Season 1 is over. I finished bottom of the table. In the second half of the season I won 2 matches. I’m playing a bit better now, but Master League is still hard.
Here’s a badly-GIMPed picture of the entire final table (I’ve just started learning to use the GIMP; this was a first-hour job):
Still no long-range goals for me in PES2011, but I did score a good goal with Gutierrez that is probably my favourite so far. It was a bit FIFA-like, for me. In next-gen FIFA, particularly in FIFA09, I came to use a shooting technique I called the ‘reverse hook’. This goal felt similar. It was all in the pivot, using the weight of the player and ball to hoist the ball around the keeper’s far side.
Whisper it, but I’m entertaining a few dark doubts about the tweaks that Konami have made to Master League. The Advanced Start bug was an annoyance, but I got over it.
What I haven’t got over yet are the twin Voids that await you in mid-season and at the end of the season. There are just too many empty weeks between games at those times.
I’m more than a little disturbed about them. I thought the mid-season Void was bad enough—17 button-presses to navigate through! But post-season is far, far worse. My transfer activity was completed in the first week of the window. And in total I had 25 empty half-weeks to press through. Even with autosave disabled, it takes an age.
Master League in PES2010 was damn near perfect—the best it’s ever been, IMO. It was inevitable that Konami would meddle with it for 2011. So far, I’m not really digging those tweaks, I have to say. The Voids just make no sense. Transfers are handled all-year-round in the new-style Master League. What are the Voids for?
Things picked up for me in the second half of the season. I continue to find the PES2011 gameplay fresh and challenging and immersive and all the rest of it.
My one reservation is the way you’ll often see a gigantic empty space on the pitch—yet another Void—where the side-backs should be. Pausing the game at such moments, I always find my side-back standing in a centre-forward position. That is just weird.
“It’s your tactics,” the Football Manager forums would say about this kind of problem. Hmmm. I’ll have to see about that. I’ve seen the wandering side-back happen on all ATT/DEF levels. My tactical sliders are already on the conservative side. Investigations are ongoing.
So I won 2 matches in a row at the midway point of the second half of the season. I enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in all my remaining matches. If the second half of the season had been a league of its own, I think I’d have finished four or five places off the bottom.
I had two players retire at season’s end: Ivarov and The Myth of Castolo. Good riddance to both of them.
For season 2, I’ve abandoned my 4-3-3 formation, for now.
My new 4-4-2 (more like a 4-2-2-2 in practice) served me well last year. I’ve got a 3-4-3 mapped to a strategy button for those times when I need more bodies up front. (Not that my side-backs need any encouragement to play up front…)
I’ve got the general squad size down to 21 players.
I released a load, and I sold SHIMIZU and PALMIERI, but only because I had to. My total debt was £800,000 and there was no way I was going to make that kind of money by selling Burchet & co.
It’s a trim squad of 21 players now. I brought in two players from the transfer market, both costing about £100,000.
SERDAR OZKAN (SMF/RWF) and SOLIANO (CF/SS) are the classic slightly-better types of players who help to raise your overall ML squad quality and on-the-pitch performance by the necessary increments.
As much as I enjoyed PES2010’s multi-season adventure in Division 2, I really don’t want to repeat it. It was January before I got to Division 1!
I’ll be satisfied this year with a three-season promotion campaign. Taking any more time will just be careless, I think.