This article will be the first in a two-part series of articles I will be doing regarding some of the nuances found within the new edition of PES. No staunch PES fanatic enjoys reading a review which lambastes the game they hold tightly to their heart especially when their views of the game are not reciprocated by the reviewer. For those PES lovers who I offended by my tragicomedy review of the PES 2014 demo this first episode of my “review” of the full game will be the plaster that heals the wounds.
When you get past the poorly designed menus (I’m pretty sure a caveman on meth could create better designs using some mud and his cave wall as a canvas) and see your players walk onto the pitch amid the cacophony of cheers from the fans it is immediately evident that Konami have been slaving away to improve the game where it matters most: on the pitch. PES 2014 is the year that we finally see Konami get out of their comfort zone, as if they were a new born baby that just got spanked into life. They have gotten off their back sides which were comfortably planted in the spectator seats found in Row Z of the stadium where they were jealously watching the growth and success of their rival.
Never before in a football game have I felt the urge to watch the pre-match ceremonies, however, the amount of effort put in by the creators of this beautiful looking game make it extremely difficult for me to hit the skip cinematic button. You see the passion on the faces of the players visibly pumped up revving their inner proverbial Fox engines in anticipation for the battle that lies ahead. Below are my thoughts of what transpires once the referee blows his whistle signaling the start of this epic duel played out in a cathedral filled with an awe-inspiring atmosphere.
When you hit the pass button for the first time you can immediately see and feel the difference between PES 2014 and last year’s iteration of the game. The animations are truly a treat to behold and the “feel” of the weight of the ball and how it travels is equally pleasing on all the senses. For me this is what makes PES such a beautiful game. It gives the player these feelings that only he or she (marry me?) can experience. In the past few PES games it was extremely easy to ping passes around like a pinball machine mainly because the players body position didn’t really play a part in the accuracy of the pass. Players were able to play inch perfect passes with unrealistic, robotic and disjointed movements. Now however if one does not pay heed to the body position of the passer the pass could end up behind the intended recipient of the pass or out for a throw-in. Even if the player is playing on full bar passing assistance the result will be the same due to his impatience.
Once you’re done wiping away the drool under your mouth due to admiring the new animations and your perfectly created scoring opportunity via a Dortmund like passing move, you are able to stride into the final third ready to line up a belter nervously praying to the big guy upstairs that the forthcoming shot is going to look and feel as good as the move it was born from. In the shooting department Konami have once again captured the ability to give the player a worthy climax to any well-crafted move. The shots look and “feel” authentic. I’ve seen on many websites PES fans complaining that the shooting system is broken and that the shots are a bit floaty. However, in order to hit a pure-struck shot a la Luis The Bucktoothed Assassin Suarez, the player has to pay close attention to the strikers body position, where he is in relation to the goalposts, the keepers position, how much pressure there is from defenders chasing him down, what is his strongest foot and what type of shot to use. Without taking note of these factors it will lead to your shot flying high into the stands or trickling wide of the mark. Obeying the laws of football in the final third will allow you to perfectly place that cherry on the cake that was made from the team move.
After you let rip for the first time most players would want the ball to rocket in, however, for me (I’m probably part of a small number of PES players when I say this) I WANT the keeper to save it so I can scrutinize his animations and see if they have improved from the stiff armed diving saves they made in PES 2013. I was relieved to see that the keeper animations have been overhauled and that the saves look really good.
All of the above thoughts I have of the very basic parts of the game are positive ones which hint that this year’s PES is a game that will be occupying your consoles on a permanent basis pulling at the strings attached to your emotions found in the “Football” section of your heart. We all know that football is a rollercoaster ride with ups and downs, smiles and frowns, tears and fears. The next episode of Cleared Off the Line will be titled “Frowns, Downs, Tears and Fears” and it will revolve around some of the more negative aspects found within this year’s PES title.