PES2010: one year later

So this is my end-of-year ‘review’ of PES2010. I say it like ‘that’ because really, the whole year has been my review. This post is just an acknowledgment that the year of PES2010 is all but over. And how was it for me?

Pretty bloody great, actually. Between October 2009 and May 2010 I played PES2010 for around 200 hours. That’s small beer compared to some people, but considering that I work full time, 200 hours represents a hefty chunk of life.

My problem in trying to summarise PES2010 is the opposite of the one I faced with FIFA10. In EA’s game, I found great gameplay but there was nothing I wanted to do with it—there were just no modes for me. With PES2010, the gameplay was problematic, but Master League was extraordinary. It was the latter combination that won out.

And in my experience, PES2010’s gameplay was not as bad as all that. The sluggish response times and the slow-turning animations drove many PES veterans crazy. Not me, most of the time. I liked them.

I played Master League for 99.5% of my time on PES2010. That’s just how I roll. I’m a career mode player to the exclusion of almost all else.

I liked PES2010 and I don’t care. I don’t care if liking PES2010 makes me look hardcore or non-hardcore or fanboyish or whatever. For me, it succeeded as a PES game despite its faults. I respect the views of the very many PES veterans who found the game functionally unplayable due to the animations, the collision system, the teammate AI, and everything else that has been debated for the past year.

But all I can say is that in my 200 hours I found that PES2010 contained a level of charm and playability and sheer PESness that was lacking in its two immediate predecessors.

I’ll admit that my view of PES2010 would likely be very different if it hadn’t had Master League. Without ML, would I have played PES2010 for longer than a month? No, I don’t think that I would have.

I have wallowed in Master League. I have bathed in the glow of a career mode that was everything I wanted it to be. Yes, I’d probably marry it if I could.

For some reason, it took me 7 seasons to get promoted from Division 2. This helped create a snowball effect of intense addiction and an epic feel. My Master League career was a phenomenal one for the first time since PES5.

I made a full-length movie commemorating my multi-season struggle to get promoted. Here it is:

And so to the thorny issue of giving PES2010 a review-style score. I’m not a proper reviewer and this isn’t a proper review. Therefore my score is going to be gloriously subjective, based entirely on my own narrow perceptions.

If I was awarding the score based on Master League alone, it’d be 10/10. No question. But that would a touch too subjective.

I can’t ignore the problematic gameplay. As I’ve said, I enjoyed it a lot more than most, but even I could see where it stank to high heaven at times.

My final score for PES2010 is therefore 8.5/10.

9 would be too high. 8 would be too low, and would be the same as FIFA10’s score—which would be illogical given the disparity in playing time between the two.

It’s a big jump up from PES2009, which I gave 6.5/10 last year. PES2008 got 4/10 back in the day. PES is on an upward curve for me. PES2011, over to you.


  1. not-Greg

    I really liked the ‘Rock and Roll Years’ video when originally posted and the similarities to the Tv programme of the same name, very clever and well put together. I watched the video in full again, the Ai player standing around when the game is playing around him makes me laugh. Is there a final a part, showing your eventual success in the career?

    I don’t think anyone can label you a fanboy, I hate that nonsense on the forums, I play both games like yourself and others and see no problems with that. The amount of hours I put into both PES 2010 and Winning Eleven Blue Samurai are scary, the nature of my job I feel like a full time gamer at times.

  2. Thanks for sharing a pretty cool compilation. Heraldo makes a good point, and I too would defend you from the PES fanboy label. It’s pretty clear that not-Greg is a Master League enthusiast. And I appreciate your year-end review for both Fifa 10 and PES 2010. See you soon, Sir!

  3. I’m going to go out on limb and predict that you’re going to be gaga over PES 2011. They pretty much fixed everything that was wrong with 2010, and kept Master League the same. The one glaring weakness I see with 2011 so far is the play of the goalkeepers. They don’t parry the ball straight to the CPU striker as much anymore, but why, o why, can’t I get a power gauge for goal kicks and throws? I guess they forgot to add the “freedom” to the ‘keepers. My other huge gripe: the lack of “quick” free kicks. I’ve never understood this with this game. Soooo many controls, and yet you can’t give me a button combination to take a quick free kick at will? They finally got the number of fouls correct, but in order to keep the game flowing, they should allow us to decide when to take a quick free kick (for example, L2 + X or something). Why is this automatic? SMH… still a great game for me thus far.

  4. Heraldo—I’ve seen a wide variety of attitudes on the PES forums towards those who think PES2010 is a game worth playing. They range across the board and most are neutral really. As I acknowledge myself, a massive part of PES2010 for me was Master League. I was just being emphatic about liking PES2010 independently of what is still, on the whole, a fairly negative perception of the game in the PESverse.

    I never did get around to making the movie I wanted to make about my eventual Treble in season 17 of the career. I remember being able to fit the first movie into a week I had off work around New Year.

  5. steph_wheeler—yep, as I say a lot, this blog could really be called Master League Chronicles. It affects my entire approach to football games. If I hadn;t already been going for so long as PES Chronicles, I’d make the change!

  6. Ken—I’ve now played quite a bit of PES2011 on the expanded PC demo. I’ve seen a lot more that’s good and some that’s bad, but it’s hard to judge the final game in advance either positively or negatively.

    In a 15- or 20-minute match the general gameplay reminds me a lot of next-gen FIFA. It obliges me to pass and move and backtrack and start again. The moments when I step up a pace and make a lightning attack are relatively few compared to previous PES games. That’s all positive for me—for others, maybe not so.

    I could say more now but I’ll post about it all on Monday and Wednesday. And that’ll take us neatly up to FIFA11, which I am looking forward to, despite it only having 1 week’s lead time over PES2011—the one I’m really waiting for.

  7. Just wondering what you think so far of the off the ball movement of players in PES 2011. It seems to me that it isn’t great and rarely do the players in front of me make the runs I expect.

    Overall though I’m impressed so far with it and hoping for a good PES year. I’m a spurs fan so a Champions League session is definitely on the cards for my first few hours of PES 2011.

  8. I’d rate fifa10 and pes10 about the same as you did not-greg (an 8 and a 7.5), and for the same reasons as you. However i find the disparity in gameplay quality not that large as most people would have you believe it is. If anything, the 2010 editions show (to me) that player individuality and a good weight and feel to the ball still go a very, very long way. I would even go so far as to say that because of those characteristics, i would even rate the gameplay of PES 2010 higher than FIFA 10. Strangely, to me, a game can feel too free and loose.

    I really think PES has that middle ground between freedom and individuality nailed this year. There are very few (if any) negatives for me, and i’ve already spent an insane amount of time on the demo purely on the strength of its gameplay.

    Only thing that sucks is; “Europe” was supposed to get it september 30th, but here in Holland, it’s going to be oct. 7/8 just like the UK. Crap!

  9. Looks like pes 2011 will be like pes 2008…very very easy…..put two strikers in the middle of 18 yard area put 2 wingers …..cross from sweet spot and hold down arrow key and head the ball home…AI wont stop u running in the wing(even if does its very easy to do it)….and….once the ball is in 18 yard box AI defenders will stand and admire ur beautiful goal……do this for 3-4 times i.e run in the wings cross from sweet spot and head using down arrow and shoot button…..u ll score a goal…once it is 1-0 …..then lot of gaps open for counter attack….do the same and u r 2-0….then u l have 4,5,6 as many goals as u r skill is with counter attacks…u can take any team and do it …so ths game will become unplayable in a span of 5-6 weeks ….

  10. Hass—I have to say that after playing next-gen FIFA my PES teammates’ off-the-ball runs (or relative lack of them) frustrate me. There’s been some discussion on the PES forums about whether FIFA’s ‘trigger run’ button is useful or arcade or simulation or whatever. All I can say is that I miss it in PES and wish they’d just steal it, or something like it.

  11. #1—I rated PES2010 higher than FIFA10 because it would have been very odd for me not to do so, having played PES roughly 10 times more than FIFA all year.

    A few weeks ago, before I knew that there would be no English-language option in the manland Europe editions of PES2011, I was scouring the Dutch and French websites looking for a GAME or ShopTo equivalent to ship to me. No point now, I’m just going to wait the extra week. I’ll have FIFA11 to amuse me. Oh, and Civ V too of course—hopefully. The latest on this, shockingly, is that it may be the Civ franchise’s PES2008. The game’s AI is bugged in many serious ways. Civ forums are in total uproar. I’ve never seen anything like it, not even in our year of PES2008.

  12. jamie—ah yes, the ‘green zone’ exploit/bug/design flaw, as they’re calling it on EvoWeb. If this does turn out to be a bg thing, I think I’ll borrow that name.

    It’s far too early now to dismiss PES2011. I’ve been playing 15- and 20-minute matches in the demo consistently now for a week with a variety of teams, and I’ve explored the ‘green zone’ thing a lot. It hasn’t led to goals bonanzas for me, but maybe I’m doing it wrong. Like I said, let’s see the full game. PES2008 was bad, in my view, because its sprinting/dribbling model was crazily unbalanced. Even I could beat an entire team and dribble the ball into the net on Top Player using any player with above-average ability.

  13. yep, sounds very fair again. I was amazed by how bad PES2010 looked when I first played it, then equally amazed that I spent most of the year playing it! On a side note, any other fans of PES and hip-hop music might be intrigued by this album I’ve just found on emusic: (you can get a preview, which is probably all you’d want, by clicking on the play button)

  14. Whilst, of course, I will be reading your blog with interest in the coming weeks not-Greg; I have to admit, any posts on forums I see regarding exploits or major critisisms of PES 2011 are remaining studiously unread by myself. This isn’t rampant fanboyism so much as a desperation to enjoy a game without knowing all it’s faults before I play the thing. I’m determined to enjoy the 2011 iterations of both games with fresh eyes and a less cynical approach. I’ve loved the few games I’ve played of the PES demo and, despite the AI faults, I’m sure Master League plus an improved BAL mode (sorry not-Greg) will provide plenty of value for money… when that’s finished and I win the treble (which I’m sure won’t happen as quickly as the old school fantasy team days) I can move onto FIFA. This is shaping up to be a superb year for football gaming so lets not get bogged down in the minutiae; lets just enjoy it like we used to!

  15. abbeyhill—is that… is that some kind of PES2008 soundtrack or tribute album or something?! Whatever it is, is it even worse that I kind of like it?!

  16. Chris—it’s a PES tradition that within a few hours of the full game arriving, people are posting on forums that they can win 6-0 on Top Player with both hands tied to their earlobes and whilst looking out of a window at a puppy frolicking on the lawn. Most years it’s only worth taking with a pinch of salt—but PES2008 was the year it all proved unfortunately true for nearly everyone, and that’s the year that echoes loudly in the PESverse to this day. It’s a great wound with a massive scar over it that has never healed properly.

    I don’t blame you for semi-boycotting negative talk about PES2011 until you’ve had a chance to play the game for yourself. We’ve seen enough of its potential qualities in the demo for it to deserve that.

    For what it’s worth, my experience of the much-talked-about exploit is that I can’t convert it reliably into goals. And I would expect it to be fixed in a day zero patch anyway, or not long afterwards.

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