Soccer Gaming Catch-All

I've played something like five hours of FIFA 10 multiplayer just before flying to London and had a very good time. That game is tad boring when playing against computer (not that PES AI is much better, it just does somehow create more interesting experience, while in FIFA in single player I felt that you replay same patterns over and over again) but has really good mechanics for playing against other player: right stick, LT (slow dribbling), LB (face the goal) and RT (shielding the ball*) really give you a great control over how your player moves.
*actually, I might remember it all wrong

I have no doubt, FIFA is almost entirely designed for PvP. Vs. CPU is nearly an afterthought.

thing is, I don't have 360 right now (old one died some time ago) and don't feel like buying new one so I'll probably stick with PES 11 for now

Meanwhile, I don't know if the promise of moddability is enough to get me to grab PES for the PC this year. I'm waffling though.

Jesus, I don't know how Pep's keeping them all happy, or why he's hoarding THIS MUCH talent.

Barcelona's current strikeforce, as of 2011-12:

Bojan
Thierry Henry
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
David Villa
Hulk ($37M)
Asier Martinez Aguinaga (Regen, bought from Osasuna for $5M)
Akos Balas (Hungarian Regen, bought from Celtic for $26M)

This is a way the game is unrealistic. Because there is no way this happens in real life. At least, there's no way Ibrahimovic, who is largely coming off the bench, stays happy. No. Way.

In FM you can often get away with playing big players in 20-games-a-season fashion. At least that's what I did in my Greek save once I discovered that I had five central midfielders competing for two places in sixteen-team league.

I'll be buying PES for PC, I think, because PC port of FIFA is still not up to console standard and my 360 has been dead for months now (and there aren't enough games that would justify buying new one). If you ever pick it up give me a shout, maybe this year MP isn't broken.

Pred, have you played PES demo? I've only played couple of games but range of balls you can play with revamped passing system is breathtaking. It feels like more responsive, free-flowing FIFA. And most importantly: playmaker is playmaker. What you can pull off with Xavi doesn't usually work with Puyol etc.

And nice goals happen all the time (this is from my third game ever):

Still not sure whether new defending system is any good. It could very well be, but you definitely need to get more games in to tell. At least it's nothing like FIFA/previous PES, where you basically just had to hold either X or A and that was it.

That's a heck of a goal. I'll see if the Demo's on XBL today, take a gander myself.

FIFA 11's out, and early word from the semi-trustable sources is the usual mix of 9's and 9.5's. Eurogamer says 8/10 though, so let's see what Konami brings to the table.

Prederick wrote:

That's a heck of a goal. I'll see if the Demo's on XBL today, take a gander myself.

I've scored that goal just by regular X tap. Looks like they've been working with revamping shooting a lot. I miss much, much more often because now it seems very sensitive to direction you're aiming at. A bit like with passing - assistance in lot of things is gone.
Just put it on second lowest difficulty and play around with over-hitting passes and using LB+Y.
btw: I've just realized that one of factors contributing to how much more possible it is to play ball into free space is new camera angle. During build-up you see much more of the field of play closer to the goal so you don't have to play lucky guess or look at radar to play longer pass.

That *IS* a gorgeous goal. The game looks really excellent. I'll have to check out the demo. I haven't played a PES in about five years or so.

I've played about a dozen or so matches in FIFA 11 and I'm liking it. The player animations are much improved over last year's model and everything just feels really nice on the pitch.

My two big gripes are:

1. Your AI controlled teammates don't play with nearly enough aggression. I've had at least four or five situations happen where I'll get past a defender, down the wing and in the clear, only to find out that not a single forward has made a run into the box in time for me to cross. Maybe I've just had some bad luck with it, but something just feels off.

2. The manager mode menus are DREADFUL. They're usually bad, but they seem even worse this year. Searching for available players to purchase is a nightmare. Once you've actually gotten a club to agree to a transfer, it's also a tad too easy to "accidentally" cancel by not accepting the transfer the instant it happens. The whole system could use a serious overhaul.

How's PES's Master League holding up these days?

Aw man I was going to brag about the awesome goals I'd scored using Barca in the FIFA 11 demo. I have no video evidence though The PES goal was pretty awesome.

Will probably buy FIFA 11 for the 360 soon.

They went and improved ML vastly last year, it's probably not worse than MM in FIFA. This year it will probably remain unchanged as they were keeping their focus on adding online features (there's online ML thingy added in 2011).

eurotransient wrote:

1. Your AI controlled teammates don't play with nearly enough aggression. I've had at least four or five situations happen where I'll get past a defender, down the wing and in the clear, only to find out that not a single forward has made a run into the box in time for me to cross. Maybe I've just had some bad luck with it, but something just feels off.

Not particularly surprised. While PES had a problem with players running to the wrong place (I think it was 2009, where I'd go running down the wing with Malouda, and, rather than going in the middle to recieve the cross, Drogba would come running all the way over, bringing his man with him), FIFA's players always felt a little too stuck in their position. It's always been a bit difficult to get players making intelligent runs into the box from midfield. Positional fluidity was never one of the series' strong suits.

Playing the FIFA 11 demo using Barca it has bothered me that Dani Alves isn't naturally making runs into midfield (it is also bothering me that I have forgotten which button prods players off the ball into making runs[if that even exists anymore]). But then I scored a goal with Messi crossing into the box for David Villa who headed the ball into the path of Pedro who was making a late run into the box. And then back to the negative side seemingly almost every time Xavi passes the ball he looks more like an idiot than the genius I have seen. It's like passing skill isn't based on the player's attribute at all, but based on the engine physics. I make prettier passes with David Villa than I have with Xavi. It seems like a defender will sniff out Xavi's passes no matter how perfectly weighted, timed, etc. But I have had David Villa head a beautiful pass into space for the late run of Pedro and play an impossible through ball in traffic in the box to Messi for one of my other wondergoals.

Then again I am playing on the highest difficulty the demo offered. My PC probably can't handle the PES demo so I'll wait on the 360 one probably before I go to buy my action/arcade soccer game this season. What do they do about downloading roster edits for the 360 version? If I want to play with actual player and club names in PES (without doing the work myself) is my only option the PC version?

edit: I answered the last question myself at least for 2010 version.
edit x2: Nevermind my previous rant. Apparently I missed word of the XBox 360 update that added USB storage compatibility. That hopefully make getting things easier. Still Konami really needs to add a roster sharing feature a la the way 2k and EA do things.

Your post reminds me of an interesting sports gaming question, which is where the line should be drawn as regards Player Skill vs. Ratings. Do we want ratings to be all-powerful, and player skill to be important within their framework? Or do we want player skill to be the most important thing, and ratings are just a small influence on the game?

Jesus, again?
Baseline should be drawn by player ability to play the game. And then ratings should add flavour to it: good passes, shoots, tackles require more precision and focus for poor players. And they're less consistent at it.
It looks like PES with new passing system makes great use of this principle: after all you can play all kinds of passes with anyone, but if you want to play through ball with Puyol you will get much less assistance whereas with Xavi... etc. etc.

Actually, I've been thinking about this a bit. I want football games to introduce more visual clues into gameplay ("You can pass here!", "You should close down this guy", "Goalie is in wrong position, you can lob him") and one way to use that would be to give them to strikers, playmakers, defenders according to their abilities. Then it's still up to player to pull off right move but game helps with making right decision.
Why is this important? Because slow players are really at disadvantage in all football games. (Prior to PES 2011) I never really had any incentive to pass to guy like Veron or use Inzaghi as lone striker. Games just don't emulate their talents well. With new passing system I can see possible change around the corner, but I want them to go further than this.

UCRC wrote:

Why is this important? Because slow players are really at disadvantage in all football games. (Prior to PES 2011) I never really had any incentive to pass to guy like Veron or use Inzaghi as lone striker. Games just don't emulate their talents well. With new passing system I can see possible change around the corner, but I want them to go further than this.

Boltalicized for emphasis. As i've said before, no playable soccer game can even attempt to model what makes Riquelme, Veron, Pirlo and the like good. Everything is done by sprinting, and rare is the time for the player to stop, put his foot on the ball, let his teammates move up the field and pick a pass. Or even walk/jog the ball upfield for that matter. This dovetails with the fact that games still don't defend realistically yet.

One of the things i'd really like to see are some rudimentary, sane tactical decisions made by the AI, decisions that can be clearly and obviously seen. I want there to be a clear and palpable difference between playing a team that soaks pressure and then hits you on the counter attack, versus a team that passes you to death. I want to play a team that plays Big Sam-style route one up-and-at-em football. I won't go as far as to say that I also want the teams to play the tactics suited to the players they have on hand, as that might be a reach, but I think it's fair to ask that playing Spain and playing Switzerland are and should be two totally different gameplay experiences, not only in terms of the skill of your opponent but their methodology.

Also, i'd like to see teams set out their stall to attack/defend more realistically. One of the things I hated about FIFA was that Chelsea played you exactly the same as Luton did. I'd like to see teams play realistically to the situation, maybe attach it to team ratings.

If the AI's team is -10 or more worse overall than your team, it plays a 11-men behind the ball approach, hoping to catch a lucky goal.
If the AI's team is -5 to -9 worse overall than your team, they play defensively, but open up a little bit.
If the AI's team is -4 to +4 of your team's rating, they play a balanced game.
If the AI's team is +5 to +9 better than your team, they set their stall out to attack.
If the AI's team is +10 or more better overall than your team, they go looking for the all-out attack, to put the game beyond doubt ASAP.

And then there can be tweaks and changes between those systems, and within them, and situationally. It's one thing if Real Madrid go down 3-0 to Manchester United, but their reaction should be much different than say, Grimsby's reaction, which would be to just try and stop the bleeding. And this isn't even taking into account Home/Away difficulty.

That seems to me to be a relatively simple thing that soccer games really ought to be doing by now.

I know i've said it before in other places, and i've probably said it here, but the next major revolution in sports gaming is not graphics, and it is not in controls, it's in the AI.

I think they're doing that to degree, we just fail to notice because there isn't enough feedback. I mean, I don't know about FIFA, but in PES I see some teams playing long, and some exchanging 5-10-15 passes in defence before attacking. And there must be *some* logic behind this. But what - we're not told.
Without game providing palpable explanations for it's actions it is both hard to react and even percieve them. Don't know about you, but 90% of time I just switch my mind off when opposition has ball and only when I focus I can see any patterns behind their style of play. So I expect game to remind me of underlying logic: I need some sort of AI assistant who tells me things like "Look, they're behind, expect long punts forward from their defence." This gives me chance to both appreciate game logic ("Wow, he's right, here comes long ball") and react to what's going on without overanalysing ("Did AI mean that?").
Good idea?

Anyone here still own PES 2010 for the 360? I picked up a copy this weekend to give the PES series another shot after being thoroughly unimpressed with the FIFA 11 demo. I'd like to try it online, but don't want to step into the murky pubbie world.

I have 2010 and 2011 but only for PC, my 360 is dead.

UCRC wrote:

I need some sort of AI assistant who tells me things like "Look, they're behind, expect long punts forward from their defence." This gives me chance to both appreciate game logic ("Wow, he's right, here comes long ball") and react to what's going on without overanalysing ("Did AI mean that?").
Good idea?

I think that'd be a fantastic idea, to have a AI Assistant Manager who chimes in to give you little tips about tactics throughout the game. Maybe they could even expand to a semi-FM-like situation and have him tell you which players are and aren't having good games (although this would necessitate having a useful consistency rating).

Still, regarding the second part of my post, I still don't think that any games have teams play realistically to their opposition. You put it on the hardest level, and as I said, it feels like some lower-league cloggers play you with the same intent as Real Madrid.

To give you idea how much they've improved this year: here are my six goals from single PES 2011 match:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ILXq...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3rfm...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb20p...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQToF...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PnTZ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ycJk... (one of my all-time PES favourites)

Mostly examples of individual flair, but new passing system is also visible. Ability to play ball forward with exact velocity and direction you want it to have when breaking forward is the biggest improvement.

Hrm... still haven't gotten my hands on either, but some of the defending in the GT PES 2011 review was atrocious. I'm assuming they were playing on an easier level, but sweet Jesus, what I would not give for sliders. Take it as you will at their final decision, that PES still cannot compete with FIFA. That's a zinger.

PES hits the states on Tuesday though, although I can't find it for anything other than the 360 anywhere. I only have time for two (one if i'm honest) sports game that isn't FM at this point (since that's been a must-buy for about five years now), and PES and FIFA are up against a strong, strong challenge from NHL11 and NBA 2K11, every review for which increases my ardor.

Don't buy it for 360. Without PC mods (unlicensed stuff + dozens of stadiums + high-res kits + faces + adboards etc. etc.) PES is worth nothing.
edit: Wow. NBA 2K11 looks sweet. Jordan mode with things like playing 'flu game' pretty much sold me on it even though I haven't played basketball on PC in something like 5-6 years. Is learning curve steep? Is it fun on lower difficulty settings?

maxox wrote:

Anyone here still own PES 2010 for the 360? I picked up a copy this weekend to give the PES series another shot after being thoroughly unimpressed with the FIFA 11 demo. I'd like to try it online, but don't want to step into the murky pubbie world.

I do. My gamertag is dejanzie, if you ever want to dabble online. Disclaimer: I've only played 5 games or so, don't expect me to be a pro.

UCRC wrote:

Don't buy it for 360. Without PC mods (unlicensed stuff + dozens of stadiums + high-res kits + faces + adboards etc. etc.) PES is worth nothing.
edit: Wow. NBA 2K11 looks sweet. Jordan mode with things like playing 'flu game' pretty much sold me on it even though I haven't played basketball on PC in something like 5-6 years. Is learning curve steep? Is it fun on lower difficulty settings?

From what I understand, the answers to your questions are yes and yes, but only after some slider tweaking. But immensely rewarding if you take time to learn it.

I need to try the demo for PES2011 tonight, but based on my short time with PES2010 I'm totally on board for PES2011 (360 version). Looks like there is a mostly complete option file available for the 360. That's pretty much all I need to be happy.

maxox wrote:

I need to try the demo for PES2011 tonight, but based on my short time with PES2010 I'm totally on board for PES2011 (360 version). Looks like there is a mostly complete option file available for the 360. That's pretty much all I need to be happy.

Nowadays you can pretty much patch up everything with OFs (along with custom kits and logos) so you're set then. I didn't know that it was possible to import OFs on 360, I thought it was only possible on PS3.

For me PES is perfect PC game, because it's what I play when I have 15 minute break when working on computer. (So it's also main reason why I never get anything done when working on computer ;])

The 360 now allows you to use USB drives as "memory cards". Writing to the USB "memory cards" requires a program that can read and write to the file system Microsoft formats the USB drives to use.

How long did it take you to adapt to the fatigue system? By my third game I thought I had figured it out only to see a red bar over Lionel Messi's head after his 2nd dash down the field in the first 25 minutes of the game.

Also my complaint about Xavi not playing like Xavi in FIFA11. Totally the opposite in PES2011. I wasn't pinging through balls past the back line every time, but I didn't have a defender jumping the passing lane everytime he passed and I was able to play a couple of pretty through balls.

I am going to finish off my Master League season in 2010 before I pick up 2011, but I like what I've been seeing from Konami. My wife even made a comment about how much nicer 2011 looked compared to 2010.

maxox wrote:

How long did it take you to adapt to the fatigue system? By my third game I thought I had figured it out only to see a red bar over Lionel Messi's head after his 2nd dash down the field in the first 25 minutes of the game.

Well, red bar is pretty much inconclusive: you've probably noticed that it operates binarily (that's a word now), either red or green with nothing in-between. I'm playing ML season and squad rotation I have to do from game to game resembles real-world stuff.

And yeah, passing in 2011 is yummy. Especially when you try to play strong ground pass along the wing or long direct ball from one wing to another. (I play with three defenders in my Lazio ML save, though, so most of the time I resort to K.I.S.S., I'll have to switch my tactic to accommodate some more varied passing patterns)