Time for a change…
I imagine, by now, most of you have probably played the PES 2015 demo. Hopefully you’re still playing it, because from a gameplay point of view it’s fantastic. It’s easy for me to say then that the gameplay remains largely the same as the demo, after all it’s supposed to be a good representation of the final product. My thoughts from the gamescom code, where I went into detail, still stand. This might sound like a cop out or something, but it’s the truth. Yes, there’s an extra level of polish as PES 2015 nears completion, but the core gameplay remains the same as the demo. I couldn’t be happier either, because (as stated earlier) what’s present in the demo is largely fantastic. Keepers are still good, shooting has that oomph and individuality/team styles are present. To reiterate, that core gameplay the majority of you have been enjoying from the demo hasn’t been messed up. Breathe, Konami hasn’t made any drastic changes or messed anything up.
The gameplay is still a joy, and shines even more brightly with more teams at your disposal. Whether you’re playing as Stoke (The Potteries) or Manchester United (they’re licensed), they’re contrasting styles come through amazingly well. As Manchester United you can take advantage of fluid formations, getting the best out of your attack, but might be found out when it comes to defending against the better teams. On the other hand, with Stoke you’ll find you have to stick to one gameplan and try to make it work. By that, I mean get the ball in the box and use players like Peter Crouch. It’s not pretty, but it works… Sometimes. Just like Stoke’s style in reality. There’s a clear distinction is team and player styles. It’s great.
Now I know there are quite a few of you who want some major changes made, whether it be more varied animations for keepers, ball physics or the dreaded net physics. Let me be honest, at this stage of PES 2015, not all of these things are going to happen. Perhaps one or two might make it in as Konami gear up for the November release, but not everything. It’s about being careful what you wish for at this stage, as even the smallest change to something like keepers or shooting could have a negative impact on the gameplay, something which is in a great place right now. So, yes, I do expect some gameplay tweaks from this point to final release, but nothing too major. Right now, at this stage, it’s mainly about the modes, so let’s get on with it shall we?
Arguably the most iconic mode in PES, and the one I’ve spent the most time with so far. My thoughts are mixed, mainly because the gameplay from game to game is great. You get that feeling you’re going through a long season, with each match offering up some different. That’s in terms of style and challenge, especially if you’re playing on superstar. I’ve been playing my mainly with Stoke and it’s been oh so tough, but I’m loving it. I have to play like Stoke, meaning I can’t have an expansive style of play as I’ll just end up getting cut open. Plus, I don’t have player that can adopt that type of strategy. It’s just not possible. The teams in the demo are very good, with top players, so if you’re good then it’s something you can do. Yeah, not with the lesser teams. You’ll have to play like they do in real life. As stated earlier when talking about the gameplay, with Stoke I’m actively looking for set pieces and attempting to get the ball in the box whenever I can. I’m having to use my “star” players like Peter Crouch, Stephen Ireland and Marko Arnautovi?. I still have to keep my concentration, but it kind of works against teams like Hull and Crystal Palace, whereas I’m almost overrun by teams like Liverpool and Manchester United at times. Their passing and movement is tough to deal with when I don’t exactly have the most mobile defenders like Robert Huth. Yeah, the gameplay is great.
It’s a shame then that what surround the gameplay in Master League isn’t that great. There’s no real substance to the management part of the mode, and some of it just doesn’t make sense. I hate to compare, but whatever you think of FIFA 15’s gameplay, the career mode is pretty expansive and makes you feel like you’re managing a club. You don’t really get that feeling in PES 2015’s Master League, there’s a huge disconnect and your immersion levels drop when you’re doing pretty much anything outside of matches. The transfer system (negotiations) are based on a smiley faces being a certain colour, something that is almost downright embarrassing for a title that does so much right when it comes to the on pitch stuff. Then there’s the logic around transfers, allowing me as Stoke to easily sign Ander Herrera or Graziano Pellè. That shouldn’t be happening. My scouts shouldn’t be recommending me these players, let alone them being easy to sign. Both players have just joined their respective clubs, why would they join Stoke soon after? There should be some kind of logic system in place that doesn’t allow instances like this.
There’s no proper way to keep track of your messages either, they’re just part of some random menu that you come across after forwarding time. That leads me nicely on to my next point, you can’t stop the time forwarding process once you choose to proceed, meaning you could lose 10 days of a calendar without doing anything at all. The calendar will only stop at the next designated event or match, it’s so frustrating as you could lose days in the transfer window at the start of the season. Example, you start on 1st August and when you press forward time, the next date you can actually do anything is 10th August. At that point you’re bombarded with messages on a screen… Yeah, it’s poorly implemented and extremely frustrating. On top of that, everything else outside the matches just feels dull. Like I said, you don’t feel like you’re managing a club and feel disconnected with the experience when you’re not playing a match. There’s a little ticker at the bottom of the screen telling you about other news, but it’s so discrete that it might as well not be there.
Similar modes in other sports games have come along so much, delivering both style and substance to compliment the gameplay. Konami needs to take note and learn. Master League is in need of big overhaul, because from what I’ve played so far the gameplay saves it. Outside of that the experience is a bit dull and in desperate need of freshening up. With the gameplay now at the level it needs to be, I’d like to Master League receive some real attention in PES 2016, because right now it’s not much different to PES 2014 and lagging way behind the competition.
To compliment this write-up, I put together a short video that shows off exactly what I mean as I talk over it. I recommend watching it, just in case what I wrote didn’t fully make sense.