/or patches that achieve the same.

I would guess that the majority of PES online players are teens and twentysomethings who don’t really know about PES, and don’t give two shits about the legacy of PES. What the majority of online gamers wants is what tends to come about. Watching for suspicious signs will now be a huge focus of release week, and for the weeks and months after it.

Free kicks come along with wonderful regularity. Roughly half the matches in an 8-match session feature a free kick in shooting range. That’s a huge increase from roughly 1 in 10 matches on PES2018.

The only slight drawback is that they feel a bit easy. I would be in favour of free kick success being made more stats-based.

Above is a nice one I scored. I thought I’d aimed too far wide, but the left-stick aftertouch delivered the ball with wicked whip – and that’s a great pitch-level view of the ball going in, as last year.

It’s quite gratifying to feel oneself in the wrong about a game – at this stage.

Fouls, injuries, fatigue!

Some players report not seeing many fouls, and in truth there are still only 1 or 2 for me in most games – but 1 or 2 is a lot more than 0, which is what PES2018 would be giving me, match after match. And these are only 5-minute encounters. You would hope they’d scale up to longer match times.

Fingers tightly crossed. At this stage I will be gutted if retail PES2019 lands with PES2018-levels of fouls in 10-minute matches. My Day 1 fouls count per-match will be very interesting.

PES2019 Demo: 1st Impressions

Just visible on the left is the reflection of the August sun streaming through the window of the room. This sight – PES demo downloading, late summer sun filling the room – is evocative of so much. It’s always good to be here every year.

I grabbed the demo this afternoon, 24 hours early thanks to New Zealand, where it was crazily already the 8th of August. I really don’t understand how that is even possible. It’s as if this whole time and calendar system we live by is just a made-up convention or something.

I’ll get straight to it: I like this PES2019 demo. It has made me optimistic about the quality of the game that it represents.

PES2019 feels different to me straightaway. It looks fantastic – crisp and grainy, in a good way. I did see one crazy graphical glitch (captured and on show as the last item in the short vid at the end of this post) but otherwise, all was smooth as butter.

PES demos are very hit and miss. I can only think of two that have ever had me playing them for longer than a few days – PES5(PS2), and PES2010(PS3).

This demo is one of the stronger ones. The nasty surprise that match lengths were limited to 5 minutes actually enables you to play lots of matches back-to-back. You don’t have to head to the top menu after each match, and can just instantly play again. I played about 7 matches. Five as Liverpool vs Inter on Professional, then two as France vs Argentina on Top Player.

I was most interested to see how Visual Fatigue was going to work. This was billed, early summer, as something for us old-time players to treasure.

I didn’t see any Visual Fatigue in my 7 matches. Not one sign. ‘That’s because the matches were all 5 minutes!’ Maybe. Maybe not. We will see. I commented last night that I would put money on Visual Fatigue becoming the new TeamVision (remember that? me neither). Today I would put even more money on it.

I don’t think this pre-match tip is meant to be amusing, but it is:

Japanglish literalism there.

Fouls next, and there are some encouraging signs here. In my 7 matches of five minutes each I had roughly the same fouling rate as I’d expect in a 10-minute match on PES2018. Which hopefully means – logically should mean – that there should be proportionally more fouls per 10-minute match in the full PES2019 game. Again, we will have to see.

Somehow, the concept of PES being ‘free’ or ‘not free’ has emerged this year to stand proudly alongside ‘organic’ as one of the key buzzwordy-concepts of our times.

The game does feel a touch more ‘free’ to me on PA1 level. I saw enough loose passes to persuade me that there has been work in this direction.

Shooting? Too early to tell. I tried many long-rangers and it was pretty much as per PES2018: either the shots flew wide, or were tipped aside by the the keeper, or caught. We all know this routine by now. Scoreline management for online matches is at the back of the absence of long-range goals in PES these days.

I played France-Argentina, as France, to see how Mbappe would handle. Like bloody greased lightning, is how he handled. As did Salah for Liverpool.

Has the hideously misnamed ‘catchup bug’ finally gone from PES? I doubt it, somehow. I think the developers have instead found a clever way to cancel the ‘catchup bug’ sometimes, contextually, based on certain conditions. More study is needed here.

My first goal saw Salah streak away from the defence in a most un-catchup way. That goal is the first thing on this vid below.

Second thing is a nice moment where an AI defender ducks in front of my striker to head the ball away when it seemed a certain goal. #theAIthatweneed.

Third is that crazy graphical glitch. NB: it only happened once in realtime. The repetition is my sloppy editing, trying to show it off. My player is moved out of the way so the AI can pinch the ball.

All in all, I’d give today’s demo experience a solid 8/10.

PES2019 is the PES I was never going to play. I had already changed my mind by today, but I have to say that if I’d stuck to my decision, but then played this demo, it would have changed my mind.

I’ll be back with another new post at midday on Friday as usual. Let’s see what my 2nd and 3rd impressions are like.

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