I’m glad I stuck with PES2009, because the game has opened up to me after I gave it the chance to. Sadly, I’m now seeing (and feeling) more and more the resemblance to PES2008, which isn’t good. I am enjoying PES2009 at the moment, but I enjoyed PES2008 for a few weeks last year, before it all went horribly wrong. I can’t help but worry the same thing will happen with PES2009. But we’ll see. For all the similarities to PES2008, there are some rewarding differences.
Whisper it, but PES2009 can play a slower game of football than FIFA09. The overall pace seems about the same to me. Your players even seem to enjoy a fraction longer on the ball in PES2009 than in FIFA09. Granted, this time enables the more arcadey dribbling style that PES is now notorious for; but it also enables a patient passing game, if that’s how you choose to play.
It’s a shame there’s considerably less freedom to do things with that time on the ball, but still—there’s a pretty deep PES engine under the bonnet. At this time of year every PES fan turns into an elderly aunt inspecting the newborn’s face for the first time. Who does PES2009 look like?! PES2008, most obviously—but going further back? At the moment I can’t shake the impression that PES2009 is a reskinned PES2. It just has that whole feel to it. When I won an International Cup I half-expected the credits to roll with We Are The Champions playing in the background. Anyone who ever liked PES2 should like this game. But after any amount of time enjoying FIFA09, PES2009 can feel like a step down.
As much as I’m enjoying PES2009 now, it still doesn’t compare to what I can get out of FIFA09. After I experienced these positive vibes from PES2009, I loaded up FIFA09 for a few games. Just to see.
And now I can feel one of those FIFA vs PES footballing metaphors coming on. Can’t. Resist…. Here goes. FIFA is up near the top of the table and boldly challenging for the title, while PES is just holding steady in mid-table.
I’m toying with several ideas of how to proceed. Whatever I do, it’ll be difficult. My favourite idea at the moment is one season on, one season off: a season of Master League followed by a season of Manager Mode. But what I want to do is play FIFA09 as much as I want right now, and come back to PES2009 only when I’m good and ready. I’ll probably end up doing that.
Second session on Master League. I’ve played another eight or so games. There have been some surprises. Among the surprises is that the Default players are better this year. Not much better, but just enough to make the experience of playing with them slightly less gruelling. Another surprise is that I’m still in the D2 Cup. I usually get knocked out in the first round in my first season, but I made it through 2-1 on aggregate. That’s another sign that the Default crew are better in PES2009.
My 4-3-3 formation is a ludicrously attacking one for such a limited bunch of players. But after years of Master League, and thousands of matches, I don’t know how to play PES any other way. I briefly played with a 4-2-2-2 back in PES4 (I forget why now). I experimented with a 4-4-2 for a few games last year. But otherwise it’s been 4-3-3 all the way. Maybe that could be a special mission for the future: play using a different formation, and win the Treble.
After a promising start to the season—an almost unprecedented two wins and a draw in my opening three fixtures—I was riding high in 3rd place. Sadly, the old Default player rot quickly set in. Soon I had no one fit, and those who were fit couldn’t play. They felt more like the Default players from last year: the worst ever.
My divisional neighbours STOKE CITY won a narrow 1-0 victory. That’s where it all started going wrong. For the next 5 games I didn’t win. I drew one, and lost four. I scored about two goals. Willem II thumped me 3-0 along the way.
The league table doesn’t lie. That’s what football managers say on television and I believe them.
My wild early hope for promotion in season 1 would seem to be gone. I’d have to pick up some decent results between now and the mid-season negotiation period, then sign some good players, and have a storming second half of the season. Outside chance, but still possible.