Cleared Off the Line: PES 2014 “Review” Part One

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.

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19 Responses to Cleared Off the Line: PES 2014 “Review” Part One

  1. Banayoti says:

    That’s a good start! But I know what’s coming next! Because I , along with many others, experienced the same . The bottom line is that the game is fun to play and the animations are finally fixed. It’s nice to see konami are addressing the game’s core problems. Now lets build a better defensive AI , better nets, better online, better menus, ………

  2. Seabass Out - bring him back - pes getting worse says:

    The game will last a week, b4 u trade it in, 3 years in a row pes sucks. Ur paying £38 4 animations that it. Make pes hardcore again, all these pass assist setting spoil it online, it become a pick up & play game 4 last 3 years.
    Konami need 2 fix -
    Online – buy some servers – I want a stable fair game online, + filter options.
    Goalkeeping need fixing.
    AI defence & defence line need fixing.
    Cursor setting & player responce need sorting out.
    Go back 2 previous pes fk system.
    Stop ripping ur fans off.

  3. SD Tom says:

    My review having been a PES player since 2004, and a FIFA player from 2003 to 2005 and then 2009 – 2011

    This game is pure magic albeit with room to improve. I have played 15 games in total – 15 minutes per game, all at Regular – and have just played the last 2 games at the professional level. I play with a customized camera with a bias towards field, at a higher zoom, and slightly higher angle. I say this because until you zoom in to PES, you can’t see and appreciate all that has gone into it. As the reviewer says the balance of the player is critical to how your pass, or shot ends up. Being closer to the player through the camera choices enhances the whole feel and individuality of players – try Santi Carazola, or Rooney. In fact you lose sense of the whole idea of animations such is the fluidity of the players, and you sense little repetition between the moves. Then there is the magical turn of pace that certain players can do if you use R2 and R1 properly. Player speeds vary like in real life – not all can run the same distance in the same time – which revolutionizes the whole game. The AI runs into the box, looking for a through ball etc. The other striking aspect is the freedom of the ball. Rails have been banished – FIFA has not really done that yet – this is a huge breakthrough. The ball takes deflections, bounces, slight toe touches, collisions – result in spin and goalmouth chaos.
    In order to play with these new aspects – player position, poise, and balance, and a ball free from “rails” you have to play your game at a higher pitch – more button touches per action. This means a bigger learning curve. One reason why no review should be written before the product has been played a lot. You also have to factor in player momentum in your plays. I noticed one goal I scored – Nani beats a player on the wing, cuts into the box, away from goal, passes in parallel to the goal, Van Persie, jumps and lets it go under his legs, Rooney finishes. It was all so quick – but I completely remember the distinctive button presses I did – without thought, a tiny fraction ahead of the action on the pitch – no AI here – just sheer responsiveness to my commands at a higher speed than I had experienced before. The player momentum means you can line up a few actions and let the players momentum carry them through the defense to do the rest. Using the R1 sprint less and the R2 button more is critical to keeping control and not having your players overrun the action. It is this general sense of pace that is also lifelike. The play warms up, heats up, cools down, just like a real game – no FIFA like belting along full tilt all the time, if you play that way. Heart is also quite obvious as you begin to master the game. You can feel the energy drain from your team as the goals against you mount up, you can also feel the opposite when you get a few chances on goal, only to lose that pep if you get bogged down in midfield for prolonged periods. I find that playing for 15 minutes brings out these aspects more. I also agree with the reviewer in actually liking to watch the opening sequence and pre-game stuff – the atmosphere is there to be soaked up and it is special. The immensity of the Stadiums and the roar of the crowds are really authentic. When you make a great move on goal – you can feel the excitement rise in the crowd noises.

    So in short Konami have revolutionized the genre – After playing the game and then watching some highlights on footytube – I sometimes feel I am looking at the same thing and get slightly confused between the two.
    Yes there are problems – and I would expect them for a first version of a new platform that is as ambitious as this and also probably hardware constrained.
    The first one i picked up in early games and still somewhat is that the reaction of defenders and the goalkeepers in goalmouth areas is strange, and slow. Having learned that you have to use certain button combinations to make your goalkeeper do things – such as L1 and R3 to take control, or move the L stick in the direction of the shot and press Square, or Triangle to come out etc. If you can master this, controlling the goalkeeper becomes very exciting. Konami have given you more control over your keeper, whereas in the past the keeper did more without your input, now it is far more dependent on your play – which looks bad initially until you come up that steep learning curve.

    The other issues are corners. I have not figured out yet if I am doing anything wrong – but whether you or the com are doing corners – they come across as a limp affair and never threaten the goal. This one is odd – and does affect enjoyment.

    I have no problems with shooting – it takes a lot of practice, learning and anticipation of your players position as the reviewer says. The beauty is that it can be so varied – giving tremendous pleasure when you hit the target.

    I play at morning, come home for lunch and play, and late into the night. I have not done this for years. FIFA world cup 10 came close – but in playing the FIFA demo this year – I was struck by how many steps backward they have gone. They don’t deserve the reviews they have been getting after you play PES 2014 for a long period of time. I often think the the reviewers are reviewing product that has mostly the wrong kits and this sub-conciously influences their thinking negatively. I know that without authentic kits I don’t play those teams they just look dull and old. The people who do the kit work every year are just great – without them Konami would have been dead in the water before they got to PES 2014 – which is the base of a bridge to a great product on PS4 etc.

    Despite all the good stuff – Konami needs to provide more – more stadiums because they are oh so good, more team kits, and better commentaries. But on the pitch they have changed the game completely for the better.

    Thanks for reading if you got this far…

  4. TrueGooner says:

    Do anyone know if the PC version of the game is out in the US

  5. JamaicaMon says:

    What the hell have Konamic done to this game. Its sluggish and no fun to play at all

  6. ulven says:

    Introduced in PES 2013, the Player ID system recreated faithfully the movements and skills of about 50 star players.
    Who are they ??? Messi, Ronaldo…

  7. Leo says:

    These review writers are all on the take as far as I am concerned.

  8. deco says:

    Fair review Shimuzu part 2 should be interesting, and by the way I’m not a staunch PES fanatic we have to be careful with the moaning about some aspects of the game or Konami could adjust it to suit the clique and really f**k it up.
    Sd tom’s post is brilliant he understands the game and what’s needed to improve and enjoy it, the way to deal with corners when you’re attacking is to press shoot immediately after cross and then triangle to head downward. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a keeper save a single downward header. I found if you set your attack/defence levels to low it stops the mad rushing around.

  9. Jimmy says:

    Try the best gameplay patch for PES 2014 !!! Search on Google:

    [Gameplay Tool] PES F1X4R v1.1 by nesa24

    It fixes every problem of the gameplay !!!

    No catch-up bug, no floaty shots with an air balloon, no cursor unresponsiveness !!!

  10. Jimmy says:

    PES2014 File Loader 1.0.0.9 Beta by Jenkey1002

    Kit Loader is new plugin of File Loader, that allows to manage kits with GDB system.

    http://www.pes-patch.com/2013/10/pes2014-file-loader-1-0-0-9-beta-by-jenkey1002.html

  11. Rob says:

    I am enjoying the game but it has it’s faults (after all it is only a game) I find that even if you position your player correctly when taking a shot the shot still does’nt have that “hit” and most of the time the ball will trickle towards goal.
    Another thing is that the ball seems to lose all it’s weight when it strikes those terrible nets, Konami have put all their
    effort into gameplay and completely forgot about about the end product of the ball striking the net. These nets wouldn’t get into a PS1 version of a football game and need serious work,or,give us a net editor to create our own.
    The game for me seems to come alive in the Champions League where players are more responsive and the whole
    feel is a joy to behold and is definitely the jewel in Konami’s crown.

  12. Simon McDermott says:

    Totally agree with all that you said SD Tom — awesome review :-)

  13. SD Tom says:

    My follow up to the review I wrote in an earlier comment.

    OK – So I have played close to 50 games now. I play exhibition matches at top player, and started a Europa League campaign at professional. I won’t start a proper league campaign until I get better. I find that if I slacken my concentration i am usually murdered. Lost 6-2 to Liverpool (top player), played as Spurs, and deserved it. I was playing with no attention to detail, did not have someone marking Suarez, did not set the offside trap to on, and did not have special formations – just played you know. On the other hand the previous night I played as Celtic in the Europa League – against Dynamo Zagreb. Needing the win, and down 2-1 in a tense game, with 15 minutes left – scored twice on the 83rd and 89th minute – in a real goalmouth scramble – bobbling balls, raised knees, before Brown chested it up in the air to get some room, and slotted it in. It was great stuff and all on professional settings. The magic lives on – but the concentration especially in a 15 minute game is quite intense. There is frustration and it is usually when a slow defender is beaten to the ball on a fast release pass, and the AI forward goes galloping to goal. At this point i struggle to get my keeper into a position to have a chance to defend it. I hit L1 and press R3 and then have no clue where I am in relation to goal. I know it is because I have not mastered it yet – not a shortcoming of the game. I think the issue is that Konami is getting closer to simulating real life and that we gamers are used to the super options that exist in the gaming world – super keepers, or super defenders that can catch up in time – but now you are exposed for how really good you are.

    I have also noticed some shortcomings of course like others. This is my list so far.

    1) It only happened once but it was a weird one. An AI defender had ended up running of the pitch behind his goal. When he came back on the pitch – he was behind his goalkeeper when my team had an offside ruled against them.
    I think the AI did not count him in the offside algorithm and must use the keeper as last man.

    2) Corners – thanks Eric for the tip on corners. It doesn’t lead to foolproof scoring but it has changed things.

    3) A custom camera angle affects the gameplay speed when you have more crowd showing in the penalty areas. I went back to wide angle, and noticed that goalmouth action flows a lot better without slowdowns.

    4) I still however get the frame rate stop when a shot goes whizzing by a goalpost. It is a 1/2 second blip and you have no idea if the shot went in our out for that fraction of time. It really interrupts the action.

    5) On a semi assist cursor – it is very hard to get the right defender switched to in time to cut off a through ball. Defender switching under pressure usually destroys me for an early goal in most games I play at top player speed.

    Final words.
    Pulling tricks – is effing hard – as it should be. You have to study your team and know what each player is capable of. This is so un-EA FIFA. It all comes down to attention to detail, and truly mastering it. Not all players are equal, its such an obvious aspect when you aspire to simulation, not when you aspire to just playing a game. I had a kid the other day who saw that i had an old FIFA 2009, and he really wanted to play as his Dad won’t let him play games. The 8 year old had played FIFA 05 and so knew some moves. I told him I would show him a better game – but he was clearly distressed that I was not putting on EA and was putting on PES. WHile it was loading up – off he went to the toilet. I misdirected him and told him FIFA was loaded. and that his favorite team Real Madrid was on playing chelsea – he loved the look and how ROnaldo moved. When he took over the controls which were set to FIFA, he was trying his damndest – and could not get very far. Then I asked would he like FIFA 09 – oh yes – I thought it was this one. He played FIFA 09 – and i noticed that it was the game speed – everyone running like they are on fire and the fact that they had his home teams colors – Monterrey that engaged him. PES was too real for him – not a gamers game. If I ran Konami I would do the following;

    1) I would bring in a licensing leader. You cannot have the rug pulled under you by EA a few weeks before product launch whereby you have to pull a stadium editor, and remove things from your product. Every company needs a competitor to truly produce excellence. Can’t Konami get ahead of this aspect. Especially on the stadium front as some of them are probably leased and not owned by the clubs. Go grab the stadia from the rest of the world and fast.

    2) Introduce a kids mode – or an arcade mode. The game is getting too complex for new players. EA do this – it’s smart.

    3) There should be an accompanying book – they are fun to read and help those who really want to go deep. It existed for one generation – PES 2008 – I think.

    4) For legal reasons the company cannot advertise that the “fans” take care of creating everything needed to complete the product. Surely though in certain geographies they can advertise this fact or have their lawyers get around this. If you were just buying your first game – you would usually err on the side of licensing then on game play since the latter is subjective. More hours by fans are spent on finishing this product – this should be featured not hidden – it is not just a devotion, it is a strength.

    5) Stay true to what you aspire to – a simulation. More player IDs, manager likenesses and tactical nous – how about manager ID, more exhaustive training practice.

  14. SD Tom says:

    oops I said Eric – I meant DECO – thanks man. C earlier post

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