Part-time lover

Since my grand announcement about scaling back my time with PES2011, I’ve been true to my word. Since Tuesday I have only played about 5 matches in total. That’s 2 in the League, 2 in the Champions League, and 1 in the domestic Cup.

I won both of the League matches. This keeps my astonishing—for me—record going. 7 wins out of 7. Top of the table. It’s still very early of course. But the first and most difficult part of the Treble could be mine to lose this year.

In the Champions League, I started out with a tough trip away to Chelsea. It was as tough and dour a game as they come in PES2011. In most respects it encapsulated the issues I have with this year’s edition of the game. From the first whistle to the last, I felt as if an invisible hand was squeezing the life out of my team.

My criticisms of PES2011 could be summed up thus: the many “checks and balances” that work against the human player oblige me to spend far too great a percentage of time feeling out of control.

But I won the match. I scored a late goal, and cackled with glee over it just as if the good old days had never gone. I took the 0-1 result and the three points. In my next Champions League game against Cluj I got a relatively disappointing 1-1 home draw, but it’s all points on the board.

The other branch of the hallowed Treble is the domestic Cup. In every Master League campaign since the dawn of time (well, since 2002 or so) I have played two-legged Cup matches. This year, I decided to give traditional English-style one-legged Cup matches a try.

I knew I’d have cause to regret it, and I do regret it. I played Machester City away, and it was a very similar match to the one against Chelsea. Except that this time I lost. I lost 1-0, to a late Man City goal, and that was that.

I cursed my decision to go with one-legged Cup matches. In a two-legged encounter, I felt I could have turned the tie around at my place.

But that’s the Treble for this season gone.

Now that I’m playing my seasons at a vastly reduced pace, it could be a while before I actually win a Treble. A very long while.

But that’s fine. PES2011 might not be a game I want to play every day, but it serves me well as an every-other-day kind of game. This’ll do me. Even if I don’t clinch the Treble until the leaves are turning yellow again and PES2012 is just around the corner, so be it.

And who knows. It just might be better this way.


  1. just was woundering if anyone has experienced and offside goal being given. i havnt been playing ML but instead been playing BAL and ave scored two offside goals which have been given. i have checked the replay over and over again and it is definently offside. i have scored one offside goal in my ML as well and was woundering is this meant to happen to make it seem more realistic with decisions going wrong. the last offside goal i scored was in the 90 min to win the game 2-1. is this meant to happen, the commentators make no mention of this so im guessing its not meant to happen?????????

  2. Ali – id guess its just a glitch in PES’s logic system then, and isn’t meant to happen.

    Following on from a previous thread about the future and EA’s seeming unwillingness to take the hidden core of the FIFA game and tweak it to make THE defining footy title … I actually disagree!
    I think Konami are much better placed to produce the absolute defining footy game of this era.
    I say that because bugs aside, I actually much prefer PES’s style of gameplay to FIFA’s.
    FIFA may have smooth animations but there is absolutely no individuality at all, you can turn on a sexpence with any player, passes are straight to feet with any player, the pitch feels really small and cramped compared to PES’s, and there is much greater immersion and sense of atmosphere in PES matches.
    I think if KONAMI really pulled the stops out, fixed the bugs, tweaked a few bits and improved on PES11’s foundations then They could well reclaim the king of footy titles crown.

  3. ali—for all my moaning over the past few months about PES2011 (and over the past few years about next-gen PES in general), I have never seen an offside goal allowed to stand in any match. I have seen loads of forum complaints about the issue, but never had to suffer it myself. Every now and then I think a goal looks suspicious and I stop and examine the replay, and there’s always a player playing them onside. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, only that I’ve never seen it.

  4. Paul—I also believe that PES’s core game at its best is better than next-gen FIFA’s core game at its best. I’m more pessimistic about FIFA today than I have been since the bad old days pre-FIFA08. In fact, I’ve all but given up on FIFA in my heart.

    There are a few reasons for this. The single-player modes, of course, are unpalatable to me. But the main reason is a serious gameplay issue that I can never, ever overlook or forgive, and which I’m not prepared to even try to live with this year.

    I’m talking about FIFA’s SuperTackleBallWin! button combo of sprint+secondary pressure. It’s literally a game-breaker for me. Indeed I only play single-player, so it’s up to me to use it or not as I see fit, but voluntary abstinence is just not ever going to work for me. I cannot forget it’s there. If the clock’s ticking down and I need a goal, SuperTackleBallWin! is coming out of the locker.

    I shudder to think what goes on in online FIFA. In fact, no, I don’t want to know—I imagine they all have immensely strong right thumbs and forefingers, from all the incessant clamping.

    If EA got rid of SuperTackleBallWin!, and boosted the individuality of players, I’d be very interested again. If they sharpened up Career Mode considerably—or, even better, merged it with Ultimate Team to create a Frankenmaster League mode—I’d be beating down the door trying to get in. As it stands, I’d rather play my beloved Master League in PES2011, a game that I don’t really like at all(!), than FIFA11, and that speaks volumes.

  5. im currently getting board of ML, mabey ive played it too much but im playing alot of BAL now and only playin two matches a day if im bothered to. my team is no where near perfect as they cant seem to get past the second round im champions league, i personally blame all the scrpiting for not letting me do gd in champions league. mabey it is the scripting or mabey my teams not strong enough yet but loosing a two goal lead to PSV when my team is clearly better then them is unacceptable.
    the only thing i hate about PES is online play. i played roughly 5 games and i never have a great connection with annyone. theres terrible lag and i cant play my normal football. my connection is great with any other game except PES. also the half moon shuffle and the player always stumbeling after a tackle. hopefully pes 12 is going to be the one

  6. I have restarted my Master League after installing an option file to allow division 2 to be replaced as the championship. I also have all the correct kits which makes the game much more enjoyable. I am not doing as well as I first thought I would, but I am starting to improve my position.

    My become a legend mode is going better. I am with AZ and we are 2nd in the league, 2 points behind Ajax. We were a lot lower in the table for a while, but I have made sure I have helped the team out more and passed the ball about a bit. This season (2013-2014) has been the best by far and I have managed to get to the top of the goal scorers chart. My England games have gone a bit downhill, but I hope I will improve in the future when the proper tournaments start.

    The bugs in the game do annoy me, but I have just let them go and got used to them as they are not going away. All I try and do now is play the game by adapting to some of the bugs and changing some of my play. If they fix all these ready for 2012, I know I will have to start again, but generally I don’t think I will stop playing pro evo as I love it too much! 🙂

    Playing online is very annoying. The last 20 games I have played, I have lost. But I am still undeterred! I still slog it out and at least try and go for a draw. I only play ML online, but whatever the result, I am just trying to save up my money and buy some decent players. I just dont understand how playing a div 4 player when you are div 5 and losing 3-0 can give you 102k (before fees), and playing another div 4 player and scoring 2 goals, getting most possession and shot on target ratio, but then losing 3-2 gives me 47k (before fees)????????????
    Surely if you play better and actually score but lose, you should get more money than if you dont score and lose dont you think?
    I will leave that one with you.

  7. not-greg, I suspect that to really enjoy FIFA single player you have to go for manual, legendary (where SuperTackleBallWin isn’t so effective), have a strong interest in lower league football and treat career mode as a sort of scenario challenge (e.g. take charge of Exeter City and avoid being sacked/relegated) rather than anything akin to ML. I almost got there with FIFA10, before getting too frustrated owing to the limited goalscoring options. Will probably try a bit harder this year with FIFA11 as I’m just about at the end of my tether with PES11 – don’t mind the bugs so much as the terrible scripting, which becomes ever more obvious when the underlying gameplay is not very smooth. E.g. a 1-0 defeat to Palermo when my players seemed to be running through treacle followed by a 5-1 win over Inter (with players on similar form arrows) which was so embarassingly easy I didn’t enjoy it. ML has moved too far away from being a genuine test of a player’s abilities that it’s not really satisfying

  8. Abbeyhill – if only that were true about FIFA single player. From what I’ve heard, there’s so little player individuality and there are so many bugs that stop you developing a team of low cost players that having an interest in lower league football and treating it as a realistic scenario are absolutely impossible

  9. ali—I’m not the right person to empathise with online connection problems, frankly. Even more frankly, I think that recent years’ fixation upon online play has caused a lot of the trouble we’ve come across with next-gen PES and FIFA. It’s not just the time and resources that the companies devote to making it work (or failing to make it work). It’s also that the style of football played online has slowly bled into the single-player side of things. Online football gaming has ruined football gaming! I genuinely believe that. Okay, so I’m prejudiced against online gaming to begin with, but I think it’s undeniable that the offline game has acquired a load of the pressuring, hi-speed, hi-tempo dynamics that have been a hallmark of online play.

  10. The Dribbler—I applaud yours and others’ determination to squeeze something out of online play, even if I don’t want to share in it.

    Re. the bugs and glitches, I wonder if we would all be so indulgent towards this game if it had the word ‘FIFA’ on the box? I don’t think we would, somehow. I think the game would immediately have been laughed out of the park.

    The ghost of PES years past is providing most (or all) of the energy needed to play PES2011, I find. My part-time schedule has helped, but I still thoroughly dislike PES2011 and believe it’s the worst since PES2008(PS3), and I dislike myself just as much for putting up with it. If it wasn’t for Master League—or more exactly my tradition of playing Master League—PES2011 would be a long way behind me in my rear-view mirror now.

  11. abbeyhill—the effectiveness of SuperTackleBallWin! waxes and wanes under normal conditions anyway (otherwise I’d never concede a goal and enjoy 99% possession in FIFA). As I say, just knowing it’s there and that it’s mostly successful (particularly in midfield) means that I can no longer really take FIFA seriously. I’m a particular kind of football gamer, though, and I do appreciate that next-gen FIFA has qualities (tragically buried behind awfulness IMO, but it does have them). I’m sure other gamers can exercise restraint and employ House Rules or whatever, but I need a football game to grab me out of the box with all the equipmet provided by the game designer. If part of that equipment breaks the game, as I believe SuperTackleBallWin! does, that’s not a game I’m interested in spending any great time or effort on.

    I know that my time and efforts with PES2011—a game just as scarred in different ways—renders this a somewhat inconsistent point. But PES2011’s trump card is Master League.

    As you may see from my last few comments and the overall tenor of my recent posts, PES2011 is a fallen star for me. I truly believe that only the ‘PES’ on the box (and Master League) has prevented it from disappearing without trace.

  12. Chris—if I could get past FIFA’s hideously unbalancing gameplay problems (i.e. sprint-clamp), and then persuade myself to ignore the hollowness of Career Mode, I could probably cope with reduced player individuality. I played six seasons of Manager Mode on FIFA08 with great enjoyment, and roughly the same on FIFA09. The sprint-clamp wasn’t so ridiculously overpowered back then, but it was a growing concern. And yes, all my players were pretty much the same. I remember Jesus Navas, Michael Owen, and C. Ronaldo feeling like individuals. The rest? All the same player, pretty much.

  13. Chris, not-greg, fair points about FIFA of course. I sometimes find the gameplay satisfaction of putting together a nice passing sequence on manual controls is enough to offset the lack of individuality or decent modes – it feels like a purer test of skill than PES

  14. abbeyhill – what do you think of the gameplay in general for FIFA 11? I’ve just received a game voucher and wondered whether it might be worth a pop when I’m done with Master League in a couple of months time

  15. abbeyhill—I still get that passing-it-around buzz from next-gen FIFA too. Every time I experience that thrill of its game engine ticking over and purring like a Ferrari, I think “This is it, I’m going to play FIFA forever.” But then the button-mashing reality catches up with me sooner or later. I know this could be just as easily ascribed as a failing to me or any football gamer who tends towards the button-mashy side of things in FIFA, but as I say above, I play footy games wth the tools provided, and they have to stand or fall by those lights for me. If it wasn’t for sprint-clamping I could probably squeeze 6 or 7 seasons of Career Mode out of FIFA.

  16. Chris, I’ve only just started seriously playing it over the last couple of days, having given up on PES11. Initial impressions of the gameplay are pretty favourable, it has a crisper feel than FIFA10, with more weight and momentum plus more satisfying shooting. However it is too fast – faster on ‘slow’ than PES11 (PC version) was on normal

  17. Chris & abbeyhill—I second the opinion that FIFA11’s shooting is pretty much spot-on this year. When I first got the game I spent half an hour in the Arena just playing around with the new shooting. It was always an Achilles’ heel for next-gen FIFA, but FIFA11’s shooting feels just right (mostly)

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