It puzzles me why PES2011 shows so many different faces to so many different people. Many of the issues that have disappointed, infuriated, and frankly disgusted me about the game, are nothing or nearly nothing to others.
Playing styles have a lot to do with it, of course. My style is perhaps more ponderous. I want to hold onto the ball for longer than the game will properly ‘allow’, leading to a higher incidence of the goddamn bastarding stumble animation for one thing.
But it really puzzles me how the step-around animation—known as the ‘Pirlo turn’ on some PES forums—isn’t more widely noticed and reviled. Running onto through-balls is problematic thanks to this feature, and trying to shoot from a laid-off free kick is a nightmare.
Yes, after a reconciliation with PES2011 over the past few weeks, it’s trying its best to push me away once more. I think I’ve narrowed down my objections to the game to one word, a common word for next-gen PES players: awkwardness. The way highly-skilled players will hesitate and shuffle when collecting the ball. The step-around. The stumble. At times it can be lived with—at other times, for me, no, it manifestly cannot be lived with.
Which is a shame. Roughly half the time, PES2011 plays really well. Often it’s a delight, in the finest tradition of the series. For the other half of the time it’s pretty bad. And what causes that? Is it the game itself, tossing a virtual coin upon boot-up? “It’s tails! For this session I will turn his annoyances up to 11, heh-heh.”
PES2011’s character is so divergent from session to session that something must be causing it, I feel. An actual programming decision by the creators. The game’s split personality is reminiscent of David Bruce Banner, appearing in split-screen with his green alter-ago at the end of every memorable title sequence. (Me calling him David Bruce Banner will be sacrilege to the comics nerds, where he was merely Bruce Banner—but I’m talking specifically here of the Incredible Hulk TV series.)
So I’ve been steering clear of PES2011 for the past few days. My vague hopes of maybe, just possibly, starting a Master League—again—in PES2011, and playing it through to a Treble before October, would seem to be on hold.
I’m back playing WE9LE exclusively, where I’m in season 3 of what is developing into a very intriguing Master League indeed. A week or two ago I posted that the patched game’s ML ‘world’ was in danger of being unbalanced by the appearance of unpatched super-players. There were also a disamaying amount of FREE AGENT slots in the Youth player list.
Time would seem to have resolved the latter. The Youth list is now fully populated, bar one solitary FREE AGENT slot the last time I looked, at the start of this third season.
I picked up two 17-year-olds: Brad Friedel in goal, and Jari Litmanen in midfield. I couldn’t afford anybody else. I’m still in Division 2 and will do well to mount a challenge for promotion this season.
0-0 is back to being my most common result. The few days I had away from We9LE have cost me, particularly as I spent them with another game that has different passing and shooting values, and a different overall rhythm.
That’s fine. I know the way to score goals and eke out those precious 1-0 wins will return to me in We9LE eventually.
The AI has scored another notable goal. This one was a lob that came after some particularly calamitous defending from yours truly. Note the ‘scoop’ nature of the lob, using the right front edge of the player’s boot:
That’s the 17-year-old Brad Friedel making his debut in goal. He/I had a really bad game, losing this one 3-0.