Playing by era

Gratuitous screenshot of the day

The PC gaming mini-revolution continues. I look at my PS3 now and wonder if this could be the end of an era. I’ve been a console gamer for my entire life, the early-80s Spectrum era aside.

And PES2011 continues. Lately I’ve been dicking about with capturing replay footage directly to hard drive. No more shaky handheld mobile phone replays, if this keeps up.

Here are the goals from a recent match against Derby that ended 1-1.

Pardon the ‘dramatic’ pauses at times there. I’m still feeling my way in this new world.

I’m well positioned for promotion in season 1.

ML2011 after 21

The game feels quite straightforward on Professional. I remember PES2011 being a much stiffer test in Division 2 two years ago.

I think this is a side-effect of the Option File I’m using now. The other teams in the mix with me for promotion are Championship opposition with Championship players. Two years ago I was facing off against a custom Division 2 made up of top European teams.

I should make promotion. I will of course have to be careful. There’s a long way to go and a lot can still happen.

A season 1 promotion would be fine by me. I’m not especially seeking a hardcore, gritty, double-figures seasons ML career from PES2011 on PC. I’m seeking to enjoy myself and enjoy the matches first and foremost. That whole deadly seriousness where I sit down to play Master League as if it’s The Wire or something? I’m done with that approach, for this year at least.

Before the match

PES2011 is a challenging game, perhaps the most physical PES we’ve ever had. Contact with other players is usually disastrous. The game makes you value space more than any other footballing commodity. An opposing player within a yard usually means having to get rid asap. If I see the notorious stumble, it means I’ve failed to respect the game’s boundaries.

I’m cultivating a different attitude from the one that soured me on PES2011 two years ago. It’s working for me.

The lineup

Overall, things are going well. If I wanted to go and play something else, I would. Time is far too precious to waste on playing or doing anything but exactly what you want to. PES2011 is answering every need I have.

And I’ve got to love that Master League. At the time in 2010-11, I resented it for being a slightly dumbed-down version of PES2010’s Master League. Little did I know just what was coming next in PES2012 and PES2013. Now, I happily concede that it remains the second-best-ever ML environment.


  1. Are the difficulty levels different across different platforms? I mean does PS3 Pro equate exactly to PCPro? or is that another one of those placebo type ‘afternoon matches are tougher’ forum posts? You probably can’t tell given your OF and Pro setting but I don’t know how they port these things and wasn’t sure if the core AI is unaltered in the process.

  2. Uncle Turf—various factors mean that the gameplay can feel different, e.g. I have a tweak on the PC version of PES2011 that makes it run at a slower speed than intended. Things like that contribute to the various placebo effects that are so wildly popular in modern-day PES. The core AI code is the same as the console versions, but that speed tweak for one thing can make a huge difference in how the human player plays and reacts to AI sorties. Effectively altering the difficulty.

  3. Must admit that footage does look gorgeous. As you know Im big on aesthetics, and those transitioning scoreboards look the bollox.

    Whats the name of the patch your using for PC?
    Did you have to do all that replacing DT08.img with other files etc to change the scoreboards and adboards etc?
    PC Patching of PES has always seemed a lot more fiddly than the traditional console method.

  4. Paul—it’s the PESEdit patch. It came with its own .exe installer that did all the installing—just a matter of watching a progress bar and waiting. There’s a settings menu where you choose between scoreboards and stadia and leagues and other things. I think the manual, intricate, file-moving way of doing it is only for a new PES demo or game where the community hasn’t had time to create installers yet.

  5. So if this is “the second-best-ever ML environment”…

    …then what’s the first?

  6. Jonathan Ingram—it’s right there in the post, and I’ve remarked on it many times: PES2010 was and is the best ML ever.

  7. I’m a huge fan of both PES3 and PES5.

    However, if any of you ever get the chance then please try out PES2013 on the Wii. (You don’t need to use the motion controls, as you can use the ‘classic controller’ instead).

    There’s no other PES like it, as it’s a hybrid of the old PS2 engine with new features from the PS3/360 versions.

    If you know someone with a Wii I highly recommend giving it a try 🙂

  8. Given the difficulty me and John had with the 2010 updates is there a seed bank style repository somewhere of all the updates and atleast one great OF? So many links have been down that I wondered if someone somewhere has a load of memory sticks with these things on. Or better still a set of mahogany bookshelves in a room smelling of sherry and chesterfields where each file gets it’s own section.

  9. p.s I’ve just got my HDMI cable and plugged FM2011 onto the big screen. I nearly creamed my pants – can’t believe I’ve never tried it before.

  10. Jonathan Ingram—the Wii version(s) crop up in discussion here from time to time and it does sound great, but I’m afraid I’m done with the Wii personally. Bad experience a few years ago. On the whole I’m perfectly happy with PES on the other platforms.

  11. Uncle Turf—the next step on acclimatising to having a PC hooked up to the big TV is working out how to use it in the best way. Obviously with ‘action’ games a controller is the way to go, but with the more mouse-and-keyboard games, something like a dinner tray on the lap—?

  12. cue Homer Simpson car style scribblings on the perfect chair n foot rest combination….

  13. N-G – That’s the best I’ve ever seen a PES looking this gen. PC gaming really does seem to be the future for those of us intent on ML.

    I can’t help but mention your downgraded home ground for Coventry. Is that inspired by the rather alarming news coming out of your neck of the woods regarding the real life Sky Blues?

  14. Uncle Turf—I went for a handheld keyboard—this one—which came yesterday and works very well once you’re used to it. I used it to do all the file-clicking and moving-around that made the video in today’s post, and to press F6 in-game to automatically save screenshots to hard drive.

  15. Does look particularly lovely, have to say. I still cling to the belief that PES ‘feels’ much better on playstation than PC – maybe it’s the controller, maybe the fuzzier graphics make the animations flow more smoothly. This could be partly why I love PES2012 so much – back on PS3, after playing 2008,10&11 on PC – but I’m willing to admit it might be entirely my imagination!

  16. John—today’s the day we see if Coventry’s fall from grace post-Premiership is completed. Life’s never the same after your team drops out of the top flight.

  17. abbeyhill—I think the difference between playing PES on console and playing on PC is roughly like the difference between watching a film on TV and watching that same film on DVD. In one case you just switch on and view/play. In the other, you have to fiddle around for a bit at either end of the experience. The number one (and, for me now, the only) thing console gaming has going for it is the absolute minimum of fiddliness.

  18. N-G – Gutted for Coventry and the fans but hopefully something can be done. If Brighton can come back from a far worse position, surely Coventry can too.

    On the controller thingy for PC gaming. Could you not still a PS3 controller using a blue tooth connection or some kind of adaptor?

  19. John—I’ve got a wired Xbox360 controller for Windows that I’ve been using with the laptop since I got it two years ago. The PS3 controller does work wirelessly with Windows with some fiddling, but I haven’t had time to mess around with it yet. There are third-party drivers involved and I’m reluctant to do something like that quickly—want to take my time and make sure I know what I’m doing. Truthfully, the wired controller isn’t a hassle at all.

  20. NG – “afraid I’m done with the Wii personally. Bad experience a few years ago” … I’m intrigued, dare I ask? Where did it touch you? 😉

    Played a couple of games on PES 10 last night on a ML I’d started with Pompey a few months back… only 4 games in in total… still not sure, I need to relearn the art of stopping the ai from continually playing keep ball – driving me round the bend! Otherwise the passing just seems a little too stilted compared to post 2010 PES but gonna stick with it for a while, I absolutely loved it back in the day.

  21. That’s bad news about the staff being moved out of the Ricoh – the head groundsman is a superstar in my world, only a young guy but hugely respected.

    John – you can pick up a usb PS3 clone for pennies. No idea if they work, t’interweb seems to suggest going for an Xbox one overcomes some Windows issue thing. I’m just faffing about now trying to see if I can test it. I haven’t actually got any joypadable games though.

  22. Pete—I’ve alluded to the episode with the Wii many times before—basically, I bought one in early 2009 with a copy of PES2008 and a copy of Tiger Woods. On the way home I was as excited as excited could be about playing Tiger Woods just like on the TV adverts! Swinging a golf club in the living room!

    And of course the thing failed to work as advertised. I’d do a huge expansive swing. only to see my on-screen golfer give a sort of twitch, and send the golf ball trickling a few inches.

    I read all the calibration and fine-tuning articles available on the web—the fact that there were LOTS of them spoke volumes as to the actual nature of this ‘motion gaming’ thing.

    And, YES, I know they’ve improved it since, that the firmware was rather flaky back then, etc. etc. But even for me there’s a limit of the gadgetiness that I’m prepared to indulge myself with. I’m not saying ‘never to Nintendo’, but it’s near enough.

    PES2008 was okay I suppose (yawn)—this was after the next-gen disaster had bitten hard, and with the disappointment of finding that I couldn’t play golf on the Wii the way they’d promised, I traded in the console and games a few months later. By which time they all had a thick layer of dust on them.

  23. Uncle Turf—ah well, at least he’ll never want for work.

    You could download some free games from the internet—there’s plenty of joypad-compatible free indie games out there. Can’t think of any offhand, though. Maybe even give OnLive a try (your connection permitting)? Hundreds of joypad-compatible games with demos there.

  24. I know where you are coming from, even with the ‘motion plus’ which makes it genuine 1:1 motion tracking; the fact you have to stop and recalibrate every 10 mins really breaks your sense of immersion, I’m a huge fan of the Zelda series and simply couldn’t stick the wiimote controls on Skyward Sword – I’d have been more than happy with classic controller compatibility…

  25. About gamepads for PC, I tried and failed to get my old PS1 gamepads working on Windows 7. In the end I got the wireless XBox360 controller for Windows, works flawlessly on my PC. Because it is officially supported on Windows, you’ll find many games it will work in, from racing games (eg Track mania) to first-person shooters.
    I did have a good South africa world cup patch for PES2010, complete with blaring vuvuzelas! Of course club squads are frozen in that time, so surely there are more updated patches floating around…

  26. Paul – How’s your Fifa 13 sessions going? I couldn’t bring myself to say anything until now but I’m…erm…having issues.

  27. diego—I love the support for the 360 controller on Windows, but miss the PlayStation gamepad feel. I’ll be looking hard at setting up wireless drivers for my PS3 pad, or just buying one of the many imitations.

  28. NG – thanks but came up with better plan….I downloaded the PC demo of PES2013. Loaded fine and joypad clicked in straight away. Rather strangely it has reversed the R1/2 buttons but everything else maps ok – quite surprising given I spent £3.99 on a cheap ebay PS3 clone. Game looks stunning, even on small windowed view but there’s definitely a slower pace, maybe even a little lag on the button pressing. I’m not sure if that’s due to it being the always slower demo, the cheap pad or my laptop (which was also running FM at the time). It wouldn’t however be an issue unless you hate reduced pace PES gameplay – not usually a common grumble on here. Very nice, something to consider definitely.

  29. Uncle Turf—there should be as close a 1:1 relation on PC between button press and action as on the console. Your other processes (running FM at the same time?!) might have something to do with that.

    Re. the buttons, find the installation folder in Program Files and open settings.exe—you can fix the button reversal in there.

  30. Yes, I wasn’t confident of success so let fm chug away in the background. As I don’t have a monster laptop probably not a sensible idea but it wasn’t a huge issue, enough to alleviate any worries about graphics card problems, sound failures and all the usual PCM based gaming trials. It was worth keeping fm on though as finally Rotherham went up to the championship! 3rd again but this time the playoff final was at my ground which made all the difference. Don’t know why they didn’t patch it, as far as I know it’s only non league have a home side but who cares I’m up. Still want to leave though, time for a bigger budget and different formation.

  31. Uncle Turf—we really are very different types of gamer. No way would I leave that Rotherham career at that stage. That’s just when things are getting most exciting. To me the whole point of something like FM (as in ML) is taking a lowly team to the heights—something I’ve never actually succeeded in doing in FM, because the timescales of such a challenge are so formidable.

  32. Absolutely – my attention span for long term careers is very short – hence the purity quests and the like. I don’t think I have ever held a single CM/FM job over the course of a long career, I always start with a small club (often Scottish div 3 or non-league) and look to hit 2 promotions before jumping ship. I see someone like Bolton as the next move then a Villa or Everton 2 years hence. I just love the overhauling of a failing side more than the striving to keep a team at the top. I’m really bad at falling out with chairmen and players because of it.

  33. John – I’m actually enjoying my FIFA CM experience as a whole. It’s completely different to what I’ve been used to with 18 months of Solid PES ML gaming behind me, its a complete departure from PES, and that’s what I need and want right now, something different.

    CM in itself is superb, polished, sleek, great content and well delivered, but i admit to also having a few ‘issues’ – these primarily being with the core game play.

    I find the game a little unbalanced, as in playing as AFC Wimbledon, I’m a lowly rated league 2 side, my players cant pass, dribble or shoot, they are useless, but the same rule set doesn’t apply for other lowly League 2 sides, they’re able to weave jink, pass, shoot, its biased.
    Also nerfing of passes in the final third is prevalent, but my main issue, above all else, as silly as it sounds, is BLOCKED SHOTS!!!!!

    This is infuriating me, I counted in one match I had 14 shots at goal, 11 of them were blocked.
    FIFA plays in such a way that the CPU packs the box, leaving you absolutely no room to enter the box, so shooting from the edge is a necessity, and its always blocked, I’ve even had 1 on 1’s blocked somehow by a defender that flies in with a last ditch tackle from nowhere.
    And the odd time you do manage to pop a clean shot off, even lowly league 2 keepers in FIFA are superhuman, they save ridiculous shots, even multiple shots.

    But overall Im enjoying the experience, here’s a screeny of my current league position:

  34. Paul – Hats off to you for that league position and for enduring the same issues with the game that has made me put it down…again.

    I love CM as a mode but the game play is a jarring chore between the slick tables, transfers and tactics. The longer I played it the more I got frustrated.

    So, having considered doing a PES 2010 ML again (and not be able to set up the league structure I wanted), I’ve gone back to PES 2013. I’m a made up team in a South American ML with Portugese clubs making up the numbers in Div 2. Player development off, classic players on, superstar difficulty and a generally awful set of non-default players. Saying that, I’ve won all my friendlies – only conceding one goal. The standard of the Brazilian clubs is surprisingly low looking at the stats but we shall see.

  35. John – Im hanging on to the fact that the game might free itself up a bit once my team gets better or move on to ‘manage’ a better team, we shall see.

    A South American or Spanish ML in PES 13 has always interested me, licensed stadia and all, keep us updated on how you get on!

  36. John – I think that would be my setup were I not getting on with 2010. Haven’t played with classics for years but they would balance the disappointment of having to switch off development.

    NG – I think intensive play for two years has made life a lot easier for me on 2010 top player. I’d be a bit disappointed if I don’t go up in season 2. Jim Callaghan has just taken over and we are still waiting to be hit with a rhythm stick.

  37. Paul—there’s a way through the thicket of bodies, I’m sure. Your muscle memory is probably still leading you down PES-like approaches to goal that are just constantly frustrated in FIFA. So you end up passing and passing it around and finally having a blocked shot. I think regular FIFA players don’t suffer from that. Keep at it, it’s good to hear of somebody enjoying another football game. Like I said this time last week, though, the flavour of PES is the footy game for me.

  38. John—have you considered PES2012? Although with the right settings and approach I bet PES2013 will serve you well. Don’t be fooled by the pre-season games—I’d put money on pain to come when the regular season games start.

  39. Uncle Turf—there’s a tipping point in PES2010, as there is in pretty much all PESes, which you shouldn’t hit for many seasons to come. I bet you’re fiddling in-depth with individual players’ focus points—?

  40. Well I’ve tried every single approach you could try in FIFA and every time the final shot is blocked unless you manage to carve out a one on one which is possible, especially if your leading and the CPU teams are attacking heavily, you can counter.
    But in general, the flow of play leads you to having to shoot.
    Maybe hardcore FIFA gamers aren’t suffering from this, I just struggle to see what I could do differenetly, either way, 11 out of 14 shots, in one game being blocked isn’t realistic.
    I think its more down to the poor dribblinga nd ball control of my players, meaning I struggle to make that yard of space needed for a clean shot.
    Its a semi-minor wobble in a game that I’m enjoying for now any way.

  41. Paul—maybe try drawing the defenders out more? So instead of passing around the 18-yard box, pass back and along the halfways line, or further back and along your back 4. Then try to hit them with a three-pass move. I read that on a forum somewhere as a way to negate PES‘s packed penalty areas, though…

  42. NG – FIFA’s packed penalty boxes Don’t Move.
    I can pass the ball around continually out to wings, back, forward anywhere, the CPU defenders just stand in the box rigid, they don’t adapt their shape at all.
    Or at least don’t in my game thus far ….. its all a bit sunday pub like down here in league 2!

  43. I think one of the reasons I’m doing ok in 2010 (hardly topical I know) is that it feels a game of angles, an old school, straight line passing along a fixed path rather than the curve and bend of recent releases – if that makes sense? This fairly rigid triangular type football suits my formation and I’m going 20-25 mins per half without a stoppage. I’m struggling to score goals but am similarly not conceding many. First 3 games were 0-0 which never used to be my experience (‘I’ll outscore you’). i think PES2012 taught me that level of patience.

  44. Uncle Turf—it’s the very restricted nature of all PES games that given them their distinctive flavour, I feel. That goes double for the old PESes. Among many PES forum buzzphrases, ‘on rails’ has always tickled me because it seems such an all-purpose one. (Don’t like some aspect of PES? It’s because it’s on rails…) But I think it does describe the way you’re channelled along rails in the old games. I do prefer the passing model of the games since then and think it’s here to stay, though.

  45. ‘On Rails’ still persists to some degree even in PES13, and is a bad bad thing.
    Countless times during every match I would want to get to a ball, but couldn’t move in the required direction because my players movement is fixed along a predefined path, ie on rails.
    That’s one thing i DO like about FIFA, if there’s a loose ball, you can maneuver any player to the ball, any way you want. There is no restriction.
    I’ve never once had to use FIFA’s super-cancel equivalent.

  46. The “rails” whether it be very noticeable on early PES or not so much later releases are why I think I like the feel of PES. Fifa feels to liquid sometimes and hard to control for poo players like myself.
    Also I was looking at some footage on me phone of me winning the 2nd Div and I realised I loved the graphical style of PES its typical Konami/Japanese. Fifa just doesnt look right in my eyes.

  47. I have found myself doing laps of the ball in Fifa rather than zeroing in on it so I have some sympathy with this. However, I don’t think you can question that 2013 is pretty much the best PES passing/shooting model, it was the ML that was broken (can you?) – I miss the R3 so much in previous games.

  48. Paul—I don’t even know the command for FIFA’s super-cancel equivalent, having never felt the need to learn it, so job well done there.

  49. Werd Up—I agree, I’ve come to accept—reluctantly—that the relatively limited nature of PES is what makes it distinctive and compelling for me. I say ‘reluctantly’ because it seems anti-intuitive to prefer limitation. But I suppose this is why we watch films with actors who rehearse and are directed by a director, rather than experimental arthouse films that are improvised (at the other extreme).

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