I’m nearing the mid-point in season 2 of my Master League career in PES2010. After a total of 60 hours’ play, I’m still not used to the game. I have a good idea of what it will and won’t let me do. But this doesn’t stop me trying to play it like the PES of old, which doesn’t really work. Not at the moment anyway. This is what fascinates me about PES2010 and keeps me coming back for more.
I’ve got some good players. They’re not great, but they’re better than most of the Default players. At the moment my star striker isn’t the soon-to-be-fabled Gutierrez but a WF/CF by the name of Kuktayan. I’ve sneaked into the Top Scorers list with him.
One peculiar thing about this season: there’s no Cup. Or there is one, but I’m not in it. What is that all about, as a stand-up comedian might say? Have I been excluded from the extra-curricular activity of Cup football this season because I played so pathetically last season, and finished so far down the rankings? Or is it simply a bug? I haven’t been able to find any information about this. I vaguely remember a related post or two on the PESfan forums a few weeks ago, but can’t track them down.
In the league, I’ve squeaked a few wins, but things are mostly still bad. Some of my wins have felt pretty dubious. How often in PES, down the years, have you been sure the ball has gone out of play, but the game carries on? I had an instance of this in one of my matches in this current session. Attacking down the wing, I played one of those overhit PES2010-style through-balls to my winger. I gave chase without much conviction, but my winger reached the ball and prevented it going out of play—somehow. I sent over a weak, looping cross. Gutierrez nodded in a vital goal. I went on to win the match.
I checked the replay, and zoomed in on the ball (pictured right). The letter of the law dictates that “the whole of the ball must cross the whole of the line”. And sure enough, the law is faithfully observed: the outermost arc of the ball is just bisecting a nanometer-wide slice of the touchline. In PES terms, that ball is still in play. In a real game I think that would have been called out, every time. But this is a video game and I was more than happy to take it, considering it’s worked against me often enough.
The star of my side at the moment is Oscar, my promoted Youth player. There’s Oscar (pictured left) with ghoulish eyes and a soul patch kind of thing going on on his chin. As can be seen, his shirt is adorned with my chortlingly self-referential custom logo. The CPU teams keep wanting to buy Oscar for silly money, which is tempting when you’re totally skint as I always am. But you don’t sell your best players.
Unfortunately, the current league table makes for familiar reading. After 13 matches I’m in 14th place. This isn’t going to be a promotion season. After only about half a dozen matches, you just know if you’ve got a chance—after 13 matches, I know I haven’t got a chance. In theory I could acquire a few players mid-season and go off on a good run. It’s not mathematically impossible to get back up there, and we all know how the table itself frequently lends a hand to a determined player on a swashbuckling run.
But I doubt that run could ever happen, realistically. In Master League 2010 it’s not just about the players. The backroom staff are just as important, arguably more so. They govern so much: form arrows, general fitness, response times out on the pitch, lots of things. I’ve got my Head Coach on level 2, but the rest are all still on level 1. I can’t upgrade my staff until the end of the season. It’s going to be a long one, I think.