It’s season 4 and I’m back in Division 2, back on Professional difficulty, and back in Sky Blue. There’s De Bruyne on the right, looking a bit, er, festive shall we say, after scoring a goal.
I’ve also changed the Away kit. I kept the basic design, just changed the colours. This season I’ll be in red when I can’t wear sky blue.
So what’s it like being back in Division 2? The feel of this season, even after just a few matches, is utterly unlike my promotion season, which I remember as being pretty easy.
I haven’t done myself any favours by not getting any new players. The new bidding system means that at least we don’t waste time going for unrealistic targets—but wasn’t it better when we at least thought we had a chance? When we could dream that somehow, some way, that 30-something 83OVR striker might, just might, agree to sign?
I had enough spare cash to upgrade two staff members—my club doctor to level 2, and my Athletic Coach to level 3. The coach had a specific mention for being a good influence on players’ form. I bloody hope so. The purple and blue arrows are killing me.
I’ve been tinkering with formations a lot. I started pre-season with my customary 4-2-2-2 that served me so well in PES2012 and for the early portion of PES2013, but which failed so spectacularly last season in the Premier League on Top Player.
I find that PES2013 is one of the most formation-critical PESes I have ever played. For my second Training Match I started with a 4-3-3 for the first time since PES2010. I did well, but got caned in my next. For my final pre-season fixture I took to the field with an alien but sturdy 4-5-1.
This match was also where I uncorked a special bottle of wine that I had been saving up: Superstar difficulty.
I only took this one tiny sip, but found it delicious. My opponents were Besiktas, a tough European night out on any difficulty. The match was sublime, really: slow-paced, considered, and somehow more dignified in comparison to both the hurlyburly of Top Player and the carnival of mutual counterattacking that is Professional.
I lost 1-0, and that was only because I was twatting about trying to see what the AI did when I just passed the ball along my back line. (It charged me down until I made a mistake, is what it did.)
Superstar is where the true game of PES2013 is, I think. It’s where I’m destined to spend most of my time and get the very best out of the game. But not yet.
And so onto the season proper. I decided to stick with the 4-5-1 to begin with.
Disaster. I lost the opener 0-2, and that seems to have set the tone. The balmy days of season 2 really are a long way in the past.
The table after 5 matches:
I need to stop conceding goals. I’m trying to play in an aggressive, swashbuckling manner with players that are barely above-average.
Maybe that’s not surprising. PES2012 and my old super-team are still fresh in the memory. I’m automatically trying to play with my C-rated PES2013 team in the way I was able to play with my triple-A PES2012 team. It’s just not working.
Two goals from my opening matches:
First is De Bruyne, finally getting an extended run in the team and finally showing the goods. Player indviduality in PES shows itself in his case. I play him out there on the left. Time and again he hangs off the last man and shows himself for that final ball at the far post. His strike in this clip was one of two almost identical goals that he scored in back-to-back matches.
The second goal is a first-time, 35-yard, Schwarz-esque blaster (albeit with his wrong foot) from my born-again starlet, Wroughllen. How I missed him when he got that 26-week injury last season. At the time he got injured he was my only regular scorer. I never seemed to recover my balance in the Premier after that. Fingers crossed for a good campaign this time.