Well, at least it’s nice to be back in the Champions League in season 15. I’ve had a moderate group draw. I shouldn’t go into these matches with anything to fear. I’ve played and beaten all three teams at various times during my PES2012 adventures.
Season 14 ended trophyless. There have been no trophies for a few seasons now. My club ranking has slipped to no. 18 in the ML world.
Just three or four seasons ago, it was no. 2. I seemed all set to dominate every competition for some time. Ah, but then I went up to Superstar difficulty.
Life on Superstar is tough. It challenges me in ways that PES has never challenged me before. When it’s great, it’s the best PES gameplay ever. When it decides to exert its machine intelligence (or when I allow it to, I should say), I find it unplayable.
For the first time since the move to Superstar, I’ve been questioning my decision. One of the PES2012 AI’s key features are its ‘magic dancers’, as I have come to call them. Players who will just jink and glide past your players. Even if you get a tackle in, it won’t stop them.
Superstar takes the ‘magic dancers’ and makes them routine. You’re always up against that, and it gets wearying after a while.
So I’m thinking about going down to Top Player. I’m not thinking about it very much, because Superstar gameplay is actually pretty sublime most of the time. But I’m not ruling out Top Player. This coming season and how I perform will determine that.
There are grounds for hope.
Back in season 13, my first on Superstar, I was out of the Cup early and finished 6th in the table. But then last season I got to the FA Cup semi-final, the Europa League final, and finished 4th in the table. Progress is being made. And there’s nothing as sweet as victory on Superstar.
Season 15, then. For the first time in a long old time, I find myself playing PES at night. This is because my mornings are currently occupied by other stuff, unavoidably.
I released Nadal and Del Piero. What a shame about Del Piero. He was rotting in the OTHER list when I found him aged 24 and 66OVR. He stayed at 66OVR for his entire two seasons with me. I was going to keep him until he was 30 to see if he blossomed, but his best chance of doing that is away from me right now. I’ve got enough young players who need nurturing.
I was looking to add a big beast of a striker to my team. Drogba and Sibon, both in their late 20s but capable enough of doing a job for a few seasons, were my targets of choice. Repeat bids for both players utterly failed. I’ll keep trying, with an eye on the January window.
I bought just one player, HELMES (CF, 69OVR), a kid who popped up when I searched for players with shot power over 90. Did I really want another youngster to develop painfully slowly? Apparently, the answer to that question is YES.
In pre-season, one of my perennial Training Match opponents, Bate Borisov, scored this screamer against me:
That’s Joe Hart in goal. I think he needs another season on the bench, really.
My first two fixtures of the season: Man Utd, AWAY; and Liverpool, AWAY.
Man Utd abslutely creamed me 3-0. I was lucky not to concede 6 or 7. Emmanuel Thomas, playing alongside Roberto Mancini up front, got his regulation goal against me. A pest for 15 seasons, that man.
Liverpool had Ibrahimovic playing alongside Papin up front. I tell you, this ML world of mine is pretty lethal.
I ground out a 1-1 here. A game I could not afford to lose. There was added pressure on these two games knowing that they were early 6-pointers.
1 point from my opening two matches. I deliberately averted my gaze from the league table when it flashed on-screen. I’ll pay attention when 10 matches have passed and I’m hopefully within shouting distance of the top. This season, I have to win something for the sake of my self-respect.