PES 2014 Review

Introduction

I need to state that I have had to modify what was my original review of the game. It was based on code not too dissimilar from the demo many of you will have been playing to death.
However, due to a number of issues with the game, a day one patch is available, and I don’t mind telling you that it is a very welcome addition.

As a result of getting a couple of hours of gameplay under my belt with this new version 1.0.1, my views have had a bit of an overhaul – for the better! Rather than dwell on what the game played like prior to the update, I’ll try to focus on the feel of the game as it plays right now.

For the record, initial playtesting was conducted on a 360 version, but today I managed to get my hands on my PC version and have tested this version with the update provided.

So we finally get our hands on what is the dawn of a new era for PES with the new Fox Engine driving the game. Read on to find out what’s in store for us this year…

Passing

If you play a passing game without trying to score a goal, and say just retain possession, PES plays very, very well. Trying to retain control of the ball and to move it around is very rewarding whenyou learn a few tricks to create a bit of space to engineer some passes amongst team mates.  I’ve never been convinced by the assistance bars for passing. I’ve tried to play with zero assistance but can’t say that I’ve ever reached a point where I was able to confidently and predictably use it. So I tend to just stick to two bars for assistance and it pretty much allows you to play how you like, bar a few curved balls (pun intended).

Passing along the ground is easy enough, but I’ve found some levels of passing in the air to be
unpredictable. There is still too much interpretation of your intended pass for my liking. I tried
a little chipped pass to a player 15 yards from me in space, by hitting the power bar to around a
third of the way, only to find the ball being sent 40 yards away to a player ahead of the intended player.

The new curved through ball pass (LB/L1 + Y and left stick) is another very welcome addition to the passing armoury. You can play in a great ball into space, without the ball going out of play to give your player a vital amount of time and space. Up until the patch update, this wouldn’t have been much help overall. But now that the catch up bug has been smoothed out, you can capitalise on a well placed ball and bear in on goal with intent.

I have a fundamental issue with the passing model deployed in PES. I’m not sure whether everyone agrees with me on what I have to say, but I’ll try to explain where I feel PES lets itself down in this area.  You never truly control a player in your control. The cursor shows you who you’re controlling, but you can’t dictate to that player where to go and what to do.

 

The next time you’re passing amongst your team, try the following:

  • pass to a team-mate and then try to move the receiving player towards the ball to meet it earlier
  • when attempting to intercept a ball, try to change your player’s path to reach the ball from a different direction
  • when you see an opponent read a pass to your receiving player, try to cut him off and get to the ball first
  • play a through ball into space and try to get your man to change his path to the ball

The more astute amongst you will say easy – just use the RT+RB (or R1+R2) to give yourself total

control – simple! But have you ever tried to use them throughout a game? My argument is simple – total control should be default, not an awkward button press combination. Especially considering just how often you’d use it in a game.   Am I being harsh on PES there? You decide.

Shooting

Shooting feels a little bit better post patch. I’ve found that your body position and speed do have a bearing on how you strike the ball. If you hit the R1/RB button to run up to a ball to shoot, you can fizz it at goal. Try hitting a ball with and without the R1/RB button in training to see what I mean.   I’m still undecided overall if shooting is back to being as strong as last year, as I’ve not had enough time post patch to judge it fully.

Defending

With the catch up bug gone, we’ve got a strong game on our hands. You now have to box very clever when defending. Prior to the patch, there was almost no sense of urgency to defend properly as you would just as easily catch back up with your opponent and take them out. But now it’s different proposition altogether. You’ll need to have your wits about you, and to learn the art of defending.

One feature I am really enjoying is shoulder barging. How have we been playing without it all these years? Ok it’s been an automatic feature which kicks in once you lock horns with an opponent, but having the ability to barge at will is brilliant. The extra bonus with barging is that you can quite easily be penalised for doing so! This adds an element of risk in attempting a barge, but is a brilliant feature in my books.

Defender AI can leave a lot to be desired too, as some of them either are very short-sighted and
wait until the last second to intervene a ball in their vicinity, or they seem to prefer to use the
insurance of a defender behind them to get the ball instead of reacting to the ball themselves.
Some AI decisions are odd where when you’re attacking, the closest defender will decide to back off, so that another defender can track you. It’s not always the best decision, and definitely needs some work to tighten up. Perhaps another update can take care of that – I’m optimistic about fixes given how quickly Konami have reacted to the demo issues – kudos to Konami!!

Goalkeepers

Where do I start with goalkeepers? Well let me get the obvious negatives out the way.  For years we’ve been kicking and screaming to Konami to rebuild goalkeepers. One of my biggest bug bears with them is how long it takes them to put a ball down onto the ground once they’re holding it. It infuriates me how slow they are at such a simple task. Any momentum you may have, any chance of launching a quick counter attack or pass are completely lost. They put the ball down as though they don’t have a care in the world. Whilst some of you may think that this is a trivial part of their game, for me it’s more fundamental than that. It symbolises the lack of attention that has been paid to a key component of their role in the game.

How long have we been moaning about keeper’s abilities over the years? When improvements have been made to keepers – they’ve generally been around their reactions to shots taken, and how and where they parry the ball to. These more fundamental issues just haven’t been addressed.

With the superb introduction of dynamic throw-ins, why are we having to point out that dynamic goal kicks should be in the game too? It’s the bleeding obvious if you ask me!
We have the same 20+ year old goal kick mechanism. Your opponents retreat leaving the simple shot pass to the nearest defender.

Ok the new pointer system for goal kicks/free kicks adds a new dimension to where the ball will go, but fundamentally goal kicks haven’t changed.

When I’ve been leading in games, there’s no change in opponent AI with regards to pressure. I’m able to pass to the nearest defender. He can then take his time with the ball. He can stop with it, he can stroll forward with it, and there’s not an ounce of pressure.

It’s like the game is fixed, as the opponents couldn’t care less if they’re losing and chasing the
game. This is a harsh summary against goal keepers, I don’t mind admitting that. But I feel strongly about it, given the lack of improvements over the course of the last five or six years -
especially since the dawn of community feedback. But I’ll get to that later.

I’ve add plenty of instances of balls being played to the 6 yard box by opponents, and a defender runs back to take possession. The issue here is that they’ve had to cover a lot more ground closer to goal than they should. The somewhat casual attitude of your goalkeeper who is more of a spectator than a player in this situation. These sorts of short-comings should have been picked up and flagged much earlier in testing.

Now it’s not all bad with goalkeepers, as I like how some goalkeepers come tearing out to punch balls away from set pieces, and how others like to catch the ball. Its the element of variety there which is very appealing to me. We’ve been used to a very rigid behavioural model for all goalkeepers historically, so this dynamism is very much welcome.

Their reactions to shots and parries have been very good for me, and it’s not an area I normally
take issue with as such.   To take goalkeepers to the next level, I’d like to see them given a “Heart” element too. Pepper a keeper with shots and breaching his goal should see some of them buckle under the pressure. Pull off a wonder save or penalty save should see them visibly become super human! But we’ll save that for suggestions for improvements.

 

General play

I’m undecided about whether there are cursor change issues. I’ve seen plenty of incidents where players haven’t reacted to a ball very close to them, as the intended pass was to a player further up from them. Normally you would hit the cursor change button and take control of this player to make the most of an unexpected advantageous opportunity. But this hasn’t been all that possible during play for me. You get a player just idly watching the ball go past and not react to it.

Games have a very natural ebb and flow to them. Midfield battles will play a major part in how
successful you are.  I’ve a feeling that this catch up bug fix may have an undesirable side effect: super speed merchants may be the deciding factor in matches. The new MASS system’s physicality works very well, and you can see how with the right amount of momentum speedy players can whizz around the pitch. I hope I’m wrong here, as hopefully with enough shoulder barging and pressure defenders will be able to counter them.

I made a bit of discovery during a game too – I looked around the whole stadium during one match, and couldn’t find the away team’s support! I expected to see a section of blue in amongst the sea of red the stadium was, but they just weren’t there. A very minor point, but funny nonetheless I thought.

Chants

General chanting in games is best described by the following:
It’s like the world’s worst fans have been invited to a match, and don’t know the words to any of the terrace songs sung. The constant droaning of “woah woah woah woah” is just plain awful and wrong. I know you can add your own chants, but it’s a very cumbersome process to do that for every single team in the game.

However, the new ambience to matches is fantastic. As an away team, you can feel the crowd’s
derision at your team during the game. At home, you can enjoy a partisan crowd cheering their team on to victory. It’s a very good addition to the audio experience.

 

Dribbling

Prior to the patch I took issue with dribbling abilities. Specifically the response times for your
moves. But having had a good play session, I’ve decided that I’m very happy with how you can
dribble in the game. Players respond to your will much better, and so you’re able to concentrate on what you want to do, not how you’re doing to do it.

You will get tussles with defenders whilst dribbling, but you can play your way out of trouble.
Barge them, use the special control (R2/RT), or hit the sprint button to burst away if you have
space. You have options now, and the only barrier in the way is your mindset.

Corners

Corner routines are unfortunately very bland. The players always seem to line up in the exact same way. All attacking players are around the back post waiting for a ball there. No variety in
movement, no-one near post.

That’s been my experiences with corners, but I happened to notice in my last game that when
defending a corner, the opposition were spread out in the box – so perhaps there are more surprises in store in the game.

Menu systems

The cursors have now been fixed and back moving at an acceptable pace. I can’t say the overall menu system is particularly pleasing to the eye, or user-friendly, but it’s functional.  Perhaps a quick glance at PES’ opponent may help to outline how hopelessly dated this is…

Summary

So now I face the unenviable task of trying to summarise where PES 2014 is. After the much heralded new beginnings, is PES headed where we want it to go? This is a question which is both complex and yet so fundamentally simple to deal with.

The complexity is derived from trying to decide on whether the essence of the game has been
encapsulated in this new model. With the much heralded core pillars of the game, has PES changed for the better?

The more I’ve been playing, the more I’ve been surprised at how challenging the game is.
Fundamentally, the main question we’re all asking is – does PES 2014 play a good game of football?  My answer to that is a resounding yes.  I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how the new engine and features have combined together to create a thinking man’s game.

Yes there are minor flaws in the implementation – and I must stress that these are minor, and not game breakers which is crucial.  I was very surprised by the change in the game that the patch delivered.  Not only does it give us a competitive game of football, but it also demonstrates that Konami can and will address issues we raise with them.

I’m sure further playing will uncover ways to beat the system, but I’m also confident that Konami will address these issues too.

I’ve not had the opportunity to go online with the game yet, but will do so over the course of the coming weekend.  A verdict on the system will be delivered next week.

For now, go grab a copy of PES 2014 and settle in for some cracking games of football!

My score: 8.5/10

Thanks for reading.

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74 Responses to PES 2014 Review

  1. FOOTIE MAD says:

    Just a heads up on the online situation. Konami is aware there is a problem. Some people were unable to even download the data pack, therefore cannot play online. Those that were fortunate ( or not), to download the data pack well this one was littered with bugs, therefore this is whynthe game plays how it does. They are trying to get a repair done on this, and really wanted to fix this before FIFA 14 came out , but too late. Working on it still , and will implement a patch to correct this as soon nas they can identify the problems. I feel FIFA will steal a march on them as I believe their online works, yes, from day one. So already PES playing catchup . And the reason for some player likness not being accurate in PES is becvause they say they didnt have enough time, but will be a patch to correct this. M akes you wonder why the rush out a game that is imcomplete and not tested thoroughly for online. Just answers questions in my head . Why they rush , to beat Fifa B ut by rushing they are conning the public out of their money and giving the competition the upper hand . There you have it folks

  2. Leo says:

    I have played more than 20 games already on its top level. I am struggling. Curser change is none responsive. One touch shooting is gone and what the hell is this with all the defenders being on crack. All of them are suddenly speedy gonzales. Wtf? 2013 was brilliant. It was exactly why I played Pes. Pes 14 is Pes 12 repackaged. F U konami. If I want a game like fifa I will buy it. The only people I blame are you bunch of f@€kers who cry about stadiums and nets, kits and petty ****. If you want something real watch a live game and sit with your controller in your hand and try and play that. I am not a kid with lots of time on my hands to figure out gameplay ****e. I just want a game that plays well, where the defence is not all, over the place and the com don’t have defenders and wingers who are all on speed. PES 13 was it. I must just stick to my rule of buying a game every 2 years because that worked for me.

  3. cry about stadiums and nets, kits and petty ****. If you want something real watch a live game and sit with your controller in your hand and try and play that. I am not a kid with lots of time on my hands to figure out gameplay ****e. I just want a game that plays well, where the defence is not all, over the place and the com don’t have defenders and wingers who are all on speed. PES 13 was it. I must just stick to my rule of buying a game every 2 years because that worked for me.

  4. PES Online sucks says:

    This game is a ***** disaster now. Online sucks big time, offline is riddled with bugs, UI is outdated and faaaaar from user friendly. You are a fool if you think this is anywhere near production ready. It’s pretty clear they simply rushed the development to compete with FIFA release. Their QA team needs to be shot in the head, with my shotgun from GTA V. I can’t believe I paid the same amount, 89 bucks as for GTA. This crap is not even worth half that price. Whoever thought releasing a half finished product is a good idea to retain their fanbase, instead of delivering a more complete product, doesn’t know a thing about customer satisfaction and loyalty. People remember bad more than good. I for one , am never going to trust Konami on their promises. For the last several years they have promised and failed. This year they have failed big time. Looking at all these negative comments, looks like they have finally managed to alienate their hardcore fanbase. And guys, don’t think they can iron out these bugs with patch releases. There is something fundamentally wrong with the core, and patches can only do so much, polish around the edges, like release new boots and balls.. lol. And do you think they will spend more time on something they have already made profit on, instead of focusing on next release?

    Since I only play online and online is completely unplayable right now, I am not going to give this another try until they release a fix which I can only hope. Else this thing is going on the bin market, possibly for only a few dollars that this is worth. And I will be enjoying my free copy of FIFA 14 coming nov 22 on my Xbox One, not because it is a better game, but because it will be playable.

    Enough said. I had to take it out from my system..

  5. dennisBergkamp10 says:

    I think I just found out why the Exhibition gameplay is different to the league or ML modes. Its because of the player moral or something like that. If they are blueish green then they are not confident I guess. Notice in exhibition most players are red/orange which allows them to play better. So doing tricks and winning tackles pick up the players and teams moral which allows them to play better(just like exhibition)…

    Do you guys agree or is there another reason?

  6. ability says:

    no the guy is horrible

  7. ability says:

    i mean the game this game is horrible

  8. Leo says:

    I ussually play on superstar level. I am down to professional now trying to come to grips with this game. Again, F U konami for messing this up. I started posting videos on youtube ofmthe crappy game play. Why do you try and force me to play with the Rs button. Every player is a trickster. When my strikers are on the edge of the opposition box and I pass the ball to them they immediately want to face the opposition goal forcing me to use the rs button to play backward. If I play sideways the defender takes off my ball. Why Konami why? Why did you have to mess with something that wss beautiful. For the first time since 2006 I am going to try Fifa again or stick Pes13 back in my xbox.

  9. ability says:

    i will rather play ps13 instead of this garbage seriously konami r u serious

  10. ability says:

    when i look at my friends list i mean there is more people playing pes 13 than pes14 wow this pes14 is waste of money shame on konami what is this seriously this is horrible who tested the game for them to release such crap!!!

  11. Leo says:

    Let me leave my last comment on his issue. Thank you Konami for trying to improve this game. You improved the line outs. The quick free kicks etc. Thank you for making the game more realistic.Pes 14 has the passing of Barclona snd the defensive strategies of Bayern and Chelsea. The problem is all these things do not come together. If you kept the Pes13 game and incorporated the above mentioned in the game plus all the heart **** etc then it would have been the best game ever. That is what I was hoping for. Keep Pes pes. Please do not copy Fifa. Thank you.

  12. Anonymous says:

    oouttu09tjoio;l

  13. Anonymous says:

    ileke pes

  14. Anonymous says:

    ilike pes

  15. Allysham says:

    Pes 2014 is more like fifa 2002..the improvement that konami done just make it worst. Just stick to play PES 2013..i’d burnt my money for the rubbish of 2014.

  16. Courtney Wonder says:

    Where is the Transfer and face update patch? It is an absolute joke that we havent even got this yet.Why have I paid £40 for an incomplete game? Sort your **** out Konami.

  17. dennisBergkamp10 says:

    As much as I want to change over to FIFA, I just can’t seem to get my head around it. I keep putting on PES 14 expecting it to play better, it doesn’t and I realise that I wasted money on an incomplete game that I need to keep editing to be up to standard visually.

    Konami should just hand over the rights to the uefa competions to EA and be done with football games. There was no need to change the gameplay so much! All we needed was graphics and a few tweaks to PES13. Its awful that I have to put the game on professional to be able to accomodate the AI errors and sluggish movements. I’m so glad I have gta to keep me occupied.

    Why can’t konami give us an option to change all passing to manual. I hate that only the passing is manual and the lob and through ball is assisted…WTF

    Why should I press L2….why!

    This game has taken me over the edge, I have lost the plot…

  18. christos21 says:

    Guys listen to this.KONAMI send me a redeem code for 11 vs 11 beta.It’s like a demo 1,2 gb and there is only online game which you can choose with how many others you will play.There is no lag at all and the most important is that is a different gameplay with no problems.Please let me know if any of you had this experience.

  19. jaxi says:

    the game play is su**s ..!
    when i ‘m running and want to shot , my player run for 3 or 4 step and then he shots. most of the time defenders catch the ball ! if i want shot i should press it before i have a good opportunity !
    One touch shot is gone ! when i pass to my player who stand alone front of goal, he first controls the ball and then tries to shot and most of the time defender or goal keeper catch the ball !! same happening when your defender try to get ball and take it away ! first controls the ball and then try to shot it !
    you really reduce game play speed and it make it sucks !
    Pes 2013 was very good !

  20. dennisBergkamp10 says:

    I have played around with the settings, I think it plays best on 0bar assistance, game speed on +1 and difficulty on professional.

    It seems to be a lot like real life and you can dictate the game play. There’s still a lot of issues though,

    Wouldn’t be a bad idea to put the shooting on manual aswell.

  21. Firsty first of the firsters says:

    I played the demo and couldn’t believe the graphics on this version. Is it me or are the blacks really grey?? Fabio has a head of grey hair!! I recently bought PES2011 (was one that I skipped previously) for £3 and have to say that it seems to offer a far better gaming experience than PES 2014. I’ve even started updating the Premier teams with this years stats and the game gets even better! Granted I’ve only played the demo to compare but PES 2011 seems to be a great blend between old PES (ala PES 6 and before) and New PES (PES2012 onwards).

    Would highly recommend it!!

  22. Allysham says:

    i still dont get it..why konami use new engine. They just kill the dynamic of the game. Sometime the player run like speedy gonzales and always run like “walking”..like zombie lag like. Oh crap..konami…i rest n not play 2014 version for more than 1 month..n i thought its already upgraded according to what we’re complaining above..but u did nothing.

  23. Nice post I truly enjoyed it!

  24. gamefreak says:

    What the hell did Konami do with Pes series. 2014 is just a big flop. The reason I diverted from Fifa to Pes four years back was because of the game dynamics and the through balls. Now comparing this with 2013 it really sucks. I hope they really realize what they have done and get back to what they were before or else I have to return to FIFA.

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