PES 2017: The New Season is Here!

Bought the latest installment of PES/Winning Eleven today. First impression: can’t think how PES can leapfrog FIFA in sales department. There are even less clubs with proper license for authentic name, jersey and stadium.
Manchester United is back to Manchester Red, with default shirt nowhere near its real world counterpart. This was not the case for the last 3 years.

Worse, Real Madrid is called as whatever “Whites”. I suspect this is because of exclusive deal with Barcelona. And many other famous teams which was featured with proper licenses in last year edition received the same fate. Sigh.

On the graphic and gameplay, honestly I don’t see significant improvements. Maybe I haven’t played too long. But for time being, despite internet review score favors PES 2017 to FIFA 17, I found the latter with its interesting “Journey” story mode and newly used Frostbite game engine will take more game time for me.

Let’s see!

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Last Tournament in Penthouse

 

Tournament is underway in Penthouse
 
This will be the last time we use Graha Ekonomi Penthouse to play HR Winning Eleven Tournament, as next week we’ll be moving office to WTC Building. Thanks for hosting us for all this time Penthouse! See you in next tournament in WTC! Ha!

PS: I won the tournament, both my teams MUTD and Bayern Muenchen made it to the all-IBeN’s final 🙂

 

Chris is testing his skills…
  
…against formidable opponent, Heru
 

Copa Kresnadi Year End 2015 Edition

 

The Alea Stadium – host of today’s Copa Kresnadi

Copa Kresnadi is back! This time, in the end of year 2015, we played the latest installment of Pro Evolution Soccer/Winning Eleven, the brilliant PES 2016. Playing in Konami Cup mode, each of us as usual played 2 teams, in knock-out competition format.

 

Playing intensely, it does get in your nerve 🙂

 

Although it’s also fun with all the laughters!

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FIFA 11 vs PES 2011: Here We Go Again

 

FIFA 11 vs PES 2011: Which One is the Best?

Ha! Another year, another release of footy games on console. And I’m back to ponder (along with millions other football games fan): which one is the best?

Unfortunately, this year it is difficult to tell. Tough call, at least.

Last year, FIFA 10 may won many PES devotees with its excellent player model. Not in graphical wise (PES won on this department), but on how the player interact, fight for the ball, and collide on the pitch. Also the revolutionary 360 degree movement, which PES only made it on marketing terms.

This year, the PES creator, Seabass Takatsuka, seemed to nail some significant improvements. Player models look more realistic, and 360 degree finally really appear on the pitch. The overall game presentation has been stepped up one notch.

However FIFA did not stand still. The FIFA 11 perfected what went well in FIFA 10, and some. The player appearance has been improved,  and some gameplay flaws (e.g. goalkeeper was prone to ‘chip shot’) have been rectified. They added some additional game features as well, which for me is a bit gimmicky, like “Be a Goalkeeper” feature (when I was a kid, I would prefer to stay upfront scoring goals, why now I have to stand between the posts?)

I only got time to play PES 2011 for 1 day now, so there are more to come in this review.  But for now, for me, comparing FIFA 11 with PES 2011 is like comparing car simulator Gran Turismo with GRID. Both are fun and provide realistic car simulation gameplay, however GRID was packaged in more “arcadey” approach. It is not necessarily worse, but depending on your preference (or, occassion), one game may suit you best than the other.

FIFA 11 provides the most realistic football simulation in any game console. It also comes with most complete package, from smooth online experience to full-featured clubs and players licensing.  But PES 2011 is really hard to beat when you’re playing on the couch with your friends. It is such a fun game and often bring you those “extra ordinary” football moments which are hard to believe. But sometimes, the fiction is better than reality. And this also holds true with PES 2011.

Stay tuned for more comprehensive reviews. But feel free to leave your reactions.

EA Sports’ FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa: Why You Need to Get This Game

World Cup 2010 South Africa is less than one month away. And as what have been a ritual for EA Sports for the past 16 years (I remember they launched the first World Cup game in USA 1994), they launch the worlds biggest tournament game last month. Sold in full retail price (US$60, in Indonesia it cost me IDR500 thousands), it doesn’t seem as a worthy buying, as it only features national teams with zero club teams and less game modes. But believe me, this game is a must have for football gamers. Why?

  • The gameplay is improved. This is practically FIFA 10.5. While it was based on the same game, there are many improvements of the series. They fixed the goalkeeper onrushing bad habbit. The build up play feels more solid, flowing and faster. The players seem to add some more weight, makes it more solid to control. The penalty kick method is revamped, becoming more challenging and tense (a perfect method adjusting to the atmosphere of World Cup). Continue reading

Torn Between The Two: FIFA 2009 vs PES 2009

PES 2009
PES 2009
It’s the European Cup final. England vs Spain. 3 minutes from time, England is trailing back 2-3 from Spain. Until the ball was found scrambled in the penalty kick area, and somehow Peter Crouch picked it up near the byline, turned his back and shot past Iker Casillas. Goal! England drew level!

I shouted and raised both my arms in the air.

My son, Rafif looked at me in excitement. “Gol ya Pah?”, he joined my cheers.

Surely. This is just another Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (a.k.a Winning Eleven 2009) game played on my XBOX. But anybody who look at my expression that time, know how much the game captivated my emotion.

And by that measure, this is still a great game. One that, again and again, will make me wasting my precious idle time in front of my TV.

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FIFA 09 vs PES 2009: History Reviewed

FIFA 09 vs PES 2009
FIFA 09 vs PES 2009

World is never short of great rivalries. Windows vs Mac. Manchester United vs Liverpool. Federer vs Nadal. iPhone vs Blackberry. This also happens in football games space. There always be this endless debate: “Which one is better? Electronic Art’s FIFA or Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (a.k.a. Winning Eleven)?”

For the past 10 years, the answer is easy for me. It’s Pro Evolution Soccer all the way. Its addictive gameplay is no match to FIFA’s unrealistic game engine. Despite of inferior presentations and graphics, PES is still the “king of football game”. If you are in Indonesia, one quick look at the Playstation rent place, you already know the answer. Kids, teens and adults are all playing kick-a-bout on PES/Winning Eleven. FIFA is nowhere to be seen.

Until last year, when Electronic Arts released FIFA 08. It undoubtly had raised its standard and brought the scene to rather evenly match. Gamers found FIFA to worthy alternative to PES, even though not much. And this year, EA claims to improve its last year outing, and released FIFA 09 on 3 October 2008. Konami followed closely by releasing their Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 on 13 October 2008. How do they fare each other?

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My Top 5 PSP Games

Sony PSP - Ultimate Portable Handheld Gaming Device
Sony PSP – Ultimate Portable Handheld Gaming Device

It’s been more than a year since I owned Sony PSP. In short, I found the system is a gem. It has no “zen of implicity” like iPod for its multimedia features, but for gaming (which is its primary mission), Sony PSP excels in every aspects. The screen is brilliant, the operating system is genius (clue: the instant “on-and-off” really helps for dedicated-gamers- without-dedicated –time-for-gaming like me), the game pads are comfortable (of course still can’t beat the comfy of Sony Playstation Dual Shock controller), and the battery life is good enough for a short trip companion.

But what is a great game system without the support of great games?

Through a year of use, I can share the list of Top 5 Games in PSP based on my gaming experience. I subjectively judged this ranking from the following criteria:

  • On-the-go Playability. A game for a mobile game console should be playable while you are on the go. Having a game which holds you intensively up for 30 minutes before you can actually take a break is just silly. And a straight ‘vanilla’ port from an excellent game in Playstation console does not cut either.
  • Tilt. You have enough interests in this world to keep you away from playing games. The game should carry enough carrots and challenges to bring you back for more.
  • Presentations. The big and gorgeus screen of PSP should not be wasted with mediocre presentations.

Ok now, drum rolls…. here they are my Top 5 PSP Games so far (moving from number five to the top):

Fight Night Round 3
Fight Night Round 3

5. Fight Night Round 3 (Electronic Arts). Even though my favourite boxer of all time, Oscar De La Hoya has retired, at least I still can preserve his legacy through this game. Playing in its addictive career mode, I successfully made De La Hoya as champions in three weight classes, and made him the best pound-for-pound fighter. I also broke record of fastest and most Knock Outs with him. Not to mention is bulk of dollars reaped by playing him through out the ranks. Clearly, I delved this game quite intensively. Aside from its top-notch presentation (as Electronic Arts always do), what I like most from this game is the strategic element of the game play which require you to adjust your fighting style depending on your opponents. Jabbing out the opponents never comes as satisfying as laying them down in the canvas with this game. Great stuff.

Ridge Racer
Ridge Racer

4. Ridge Racers (Namco). Despite its stature as one of the first games available when the system was launched, Ridge Racer still possibly holds up as one of the best-looking game in PSP. While you are drifting around the corners, Namco provides you with gorgeous surrounding scenery and objects (helicopters and water falls, anyone?). But the trade mark of this game lies in its addictive gameplay. You move up the ranks through beating the tracks and intelligent opponents. On the hardest level, most of the times what you need is just a perfect race. A simple mistake costs you a spot in the race, which means failure to the next level and next car. No need to worry about lack of authentic cars, the range of beautiful fictional cars in Ridge Racer surely brings you back to unlock them for more!

Pro Evolution Soccer 2007
Pro Evolution Soccer 2007

3. Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 (Konami). Eh, no top spot for Pro Evolution Soccer/Winning Eleven? Even though 75% percent of my gaming time in Playstation and Playstation 2 console spent for this game, unfortunately for PSP, this is not the case. The reason is simply because playing this game in PSP needs dedication. You have to watch the action closely and mash your thumbs in rapid movement. This does give your eyes sore and your palm numbs to play this on extended period of time. So, unless you have spare time and focus for playing this, please steer away. This is the main reason why this game is not ranked in top spot. Other than that, the gameplay is still as superb as ever. You can still find every match is different to another, and every goal is appreciated. The lasting appeal of this game is still as much as its counterpart in traditional console.

 

Star Wars II - Original Trilogy
Star Wars II – Original Trilogy

2. Star Wars Lego II: The Original Trilogy (Lucas Arts). The joined forces of two my childhood favourites: Lego and Star Wars should be deadly in any form. Combined with excellent gameplay and intriguing puzzles, Star Wars Lego II comes up as a true winner. This is one of the few games which I keep on playing even though I have actually finished it. The unlockable Star Wars characters and vehicles are so tempting to be missed (any Star Wars fan must crave for piloting a Millennium Falcon). And the mission-based gameplay is really suitable for gamers on the go. You can switch off the game anytime when you are stuck without have to worry the time is not on your side. And during your ‘meditation’, somehow those untried ‘strategy’ or ‘route’ pops up in your mind. You switch on the PSP, and voila! You’re through to the next levels! May the force be with you, my young Padawan.

Hot Shots Golf Open Tee
Hot Shots Golf Open Tee

1. Hot Shots Golf (Sony Computer Entertainment America). I understand this may be a surprise winner for you. And to be perfectly honest, it is also for me. But really, this is how a mobile game should be. Instantly playable, but with enough depth to delve into. You can pick up this game anytime you want, and just play for a round (can be 9 holes game) against a computer-AI opponent for merely 5-10 minutes. Even though the golf game is set on cartoonish setting, but there is plenty of realism here. The winds, the slopes and the grass conditions do affect the outcome of your shots. The detailed stats keeper (Fairway hits, GIRs percentage, longest drive, best round, longest chip in, etc) make me keep back to play for this game just for the sake of breaking my own records. There are also six unlockable courses and plethora of characters items (golf clubs, attire, accessories, balls, etc) to be found in this game—adding reasons to play this game more and more. And because of those reasons, this is the ONLY game that remains on my PSP’s memory stick since I installed it. Indeed an instant breath of fresh air when you need it, whether you’re on queue line, on traffic jams, or simply on your weekend coach. Genius.

Old-time Favourite Sport Games

1280px-Atari-2600-Console

I’ve been a gamer since I was kid. My father bought me an Atari 2600 system back in 1984, and later on in 1987 he was convinced to buy me a first-generation PC (with 8088 processor). I spent countless hours playing games with my all-time nemesis, enemy and arch rival: my own brother.

Mostly we played sport games, but sometimes we did play games from racing and action genre. But sport has always been our favourite genre. And a computer game of soccer become a time where our pride and dignity is put on bet (yes, it’s that serious. It hurts). That sense of competition last until now. The only difference is that we’re fortunate enough to have a chance playing some excellent football game, with the lates coming from Konami’s Winning Eleven series.

I browsed the internet last night, and found a lot of “hidden treasure”, some my old-time favourite sport games, which can actually be downloaded, and played in the computer. Except it may not be as playable as before. Remember, those were times where processor speed was only 4.77 Mhz, compared to now where Pentium generation processor is already clocking at 4 GHz  and above (million times faster!). As a result, gameplay will be incredibly fast, and almost unplayable.

Anyway, here I share some of my old-time favourite sport games, hoping that it may bring some great memories out of your brain and heart.. Enjoy!

1. Pele’s Soccer (Atari) – 1983

Atari's Pele Soccer box
Atari’s Pele Soccer box

I think it was one of our first soccer computer game, where this endless competition started off. I still remember vividly when my father brought this game from Jakarta, and can almost feel the joy when I scored the first goal.

Pele Soccer's screenshot
Pele Soccer’s screenshot

Lame graphics and gameplay by modern standard (it was only three players-a-side, what can you expect?), but nevertheless brought us thrill, excitement, and not to mention skipped-afternoon-nap because of this.

2. Microsoft Decathlon (PC-XT) – 1983

Pole Vault - a challenging event requires timely key combination
Pole Vault – a challenging event requires timely key combination

This was probably what Bill Gates  working on before he invented Windows :). A highly competitive game that perfectly simulated the art of athletic that time. Graphic was very basic, but the use of realistic mathematical equation and law of physics made this game very challenging. Javelin Throw, Long Jump required you to press the key on the right angle. An innovative feature that time, which was replicated to today’s modern sport game. My favourite was 100 m dash, where I could use my fast typing fingers, pressing two keyboard buttons alternately and rapidly to break a new world record, then was held by Carl Lewis.. 9.93 seconds!

The 100m and 400m sprint screenshot. Quick fingers required!
The 100m and 400m sprint screenshot. Quick fingers required!

3. Sierra Boxing (PC-XT) – 1983

Sierra Boxing screenshot
Sierra Boxing screenshot

This was one of game that had best graphic that time. Gameplay was amazing. What I liked most was that it contained a “surprise” element, where you could land a “lucky blow” to your opponent, and you won the game  immediately by Technical Knock Out! I still had not found any boxing game nowadays that had this  kind of excitement. One of the rare feature that was been introduced by this game was the ability to create your own customized boxer. Yes, it came with silly options, but that feature extend the longetivity of this game.

4. Winter Games (PC-XT/AT) – 1986

Winter Games Ski Jump - one of the most thrilling event
Winter Games Ski Jump – one of the most thrilling event

Came in the transition of 4-colors CGA graphics to VGA graphic era, Epyx appeared as one of the game most famous publisher during years 1986-1988. Its Sport Games series, which include Winter Games, World Games, and California Games, were one of the most popular games that time. Our favourite, Winter Games, featured simulation of various winter games, such as Ski Jump, Bobsled, Speed Skiing. It was both fun and challenging, especially if we compete with friends (not to mention my brother), as it allowed up to 4 players in one game.

 5. Lakers vs Celtics (PC-XT/AT) – 1989

Lakers vs Celtics: Select your team
Lakers vs Celtics: Select your team

Arguably one of the best sport game in 80s. This was the first game that brought realism of tactics, fitness and player selection into computer game. Complete with full rooster of NBA, Lakers vs Celtics gave gamers chance to tinker of player selection, substitute them when players got tired, and used players’ special ability to defeat the opponent (who can forget Kareem Abdul Jabar’s sky hook? It was well represented here). It was almost a perfect simulation of basketball game that time, which then set up the standard of any basketball game produced until now.

Lakers vs Celtics play court
Lakers vs Celtics play court