Category: PES5

Three posts to Christmas

Since my last post, it’s been the turn of FIFA16 to get another go. I quit this game last week. Or was it the week before? Silly season weeks tend to blend into one another.

Whatever, when I fired up Career Mode again I discovered the wreckage of my attempt to make the game feel great on World Class. Sliders all over the place, my team mid-table in the Championship, etc.

A couple of button-presses later and I was back on Professional with all sliders restored to their default states. And ready to play again.

What a good game FIFA16 is on Professional. I played a session of about 6 matches, and enjoyed every one of them.

I remain profoundly unimpressed with a very strange thing that post-2008 FIFA has always done when you get to the box.

I play semi-assisted passing. All is well until you get to the final third. Then the game overrules your passing direction and plays what it probably thinks are incisive through-balls instead. Passing laterally to another striker is fraught with danger, with the likelihood that the game will send a pass at 45 degrees to your chose direction.

‘Play manual, then,’ I hear voices crying in the background. No.

No, a good football game leverages player individuality and stats-based outcomes. FIFA16, as much as is possible given its bare-bones player individuality, does do that. Until it doesn’t.

I do still really like it, this FIFA16 business, but will be dropping it like a hot potato come the 14th. (The day before official release is when pre-ordered games traditionally drop through letterboxes.)

I continue disliking this hopping-about from game to game. It’s been unavoidable as I’ve had so little time recently. I haven’t had time to really sit down and get into anything.

PES5 remains a PC game, and PC gaming has never been convenient for me.

What I would give to be able to play PES5 on my PS4! I’d pay fifty quid, easy. ‘Get a mini-PC and hook it up to your TV!’ I hear the voices cry at me, off-stage.

Bloody hell. No.

Next week should see some sort of stability restored with a makeover for the blog and the final appearance – hopefully, time permitting – of the promised compilation of me playing old football games with voiceover commentary.

I’ve got all the footage recorded, but editing it all together into something slick and interesting would take hours that I probably will not have available. So it might end up with everything just glued together to the sound of me breathing heavily in the background. Prepare yourselves to be No Mans Skyed on this front, is what I’m trying to say.

Beyond Good and Evo

I’m getting ready to write my end-of-year review of the current PES game — PES2016 — for publication on Tuesday’s post.

As such, I’m back playing PES2016 for the first time in a while. With a lot of enjoyment, it has to be said. PES2016 is not a bad game at all.

I don’t want to anticipate Tuesday’s final verdict, so I won’t go into too much detail of what I’ve been up to and how I’m finding the game after 6 months away from it.

I played 8 seasons (or was it 9) before stopping, all passion spent, back in January.

A criminally short time for a PES to hold my attention, but these are not regular times in the PESverse. This is 2016. Every generation gets the PES it deserves.

Like I said, I don’t want to anticipate Tuesday, so I won’t say much. Tempted to, but I won’t.

Here’s a goal I scored. I can reveal that PES2016’s shooting comes in for no direct criticism from me. I love me some of this thunderous stuff (a 1-minute clip here):

Giorza and Castledine will stick in my memory long after PES2016 itself has faded. There’s a reasonable chance I’ll remember those two Defaults in 10 years’ time.

In other news, the PES2017 goodies continue to drop thick and fast.

After watching a dozen or so vids of the AI in action, it is now 100% certain that PES2017 will be a no-fouls game once more.

I knew this all along, for the reasons I’ve so often stated. The needs of multiplayer supersede the needs of single-player, every time. It’s a stance that annoys me.

I sometimes think that any PES fan who believes multiplayer is the most important aspect of the game has never really been a PES fan. Then I scold myself for thinking that, because it’s wicked and evil. Fucking true, though.

I’ve played a touch more PES5 in recent days. BEHOLD! A Sreenshot of Majesty:

PES5 stats

You can surmise from those stats what kind of football game I experienced.

The gold standard of football gaming, right there. Many more fouls than there were shots on goal. This is standard for PES5.

We’ll not see the likes of that ever again. But whatever happens, they cannot take the old games away from us.

Speaking of the old games – I was going through my videos folder last night (prepping for the long-promised talky compilation) when I found the below. A certain AI-scored goal from PES2014 that some readers may recall. But it never looked or sounded better than… this:

The really peculiar thing is that I have no memory of putting that clip through that filter and adding that dramatic music. I have a faint recollection of maybe messing about with a phone app one night, long ago, but no memory whatsoever of doing this specific thing.

It’s all evidence of growing old. I’m angrily shaking my walking stick at PES2017. I’m forgetting things I’ve done. It’s over for me.

PES5: a present-day look

I did say ‘no Tuesday post’ for PES2016’s release week, but something happened.

I finally got Windows 10’s new screen-recording feature working with PES5. I played a few matches Monday afternoon – and recorded a full game. This fixture is away to Birmingham in a long-running Master League campaign.

It has been said that all philosophy is a footnote to Plato.

It could be said that all football gaming is a footnote to PES5.

Here is that full match. Here is PES5, the greatest football game ever made.

In the end, nobody can tell you whether a glass of water is cold or warm. Because nobody can drink the water for you. In the end, you have to pick it up and drink it for yourself. Then you know.

Just the first minute or two showcases the greatness of PES5 in so many ways. See how I fail to build any kind of meaningful attack, how I’m forced to probe down the wings. Old-school graphics and handling might fool the 2015-conditioned player into thinking that all it takes is couple of passes, a bit of sprinting, and you’re in. No. You’re not.

Watch the thoughtful, tactical play – and spare a moment to wonder at how the concept of ‘fun fun fun fun fun’ has crept into the PES dictionary over the past ten years, to the point where almost every single review of PES2016 praises it for being FUN, as if that’s automatically what we’re looking for, first and foremost

Fun? Fun?

There was a time when FIFA was called ‘fun’, you know. And it was not a compliment. That was how we insulted a football game.

The superb depth and perfect balancing of PES5 is the yardstick by which all sensible football gamers (those whose minds aren’t addled by the trance of online button-squeezing) should measure any football game.

All football gaming is just an echo of PES5’s greatness.

The gameplay of PES5 has never been surpassed and never will be.

The so-called ‘freedom’ of football gaming in recent years has brought us nothing. Nothing.

It is impossible to overstate the greatness of PES5. I post this semi-humourous look back at a ten-year-old game not to disparage PES2016 before I’ve even seen it, but to underscore that I’m pretty relaxed about the new game, really, because I already know that nothing compares to PES5.

  • Look at the pass to Camacho after 18 seconds that he scuffs with his weaker foot into the keeper’s midriff. My last real chance for a long time, and it wasn’t even a real chance.
  • Look at the heaviness of many players’ touches and turns (no responsive, nimble ninjas here).
  • Look at the AI passing the ball around and back to the keeper.
  • Look at the long ball – by BOTH sides – and how effective it can be – no pre-determined outcomes, or if there are any, they’re well-hidden by a master magician, the Great Seabass.
  • Look at the frequent overhit passes and crosses.
  • Look at the proper physical modelling of player-on-player collisions, with outcomes that frequently – horror of horrors! – interrupt the flow of the game for a free kick to take to place.
  • And just look at that fouls/free kicks count on the post-match screen.
  • Also look at the physical tussles that aren’t given as fouls, such as the cheeky nudge in the back on Bergkamp after 1:05. You’d think that’d automatically be a foul, but no, it’s waved on. See, PES5 can do the flowing thing too.

This game had it all. It had everything except a crowd in the stands. Maybe that was Seabass being a poet and telling us that he made this game just for YOU, the single-player, and nobody else was invited.

And so PES5 gets a final score of

Eleventy Million/10 – the best football game I have ever played

21st Century Football Gamer might object: “Boohoohoohoo/that ball sound is ridiculous/this is 2015/Emile Heskey is ridiculous/I need something other than a decade-old football game/LOL you don’t play proper/wahwahwah/I want fun loose flowing fluid organic responsive freedom….'”

He’ll be very happy with PES2016, by the sound of things, then.

I hope I am too. With so much football gaming greatness to fall back on if the worst happens, I’m relaxed about PES2016 and looking forward to it. Here’s to the future. The golden past is secure.

Cyrano de Bergkamp

Cyrano de Bergkamp

Bit of a filler post today, for obvious reasons, and probably on Friday too. Next Tuesday’s post will be a ruminative look back over my shoulder at FIFA15, and then next Friday I’ll get to PES2015. I’ll be giving the two games ‘final scores out of 10’ and everything – just to further confuse any readers who might still think that I think I’m some kind of proper games blogger-cum-journalist type, with all that objectivity and consistency and fairness crap to consider.

I’ve been playing some PES5. I’m always in the state of playing some PES5. Even when I’m not playing PES5 – and there are whole months, sometimes, when I’m technically not playing PES5 – I’m always playing PES5 somewhere in my soul.

PES5. That’s Pro Evolution Soccer 5. The greatest football game ever made.

Note that ‘best’ and ‘greatest’ are not interchangable terms when it comes to football gaming. But I do also think it’s the best football game ever made, so there.

I’m still playing PES5. I’m always playing PES5. Off and on.

Nowadays it’s on PC rather than PS2, and with an Xbox for Windows pad in my hand rather than the wired DualShock2 that saw me through the PS2 years.

Here’s what playing PES5 in the year 2015 looks like for me:

The above clip features a defining PES5 moment: Mathieu in the DMF hole, pinging one in from distance.

I do usually play full-screen on that 24″ monitor plugged into my laptop PC. The laptop is a mid-spec machine by today’s standards but it easily plays anything from ten years ago, as PES5 now is.

I’ve got a Master League save going on it that I’ve been playing for a few years now. Here’s the current table in Division 1:

PES5 League Table

I think I’m in season 7 or so of this career that I started a long time ago in a nostalgia-tinged galaxy far far away.

PES5 First XI

My squad is pretty mature. I’ve only got a few Defaults left. The rest of the squad has lots of Regens of the likes of Costacurta and Bergkamp, whose facial shape is one of PES’s somewhat exaggerated ones.

The standard of the gameplay is staggeringly high. Every time I play PES5 I wonder why I don’t just play this all the time, and let the next-gen histrionics worry about themselves.

Every time I play I understand why the legacy of the PS2 era is such an albatross around Konami’s neck, and why we all keep harking back to it with such monomaniacal regularity.

The scale of what PES achieved between PES2 and PES6* cannot be overstated, but I’ll have a go. The PS2 PES games, whether you liked them or not, are to football gaming what the Complete Works of Shakespeare, whether you like them or not, are to Western culture. (*I leave out PES1 only because I never played it.)

You don’t just shrug off that legacy, that scale of tradition, that precedent, as if it never happened. We as football gamers live in the colossal shadow of something very much like perfection. Subsequent reality has always struggled to match that perceived perfection, and that’s tough for everyone to deal with.

But yes, PES5. Three matches yesterday afternoon, including that eventual victory over Man Utd. I might not play it again until next spring, but knowing it’s there is like having a classic book on the shelf that you know you can pick up whenever you like. Essential.

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