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Pro Evolution Soccer: What is PES Magic?

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.

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  • Ace_boogie

    Agree with your points.

    For my since PS3 came out, there hasnt been ONE good PES- lets be honest. All the PES games I bought on PS3 were out of loyalty- which ran out last year after I played PES 2010- which I found awful.

    The best thing, as mentioned above, is admit defeat- take a year out and come back with a hell of a game. Cos at the moment the gap between PES and FIFA is really wide- in FIFA’s favour.

    Coming from a long time PES fan (ISS on N64), I hope they rediscover their magic.

  • Tootee

    I love pes more than any other game but i dont understand why they do a game without the bundesliga. Its BY FAR the most interesting league in the world(all the other leagues in Europe have only 2 teams that win the league). Konamis sells in germany more games than in any other EU country. So why not why not?????
    And tell me how many people in europe care about the copa libertadores???dont spent money on something like that!!!!!

  • Paul

    @Tootee: You know, this game is not sold in Europe only… I’m from South America and really happy about the Libertadores license. It’s a good competition. Don’t ask for it to be cut out of the game out of spite man!

  • saintric28

    I think everyone knows whats missing in the next gen pes its the plastic clunky no atmosphere robot running…ness it doesnt feel like your involved in a football match but a video game where as the ps2 versions the game flowed smoothly with great atmosphere and small details that made you go “wow did you see what my player just did?” i have no doubt pes 2011 will be pes on next gen that will be acceptable but i dont believe its going to be rem as a classic

  • Daymos

    I see what both of you are saying.
    But my only guess for no german league must be some licence exclusivity laws

  • Anderson

    @paul: you’re right, PES has a huge fanbase in south america, bigger than most european countries, so, Libertadores will be a great adition in the game for a lot of people.

  • Tootee

    im sorry guys but i just looked up and they sold 600,000 copies in south america. And they sold more than 700,000 in italy. I wouldnt call that i big market. I know in south america many people play it but they dont buy it…

  • Brads

    To me pes is more than a game,its like the club I support(Arsenal). Its part of my soul, I just can’t change oneday and start supporting tottenham because they weren’t playing good football.I’m from South Africa were I don’t really meet that many pes fans, everyones brainwashed by Fifa,why? Its all because of licensing! Konami need give an offcial statement regarding the full licensing and wether they are trying to accqiure it.For me the main licenses are English Premier League and German Bundesliga.

    There are some major improvements needed but we also need to be patient because greatness does take time. I’m pretty excited about pes 11 amongst all the negativity going around.

  • jonnyvivid

    In retrospect they should of released a HD upgrade of pes 6 (pes 5 still my favourite) and released dlc upgrades and all the while building the game from scratch over an intensive 2 year period.I just want a game that represents the sport i love and satisfies me enough to keep me playing it for at least 10 months solid.Fifa is merely filling the space until PES truly returns.And im delighted for fans in South America with the new licence and this will add interesting negotiations within the master league,but all the polish,option files and licences mean nothing without the gameplay.

  • Fifa

    Lets be honest. You dont hear about the PES World Cup that happened in S.africa this year, you hear about the FIFA world Cup. Fifa is a monster, this article is cack. Fifa10 was the best footballing game ever made and with the introduction of FIFA11 with its custom tracks and get this, (use of the goalie as a playable avatar) it seems Konami should go back to doing games it does best, like METAL GEAR SOLID

  • WE

    Feeling the emotion of playing or watching a footy game while playing the videogame. You feel euphoria after scoring a hard-earned goal, cursing your luck whenever the ref gives away a soft freekick around the edge of the penalty box, feeling the pride whenever you outpass and outplay your mates, etc. That’s PES Magic for me. PES 5 had all this and more, sadly none of the current gen football games (FIFA included) were able to recreate that kind of emotion. FIFA will never have magic because they are only interested in satisfying the casual fans, so come on Konami, bring PES 2011 back to its glory days.

  • in south america the game costs Twice as much, and the consoles too :/

  • jonk

    I’m not able to quantify why I no longer enjoy PES or FIFA in the last couple of years, but there definitely seems to be something deeply wrong with them I don’t think it’s just I’m becoming bored as I never have of watching. I just think they’ve totally failed to intelligently progress the series. They’re like a racing game that is neither arcade or realistic, just a really bad in between. I don’t think it’s possible to play tactically well in the games, and I think the fun level has decreased a lot due to a whole range of things. Why don’t they get the top managers and coaches to consult? Give more control, it’s a complex game, so what if people complain because it’s not automated for you the same as last years.

    Then you can talk about the content depth. Sure there’s lots of teams available and modes, but fifa never changes its menus anymore and they’re just looking to get more money with card games and premium squad updates. Where are 5-a-sides? Where is detailed training? Where are goals of the season or highlight reels of whole events? We have hard-drives now. Why can’t I even save replays in fifa? Where is a proper well thought out online system not made by a bunch of people who have no clue what they are doing with no care given for usability? Check on forums there are lists of hundreds of easily implemented obvious features that they just don’t bother with. If you told me they only spent 2 months at the start of the season developing fifa/pes every year I wouldn’t be surprised. They’re both too scared to do what’s needed and make big changes.

    You cannot simulate football, you can just simulate a team of 10 people playing like idiots almost all of the time while 1 player does the right thing. And a lot of the time that 1 does not do what you wanted. It seems like neither games let you control defenders, switch to one when under pressure and suddenly opponents through on goal because he moved in the opposite direction intended… Everything is automated. You cannot recreate anything like a football match. Shots are not realistic, you cant ever hit it straight in fifa, you cant hit it quickly in either. During a corner each team just presses 1 button and it plays itself. To shoot low and hard is impossible, you either place it gently or blast it high. Fifa doesn’t even let you change the few tactical settings available in 1v1 online which is the only mode worth playing anymore. Gone are the days of wasting time slaughtering retarded AI opponents for no reason when you can play competitively online. They should just leave all the singleplayer features alone there’s enough of them anyway and not enough online depth. Fifa has enough but they’re all badly implemented and a hassle to use.


  • Xobi

    While Ill agree that the PES magic is missing, i still cant play fifa and trust me I tried. I played Fifa 2009 and 2010, but it just didnt do it for me,…… I liked it in bits, like the through ball control was great….. But my friends and I still love PES . Just bring that magic back.
    Taking a year off might do it but it might just be bad for the PES name. I suggest putting 2 teams……… One that starts the re-imagining of PES (keeping the last gen PES in mind) and the other which works on the consequent PES.

  • PES magic for me was that for any game something unpredictable could happen. It managed to mimic real-life football in that way. I could have the ball in my half and build up a play finishing with a shot I never knew would go in. Equally there were moments when it all came together and when you smack that ball (like in PES 5) you almost feel it and can sense whether it’s going to be something special.

    It’s odd, Konami made it feel like there was actual weight to the ball. Nowadays it seems to have lost that and gained more focus on how good the players look and how realistic their body moves while hitting the ball.

    Backwards step in my opinion.

  • aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Well gameplay wise fifa is still no for hardcore football gamers. Fifa is for casual, kids and old pp alike. Kind a like nintendo wii coz its so easy to play. A pro evo player playing first time in fifa can be good gamer in fifa but fifa gamer will be really be bad one in pes. By the way fifa having mass licenseing gives it unfair advantage. Just EA has monopoly in NFL and MLB. So in the end i would like to add for saying such stupid thing u really must be one of those casual kiddy gamers of football.