England 1, Scotland 1

After becoming disillusioned with PES2008 over recent weeks, I have returned to PES5.

In my opinion PES5 was and is the best-ever PES game. As with any game (or anything at all) it is not perfect. Other opinions are equally valid. This is a blog, after all – i.e., just a new-fangled version of a scribbled diary. These are not tablets engraved in stone.

The last time I played this game seriously was one night in October 2006. PES6 was released the next day (whenever that was). Naturally, despite still being perfectly satisfied with PES5, I bought PES6 like the obediently robotic consumer that I was, and played it for most of the next year. ‘Twas ever thus, eh?


After starting up the game, first on the agenda was re-familiarising myself with pressing Triangle to cancel in the menus. Next-gen developers have universally ditched the previously familiar Triangle-to-cancel in favour of Circle-to-cancel. Now I’m used to pressing Circle, and keep forgetting that I’m playing a PS2 game.

First up: an Exhibition game, England vs. Scotland.

Why Scotland? Nostalgia, mainly. When I was growing up, the annual England-Scotland fixture was one of the biggest games – and occasions – of the season. For various reasons, we’re unlikely to see the fixture resurrected for anything more than a token showpiece friendly at some point. Thank God for computer games.

I chose to play on the game’s default three-star difficulty. That’s another thing that feels weird about PES5. Difficulty stars. Of course, when I accumulate enough PES points I can purchase the 6-star difficulty in the PES Shop. This is another reason why it makes sense to play a load of games in other modes before starting a new Master League. I also have to unlock the alternate balls. The default one is just too wishy-washy. I want to use the famous PES5 half-black/half-white ball – or its yellow counterpart. I used to like both of them equally.

I rearranged the default England formation into my beloved 4-3-3. I played Gerrard as the DMF and Joe Cole as a right-sided striker. Both players are generally superb in both positions, with Gerrard having lots of opportunities to use his viciously effective Middle Shooting, and Joe Cole is a speedy, skilful, dangerous presence out wide.

First impressions of PES5 this time around?

Wow, I really didn’t remember it as being so fast.

It’s faster than PES2008. If PES2008 is 100mph, PES5 is 150mph. The ball pings around between players racing at ludicrous speeds all over the pitch.

I’m genuinely taken aback by this. Was PES5 really this fast back in 2005? Or is the extra processing power of the PS3 somehow speeding up the gameplay? Or – and I think this is the answer – has next-gen FIFA08 and the (it turns out) slower-paced next-gen PES2008 affected my perceptions?

I was under the impression that PES5 was a stately-paced, ultra-simulation. It’s not. Dare I say it, but it feels… arcadey. There, I’ve said it.


The graphics don’t look too bad, upscaled of course on my PS3.

There is one thing that PES5 has got that none of the next-gen football games has got (and how we feel the lack of it). Camera panning – oh, how I have missed you. The next-gen games’ cameras slide up and down the sideline, making your view of the goalmouth unnaturally narrow. It just doesn’t feel right after so many years of playing and viewing from a point anchored up near the halfway line. FIFA09 and PES2009 had better have full camera panning. If not, I’ll be disgruntled.

Just for the sake of it, I played this game with the full pan – setting 9 in the Camera options menu. (Usually I’m a 6 or 7 man.)

Passing in PES5 is ultra-fast. Tap X and aim for a player who’s fifty or so ‘yards’ away, and the ball positively zooms over the virtual turf. It takes some getting used to. Dare I say it (again) but I prefer the passing in PES2008.

Dribbling: I tried to dribble automatically, effortlessly taking on and beating defenders for fun – just like I have been doing in PES2008. No. It doesn’t work. The ball is lost almost straightaway, even on the default difficulty. I said that I was never a dribbler before PES2008. I wasn’t lying.

Just after halftime, I got my first goal. Rooney broke from the left wing and blasted one in:

A typical PES5 goal. It felt very satisfying.

Scotland scored their goal late in the second half. Extra time passed without much happening. Before the match, I had chosen not to have a penalty shootout. I didn’t need to have one to see what they were like in PES5 (i.e. the same as they have always been in every PES).

1-1 the final score, then, and a fair result.

Frankly, I was shocked by just how fast and – yes, I have to say it again – arcadey PES5 now seems. This (rather negative) impression was enhanced by the way I kept stupidly losing the ball due to forgetting about PES5’s R1 knock-on effect. It’s going to take time to settle back into the ebb and flow of PES5’s unique gameplay.

I’ll be scrupulously honest here (as ever – honest!) and admit that there’s a small voice at the back of my mind whispering about giving up on PES2008 too soon.

You could have dumped Elcherino and played on with severe House Rules, the voice says. And there’s a slightly louder voice asking me why I’m not playing FIFA08. You seem to be one of those PES fans with the right genetic makeup to think next-gen FIFA08 is a pretty damn good game, it says. So why are you messing around here on an upscaled PS2 game that feels as if it’s running at ten times the speed?

I’m ignoring the voices for now. I’m determined to give PES5 a really good go.


  1. Not to be too critical but that Rooney goal doesn’t look a million miles away from the goals of Elcherino in all honesty. Not saying that you shouldn’t be able to score goals like that, because arguably Rooney is one the ‘best’ players in PES. (Can’t remember how highly he was rated back in PES5 though)

    The balls btw, I always wondered ‘who the hell likes those balls? they’re horrid!’ but now I’ve found someone lol. I personally really like thed the more ‘normal’ looking footballs. (I’ve now been spoilt with this patch with the Nike balls (I love the winter yellow one).

    Patch-wise I had a quick search and couldn’t find anywhere that does a PS3 version of it. But as with the advances of the internet getting ahold of a PC version of PES2008 isn’t hard (Its just so happens to be what I use) Anyway lets not go in to the dark shady for now.

    In a way I’m glad that PES2008 has left a mark on you, I played PES6 after playing on 2008 for a while a couple of weeks ago and it just felt ‘odd’.

    Be interesting now to see how with the ‘fast-pace’ of PES5 what its like using the Defaults!

  2. paww2k8 – yes, the Rooney goal was an easy one. I was playing on the default three-star difficulty level. And the second angle shows how it went in near the middle of the goal. I should have said it was a typical low-difficulty PES5 goal rather than a typical PES5 goal. I only posted it here because it was the first of my ‘new dawn’ on PES5.

    As for the Elcherino comparison – the Rooney goal was the one and only clear shooting chance I managed to create. Elcherino would have had a dozen clear scoring chances in a similar game on PES2008 with its more open gameplay and overpowered dribbling. On PES5 it’s just impossible to play in the same way – for me anyway. I remember lots of people at the time of PES5 saying they found it too easy but that was never a problem for me.

    The PES5 match was a comical farce in many ways – I just kept losing the ball either through forgetting that R1 knocks the ball into space, or simply getting dizzy with the sheer speed of everything. It’s not the game I remember it being – not yet, anyway.

    The next few days are going to be interesting. While waiting for the bus to work today I planned out in my head how I *could* go back to PES2008 and keep it interesting if I wanted to…..

    I’m sticking with PES5 though. Returning to it after two years is almost exactly like the effect a new PES has on you – it takes time to get to know it.

  3. if you are playing on a widescreen TV, press the PS button and put the screen back to normal.

  4. that will make the gameplay slower

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