I’m still playing my PES2011 Master League career on a part-time basis. I play a session every other day or so, rather than every day as I used to. It is better this way.
But my distaste for PES2011’s general gameplay is actually growing. It’s being held in check, for now, by my desire to ‘complete’ this ML career with a Treble. After that point, I am very sad to say, it is unlikely that any more will be heard from PES2011 on this blog until my end-of-year review in September.
Below is the current league table—10 wins out of 10 is unprecedented for me in PES2011, or indeed in any PES for a good while now:
And here is my Champions League group table—I’ve let things slip with a defeat, but I think at least 4 points from the last two fixtures (vs. Chelsea and then Nakhoachev) should see me qualify:
My goal-scoring, particularly in Europe, needs a lot of improvement. The Champions League is the gateway to financial security. My run to the Final last season brought in enough cash to upgrade all my staff to level 5 and bring in new players. It really set me up for my current league title challenge. A repeat performance this season could set me up for a Treble next time.
I should stress that I am still playing on Top Player, my second attempt at doing so. I think it was a bit early for me before, when I switched up in my first season after promotion and was promptly relegated. I’m now used to PES2011’s little ways, for better or worse.
Worse! Ye gods but this game is hard to like. Unfortunately, I am now possessed with an urge to ‘complete’ PES2011 and have done with it. I want to get my Treble out of the way, and never play PES2011 again. This is probably not a good sign.
Have I been too harsh on PES2011 recently for rhetorical effect—to add a bit of pizzazz to a rather pedestrian blog? No, no I’m not. My current negative view of PES2011 is totally genuine and unforced.
Just how is playing PES2011 a horrible experience? So many reasons…
There’s the step-aside.
There’s the stumble (God, the stumble!).
Then there’s the extra touch, or touches, that the players always seem to want.
There’s the way players will automatically run-on with the ball, leading to much confusion and hilarity. (Yesterday I had Schwarz run-on with the ball in midfield for about 10 yards.)
There’s what I call the ‘proximity effect’, where the presence nearby of an opposition player will unaccountably destroy your player’s ability to make crisp contact with a football.
There’s the transparent interference with aerial through-balls. Often I will spot one of my players hanging off the shoulder of a side-back, as he should. Right, I think, time for a classic PES aerial through-ball. But the resulting through-ball, even if powered to its maximum, is a weak ‘scoop’ that finds the first defender’s head. It’s as if the game knows what I’m trying to do, and is programmed to prevent it from happening.
All of these factors and more make PES2011 a hesitant, jerky experience that simply fails to flow. Occasionally it flares into triumphant life. But not often enough.
There are still great moments, but do they outweigh the less-than-great, or terrible moments? Here’s a short video showing the two sides of PES2011—in which all may not be as it first seems….
In the ‘bad moment’, it at first seems that my defender has stood dumbly and failed to react to the cross. The ball has bounced off him directly to a CPU striker. Of course I was thrashing the header button to make a clearance, and nothing happened. Or did it?
In fact, looking closely, we can see that my other player in the vicinity makes a useless jump from behind—he was the player I had control of as the cross came in. So it was a player selection issue rather than a player behaviour issue. The logical player for me to have control of was not the player the game gave me control of.
The second, good moment really speaks for itself. It’s a proper chip, L1+shoot, scored with Schwarz from a raking through-ball. It’s the first actual chipped goal I scored intentionally. I’ve scored plenty of PES2011’s auto-lobbed goals, so this one felt like a little reward when it sailed over the keeper’s head, dropped just short of the goal-line, and bounced into the net. (And yes, that is Puyol chasing back for his current team—Birmingham City.)