Month: February 2010

Twitter

A special short post just to announce that PES Chronicles is now on Twitter. The widget is currently in 3rd place on the sidebar over there>>>>

(I’ll move it to a more prominent place in due course.)

(NB: some browsers might have ‘lost’ the sidebar with the Twitter widget on. IE6 seems to be the main culprit. I’ll look for a fix later.)

You can view all Tweets directly, and/or become a ‘follower’ of the Tweets, here: http://twitter.com/PESChronicles

What’s thebig idea? The truth is, I don’t quite know. I have a notion that Tweeting about my daily PES sessions may form a parallel micro-blog to the main one. Hopefully it’ll complement the regular thrice-weekly posts. As many regular readers will be aware, I operate a ‘lead time’ on the blog of a few days at a time. What you’re reading about on Monday, for example, often took place on Friday or Saturday, sometimes even earlier. That’s the way it has to be.

I definitely don’t want to get into a situation where I’m tweeting big story elements that should emerge in a proper blog posting a day or two later. I do not want to start spoiling the main blog in any sense. I’ll be keeping a close eye on that.

But I think I can use Twitter to address certain PES-related things I never seem to get the time or space to do in the posts. Things like player stats, random replays,curious screenshots, and just the whole lore of PES. For example: in the final third I often deliberately slide-tackle the air when near a CPU player in order to induce  a panicked clearance and win a throw. That’s been coded into PES for years, and I’ve been taking advantage of it for years! But I’ve not referenced it even once on the blog, in 2 and a half years. Twitter will enable me to talk about things like that as they occur to me, albeit 140 characters at a a time.

Anyway, I’m going to try it out. Please feel free to ‘follow me’ on Twitter. I’ll be Tweeting about all PES and other game-related stuff, but not incessantly. And unless there’s a specific PES-related relevance, I will never Tweet about what I’m having for breakfast. That is a promise.

Three in a row

Whew. First of all: the AI has scored yet another amazing flicked goal against me (see the end of this post). Second of all: I have won the Division 1 title again.

That’s now three Division 1 titles in succession. Does this have any implications for the future of PES2010 and me? Is the notorious difficulty curve starting to flatten out? It’s too early to tell. For me, the main criterion that makes a PES too easy is how quickly I can win a Treble, and then whether I can win the Treble every season without much effort. That stage hasn’t materialised in PES2010—not yet anyway—and I hope it never will. In theory, I could win the title every season from now until the end of time and I still wouldn’t necessarily think things were getting a bit easy. The Treble is still a long way out of sight.

PES2010 made it tight until the end of the season. This is a venerable Master League tradition. A ‘rubberband AI’ setup in the league table will ensure that things remain close until the end. If you’re trailing behind, the teams above you will lose and draw just enough times to keep you interested; if you’re the one who’s up on top of the league, you’ll lose and draw just enough to keep the AI teams in the hunt. This effect varies with your own native ability, of course, but it’s been a definite part of Master League since it came into being. I don’t really like it, but anyway. Whatever. I could always ‘go play FIFA’ (which has much the same ‘feature’ in its career mode’s leagues)…

Here’s the final table:

The shenanigans all started with a fixture against the second-placed team, Manchester United. They’d been my closest challengers for the top spot. I was 5 points ahead with about 6 matches to go. As an ML veteran, I knew that I was foredoomed to lose this game. Yes, it could be argued that this perception—this fixed belief—contributed more than anything else to me losing the match—and I did lose it.

I lost it 1-4, at home, an unheard-of result for me this season. I was fortunate to get a goal back when Man Utd were only 0-1 up. The remainder of the game was a catalogue of stumbles, misplaced passes, and shots that skewed crazily wide. I hit the post and crossbar three times. Meanwhile Man Utd were making hay up front, and had streaked into a three-goal lead by the time the final whistle blew.

That left me 2 points ahead with 5 matches remaining, and from that point it was nip and tuck all the way to the finishing line. I had to stay ahead on points. My goal difference was good—I’ve had my best-ever goalscoring season—but Man Utd’s was better.

I lost and drew just enough of the remaining matches to ensure that the final match would be appropriately tension-filled. I won the final match, and as it happened Man Utd lost theirs.

All in all season 12 has been a bumpy ride on the League front, but I still got there and took the crown. Three in a row now. What a shame I can’t seem to get myself together yet in either of the Cup compeititons. There is a hidden higher difficulty level once you hit the Champions League knockout stages! I’m sure of it. Incidentally, the Best XI for the Champions League this season year shows how time is really starting to pass in my ML world. Regen Giggs and one or two others are familiar names, but the rest are alien to me.

I was disappointed not to take the top scorer title with Munitis. Here’s how the race for the Golden Boot turned out:

After a promising start, Munitis faded slightly from mid-season on. It was a definite slump that suspiciously coincided with me purchasing two skill cards for him. I don’t like ’em, you know, these skill cards… But the jury is still out.

I am insanely wealthy in the game now. The screenshot on the left was taken immediately after I was awarded £15m for winning the title. With sponsorship money I’ve actually got over £82,000,000 now.

I could buy so many great players, but none of them will come to me. I will keep trying, but I suspect I’ll need to win a Cup or two before the biggest big names will sign up.

Season 13 is next, and I’m not even slightly jaded with PES2010 yet. I still want to go on and play more.

Finally today, another stylish flicked goal from the AI. The first one I posted was something special—this one is incredible:

Link: PES2010 - another AI flick

An embarrassment of riches

The mid-season transfer window in season 12 of my Master League career in PES2010 has come and gone. I had two big AI offers on the table for two of my strikers. Tanaka, my 78-rated journeyman Japanese forward, had been on the transfer list since before the start of the season. Only one offer was submitted for him: £24.3m. He’s a slow WF/SS/CF hybrid who barely gets a game for me nowadays. What was I going to do?

Also on the transfer list was Sazi. At one time he was my main man, the apple of my eye, the essential striker whom I thought I needed to win any match. But he’s been seriously lacking in recent seasons, particularly since I paid £2m to equip him with two extra skill cards. Ever since that time, he’s been a shadow of the player he was before. I have serious doubts as to whether the ability to purchase sill cards for players is a worthwhile feaure of the game, or if it’s just glorified makework.

I would have accepted an offer for Sazi of £4m. The offer that came in for him was £16m. So I would easily recoup the money spent on useless skill cards, and then some.

It was a traditional ML no-brainer on both counts. £42,000,000 for two players who hardly get a game for me nowadays. I sold both of them without any regrets.

As for transfers in, I only managed to bring in one new player. I did keep trying for Raul, Scholes, plus a few other genuinely first-class ML performers, but none of them would come to me. I’m pretty sure my team reputation is still below a certain threshold. There was no new talent worth harvesting in my Youth team.

The one player I brought in was a young goalkeeper, a 75-rated Gianluigi Buffon. I spent £1.5m on him. Currently 18 years old, he’ll take over as my #1 keeper in a season or two. I’ve got no problems with Zuberbuhler at the moment—in fact he’s been pretty impressive. I’m looking a good way ahead to the future, is all. I’ll try to sell Fatecha, now my 3rd-choice keeper, at the end of the season.

This lack of buying means that I am very rich indeed. I’ve got about £60m in the bank. The days of struggling to pay my bills at the end of a season are a long, long way behind me. I’ll start spending it all in the next transfer window—if the game will let me.

It occurs to me that I’ve not yet posted an actual, proper First XI during this whole career so far. Every squad image I’ve shown has been jumbled up. So here it is. The First XI seen in the latest squad list on the left currently is my preferred selection, game after game, as long as all are available. With this line-up I can give any team in the ML world a good game—usually…

After a slump in league form I went on a run of 6 wins out of 7. I am now back up to 2nd place, level on points with Man Utd and just trailing on goal difference. In the current crop of league games I had a thrilling clash with Spurs that I won 2-1 with a fine late winner from Zaki.

Sadly, I have been knocked out of the Champions League in the first knockout round for the second season in a row. It’s the same old story. Once I get to the knockout stages, the difficulty seems to go up another notch or two. Last season I was taken apart by Sochaux. This season my quarter final nemesis was in the form of RC Lens.

In PES2010 such teams as Sochaux and Lens are better than 2009 Barcelona and 1990s Milan and 1970 Brazil and late 70s/early 80s Liverpool all put together and pumped full of amphetamines. I don’t know what it is. Obviously I’m a poor player, so that doesn’t help, but it seems to me that strange things happen in these games. The aggression is turned up to 11. The ‘tangle and snatch’ effect that constantly wrests possession away is turned up to 12. All in all I couldn’t live with them over the two legs. I lost the first leg at their ground 2-0, and I lost the second leg at mine 1-2. A feeble exit. I really will have to do better. A Treble may never happen at this rate.

So all I have left to go for now is the league title. With 14 matches left, I think I’ll do it.

Tangle and Snatch

And season 12 had started off so well… I was 2nd after 10 games, scoring freely, and everything was fine. Just dandy. But now things have changed. I’ve played my way through to the mid-season point—that’s another 8 league matches, and all of the Champions League group stage. In the latter competition, I’ve sailed through, no problems at all. But in the League? There I have hit a mysterious slump.

Suddenly it’s a run of games where I can’t win, and can hardly score a goal—and they’re all league games. In the Champs League I’m as free-scoring as I’ve been all season, and winning. In the league it’s as if an invisible hand is squeezing all the pizzazz out of my team. I smell a giant rat.

I had a key game against Tottenham, currently the all-conquering new stars of Division 1. I won it 1-0 with an ugly, deflected, scrambled goal in the last minute. There hasn’t been much else to cheer me up. After a few dodgy seasons, Manchester City are back as a major force. They’ve battered me every time I’ve met them this season, and they did so again, 0-3 at home.

The PES2010 AI has a method of getting the ball off you that I call ‘tangle and snatch’. Tangle and snatch. It might sound like the next buddy cop movie, or a corny, straight-to-digital-TV cop show, but it’s not that. It’s what PES2010 does to you when it decides it wants the ball and you are no longer allowed to have it. As is well known, response times in PES2010 are not what they were in previous iterations of the franchise. This enables the AI to swarm you with its players, and tangle you up, and snatch possession.

I know, I know. I just need to play better. I do know that. But I think I’m allowed to nurse some PES-based paranoia. When you sink this many hours into a game (217 and counting), you’re entitled to think it might be coming to get you sometimes.

After this very dodgy run of poor league form, I find myself 10 points off the pace at the halfway stage. The title is not out of reach. As long as I play well enough, the same invisble hand that I’ve sensed keeping me down will raise me up. Or bring other teams down, which amounts to the same thing.

My Champions League group has been a cakewalk. I had trouble in one match, against FC Basel 1895, who turned in the statutory Brazilliant performance that random teams in ML have sometimes just got to do. Otherwise I won them all and scored a nice few goals. I even simmed the meaningless last fixture against Atalanta. I haven’t simmed a match for about 8 seasons now. I’ll only ever do so under circumstances like this, when there could be no effect on any league standings. The game awarded me a 2-1 win, which was good of it.

I’ll face RC Lens in the quarter final. This is the stage where I hit a brick wall last season. I’ll try to be careful against Lens. Also in the draw—for the second season running—was PES United, among a few other bizarre teams.

Finally a few goals from the current period. The frst two are both from McCann, my Youth DMF who has turned into a 26-year-old veteran of many a midfield skirmish. Both of his goals look like the same goal, on first viewing. But they’re really not. This impression is boosted by them both coming against teams wearing near-identical kits: Arsenal in the first case, Aston Villa in the second. And finally in theclip there’s a super-duper-long-ranger from Zaki in the Champions League. I do love me some distance shooting. I don’t mean to resurrect old grievances, but SUCK ON THIS, you timid, shot-shy Gamescom people!

Link: Midseason 12 - some goals

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