Well, this is a long old run-up to the 2009 set of football games, isn’t it? I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m finding it particularly tough to cope this year. Last year was bad enough—I thought October and PES2008 would never come (and now I wish they hadn’t)—but this year my impatience and hunger for both FIFA09 and PES2009 seems at least twice as bad.
In the meantime I am still playing the PSP version (needless to say) of PES2008, and FIFA08 on the PS3. I haven’t spoke directly about my ongoing careers (in Master League and Manager Mode respectively) for several posts. There’s been so much else going on. And, in truth, I do kind of feel that I’ve already said everything I want to say. At this stage, with FIFA09 and PES2009 so close, there’s an air of unreality hovering around both of my current games. So I’m really going to be focused on the approach of the 2009 games from now on.
Having said that, it’s still worth taking a look at the end of season 2021 in my Master League on PES2008. I actually finished season 2021 on the PSP a week or so ago. I’m well into season 2022 right now.
It was a spectacular end to the season, one of my very best. I scored tons of goals and ran away with the title. After I secured the championship (five whole games early) it was quite instructive to just play the ball around a bit in my last few meaningless fixtures. With nothing to play for I stroked the ball around, trying to keep possession and score wonder goals. At times it was productive. But at other times I saw yet again just what lengths the PES AI will go to to control the rhythms of play and massage micro-outcomes for the sake of its bigger picture.
Here’s a clip that I’ve been sitting on for several days (painfully, in every sense). It shows me trying to pass the ball out wide during a spell of ungodly CPU pressure. Watch what the game brazenly does with this straightforward pass:
The game doesn’t even try to disguise its dirty tricks any more, does it? It makes the ball go straight through my player’s leg and into touch for a CPU throw-in. I was absolutely disgusted. It’s at times like this that I wonder how I ever got into ISS/PES in the first place. Has it always been like this? I don’t remember incidents like the above happening very often—or at all—in the distant past. But maybe I’m mistaken.
I had to put up with a couple of pretty shocking defeats toward the end of the season. In particular there was a torrid game against Barcelona where I felt like a helpless spectator rather than a supposed participant. PES over the past few years has been inching ever closer to that most dangerous place for any sports-based game: a largely interactive script where the ‘gameplay’ is tantamount to an extended Quicktime event.
Ho hum. A year ago when I started blogging about my daily PES habit, I never dreamed I’d spend so much time being so bitter about the transparently scripted nature of some elements of the game.
Will PES2009 see an end to incidents like the one in the above clip? No, I don’t think so either.
After the season I was curious enough to check my league win percentage. I also checked all the other seasons’ percentages, from 2007 to 2020. For curiosity’s sake, here’s the full list of my win % from the start of my career to the present:
2007 – 0.0% (!)
2008 – 21.43%
2009 – 21.43%
2012 – 36.67%
2013 – 50%
2014 – 56.67%
2015 – 63.33%
2016 – 60%
2017 – 60%
2018 – 76.67%
2019 – 66.67%
2020 – 74%
2021 – 83.33%
2022 – 60% (so far, after 12 games)
And that’s the current state of play between me and PES2008. Like I said above, it all feels very odd playing this game (and FIFA08) with the next, super-duper clutch of games just around the corner. I am still playing, though, and next time I’ll post an update about my progress in FIFA08.