So, I’ve been toiling along in PES2008 over the past few days. I switched from the PSP version to the PS2 version, and something hasn’t clicked back into place. I don’t know what it is. I’ve got my theories about screen sizes and controller button placements etc., but it’s more probable that I’m just suffering from PES fatigue and I need a short break to recharge my enthusiasm. A day or two on FIFA08 (I still instinctively shudder to say it) should sort me out. That’ll happen on Monday now.
Here in PES2008, I’ve lost key games in every competition. This was not good in a season where I’m going for another Treble. But every now and then when you’re toiling along in PES, a chink of sunshine breaks through. You get a good game—in this case, it was a very good game. It was the last game before the mid-season break.
Espanyol are not a bad team. They’re not up with the best teams either, but they’re by no means one of the Division’s basement clubs. as ever on PES, these are the kinds of teams that it’s often hardest to play against. I worry about playing teams like Espanyol, Villarreal, Osasuna et al far more than I worry about playing Barcelona, Real Madrid, Deportivo la Coruna et al (Valencia being the sole exception).
The game went my way on this occasion: 7-0. It’s a high-scoring PES year across all the consoles. Things are not so bad (or good, depending on your perspective) on the last-gen PES2008 as they are on the next-gen game, but even so, 4-1 and 3-2 and similar scorelines are sadly a bit more common in ‘classic’ PES than they were in the past (come on Seabass, sort it out for PES2009). But a 7-0 win is still rare enough for it to remain noteworthy.
I was only 2-0 up at half-time. Usually when I inflict a hammering on the CPU, I get most of my goals in the first half and then have to get through a much tighter second half as the CPU exerts itself to get goals back, as if it’s only 1-0 or 2-0 down. In this case, the CPU was only 2-0 down. There was no hint of the goals deluge to come as I defended desperately to avoid conceding. On a random kind of breakaway somewhere around the 60th minute mark, this happened:
Good old Giggs. In real life, for my money, Giggs is one of the very few players who realised most of their wunderkind potential. Who can forget that goal back in 1999? In PES2008 I think Giggs is the best he’s ever been in PES, full stop. I got him as a 17-year-old and he’s 22 now. This goal was an example of my favourite type of PES goal: taken on the half-volley at an angle from outside the box. It’s the kind of goal that a 4-3-3 formation like mine is particularly suited for, with its wide frontmen just waiting for those aerial through balls to come bouncing through.
Giggs went on to claim a hat trick. Kim Cyun Hi got two goals. Andy Cole got one, Bradley the other. A 7-0 win is special in any kind of football, real or virtual.
In all my years on PES I’ve only ever scored one full volley (not a half-volley) from an aerial through-ball. It came over two years ago in PES5, and it can be seen toward the end of my first PES5 compilation video. Maldini floats the cross-field aerial through-ball over to Bergkamp, who deliciously thumps the ball into the net without letting it bounce first. That PES5 incarnation of Bergkamp (he was a Regen) remains the single best striker I have ever played with in 10 years of ISS/PES. The rest of that video (and its follow-up) shows why.