Category: PES2009

Down the rubbish shoot

At the time of writing—Friday morning—I haven’t played PES2012 for two days. I intend to play after putting this post to bed. I am still committed to playing on in my Master League. So PES2012 continues.

It’s just very hard to continue sometimes. I’ve found that having these short breaks from the game helps me not hate it.

I can put up with just about every one of PES2012’s foibles. I only really hate PES2012 when its shooting misbehaves.

Yes, I know all about the alternate shooting method—“shoot first, aim later”—which I disbelieve in. Sorry to all those who have helpfully suggested I try it.

I believe that it can seem to work, just as the other alternate shooting method—previously known as “over-aiming” on this blog—can also seem to work. PES2012’s shooting is so screwed up that you could abandon all aiming whatsoever, and it would still seem to work enough of the time to be a plausible alternate system.

I know that many people don’t seem to have a problem with PES2012’s shooting at all, and this talk is all a bit bewildering. Lucky them.

So shooting is the primary sin of PES2012. There are others, some of them serious ones, but shooting is the main one.

It’s peculiarly dispiriting to work the ball into prime position and aim to put it low to the keeper’s side, only to see the ball bang tamely into the keeper’s midriff. Or line up a 25-yarder into the top right corner, only to see the ball zip towards the top left corner. (And when those ‘wrong side shots’ actually go in, the disgust is worse than anything I’ve ever known in PES. It’s a truly dangerous disgust.)

Fortunately, with better players in my team, and with experience of playing the game, I can minimise the wonky shooting moments. But never eliminate them fully, and that is a problem for the near future.

Life on Regular difficulty for me in the Premier League is tough.

Here’s the table after 8 games:

I’ve played most of the 8 matches on Regular. The top teams can still really punish me on this level. It’s a measure of PES2012’s boosted AI and my own averageness at the game overall.

(Having said that, if it wasn’t for the shooting issue, most of my matches would end 7-0 or 6-4 or or thereabouts. By crippling the shooting in the way it does, PES2012 artificially hobbles the player and keeps scorelines relatively low. It’s a dirty trick all right.)

The supercharged, super-dribbling players are a little annoying, and of course wholly unrealistic, but it’s a game, I accept that. Adapting myself to defend better against them is one of the attractions of this PES.

I do get annoyed by the super-AI conjuring itself up a goal from nothing, but it’s barely 1% of the annoyance factor caused by the shooting issue.

At this time of year, my thoughts naturally turn to where I was in previous next-gen PES games at the same time.

Last year, I’d already abandoned my Master League in PES2011 and was embarked on a brief spell of Become A Legend. I was bemoaning “the most technically poor PES game since PES2008(PS3)” and drooling over my new big TV, which temporarily gave PES2011 a new lease of life.

The previous year—the best year—I was in season 7 on PES2010, still in Division 2, and in my own words,”shaping up for an epic career” in a game I loved. I would go on to play 20+ seasons in what remains the best year of PES’s next-gen life for me. Say what you like about PES2010, but at least its shooting mechanism worked.

As for the year of PES2009, I was still playing at this time of the year, and it seems enjoying myself, having just signed Orellano.

The year before that, I was still playing PES2008, but only just. I was already onto my second Master League career, and hating the high-scoring matches.

So PES2012 is still in relatively good shape compared to my PES2008 and PES2011 experiences. And as I sit here typing this, I’m really looking forward to putting the game on and trying to wrestle some kind of result.

Happy New Year to all. Here’s hoping that PES2012 lasts until well into its titular year.

In off the bah humbug

As we head into the festive period and towards the end of 2011, season 5 of Master League is almost over. Here’s where I currently am:

I was holding out faint hopes of a top 10 finish. But after 31 matches, the gap is too wide. I’ll do well to finish 12th, I think.

Mid-table is a lot higher than I would have been if I’d left the difficulty on Professional. I’d have been relegated by now, no question—not that I’d ever have got to that stage. I’d have had a Chairman-induced Game Over long before relegation. I’d never have been given the opportunity to go down with the club, rebuild the team, and come back up. This strikes me as a key flaw in PES2012’s Master League, one of sadly many this year.

It might seem wrong to say it at this time of year, but PES2012 is not a great game. It’s not a terrible game either, in my view. My current ranking of the next-gen PES games would go something like this:

1. PES2010
2. PES2009
3. PES2012
4. PES2011
5. PES2008

What, PES2009 at no. 2? What have I been smoking?! But there you go, it’s what I believe.

This is all just ‘in my view’, of course. There is probably no such thing as an objectively good or bad football game. Not even next-gen PES2008, which I loathed but many people liked, or even loved.

If PES2012 didn’t have Master League, I would have no reason at all to play it. And this Master League isn’t even one of the best versions of itself. It’s damned weak in many places. But it’s still good enough to save PES2012, so more power to it.

I had a few matches on FIFA12 the other day. I loved them. Some people hate FIFA12 because it’s not like Pro Evo. I love it because it is different. I love the heaviness of FIFA12. After a few matches, your fingers really know they’ve been doing some work. When you connect with the ball and let one rip, it’s satisfying in a way that PES2012’s shooting almost never is.

Ugh. I feel sick just thinking about PES2012’s shooting: easily the least satisfying shooting in any PES game, ever.

I cannot stand the sense of deflation and disappointment when I finally carve out that precious goal-scoring opportunity, only for the game to override my input and send the ball to the keeper—or worse, to the opposite side of the goal completely. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard all about the ‘shoot first, aim after’ technique. It doesn’t work.

As soon as I’m done with Master League, I’m done with PES2012. I’ll move on without looking back.

I’ll be honest: sometimes I feel like walking away from PES2012 right now, and Master League be damned. I did it last year. It was a wrench, but I did it. And I reserve the right to do it this year too, if I want to.

But I suppose familiarity can breed a lot of contempt. I’ve now played PES2012 for upward of 160 hours. Let’s see how I like FIFA12 after a similar amount of time, when its time comes.

In the meantime, I have a Premier League status to consolidate, players to sign, a team to build, and a Treble to work towards.

There is a light that never goes out

Right then, if  FIFA10 is so flippin’ great, why is this blog still called PES Chronicles? The short and simple answer: I’m still playing PES; when it’s on its game, I prefer PES gameplay; and I think PES2010 is going to be a special game. If things pan out as I sincerely hope they will, this blog will be dominated by PES2010 from the 23rd October.

Last Monday night, I think it was. I’d just had a very frustrating FIFA10 session. The much-heralded new game wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do, on or off the pitch. That dissatisfaction would turn back to delight (at least on the pitch), but at that moment I was seriously unhappy with FIFA10.

So I picked out my PES6(360) disc, stuck it in the console, and had myself a little session. It was fantastic. The passing. The movement. The weight and momentum. The BOOM of the shooting. The next morning I gave FIFA10 another go and it was love again, but the lesson of the previous night’s mini-session was clear. PES had not gone away. PES is never going to go away.

The demo for PES2010 promises a great game. I still play at least one game on it every day. I’m baffled about the flak it’s taken on the PES forums. I totally agree with the many heroes who have risen to defend it. I’m bemused about people wanting the response times and through-balls to be ‘fixed’—shorthand for ‘made exactly like all previous PES games’.

Why not have a PES that’s a bit different? One with different response times according to player skill and situation, where the through-balls aren’t guaranteed to glide like marbles to their destinations every time? Why not have a different PES, finally, for the next-gen?

I hope Konami have kept their nerve. If I knew the full game was going to be exactly like the PES2010 demo, I’d be confident of a Return of the King scenario. As it stands, I worry that the chorus of boos might have turned PES2010 into PES2009.5. Really, if that happens, it’d be a worse disaster than next-gen PES2008.

My PES activity over the past week hasn’t just been on PES6(360) and the PES2010 demo. I’ve also played PES2009(PS3) nearly every day.

I was influenced by some people revisiting PES2009. They talked it up as an unjustly neglected minor classic of the PES canon.

I exhumed the PES2009 box from the pile. My last save data was from mid-May. I decided to take PES2009 for a spin via a game mode that—shockingly—I hadn’t touched all year. Champions League.

Really. I’d never once played the Champions League mode. I’m shocked too, now that I have played it. I’ll return to the subject in more detail next week (when I’ve played it some more), but for now I am regretting my Master League fixation of the past few years. There’s a lot to be said for playing PES with a fixed-ability team and seeing how far you can take them.

I’ve got to nail my colours to the mast here. Enough shilly-shallying. For me, PES gameplay is better than FIFA gameplay. Even after a glorious week with FIFA10. The PES ball is an appreciably heavy object that takes effort to pass around and is generally more pleasing to my hand/eye. PES players have weight, momentum, inertia. When a ball gets hit it stays hit—no floatiness.

I do need more time with FIFA10, but I don’t think it has the same kind of vital rhythms. I’m not heading down the cheap route of saying FIFA has no ‘soul’. It certainly does have soul, one that I’ve seen and felt many times, it’s just a different kind of soul.

PES2010 has a chance to make football gaming history. It’d be the greatest comeback since Lazarus. I’m really, really, really tired of talk about winning back the crown, and FIFA this, and PES that. But I would never deny how massive a deal it would be in football gaming if PES2010 does indeed turn out to be a special PES game.

It’s all up in the air. I won’t know for 10 days or so. For now it’s back to FIFA10. I’ll return to talking about PES on Wednesday 21st October—hopefully I’ll get PES2010 the following day.

PES2009: the last review is in…

Perhaps this blog is best seen as a year-long review format. It’s not quite been a year yet for either PES2009 or FIFA09, but for me the football game season is over.

I’ve finally given up on the console football games for season 2008-2009. I’ve got plenty of other games that I want to play. I’ll still have the odd session on the 2009-branded games, no doubt, between now and October. I might amuse myself with PES6 on the 360 some more. I might stick PES5 into the still-going PS3 for a nostalgic session or two. I’ll play PES2008 on the PSP if I can ever bring myself to take out the Monster Hunter disc.

But PES2009 and FIFA09, for me, are now last year’s games. Today I’ll review PES2009; on Friday it’ll be FIFA09’s turn.

PES2009 was already over for me. I effectively gave it up a long time ago. Although it is rightly seen as a decent effort at a next-gen PES game, it suffers from one of its accursed predecessor’s main sins: it’s just far too easy.

It was hard to begin with. Lord knows I struggled—but I’m an average player. I really am. Perhaps even a bit below-average. So a period of struggling is only be expected. But I got over that stage, and never looked back. Some people never struggled with PES2009 at all. Some PES ninjas claimed 5-0 wins on Top Player within their first few sessions. Perhaps it’s this aspect of next-gen PES—its insultingly low difficulty—that has dismayed me more than any other.

When I think back over my entire PES and ISS life, moments stand out. Certain goals stand out. I remember an extravagant goal I scored in one of the later ISS games with Michael Owenn (sic). I remember my first satisfying goal in my PES4 Master League career: a half-volley with Mista from 25 yards that I watched the replay of over and over again, with an incredulous grin on my face. In PES6 I can still remember scoring a fabulous, dipping, swerving thunderbolt with my ML team’s new RB, Zoro, from the right wing—on his debut.

There are dozens of such moments spread right across the years. I doubt I’ll remember anything about PES2009 in a few years’ time, sadly.

HIGHS: Discovering in November last year that there was actually a lot to enjoy in PES2009. Master League, of course; and Become A Legend, briefly.

LOWS: That low difficulty. The sinking feeling in December that I’d already got nearly everything I was ever going to get out of the game.

My final rating for PES2009 is 6.5/10.

I subscribe to the Realist school of review scores. 6.5 is not only above-average, but a pretty good score. PES2008, by comparison, got 4/10 in the final analysis.

PES2009 was a great improvement, but still not really good enough. And so we come to the present day. The illustrious name of Pro Evolution Soccer still awaits its champion. PES2010, over to you.