30/10/2017

☆ "The Night Football Fun Came Home To Playstation" ☆ #Retrogaming

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Back in the time before FIFA ruled the soccer video games landscape PES was the game of choice.

The fun that the game brought me is incomparable to the sterile relationship I have with the current crop of FIFA reproductions we get handed every year.


I have said it before and it's most definitely true, the fun of football games has been drained out of the genre and replaced with a desire from developers to create a realistic as possible product.


The problem with this is that realism brings boring to the table. The fact is that 80% of real football matches are actually tactical boredom. 


Just look at the recent Liverpool vs Man Utd match to see how an overhyped product generally fails to deliver on the media frenzy from Sky and various media sources.

Now, why the heck would you want to spend your time playing a football game that makes it as hard to score in a game as it is in real life?


It's just not fun, is it?



This simple truth was displayed best to me on Friday 13th October 2017 when I met up with some old friends to play a game we all used to play when we worked and socialised together. 

We even created a 5 A Side Football team dedicated to its name in the form of Enfield Evolution.

That video game is Pro Evolution Soccer 4.


This game has stood the test of time and is still the most fun that you can have a with 4 people, a multitap and a PS2.


I haven't played the game in a local multiplayer setup for years. In its heydey, I would play a lot of 2 player co-op and especially enjoyed Master League 2 player co-op with my mate Fran as we built an Amsterdam team to rival the world's best.




On this occasion, we opted for some two on 2 action as we battled out a Spurs vs Arsenal scenario in a best of 3 matches. The fun and laughter were evident from minute one as we all remembered exactly why we ploughed so many hours into this game back in 2004 (13 years ago!).

The game is pure and the passing is crisp. The game is also fair and you don't ever feel frustrated, you just feel like you mucked up if you make a mistake. It's your fault and rarely an annoyance that is built into the game. This makes for the best football experience on a console that there has ever been and ever likely to be.

There are tricks hidden away in the control scheme but you don't need to master these in order to succeed in the game, they are just nice touches to add a further layer of awesomeness to the game if you are skilled enough to pull them off.

We started to play the game at around 7 in the evening and it rolled around to 1:30 am before any of us checked the clock. The game swept us all away with its laughter laden gameplay and a certain secret recipe of fun and a certain sense of realism that separates it from being totally arcade. 




In my opinion, it’s the perfect balance of realism and arcade football that makes this game the ideal football game.

There was a tipping point beyond PES4 which saw the game franchise lean towards the chase for realism and that's exactly where PES lost its way. It lost a piece of its DNA over the course of video gaming evolution and therefore lost its identity and its crown to an inferior franchise called FIFA from EA.

On Friday the 13th 2017 though PES4 was once again the king and we even managed to take part in a Konami Cup Competition vs the CPU controlled opponents where we were all on the same team.

It took us a few attempts, to say the least, but on our last tournament entry for the night we managed to take our ITALIA team to the final where we got thumped 2-0 by a brilliant Argentinian team.

The bottom line is this game should be played by anybody attempting to build a great football game. If you could somehow extract that secret recipe of realism and fun balance that PES4 mastered then you could topple FIFA from that shaky perch it currently sits on.

For now, my friends and I are planning our next PES4 night and I have a feeling that this will be a regular fixture in our calendar as great friends come back together to play a timeless great football game.


There's even talk of starting a Master League Team ...... better go and purchase a memory card then!


Does PES4 Stand The Test Of Time For You?

"STAY FROSTY!"