Pro Evolution Soccer: What is PES Magic?
This generation has not been a good one for fans of football games and there’s one reason for that – there has been no PES Magic. PES itself has lost its Magic and FIFA, while vastly improved and a great game in its own right these days, just doesn’t have it. This state of affairs is widely agreed upon at PLAY and at all our sister magazines, but never before has the precise nature of PES Magic been discussed. I started to wonder if PES Magic was nothing but rose-tinted nostalgia, so I asked around the office to see if we could come up with a definition that was anywhere near concrete.
First to reply was PLAY’s own editor-in-chief Aaron Asadi who simply said, “Scripting.” He’s probably trying to be funny there, but his was a point elaborated on by X360’s Dave Shaw, whose life pretty much revolves entirely around football,
“The ability to know that a match is being orchestrated from on high, but not care as it feels fair regardless. This generation, it’s been initiative upon initiative until the experience is barely recognisable.”
Interesting that with all this talk of ‘Total Control’ in PES 2011, that we have two people acknowledging that surrendering a degree of control to a higher PES power is, or at least, an important part of the PES Magic experience.
But it’s all about striking a balance. One that perhaps makes you feel more in control than you necessarily are. As PowerStation’s Editor Ryan Butt puts it,
“PES Magic – being able to control the flow and natural pace of football and knowing that the ball will behave exactly as you intend it to via a combination of body position, the area you strike the ball and the curvature that you put on it. No PES game has possessed this magic since the PS2, everything feels too detached and clunky now, meaning FIFA is the best we have to put up with, which in itself leaves you feeling detached.”
You can tell he’s really thought about that, can’t you?
My next reply came from PLAY news editor Jon Gordon,
“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”
At first I thought he’d completely misunderstood the question, but I read it back a few times and gave it some more thought and, you know what, I think he might be onto something there.
Then I heard the lamentation of PLAY’s Ian Dransfield,
“It had TRUE UNDERDOG SPIRIT, facing up to the evils of the megalomaniacal FIFA and triumphing by playing a far better game of football than the properly licensed property. Then it went ‘next-gen’ and, with it, shit. It has never recovered. They need to take a year off, rip it to pieces and build a new engine from scratch, as this one just doesn’t work very well.”
Maybe that’s what went wrong. PES was really gaining ground on FIFA towards the end of the last generation. Perhaps Konami panicked, fearing that if PES overtook FIFA it would lose its underdog spirit, so it was deliberately scuppered. No, actually that makes no sense at all.
X360’s Steve Burns makes sense though,
“For me, PES Magic is the frisson of excitement gained from getting the game and noticing its little intricacies, whether you distinguish said intricacies as being different from the last game or just utterly, beautifully analogous to the real game. Recent games haven’t had the magic because A) It’s turned into kick and rush arcade nonsense that bears no real resemblance to the actual game, and B) the game hasn’t changed all that much since Pro 6. However, I sensed a tiny bit of the magic this year: it needs a lot of work but the commitment to the passing game and knowing individual players strengths reminded me of PES of old. NOSTALGIA!”
See. That all makes a lot of sense. Finally, NowGamer.com editor-in-chief Nick Jones, who’s the first person I can remember using the term ‘PES Magic’,
“Do you know what, I don’t actually remember. Let me have a think and I’ll get back to you.”
Oh. He did remember eventually though,
“Me, jumping out of my chair, screaming at Miles Guttery, calling him a **** when he scored some late jippy goal. Being lost in that moment, totally believing in what’s happening on screen and having that passion about it.”
Miles Guttery was unavailable for comment. We should point out that he’s not really a **** though. That was just the PES Magic talking.