Football has always been a huge part of my life. Growing up I’d go to matches, spend every lunch break playing and talking about games endlessly with the equally obsessed.
This year I turned 30 and looking back over my time on Earth, as you do in a desperate attempt to asses your youth, I can’t remember a year when I didn’t own a new football game and play it for hours on end.
Some stick out more than others. I remember ISS 98
like it was yesterday. I can still recall goals I’ve scored in it, the commentary is forever stitched into my brain and the menu music still gets hummed every so often.
I can also remember seeing the first Pro Evolution Soccer
for the first time in detail. It was a short video on a demo disc from a magazine. I ran upstairs, grabbed my dad and brother and forced them to watch it.
We all stood in the front room stunned. It looked real. Not graphically, even back then we knew this was far from what could be achieved, but the ball movement was like nothing we’d seen before. The way it pinged off the post, the way it moved towards the goal. It was a huge step forward for the genre and instantly became a game changer.
I stuck with the series for seven years and as the wheels fell off the PES
stepped its game up. I’ve predominantly played that ever since. The last few PES
games have been good, but they haven’t been able to compete with EA’s juggernaut. That is, until this year.
When I first played PES 2015
I wanted to call my dad and brother, much like when I first saw the original PES
. Like that game, you could instantly tell that this one was a step forward.
The ‘feeling’ of a football game is hard to describe to a non football fan. They won’t have the connection to the sport that fans have. When a football game is good it can encapsulate you. A good football game doesn’t just simulate the sport, it simulates the emotions you get from watching it.
When you’re 1-0 down in PES 2015
with ten minutes to go, you’ll hold your breath as you pass the ball outside the box, only exhaling when the opposition hoof it up field. If you’re down by a couple of goals you try and pull it all together, slow the pace and show some grit to try and pull it back. As cheesy as this sounds, for a moment you’ll smell the grass and get frustrated with players as though you weren’t controlling everything they do.
You feel as though you’re there and PES 2015
achieves this because it never feels as though you’re playing a game. You’re not trying to find an easy way to score or unlock a trick that will manipulate the game to your advantage, you’re just playing football. You’re working the midfield to create space, Trying to get an extra yard on a defender to get a shot away or positioning your defenders to force their attacker out wide.
One thing’s for sure, although Konami has worked hard at its own game, it's also had its eyes on the competition and to be fair the team would be mad not to pick up a few ideas here and there.
MyClub being the most noticeable of these inclusions. It's an attempt to take on FIFA Ultimate Team
, where you earn points to build a club and take on others online. It’s a nice inclusion and will no doubt have fans hooked throughout the year.
My game mode of choice in FIFA
has also been pinched for PES 2015
. Online Seasons mode is called Online Divisions here and works in the same way. Well almost. As much as I love the game mode and it will be home to my football gaming for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t cater to the lower division teams. My first match I was matched against Barcelona… as Millwall.