There he is again. The man of the hour, Coynborough, modelling my new Home kit for season 3, and playing with the new ball. I went for the Powercat. Yes, you can choose which ball you play with in the top division. Just one more reason I wanted to get out of Division 2, where a stupid bug means it’s always the default ball.
As for the new, mostly non-Sky Blue home strip… I know it looks more like an Away strip. But I fancied a change here as well. When I inevitably return to Sky Blue next season, it’ll be even more special.
Before going any further, here’s a successful cross from the wing (a double-tap jobby) that leads to a diving near-post header:
And another two goals from crosses, fresh from this morning’s session:
And finally a slightly different one—after spotting Rafael’s checked run at the near post, I improvised a near-post aerial through ball for him to (just) get on the end of:
Wing play and crosses do work in PES2013. They just have to be worked a bit harder for than in PES2012.
Not much happened in the transfer market. I signed two players: MEHMEDI, to go along with my very similarly-named Mehmeti (it’s nice to have the set); and DE BRUYNE. Both are versatile attacking front men. I’ll talk more next time about them and how they’re fitting into my side.
For the move up to the Premier League, I have moved up a notch on the difficulty scale, from Professional to Top Player.
Professional is (was) by no means an easy level. But I felt that certain matches where I was winning very easily were coming along far too often. I was getting too much space in and around the opposition box. There’s absolutely no point sitting on Professional and fretting or grumbling about it feeling easy, when there are another two difficulty levels above it waiting to be moved into.
And now, after playing all of pre-season and the first 6 matches in the Premier League, I’m really enjoying Top Player. I haven’t come up against any of the big boys yet, but so far it’s everything I wanted it to be. The feeling is back of being at the ground floor of something epic.
The rumoured scripting shenanigans—while pretty bloody obvious sometimes, as ever in PES—haven’t been totally obnoxious.
The CPU player pressure is notably increased. They get closer and tighter to you much faster. My favourite scoring routine of passing down the wing and then into feet is still possible, but nowhere near as regularly. I’ve scored just one such goal in my opening 6 matches.
Matches generally are a touch faster, but I’ve gone down to -1 to counteract that. It’s a testament to PES2013 that I lasted on the default starting speed until now.
Here’s the table after 6 matches:
Won 2, drawn 2, lost 2. Scored 9, conceded 8.
I beat Everton 3-1 in my opening match, and then drew 1-1 with West Brom. After those matches I was in the top six, and the alarm bells really were ringing for the lifespan of PES2013.
I went to Sunderland and lost 0-1. Next I hosted QPR and won easily, 2-0.
Swansea came to the Ricoh next. They were one of the teams promoted with me from Division 2. They slaughtered me in this match. I was guilty of carelessness, conceding a stupid early goal that I never recovered from. I lost 0-2, and really felt the power of Top Player against me for the first time.
Game 6 was against the Villa (*spits*), and once again when they took an early lead I feared the worst.
Ah, but then Castolis stepped up.
Playing on zero-bar passing, as I now do permanently, really makes the good passers stand out. Castolis is one such player. In the 80th minute, facing another frustrating defeat, I spotted Minandinho in the box. From out wide I hit a 30-yard ground pass with Castolis that bisected all the defenders and found its way to Minandinho’s right boot. 1-1, and I was jubilant.
I was nearly ecstatic a few minutes later when Castolis found Aakobjoerg with an aerial through-ball that put him clean through on goal for a one-on-one. Was I about to have a special PES moment?
Sadly, I skewed the shot wide with the goal at my mercy. 1-1 the final result.
These matches on Top Player really brought back that titanic feeling from PES2012. The feeling that I’m playing with very tight margins of success and failure.