Over the past week or more the tone of my posts may have given the impression, wrongly, that PES2012 is nothing but toil. That playing it is a Purgatory unlike any other. That I’m just biding my time and waiting for the right moment to move with dignity over to FIFA12.
Not so! When I’ve come to write most of my recent posts, I’ve usually done so on the back of a frustrating session or two. And then chosen to highlight the game’s problems in that post. I’m afraid that’s one of the drawbacks of the blog format. It’s only ever going to be a record of what I think and feel right now. Not so much what I thought and felt the day before yesterday, when (for example) I might have played the most majestic, symphony-like session of PES2012 ever.
And it’s not as if I’m unwilling to put a PES game to the sword if I feel it truly deserves it. In 2010 I quit PES2011 before Christmas. I’m more than capable of ditching a PES game if I find it unplayable.
I hope to play PES2012 until it reaches a natural end. I anticipate giving it a generally favourable end-of-year review in September. Because of that shooting, I anticipate giving it a poorer final review-style score than I might have done otherwise. PES2012 is a solid and enjoyable 8/10 game with bizarre and wonky 4/10 random shooting. That’s what I can’t get away from.
Meanwhile, back in my Master League career, after 12 matches of season 8 I’m just keeping in touch with the leaders:
My lack of goal-scoring is a problem that I’ll have to resolve if I ever want to do anything in this league.
I just had the misfortune of playing Manchester United twice in a row. First in the FA Cup, then in the league. Both matches were at their place.
I lost 2-0 in the Cup, and 4-0 in the league. In both matches I started well and held onto the ball. That’s something it’s nearly always best to do in PES2012. It often draws the sting out of the AI. This time, it just seemed to make Man Utd angry. I was trounced in both games, outplayed and outfought. I kept the Cup scoreline down to a respectable 2-0 only through some miracle.
Sharp-eyed readers may have noted a general slowing-down of my PES2012 progress over the past two weeks. It’s true—I have been playing the game less, and taking more time to move through the seasons than before.
Here’s why: I’ve spent about half my recent football gaming time playing old ISS and PES games for the book I’m currently writing. Over the past week in particular I have played long, glorious sessions on ISS, ISS98, ISS Pro Evolution 2, PES3, and PES4. Over the coming weeks I’ll play every PES and ISS game there has ever been.
What can I say? It’s pretty great. It’s an eye-opener (e.g.: there was PES2012-style ‘wrong-side shooting’ in ISS98!). It’s an unashamed trip down memory lane, a chance to wallow in nostalgia and remember what life was like in another time.
To anyone out there who still owns any of the early games: I do recommend having a look again. Even if it’s only to see how far we’ve truly come.
And to anyone who wants to start collecting the early games, either to play them for the first time or keep them as mementoes: you’d better start now. They’re all going cheap on eBay and/or Amazon. The PC versions of PES are always gettable through nefarious methods—although I own legitimate original PC DVD copies of PES4, PES5, and PES6, I’ll have ye know.
Master League is what I’m all about in football gaming. Even if the Johnny-come-lately of FIFA12’s Career Mode turns out to be as good as I hope and expect it to be, my Master League origins will still be there: a solid 13 years of great times and great memories.
It still amazes me that Master League began in 1999 in ISS Pro Evolution on the original grey PlayStation. That first version of the mode featured one solitary division. The following year, in ISS Pro Evolution 2 that was expanded to two divisions.
I could go on here at length. I could just cut and paste some of the chapters I’ve written and others that I’m still working on, but I’ll save them for release. Which is still on target, roughly, for spring/early summer this year.