Season 1 has come to an end for me. I raced to the finish line in a few extraordinary days’ play.
Here’s the final table. A symmetrical goals-for and goals-against. I did well to finish 15th in the end. I played about 65% of the season on Professional, the other 35% on Top Player.
Overall experience score for PES2020 so far: 9/10.
Easy 9 there. No premature and highly melodramatic 10 at this stage. There are a couple of worries that may magnify in time, but for now, nearly everything is roses.
Gameplay held up throughout the season, even toward the end when my Team Spirit hit the low 80s, which traditionally marks the point when a nuPES sometimes feels a bit too slick and samey.
So far that has not happened here.
There are still no fouls to speak of, and it’s clear there won’t be any. The time has long since come for Referee Strictness to be put in user control. The fact that EA have not done this with FIFA probably indicates that nobody will ever do it.
Master League has been good, but I’m not sure one of the new settings is working as it should be. I set Negotiations to Fairly Hard before starting. My expectation of that setting is that it would mean Negotiations would be, well, fairly hard. Harder than last year for sure.
So far I am finding the opposite. It proved straightforward mid-season to bring in two top professionals (Shaqiri and Llorente) on loan.
As an experiment, in the first few days post-season I have made a couple of Free Agent signings, despite turning their wage demands ALL THE WAY DOWN to the minimum, with NO bonuses. Just to see what would happen.
They accepted. One was a player who asked for £1.2m to start with, accepting an offer of £500k! This is a bug, surely?
Conducting Contract negotiations with a couple of my own star players, they all accepted lower-than-they-wanted offers straightaway, without a murmur. I wasn’t quite brave enough to lower all their offers to the minimum.
Here’s Begovic – a great veteran GK – signing for half the wage he was asking for:I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t have happened last year. Even if he’d agreed to drop from the Premier League, he’d have at least wanted the wage he was asking for. Yes, Master League is fantasy football, but I expect the boundaries that are meant to be in place to remain strong.
Fortunately all of this is in the background while I get on with playing the wonderful game. Shaqiri was a great player to have on loan, as he showcased so much about PES2020 that is good. Individuality for one, and the nature ofthe stories that can develop in this mode. Here he is taking a tepid match by the scruff of the neck by pouncing on a lovely loose ball, scurrying away into space and leathering in an equaliser.
Shaqiri’s last goal for me while on loan secured a decent draw in a run of poor results on Top Player. The AI has its usual bag of tricks up its sleeve as ever to stop you playing and winning. It’s the kind of grind, at times, that Master League is rightly famous for, so I’m not complaining.At the end of the season, Shaqiri had to be in the League Team of the Season, and he was. Nice to see Castledine there too.
I’m debating whether I really need another year of Castledine’s rise to power. The plan is not to have just another identikit Master League campaign this year. Somehow another inevitable journey to a squad of galácticos doesn’t appeal.
I fancy assembling a squad of journeymen, developed Defaults, promoted Youths, and the odd star name. I’ll pick up Regen Shaqiri when the time comes.
And so to Season 2.