I would love it, just love it

I suspected/worried that the game would do it—and the game is doing it. PES2008 is allowing me to catch up with the runaway league leaders. To make things more, you know, exciting. I’m going for my first Treble in Master League. Until the latest batch of games, I was 10 points behind Valencia with seven games to go. Suddenly, Valencia can’t get any kind of result, and I’m flying up behind them.

First of all I faced them in the Division 1 Cup final, and beat them. The game finished 3-1 to me. Valencia were poor, poorer than they’ve ever been. Two of my goals came from Andy Cole, who is quietly establishing himself in my squad and is on his way to becoming one of the best strikers I’ve ever played with in PES. Seriously. He just has a knack of being in the right place to get goals. I’ll be speaking more about Andy Cole in the future.

So that was Part #1 of the Treble in the bag. I also made it through to the final of the European Championships, aka the Champions League. All I had to do was make sure I won my remaining league games, and the possibility of a miraculous Treble was very much on.

I won my next few games. Pretty easily—2-0, 3-1, 5-2, against all-comers. No one could stop me. Valencia, meanwhile, were on a downward spiral, losing one and drawing two. As thing stand, I’m just 6 points behind them with three games to go. Knowing PES as I do, I can almost guarantee that I’ll go into the last game capable of winning the league. It’s just how things work around here.

I really wish it wasn’t happening. I really wish Master League—for me the greatest-ever game mode in any game, period—just wasn’t like this. I messed up the first part of the league season and I should pay the price. I don’t want my opponents to be artificially slowed down for the sake of giving me a more ‘exciting’ finale. This isn’t bleedin’ Mario Kart (I hear terrible things about the scripting in Mario Kart but can’t vouch for it personally).

Valencia were 10 points clear. Of course, it was always mathematically possible for me to catch up; of course, there are plenty of real-world precedents. In England alone I can remember Manchester United blowing an early-season ten-point lead in the mid-1980s, and letting Liverpool effortlessly overtake them. Then of course Newcastle United famously returned the favour to Man Yoo in the 1990s. I’m sure other leagues and other countries have similar examples. It does happen—not all the time, but it does happen. Maybe once every decade or two.

My problem with it happening to me—for me—now, in PES2008, is that it happens all the time in the game. And I don’t want it to. FIFA08’s Manager Mode has many little niggling problems—no evening games; no play-offs in the lower English leagues; cup finals not played at Wembley, etc.—but those are bugs or oversights, not deliberate programming choices. I’ve never known FIFA08 to brazenly handicap the team at the top of a league table for the sake of an ‘exciting’ run-in. Hopefully the whole Master League setup is something else that we will see revamped, or even completely reimagined, for PES2009 and beyond.

13 Comments

  1. Mario Kart is one of my favorite game series so I can vouch for it’s ‘scripting’. It doesn’t matter how far ahead you are from the computer they will ALWAYs catch up. Even if it means the CPU has a world record lap (the likes of what a human player couldn’t do with all the tricks in the book) the computer will just speed up. If it’s far enough behind the computer can be twice as fast as you at times. It’s never been much of a problem for me though as Time Trial and Multiplayer is the main game for serious MK players..

    Anyway back to the league! I am sure you will be in contention in the final day. There is no doubt of the scripting for and against you in PES. It’s actually the worst is PES 08 I think. But I remember infuriating times with PES 4 too.

    I am devastated in Euro 2008! I am 3rd in my qualifying group beind Russia and Croatia! CROATIA DAMMIT.
    It’s happening again, I drew 1-1 away to Andorra. ANDORRA.

    It’s happening again. Israel becomes a must win game.

  2. Is it possible to cry over the result in a game? Israel was a must win game, and it was also extremely difficult. They were playing really well and could have been ahead after the first half, which ended 0-0. Then in the 61st minute the man I had replaced Rooney with, Walcott, gets me the lead. Then I go all defence, just hanging on. In the 93rd minute- the last kick of the game Israel get a cross in and its tapped in at the far post. And I am boo-ed of the pitch. How unfair.

  3. Do you still play 20-minute halves? If so, then yes, I’d be crying right now! I’m still tempted by UEFA2008. What’ll probably happen is that the tournament will start and I’ll crack. I was playing the demo again the other night and I have to say I LOVE the new corners set-up, with the camera descending behind the kicker. Now that’s the kind of little touch that reeks atmosphere.

    Re. Mario Kart, I hear the worst things about the Wii version’s online play, where there’s no point in being in the lead because everyone behind you gets spammed pickups that enable them to catch up to you. It;s when PES gets that blatant that I start to despair.

  4. No thankfully, it’s on 15 minutes I think. I have 21 points, Croatia 23 points and Russia 18. If I win all three of my remaining games I will finish top, if I beat Russia I’ll finish 2nd at least. I doubt it though, it has been a really gruelling league. I have squeezed past so many matches 1-0 by the skin of my teeth. I thrashed Estonia 8-0, but thats been the only easy match. I could still not qualify on the last match, just like the real England.

    Strangely some other big teams have been struggling too! Holland are not in the top 2, neither is Italy (in fact they are second last), Germany are in third as are Spain! If I qualify it could be wide open! Just give in about Euro 2008, you know you’ll buy it anyway, so you may as well be enjoying it sooner for the money. (thats what i convince myself with)

    That’s actually what makes MK a really fun multiplayer game though. It is less about skill, and everyones usually in the lead at some point. Its frenetic fun.

  5. What a match. It seemed to echo reality early on. The match was away to Russia, and a win or draw would see me qualify. Seconds after half time Russia take the lead, heres how.

    In the last game my number 1 keeper, David James was tired. So i dropped him for this game, and who did I replace him with? Robinson. Russia hit a cross in and Robinson completely misses and flaps at the ball, leaving an open net! I stuggled to even make a chance in the whole game. Late on with the crowd jeering for the whistle, a result that would see them still in with a chance of qualification, I stole a goal with Owen. I didn’t really deserve that, but there you go. So I have qualified, it’s a straight final with Croatia. Win and I get first, draw or lose and it’s second.

  6. Well that way stupid. Croatia won 3-1, obviously EA caught Scotland syndrome because they have also made Croatia amazing, when they are anything but. I had no chance the whole game.

  7. Knowing PES the way I do, I can bet that if it’s in the script that you won’t win the league, you might as well get to the last game needing only to draw, and yet Valencia will be crowned champions.

  8. Not Given – your Robinson calamity actually sounds good. I’m tired of super keepers with Velcro gloves. And Robinson is a dodgy keeper! (IMO) FIFA/UEFA has its own version of scripting, though, as you are finding out.

    Adriano – I think it’s scripted to make a last-day decider in the league, and then once that game comes you’re at the mercy of that individual game’s internal script. I.e. taking a 1-0 lead against a team with nothing to play for, but who nevertheless start to play as if their lives literally depend on it. When the two scripts collide, nothing is more annoying.

  9. Hi Greg

    I never thought too much about scripting in my time playing PES, until I came across your blog. You have highlighted what I thought was realism at the time.

    Now, I see where you are coming from, I now notice it more and more. All will be revealed in my master league story.

    Regarding Andy COLE, he is in his 2nd year in my ML, he is now ready for a start in first XI. He is prolific, good heading ability and a shot like a bazooka. Baby HENRIK who I signed as a re-GEN at the same time is nowhere near the level of Cole. Although COLE is still along way off the powers of BEN SAHAR who is a year older.

    Mate, trade in PS3 PES 2008 which you dislike so much and get EURO 2008. That too has scripting in that the smaller nations are harder to beat sometimes than the bigger nations. But, what a game.

    I qualified for the Euro’s and then lost out in the qualifiers. I got pumped. Just started Captain your Country with Ecosse. The best football game I have ever played.

    p.s. that was some goal on yesterdays article, the distance and it flew like a scud missile. Cracker.

  10. p.s.s.

    It’s a goal, it’s a goal, Andy Andy Cole
    When he gets the ball, he scores a goal
    Andy Andy Cole

    Are your supporters singing this yet? πŸ˜†

  11. I am so disappointed, John Terry had only to kick the ball and Chelsea would have won the European Cup. I am going to have to play PES or buy Fifa and rectify this…..

    Seriously though, that was an immense final. Far better than Liverpools severly overrated final in 2005. Chelsea deserved to win for the way they fought back. Ronalodo missing the penalty to lose Manchester United the Cup was too good to be true…

  12. heraldo – The Andy Cole song is indeed being sung by my fans, with gusto. He’s definitely had some magic pixie dust sprinkled on him in PES2008 (all versions on all platforms – he was great on the PS3 version too).

    I know what you mean about going back to PES after a period on the slower-paced FIFA/UEFA game engine… When FIFA08 landed last September, I was still playing PES6 and it became virtually unplayable for me. The speed just seemed insane and ridiculous. PES definitely needs to be slowed down.

    Not Given – unlucky for Chelsea, I thought. They should have buried Man Yoo when they had the upper hand all through the second half. Anyone can miss a penalty but I knew Terry would miss that one. Penalty shoot-outs terrify me, even when I don’t particularly care which team wins them, as last night. I think I feel the players’ pressure.

    I thought the Liverpool-Milan final was a better game in terms of the story. 0-3 to 3-3 happens so rarely in real-life football. I remember that game just dying on its arse after it went to 3-3, almost as if both teams were already settling for penalties.

  13. I have dropped John Terry in my ML and Euro 2008 team. He will be sold ML mid-season. >_>

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