I’ve had a great idea for how Pro Evolution Soccer might be saved for old-school players. More in a tick.
I’m played 5 matches since last time – 4 draws and a solitary win.
The draws either finished 0-0 or, if I took a 1-0 lead, the AI eventually got its goal and then the match finished 1-1. I’ve no specific gripes about being rubber-banded by the AI. It’s been the same in PES for years and always will be. It’s one of the things we agree to look at through half-closed eyes and pretend not to notice. The price of admission is our willing suspension of disbelief.
Forced draws seem to be part and parcel of Top Player with the team I currently have, at this juncture of my trajectory with PES2018.
The 5 matches were all played in a single session. They were notable for being a run of matches without a single AI foul in them. This is not rare for me.
While playing, I noticed that there were as usual many instances of contacts that instinctively should have been called as fouls – for me and against me – but instead the player went through that animation where they rise to their knees and spread their arms wide in the universal Ref! Ref! gesture.
I noticed that these instances – Ref! Ref! – happened roughly 3-5 times per match.
A simple idea for Konami: give us the option of making every single instance of Ref! Ref! an actual foul.
Everywhere on the pitch, at all times, give us a Settings menu option to Enable these moments as actual fouls.
This would also yield a penalty (at both ends) in a decent proportion of matches, and a respectable number of general fouls per match. Too many? No. Better that than few, or none as is practically the case now. And you can turn it off if you don’t like it.
At a stroke, the no-fouls and mesmerising flow (not in a good way) that plagues nuPES would be resolved. Old-timey players like myself would be appeased.
And the online masses don’t even have to know it’s there.
It would take 1 line of code. It’s a simple workaround that would silence almost every gripe there is about nuPES, because as I have pointed out many times, no-fouls is just one surface symptom of the ‘frenzied flowing fun first’ philosophy that has taken over the series.
If Konami were once again to ‘allow’ fouls (I can’t believe it’s got to the point where we’re almost literally pleading for Pro Evolution Soccer – Pro Evolution Soccer – to include a basic feature of the sport, but there you go, that’s what’s happening), the insane end-to-end lurching is resolved. Player individuality is massively resolved. Hardly ever getting to take a free kick in shooting range is resolved. Never getting a bloody penalty – resolved.
Those who don’t like it don’t even have to know the option is there. Let them continue in their blissful button-mashing trance states, online or off, as they please.
It could work. I know it could work because the greatest ever PES game – PES5 – was the greatest ever partly because of its stringent fouling model. The player eventually had to ‘give in’ and play in a certain way. The proper PES way.
I can think of several objections. Such as:
‘Quite a few of those Ref! Ref! moments aren’t meant to be fouls – the point of them is to represent the way real-life players appeal for everything, justified or not.’
Well, they all do look and feel like actual fouls to me, but even if you’re right, I’m saying to ignore that for the sake of the computer game we’re playing. There’s a higher need. Make every Ref! Ref! moment a foul, regardless of whether it’s ‘really’ one or not, and suddenly we have fouls back in PES, and proper rhythms to a typical match, and even player individuality. Not to mention regular shooting-range free kicks and a smattering of penalties. Worth it, surely. It’s a net positive.
The only thing that can salvage PES is to split the online game and the offline game. The only sensible way to do that would be something like my suggestion.
Without something like this, PES will haemorrhage old-school players in massive numbers as the years go by. The online players will doubtless prop the series up, but only the truly deluded will believe that PES remains anything like the series of the first decade of this century. I think I have done well to hang on this long. PES2018 is scheduled to be my last-ever new PES game.
So how about it?
To recap: give players the option in Settings to switch those moments where a player does the whole Ref! Ref! thing to ‘Ref calls a foul instead’ (for and against you). Leave that switch off by default, and the onliners won’t even know it exists. And the old-timey players can get on with playing a PES more like the one they expect. At a single stroke, the majority of our gripes are resolved. With just one line of code. Otherwise, PES hurtles headlong into the multiplayer micro-transactional abyss.
Simple. Easy. Effective. Necessary.