Monday, January 16, 2012

#0035: PES 2008

Loves me some football. The American variation, that is. The hits, the catches, the thrills! What a game. Though my countrymen will always tout hockey as sport #1, I must confess, football holds my fancy like no other.

Soccer (or football. Or futball, whatever the hell that is) is another kettle of fish. Fun to play with your friends, very tactical and athletic. But as for watching it? Ugh, it drags!

It's not that I have anything against the conventions of soccer (except the pathetic flopping and wailing of the European players), but, put simply, the field is just too damned big. It makes it tedious to watch as players have to trek across fields so far you'd expect them to set up camp overnight before finishing their journey.

Because of this, nobody freaking scores. If I wanted to watch people not scoring, I'd observe the awkward advances of pimply-faced teenagers at a blue light disco.

There are exceptions, occasionally. I was 110% behind Australia during their latest World Cup bid in 2010; and watching their uphill battle, surrounded by Aussies in the tacky Cafe Oz of Paris, France... Golly, really felt like I belonged.

Add another, more Nintendo-related element, and you'll pique my interest, too. I will gladly dodge bombs and electric fences before scoring five simultaneous goals in Mario Strikers Charged. And I will merrily purchase Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, for the sole reason that it features Miis. I shit you not, I bought this for Miis.

Playing your first straight sport game will always prove an uneasy endeavour. Just look at my latest attempts with NBA 2K12. I've long been an NBA admirer, but tragically I chose to pop my b-ball cherry in a year where my Toronto Raptors are rated a league-low 62. I can't stop opponents from driving to the basket, I leave them open for easy 3's, and I can't do the opposite to save my life. Plus, I'm intent on getting Jamaal Magloire on the court, just because he's Canadian. Take five, Calderon, it's time for MAGLOIRE MAGIC.

Or, rewind to Madden 2003, where I blindly flung the ball into triple coverage, ran into my blockers like they were magnetic, and routinely went for it on 4th & 27.

...Though hell, I still go for it on 4th & 27. The digital Brett Kern doesn't even need to suit up when I'm in charge.

To it's credit, then, PES '08 is remarkably easy to get the hang of. This is, in part, due to the intuitive control scheme that really takes advantage of the Wiimote. Point and press where you want your dude to go, and off he obediently jogs. It's like Warcraft, only without declarations of 'directing their sorrow' or some other emo night elf crap.

Press A on defence to pressure a ballcarrier, where an eerie red aura surrounds your player as though he were literally boiling with fury. Press B to pass, wiggle your nunchuk to score *giggle* *snort* and bob's your uncle, you're playing the beautiful game with the best of 'em. One thing I appreciate is that the advanced techniques are crucial to succeed as the difficulty rises, but not a necessity when you're starting out. As such, you won't immediately become victims of a 0-2 massacre.

Champions road is where the meat is at. Enter tournaments with a team of scrubs, beat your opponents and claim one of their players for your own. It's the Gengis Khan of franchise modes, and though none of these guys are real players, I still gain attachments. Castolo was originally the MVP, collecting 10 goals and 3 assists across his 11-game career, but then, Ordaz came along and changed everything. 25 goals and 7 assists to his name as the star player for the Los Angeles Farts. And oh, old Dodo, he was useless. Only 2 assists from midfield, and the team's only red card.

In case you couldn't tell, I actually do like PES '08. It's pretty solid, but due to my apathy towards soccer, it just doesn't hold my interest for as long. Might as well cash it in for maximum value before the Wii U comes along and renders it obsolete (I mean, beyond the fact that it's four iterations dated).

But first, I have one last game to play... For the pride and glory of a nation...

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