Category: pes6

Boots the Chemist

With much regret, I have allowed FIFA12 to slip away into the night. Right game, wrong time for me. Maybe if PES2013 was an October game after all, things would be different. But PES2013 is, like, next week. There’s no space for FIFA12 to take root.

In truth, there is a certain sterility to FIFA12’s overall gameplay, sometimes, that does not appeal to me.

I do only feel it from time to time. But when I do feel it, it’s like a sudden chilling wind on a pleasant sunny day. With the time factor, it’s enough to give me that little extra push away. I’ll only ever come back to FIFA12 now, I suspect, if PES2013 turns out to be a dog for whatever reason. And even then I’d probably go for FIFA13—or (more likely) back to a previous PES.

Over the past few days I’ve played several sessions on PES6(360) and PES2010(PS3).

I’ve been playing the same PES6(360) save for a few weeks every summer since 2009. Alas, this is the first year when the game seems to have dropped below my threshold of playability.

Oh, it’s all still there. PES6(360) still has all the magic of great PES gameplay that I saw before. If there was nothing else for me to play, I’d play this game for a good long while. As is (I hope) well known, PES6 on the Xbox360 was a totally different game from PES6 on the PS2/Xbox/PC. I liked PES6 on the PS2, but never loved it, and in fact would pinpoint it as the start of PES’s decline from its unassailable heights. Controversial I know, but it’s what I felt all through that year.

PES6 on the 360, on the other hand, plays a different game. It’s just a shame it’s hampered by some extremely shoddy packaging. You can’t change team names in Master League. You can’t even save goals to hard drive (even though the button to do so is displayed right there on-screen).

It’s gameplay that makes and breaks football games, and PES6(360)’s is pretty darn awesome. For me now, though, it’s just a bit too fast and scrappy. The camera angles feel hampered. There’s a peculiar jumpiness about transitions between play and cutscenes. It feels very much like a last-gen game now.

I have much better feelings about PES2010 on the PS3, which I have played two longer-than-planned sessions on—yesterday morning and just now, this morning (Monday). In fact I have that session on Pause while I put the finishing touches to this post. I’m going back to play it right now.

My old Master League save—the one with Sazi and Capuano and co.; the one I made this movie in celebration of—still exists, but alas, one of my final acts with PES2010, back in 2010, was to install a new patch that mucked up all the teams and leagues.

But at some point back then I installed an amazing patch and started a save with Coventry City in a very slick-looking nPower Championship. I have continued that save over the past few sessions.

PES2010: great shooting. That’s the first thing to say. Second thing to say: that slow player turning animation! It was hated and loved in equal measure by many. I approve. You have to be so careful with your passing and possession and forward-thinking. Spoiled by PES2011 and PES2012, you think you’ve got time to hold the ball and turn inside the approaching defender, but no, he’s taken the ball off you while your player is still in mid-turn.

I like it. It forces a more careful approach amongst the rather dizzying speed of the game overall.

And I also like seeing a PES AI passing the ball sideways and backwards before launching an attack.

All in all, PES2010 still gets a huge thumbs-up from me. Before PES2012 sprang into life for me (not until February of this year), PES2010 was the highpoint of next-gen PES for me, full stop. I’m glad that it’s not too hard to remind myself why that was.

Here are two goals scored in this morning’s session. The first from Isaac Osbourne, a typical PES2010 one-timer, ice hockey-style. The second with Aron Gunnarsson—after a switch of play from wing to wing, I found myself in space, and went for it. A delicious top-corner PES2010 goal. If scoring goals like that makes me shallow, then so be it.

After PES6(360) and PES2010(PS3), it should be the turn of PES5 and WE9LE on the PC. I will try to check in with them before Wednesday’s post. But who knows, I might still be playing PES2010.

The end is nigh

Over the past few years, the weeks of early-to-mid September have become the strangest weeks of the football game year.  Like everything else these days, it’s all the Internet’s fault.

By this stage the next game already feels as if it’s a known quantity. It’s like the game is already out, and we’re being prevented from playing it by some kind of unfairness.

In years past I’ve soothed the passage of these weeks by following discussions on the PES forums.

This year, I’m abstaining from the forums. I do still drop in once or twice a day to take their temperature and check that nothing amazing has happened. The PES forums alerted me to the PC demo leaking early. (That was all of 2 long, long weeks ago now.) I like to make sure that nothing of comparable stature has happened from day to day.

Currently I’m just pottering along, planning my end-of-year reviews of the two games.

And I have still been playing, of course. I am always playing some damn football game or other. I keep promising myself to finally crack open my copy of Bioshock 2, but I always seem to come back to football games.

Over the past few days, I have:

  • played PES6(360)
  • played FIFA11
  • played PES2011

The most raw enjoyment came from the first, oldest, and crudest game of the three. I played several matches of season 2016 in my Master League career. Time flew by, one match leading to another in a perfect rhythm. PES6(360) just has no right to be so good.

I played FIFA11 for half an hour. I’m supposed to be preparing for my end-of-year review of this game. I lasted for all of two matches before turning it off.

I know I’ve been unfair to FIFA11 (as I also was to FIFA10). I know there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. But I’m not sure how much more. And I’m not sure that I feel all that obligated to give it that extra chance.

I’m a hobbyist blogger. I’m not a reviewer. I’m not some fancypants critic. I’m definitely not any kind of j-j-j-journalist, for God’s sake.

All I am is a strange loner, scratching on the walls of my cell in an obscure corner of the Internet.

Therefore my end-of-year FIFA11 review could be composed of ‘lol wut’ and it would not be unreasonable. Uncharacteristic, yes, but not unreasonable.

When I played PES2011 after FIFA11, by comparison, it felt so good. But PES2011 has been the most problematic PES game for me since PES2008(PS3). Sigh. PES2011’s end-of-year review will also be a tricky one, for a whole different set of reasons.

Both of those end-of-year reviews should follow this week. Time is galloping onward, oh yes.

Just champion

It’s the last days of the 2010/2011 football game year, there may be great things just around the next corner—and I have finally won the League Championship title in a six-year-old football game.

PES6(360) is a satisfying game of Pro Evolution Soccer. I’ve enjoyed playing it at this time of year for the past 3 years. I’ve lavished it with praise every time I’ve mentioned it.

Its gameplay is flawed in innumerable little ways, but they don’t matter. The bigger picture and all that.

PES6(360) demonstrates an old, old truth that we may have forgotten: PES games don’t have to be perfect in order to be great.

I took to the field for the last game of the season with my Best XI. Assembled over the space of three real-life years, beginning in sumer 2009, they achieved their destiny this week.

The final game was against ‘Pompey’. I took the lead, only to succumb to that most irritating of football game tropes: the seemingly unstoppable instant reply straight from kick-off.

1-1 at half-time, and I was sweating. My nearest challengers, Arsenal, were drawing their match 0-0. I’d spent some time pre-match studying the league table and working out what I needed to do, what my safety margins were.

Arsenal had been two points behind me at the start of play. I had better goal difference. 1-1 might well be enough. But I couldn’t risk settling for the draw. My goal difference was better by just two goals. If this stayed 1-1 and Arsenal went on to win their match by two, it’d go to goals scored, and they bettered me on that front.

I set about my business in the second half with grim determination. You have to be like that sometimes in PES. The very best PES games—and this half-forgotten first instalment on the 360 is one of the very best PES games—are totally unpredictable. I could not rely on automatically getting the result I needed. I would have to work for it.

Pompey gave me as good a game as any computer-controlled opposition could in a PES of that era.

I scored with Aguero after 60 minutes, a tidy snapshot from the outer corner of the box. The result still wasn’t safe, and I lived dangerously at times as the CPU kicked into overdrive.

I sealed the win and the title with a classic Schwarz strike 2 minutes from time. It was a flowing, mostly one-touch move, captured below for posterity. I loved how certain I felt of everything as I cued up Schwarz’s decisive swing of that mighty left peg. The celebrations followed immediately on the final whistle.

Here’s the final table—Arsenal lost their game in the end:

That may well be that for PES6(360). It’s a great shame I never got the Treble, or even a Double. I’ve got other business of take care of for the next few weeks. I know I won’t have time to play another season.

The only way I could see myself playing it next year is if something bad happens with PES2012.

I am still following the PES2012 chatter, for what it’s worth. Mostly it’s self-contradictory and confusing. One minute the PES forums think PES2012 is going to be the greatest game ever. An hour later, the same people are ready to open their wrists in a warm bath.

I hear rumours of Master League in PES2012 having become a ‘soap opera’, with numerous cut-scenes and other new features popping up between matches. Hmmm. Not. Sure.

One thing I will say: I’m not deflated by early reports of flaws in the final gameplay. They’re only to be expected. PES2012 will be a flawed game in some aspects. That is absolutely guaranteed to be true. It can’t not be true!

What matters is how those flaws slot into the bigger picture. PES2011’s flaws are gamebreaking for me, in the medium- to long-term. PES6(360)’s flaws, medium- to long-term, are entirely tolerable. Ditto every other great PES game.

All we can do is wait and see.

The turning points

September the 1st tomorrow. Which means the end of summer is just around the corner, if not already here.

This precise time of the football gaming year always feels a little unreal. The next games (if we include FIFA, and I think we must) are just around the corner. The demos are either out or soon to be out. Preview code and review code is in the hands of various sources.

It’s precisely now that you start to get a real idea of what’s ahead, and also to take serious stock of what’s behind.

The forums are full of technical talk that’s a long way outside my expertise. I’m sure that the participants do know what they’re talking about when they’re analysing individual frames of animation and everything else. It all sounds very interesting, but even if I had the inclination to immerse myself in that side of things, there’s no time.

I’ve not been playing the PES2012 demo. I haven’t even downloaded the expanded PC version of the demo, the one that introduces all the other teams and match times. I will. I just haven’t had the time to do so yet.

I’ve been focusing on PES6(360). Those brackets with 360 in them are very, very important. They signify an utterly different game from the one that appeared on PS2, Xbox, PC, and PSP.

As I’ve remarked once or twice, I believe that last-gen PES6 marked the beginning of the series’ downward curve. Oh, the game was still right up there on the high part of the curve, no question. Any serious historian of PES would have to acknowledge last-gen PES6 as one of the great football games. But I just felt that last-gen PES6 was faster, more ‘arcadey’, and notably easier than its predecessors. It seemed to be the moment that PES started its journey down from the lofty heights.

PES6(360) is a different game—a better game—that just happens to share the name. Over the past three or four days I’ve played every day for an hour or two.

PES6(360) represents a good deal of unfinished business for me. Since I started playing this series a decade ago, there are only two PES games whose Master Leagues I have never ‘completed’ (i.e., won a Treble in—or at the very least a Division 1 title).

They are PES2011, which I stopped playing because of certain atrocious gameplay elements that I could no longer tolerate.

The other is PES6(360), which has no such gameplay problems in my estimation. The gameplay is sublime, some of the best pure PES gameplay ever seen, particularly on a next-gen console.

The reason I’ve never ‘completed’ a PES6(360) ML is because I missed out on it during its original year. Didn’t have a 360 back then. I have only ever played it for a month or two during summer over the past three years.

Progress has been stop-start, it’s fair to say.

But here’s where I am today with my team, PES United (there’s no team name editing in PES6(360)):

The in-game year is 2015. As can be seen, I am closing in on the D1 title. My team is 2 points clear with 2 matches left in the season. I would love to win this title.

Sadly, I’m out of the Cups, so there’s no chance of a Double or Treble. Realistically I doubt I’ll have time to play another full season before the second PES2012 demo and the FIFA12 demo both show up.