There has been an interesting development. I’ve started playing… well, you’ll see what I’ve started playing.
Before getting to that, I persevered with my attempt to play FIFA15 again after a gap of several months and several hundred matches of PES2015.
I stand by my initial judgement that FIFA15 is a great game and one of the best football games ever made, but in a by-now-familiar story (that seems to happen every year), I can’t play it now.
It was going quite well. I scored this long-range beauty at the start of Season 7 of my Career Mode career:
(Note how Alan Smith in commentary refers to the ball flying into the ‘top-left’ corner of the net, when in fact it screams into the top-right corner of the net. A silly basic error that’s been in PES commentary for years, and persists in FIFA too.)
PES scholars have long disputed the merits of scoring long-range goals in FIFA, but the nay-sayers are, frankly, just plain wrong. It’s not 1999 anymore. Nowadays FIFA long-rangers are rare enough to be deeply satisfying.
There are different kinds of goals, too, and random moments like the following. Already 0-3 down to Chelsea, I plugged away looking for a consolation, and got it via a peculiar looping deflection – watch for a very realistic crowd reaction behind the goal during the replay:
Two good moments among many such moments.
But they don’t count, on the greater scale of things. FIFA is over for another year.
The problem with me and FIFA is that I’ve spent most of the past year conditioning myself to play PES, to the point where I automatically, instinctually, emotionally associate good football gaming with PES football gaming. This is a trend that’s been going on now for, oh, about 20 years, give or take.
This year as every year, FIFA’s time has passed. Its primetime was last September-November, with a brief flare-up in December. When I get to my end-of-year overview of the game, that primetime is the period I’ll be overviewing. It seems to me that FIFA15 was a much better game before the updates and patches started arriving.
Which all left me somewhat high and dry for a football game to play now, in these long, dead weeks before PES2016.
What would I do? PES5? PES2013? PES2010? What?
Well. In something of a PES Chronicles first, I have resumed playing….
The game that I thought was done and dusted some weeks ago.
The game that I ardently desired never to play again.
The game that I reached the point of exhaustion with, and ploughed on past it.
The disc was still in the PS4. That’s what did it. It was so easy just to start the game up. I had time yesterday afternoon before going to work and thought, why not?
I found a backup save that I’d made just before the end of my final Season 14 (as I thought at the time).
At that stage I was in the second leg of the semi-final of the Champions League, with a 4-0 aggregate lead form the first leg.
I knocked the difficulty down to Top Player, mindful of the slog that the game had become on Superstar, and jumped straight into that second leg.
Perhaps predictably, I absolutely loved it. Especially when this happened:
I know, I know. Peter Crouch as the floated through-ball specialist. Robben tucking it away with his weaker foot. (So what? And anyway, where did all the purists come from who snipe against things like that? What are their voices doing in my head? Why do I pay them any heed at all?)
Doesn’t matter. Played PES, felt great.
That felt good enough. Loved the feel of the passing, the shooting, the pace of the game, the general ebb and flow of gameplay. PES2015, I needed reminding, is a GOOD game.
So I was already happy, and then this happened. This is the best I’ve seen from my PES2015 Stevie G in a long while – I loved the delicate little touch with the right knee to tee up the shot – BOOM:
That’s the explosive, joyful power of PES, right there. The ineffable something that FIFA still lacks.
This match was a bit of a cakewalk in the end. There were more goals and it ended something like 8-1 on aggregate.
I put the difficulty back up to Superstar and played a dour-by-comparison 0-0 league match, and reminded myself of how I reached the point of exhaustion with this game a while back.
So I’m thinking of playing on Top Player with zero-bar passing assistance, and seeng how I get on.
Poor old FIFA. It’s great, but its best-ever edition can’t compete even with this flawed edition of PES.
Am I brainwashed? Absolutely. Am I going to put myself through any kind of un-brainwashing, deconditioning process? Nope.
Will this last? Will I be playing PES2015 by Tuesday?
There’s a very good chance I will. I have other games to play, and I’m playing them, so PES2015 will likely just be a session here and there every other day or so. This feels like a good way to await PES2016.
Or is it possible I could squeeze in Season 15 before the middle of September?