PES 2015 Review – Xbox 360 Version

Well, I took the leap of faith. Conversing with Bedgell recently (it was actually ages ago now. I’m a lazy Grig!) planted a seed of longing to try the latest PES offering as I regaled him with the widespread opinions I had seen online that the legendary series had reclaimed its crown from FIFA with the 2015 instalment. Having been stung repeatedly with every subsequent crappy release after the amazing PES 5 until I finally gave up buying the series around 2010, I wanted to tread carefully, but the hope of PES being awesome again was hard to suppress! Spying the game recently at a reduced cost, I held my breath and took the plunge.

PES Logo

Could PES 2015 really be the saviour of the appalling footballing genre that is so desperately needed, thus rewarding my faith? Read on my dear Greaders for the full lowdown…

In a word, no. And in other words, the game is crap. Atrocious, even. To the point of the wrong kind of laughter such is it’s pitifulness. Picking this one up was a more foolish move than Wenger letting Chelsea have Fabregas. Sheesh. Cheers Konami.

Right, lets get started. The graphics suck. I mean, they are really crap. All the hype about using the Fox Engine is for nowt. And yes, I know the engine and game has had far more effort put into it on the new machines, but they’ve had Fox on last gen for a couple of years and I’d have hoped it would be better than this! I’d be surprised if it was even 720p. I mean, I’m sure it is, but it just looks so fuzzy. And I’d fathom a guess that 60fps is not a predominant frame rate, especially not in ‘authentic’ cut scenes featuring player close ups. I could go into a wealth of details here ranging from the low polygon count cardboard box style shorts that I thought had been left behind in Virtua Fighter 1, the flat lifeless crowds and stadiums, or even the horrible pitch textures that look like they were made in MS Paint… but at the end of the day, just know this – the graphics suck.

PES Gameplay

Football. Looking at this picture I don’t wonder why I spent most of my life thinking it was boring.

Presentation is the same low grade garbage that you expect PES to have but thought that after all this time, couldn’t possibly STILL be awful after all the grief they get for it. But alas, this year is no different. Utter crap. The overall feel is still stuck in PES 2008 days, and the whole taste is more Sky Mangle than Sky Sports. Whatever that means. Actually, if I’m picking Neighbours characters, this is Cody Willis. This. Is. Cody. Let that horror sink in for a moment. Traumatised? Good. Now we can move on. But apart from everything looking toilet, the functionality of it all is pushing the boundaries of poop town too. Just trying to navigate the menus is such a chore that it’s bewildering. Its like they wrote all the options down on bits of paper and then threw them randomly into five upturned hats representing main option categories to decide where everything will go. The most fundamental of options that should prominently feature such as reconfiguring the useless default controls is so well hidden that I actually feared they weren’t in the game until I actually had to visit forums to get pointers to locate their whereabouts. And as it turns out, control options are only accessible from the main menu, rather than the in game options. Utterly absurd. I had to venture in and out of three or four matches to get the game close to what I wanted, painstakingly going back and forth when it should have all been there in the pause menu to adjust instantaneously. Grig! This was made all the more painful by the incredible load times when starting matches which are atrocious and about five times as long as FIFA’s, if I’m being generous. Oh, and which ever asylum-escapee thought having reversed controls for corners and free kicks as standard was a good idea needs a serious medication boost. All in all, major suckage of the highest order.

Ronaldo

Setanta Sports. What ever happened to them?

Sound is typically crap as is synonymous with PES. The usual assortment of ‘last seasons’ outdated pop songs are all present and correct in a poor attempt to mimic the down-with-the-kidz vibe of FIFA, giving PES it’s usual musical retail outlet feel compared to FIFA’s more current offerings. But once again, it’s the commentary that’s the star of the buh-show. In and of itself, it’s the best I’ve heard from PES, but that’s not saying much. The trademark robotic script reading is all present and correct, and the application of what is being said is typically and continuously out of context with what’s going on in the game. Head-shakingly bad as per usual then.

Gameplay wise? Grig me… I almost don’t even know which is the most appalling aspect of this category to even start on since there are so many bad areas on display here.

Passing is awful, with your players just knocking the ball out of play at regular random intervals and just being generally wayward right across the board. Busting through opposition defences with through balls seems to be the go-to tactic, but even then players run on to the ball at speed and then inexplicably slow down by a big margin turning a huge break with all the time into the world into being caught in possession and losing the ball to the opposition in the blink of an eye. And the computer freakin’ loves a good pass straight to the opposition. Again. And again. And AGAIN!!! Course this could partly be down to your horrible team A.I standing around in sporadic clumps with any formation long gone, or just ‘queuing’ behind opposition players to remove themselves as a passing option, but I digress. Seems to be that if the CPU doesn’t quite understand what you’re asking of it via your controller inputs, it defaults to doing something incredibly stupid, often completely at odds with your inputs. Groovy.

Player selection (or modifier, or whatever they call it) , after you’ve spent about an hour getting the assist levels vaguely close to being how you want it, is still awful at the best of times. Clicking through the same two or three insignificant distant players repeatedly doesn’t seem to tip the computer off that you might be after someone different, possibly that one grigging player who would be useful standing near the action if you could only select him! But noooooooooo! Standard nightmarish fare.

Shooting is probably the games strongest point, in that it actually puts the ball on target fairly decently, rather than feeling like there’s an invisible ramp in front of the goal that the ball rolls up in order to intentionally sky it as in previous offerings. But sidestepping crapness by just not being appalling is a low bar, as the keepers are so useless it can feel like they’re not even there leaving scoring being wholly unsatisfying. Watching the most pathetic shots known to man trickle in as the pensioner-like keepers once again sluggishly feign saving movements in the direction of the ball with no intention of stopping it is miles off of being convincing. Unrewarding when in your favour, infuriating when done against you.

Bleeth

A brief intermission from talking about this game because this is more interesting. Yasmine Bleeth caught out and about for the first time in ten years. Darn you time, you vile beast! Thoughts… and I’m looking mostly for words of comfort here?

Defending is a joke since players are all over the place not holding lines or positions in order to intentionally create spaces and playing people onside thus making a lot of opportunities but feeling completely forced and unnatural. Plus the tackling mechanics are so bad I can’t even begin to fathom what they were thinking. Slide tackling is massively delayed and has no relation to the pace at which you’re travelling prior to the slide as it can have next to no reach even if you’re running at full speed before activation one minute, and then launch you meters from near standstill the next. This is made all the worse by the fact that the standard tackle just does not seem to work at all. Hitting and double tapping the tackle button just kinda does… nothing. Well, nothing but send your player into bizarre spasms of indistinguishable animations, often with an opposing player standing there sauntering along with the ball at his feet while you perform some kind of ritualistic erotic dance in rings around them while they venture forward as if you’re not there. If you’re lucky, you might just knock the ball slightly away from the feet of Mungo Jones from Nowheresville United’s under-fives, but taking on Diego Costa you might as well just put the pad down for all the good it does. And its not like these players are getting away from you. You can have three players all over them, but the game just decides that you’re not going to have the ball, particularly against the CPU, hence why it feels like the tackle button just doesn’t work. It’s actually inconceivable that all those years ago since I last played PES, this same gripe was one of the things that grigged me off about this game – buzzing round your opponent often moving in between the ball and the opposing player but without your player making any attempt to take the ball. And here it still is. Grigging A…

Teri1

On the subject of retro babes… check this out from Teri Hatchers Twitter feed! ‘@HatchingChange: Jack & me watching @iliza #FreezingHot Who needs date night when you’ve got a dog & an awesome comedienne?!’
Yeah yeah yeah. Enough of the buh/banter, Tezza. I’m more interested in the fact… YOU HAVE A WII! Gamer confirmed!

Teri2

Finally the Grig is breaking her down and bringing the evidence to light! I mean, it is the first Wii. And i’m guessing it’s seen more Wii Fit than it has a Xenoblade Chronicles. But still!

Wii

In my excitement at this breaking news bombshell, I got our Grig Scientists to mock up a replica setup as best they could here at Grig Towers for added definition… and to make me almost feel like I was there with Teri, firing up a copy of Journey of Dreams while explaining to her how Sega RUINED IT! And yes, the machine we used does indeed have a VHS slot. Grig wins again.

Wii U Compare

There is actually something else next to the Wii hidden in the shadows, though it’s hard to see what. Could that little whitish blob be the Wii U logo on a black machine? Probably a stretch, but could be! But until we find a couple of AAA batteries to fire up the Grig Orig Bat-computer for full analysis, we’ll just have to speculate.

Teri3

Ok, I’m getting desperate here. And this didn’t work. Better give up the ghost before the Police turn up here at Grig Towers. Usually I’d make an entire 15,000 word strong article out of this kind of revelation, but putting out two articles in a month could make people think this blog is active and might make them come back. Best not to push it. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes. PES…

The age old foe that is scripting is also abundantly at play here, especially in games against the CPU, trying which was probably the most depressing use of my gaming time I can recall in recent years. Sucker punch 90th minute goals, or in fact conceding three over 6 game minutes if necessary, are all regular occurrences. Watching the CPU sluggishly meander upfield and put it in the net as your pressing players bounce off of them, or if not the actual attacking players, popping off of invisible pockets of space in order to keep you away from the ball, is all too common. In fact, pressing the tackle button should come with a sound effect that activates saying ‘No’, ‘Nope’, ‘Uh-uh’ with every tap as your opposition trapeses through. At least then the grigging thing would do something! Conceding against the CPU feels more like you’re receiving a 2nd class stamped slow moving written confirmation of what you already know to be true by the time you eventually are actually scored against. ‘Dear sir/madam, we are writing to inform you that you have conceded a goal. This goal was delivered as you wrangled helplessly with the controls trying in vain to stop it for approximately 30 very slow and dull seconds after you realised what the computer was doing. If you care to contest this, we regret to inform you that this decision is final. Lots of love, the CPU.’ Tssk! Freakin’ PES!

Free Kick

Better put a picture of the game here rather than something else to do with girls who were hot in the 90’s to avoid ‘norms’ accusing us of going off on tangents. Mmm… 90’s babes. I wonder what Jet’s been up to?

In conclusion, the sad truth is, it’s just a crap version of FIFA. Or rather, a more crap version of the crappy game that is FIFA. Its FIFA if you dropped it into a big vat full of Anusol, and all the gloss and functional parts had fallen off. Worse in every area, despite what I’ve read – and really REALLY wanted to be true – and with the added bane of having barely any real licensed teams or stadia, just to take away from any possible atmosphere of authenticity. While its true that PES has never had that in its favour and isn’t really even worth mentioning, these days it doesn’t even have the gameplay to make up for it. There is not only no point buying this game, but there is no point in this game existing. It’s just a worse version of a game that’s already out with nowt going for it at all. There is nothing good about it. Like… I can’t give you one thing. And I want to. I can’t stand EA, and I don’t like FIFA. But, as much as it pains me to say it, it’s better than PES. By a long way.

Overall: 15%

Atrocious. And I’m being seriously lenient here – I have loads more I could have said about this game. But at the end of the day this game is an utterly miserable experience. Just awful in every regard. It’s not often I experience genuine shock at how bad a game is, but for my first day playing this, that’s what I got. I gave PES one last chance after five years away. It won’t be getting another. You’d be better off picking up any of the past seven or so FIFA’s for 50p at a charity shop. Or just go back to PES 5. I never get rid of games, and I even enjoy the odd crap one, but this game is a goner. Straight through the bars of Grig Towers basement door with it! An eternity in the company of The Grig ought to be about right for it. But in this case, I don’t know who comes off worse…

merrett3

What the…?!!! I should have grigging known! Merritt! From his own Twitter feed, now working for Konami and hosting PES tournaments! So they refuse to fund Snatcher 2, fire Kojima, and yet Steve here is on the ol’ payroll? No wonder the whole company’s going down the pan! Still, looks like a quality turn out for Stevie…

Jet Arena

Well we can’t go out on a low note like that! Jet, seen here presenting Grig Orig Live, went down a treat when we played Wembley Arena. The crowd loved watching us play Street Fighter, getting a guided tour of hot girls houses in Hailsham via Google Maps street view, and heckling The Grig by throwing skiddy gamers undercrackers at him. Probably. I did actually tweet Jet once asking her if she could help me with Sonics construction cheat in a reference to her Games Mistress days. Thought it would be charming. She didn’t reply.

‘Til next time…

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