If you have played the new Pro Evolution game in the past few months you’ll know that Konami finally got their act together and brought the game back to its roots.
PES 2016 is a fabulous football game and it brings so much of the classic enjoyment back into the new era. While playing through the Master League, which is still so appealing ten years on from its heyday, I realised that the older generations of this game were so ahead of their time.
And, as PES legend Adriano turns 34 today, how fitting would it be to delve into the archives and look back at what made the game so great? PES 4, 5 and 6 were masterpieces and if Konami wanted to make a boatload of money, they would remaster one of them for the current generation of gaming systems.
I’d give them all of my money, I know that.
Here are 9 things we remember from PES that make us want to go on eBay and buy a PlayStation 2 and all of the games tonight.
1. Adriano’s 99 Shooting Power
If you played the old PES games you will have used Adriano, and if you used Adriano you will have realised that he’s the best player to ever feature on any football game ever.
It’s that simple really. I mean, he had 99 shot power. He was a God. Rumour has it one of the game’s executives, Shingo ‘Seabass’ Takatsuka (is that the best nickname ever we think so) gave Adriano these incredible stats because he was a massive fan of Inter Milan.
In his prime – in real life – Adriano was brilliant for Inter and Brazil and although he never reached the lofty heights the game set for him (frankly who could?), we’ll always remember the joyous times we had with him on PES. Thank you Adriano and thank you Seabass.
2. Alvaro Recoba’s 99 Curling
It is not often that a player has one specific category completely maxed out on a game, but Alvaro Recoba’s curling was in the older games and he, like Adriano, is a PES God.
The left-footed wizard scored many a memorable goal, as showcased by this video below.
What a tune.
Give me Alvaro Recoba and Adriano over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo any day.
3. Master League
Ah, Master League, the memories we’ve had together. You let me sign Thierry Henry for Liverpool and his hundreds of goals ensured that the Reds won plenty of silverware. You gave me my greatest rival, PES United, and you defined a generation of gaming.
FIFAhave done extremely well with their Ultimate Team game mode. Plenty of fans buy the game just for that mode alone, but Master League is the king.
It is still great to this day. Being given the chance to start with a team’s current squad or in the lower leagues with made up players and a small budget is the ultimate challenge.
As Sinead O’Connor would say, nothing compares to you.
4. PES Edit Mode
Remember spending hours upon hours – even days – just working your way through a squad on the editor? I do. It was the greatest of times.
Many an editing session was spent on my PS2 as I changed Steven Gerrard’s hair, his shirt, his socks and then renamed Liverpool’s stadium ‘Anfield’, even debating whether to keep it as ‘Red Cauldron’.
What’s the best thing about the editor I hear you ask. Well, it’s the funky music constantly playing in the background as Xabi Alonso is given a ponytail and has his socks pulled halfway down his shins.
I’m tearing up here.
5. Ability to change form
This is still in PES 2016 and it’s brilliant. If you’ve played PES, you know what I’m talking about. Pre-match, there’s a chance to make sure your team is on top form while lowering your opponents’ and making them play like a non-league side, trust me it makes a massive difference.
We’ll have all had that moment when playing a mate and they pop up of the room before a match to get a snack or drink and you quickly change their team to being horrendously out of form and then smiling like an evil genius as you stick 10 past them.
6. Crazy Names
Yes, Fifa has always dominated the naming rights business in football gaming, but we didn’t mind back in the day did we?
Anyway, the lack of naming rights in most of the game’s teams was funny as it saw us trying to work out which players we were actually using. Then once we’d figured it out, we’d spend hours in Edit Mode fixing it.
Remember the likes of Hottebeunik (Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink), Orhailmanaz (Marc Overmars), Mahaail (Roy Makaay), Von Mistelroum (Ruud Van Nistelrooy) or even Oranje (the Dutch national team)? Great times.
7. PES Shop
There were so many good things to buy in this shop! The old version outshines any current edition on both PES and FIFA (who copied it after realising how good it was).
Inside this magical place, players could buy legends of the game or Freddy Adu… okay let’s move on. You could buy weird outfits for players like a Penguin or a Raptor that they could genuinely wear on the pitch and play in.
New balls, stadiums, hair cuts and celebrations were also available as well as much more. It was great and now I’m feeling all nostalgic again.
8. Random Select Mode
How isn’t this still a thing?
Random Select Mode allowed you to pick from a selection of four teams to play with or against and players randomly generated from those squads would form your team that you’d play with. How good does that sound?
It was like an early version of Ultimate Team but better.
Last but not least is the commentators. No, I’m not talking about Peter Drury and Jim Beglin who are so far opposite each other’s emotional levels in the current game it’s crazy. I mean, do you really have to scream at the top of your voice because Daniel Sturridge has scored a tap in, only for Beglin to follow it up with a monotone, ‘unbelievable’?
Trevor Brooking and Peter Brackley, back in the day, were the behemoth of football commentators (on games at least).
The old PES games were truly magical and I will be spending the remaining money in my bank account on a PS2 and PES 6 this evening thanks to this trip down memory lane. I hope you do, too.