Pro Evolution of the Daleks

PES2015 the Great TransitionAn accidentally artistic picture snapped at a moment of transition. On view are three of my key players in my unexpected Extra Time Squad in Season 15, superimposed onto a pitch in a kind of dreamy tribute to the ineffable Soul of PES or something like that.

No, resuming PES2015 wasn’t a flash in the pan or a passing whim. I have indeed kept on with my renewed Master League on PES2015 — playing on in a parallel world where the end of Season 14, as recounted a month or so, ago never happened. I left that save well alone. Original, proper ML history is always sacrosanct. I reverted to a backup save from about 6 matches before the end of that season and have played on from there.

In this new reality I lost out to Arsenal in the chase for the Title, and lost in the Champions League on penalties. I won the FA Cup though.

Two more sessions have been played since the one that inspired Friday’s post. I’m about 7 matches into Season 15.

Peter Crouch Season 15

I never thought I’d see this again. New pics of my old players, in a new kit — just another vaiant on my favourite stripey theme, this time with a darker blue that pops out of the screen more.

One thing I’m looking forward to with PES2016 are proper, bright visuals appropriate to the current generation of consoles. Whatever anyone says, PES2015’s graphics were chalky and dull compared to FIFA15’s, for example. PES2016 is a step up.

Metal Gear Solid V’s arrival at the end of this week (ShopTo/Royal Mail/Bank Holiday weekend willing) will slam the brakes on PES2015’s Indian Summer. When it comes to games other than football games, I rarely follow through and make the time for them, but MGS is a once-every-five-years special occasion for which time will be made.

Doubtless I’ll still have odd sessions on PES2015 here and there between now and PES2016. The football gaming habit is too deeply ingrained. If you have a spare 45 minutes you know exactly where you are with a football game. You know exactly how to spend that 45 mins and there’s no danger of overrunning. Everything is just neat-o.

So time spent on PES2015 and football gaming won’t stop when MGS gets here. It’ll shrink, though.

Top Player and 1-bar passing is a great setting for me. I tried 0-bar but the games degenerated into — dare I say it — FIFA-style midfield tussles for the ball that never seemed to end. 1-bar is a nice halfway house between where I spent most of my 14 seasons (2-bar) and the 0-bar that is probably the long-term aim. Maybe not unril PES2016 though.

I lost the Charity Shield opener against Arsenal. I lost my first two league matches. It felt a lot as if I was playing a new game. PES2015 is a game that has had many moods and personalities over the months, and it’s showing me another one now. I’ll save more musing on this front for my end-of-year retrospective in a few weeks’ time.

Here are two goals from my most recent session, First of all a completely ordinary goal of the sort I score quite often, to correct any impression that all PES2015’s goals are the same. This is a straightforward training ground-style goal, complete with a so-called ‘cutback’ of the sort that you’re somehow not supposed to do, despite lateral passes to teammates in the box being as basic a part of football as the ball itself being round:

Forlan is a better striker than Crouch now. Peter Crouch hasn’t been the top player he was for some time, and I’ve kept him around for sentimental reasons. If I make it to mid-season here (unlikely, but if I do), Crouch will be moved on, with Lord Sugar-style regret.

Now here is a better goal — Robben jinks away from a defender and slams one into the top corner with his good foot. The way the AI player is left behind wouldn’t really happen on Superstar, or so seldom as to make no difference:

Lastly, after some thinking on the topic of all things PES and football-gamey over the weekend, I talked myself into wanting another look at PES2014. That’s the one that everybody hates and has forgotten all about.

I played two matches in my old Master League save. I’m not just being playful or contrariwise when I say I had a good time and I found the game more than playable in its fully patched state. I repeat my oft-repeated claim that this game, patched, is a neglected mini-classic of PES.

Whatever else PES2014 is, it’s certainly a curiosity piece. It’s not the monster that most people think. It’s simply not.

Rather than being a monster, PES2014 is a kind of tragic hero. If PES2014 were a TV hero it’d be Bill Bixby in a clean white shirt, thumbing a lift while the lonely tinkling piano music played in the background. If PES games were Doctor Whos, PES2014 would be Colin Baker.

Here’s the best goal I scored in my two PES2014 matches, with me voiceovering experimentally:

My flat Midlands tones reverberate across the Internet.

I’m toying with some ideas for PES2016 release week, one of which is recording and posting in full my first England vs Scotland match. Indeed, it’s most often a dull affair watching somebody else play a football match. But I might enliven it with some spoken commentary. We shall see.


  1. werd – stepovers in the PS2 era! Double-tap of R1 (or R2?). I never counted them as a trick either.

    Darryl – I hope I fixed your link properly. The original was just going to your YouTube homepage. I picked the only Michael Carrick action I could see and linked. But there’s only 1 goal in the clip – ? Have a look. Great goal anyway – and Michael Carrick was one of my most important players in the early seasons too, scoring probably my favourite long-ranger of PES2015 at one point.

  2. NG – there are two goals on there but it is easy to think there is just one due to my rubbish editing and the goals being quite similar. Just have a look at the times of the goals underneath.

  3. NG, absolutely get what you mean about “other games” In the past few months I’ve tried to get into The Evil Within, Shadow of Mordor and others, but invariably I go back to PES 2013. However, having just completed a top player treble, and having 7 of the top 12 players in the game, my interest has dropped like a stone.
    I do look forward to PES 2016 but as usual with me it will come down to player faces and the editing options (why we’re they so limited last year?)

    We shall see.

  4. After your comments on here I’m considering getting Skyrim on the 360 to fill the time until Santa brings the next football game. I take it that you don’t need to have played the earlier ones?

  5. Chris99 – nah. If you intend on playing the story mode or if you go your own way.
    A bit of the history is touched upon but you dont need to read every book in the game.
    Its a sandbox paradise. Both myself and Turf are still finding new places and quests. Try and get the GOTY edition. Build ya own house and vampire quests a go go.

  6. Chris99 – I echo Werd’s comments. Goty is more than just a bit of dlc, it adds a big chunk of alternative options, storylines and non main quest footling. I played a bit of oblivion but I don’t think it’s made any odds, to be honest I don’t bother reading the attempts at explaining the background all you need to know is if you do the main quest it’ll be explained otherwise everything else is out to rob, kill and eat you. Even if werd and I tried describing all we’ve found chances are you’d find more or go a different route completely. I love the idea of elder scrolls online if it could be kept amongst friends but can’t imagine how painful it might be with the masses involved.

    Back home from peaks and itching to get gaming again after some work tonight.

  7. By the way, don’t read all the in game books in an attempt to understand, you’ll be there forever. Just read the ahem important ones…

  8. Ta. Also back from hols now as you may have figured. My luggage enjoyed it so much it decided to stay for a couple of extra days.

    Btw for those who like books of a fantasy ilk (not to be confused with a fantasy elk) I can recommend The Black Prism by Brent Weeks.

  9. The books in Skyrim nag at my latent OCD-like traits so much! Any game where there are tapes to listen to, or books to read, or any kind of supplementary material at all, makes me feel deficient for not reading/listening to them. I read the first few books I found in Skyrim, then skimmed the rest. It’s a huge world that would take a year or two of regular play to get a handle on completely. I’ve got an attempt at reading Don Quixote on the go where I read a chapter every week without fail, and I’m treating Skyrim much the same. Chris99 – it’s not something you’ll squeeze into the two weeks before PES2016 but a solid commitment to enter a coherent world, like stumbling into Narnia at the back of the wardrobe.

  10. I’m still only at Markarth in the West on my Skyrim version of Coast, having started at Helgen in the South (moving clockwise).

    Still don’t really know what I’m doing as was illustrated last night when I arrowed some poor farmer family from a rooftop thinking they were baddies. Their little daughter running from me screaming as I looted the place made me feel a bit bad.

    Onto the city of Markarth and I finally managed to buy myself a horse and an annoying dog for company. The people in the place seem a bit miffed about something that they want me to help them with but I’m far too busy presenting for BBS Skyrim for all that.

  11. Oh, and I also don’t really read the books. I skip through the pages as if I am though!

  12. John – its worth selling a few book if there worth 50gp or over. I usually stock up on a few and sell them to a vendor. The more you use a particular vendor the better rates you get. Also sell skill books as soon as you used em as there useless after.
    I started off a bit arrow happy, then the paranoia left and I only shoot for fun.
    Got my demonic horse for free.

  13. nG – I never get footy games when they launch any more. I wait, distill the sage advice and then write a letter to Santa. So basically I’m looking at 3 to 4 months of infrequent playing.

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