On Friday and Saturday nights I did something I very, very rarely do: I played PES into the wee small hours.
I haven’t deliberately avoided playing PES at night over the past few years. It’s just been how things have worked out. Working at a job with non-standard hours, it’s been natural for me to play in the mornings. I let night-times stay reserved for other activities. Such as reading, watching TV and movies, talking to other people if I have to, etc.
The time when I would switch on the games console at about 11pm and switch it off sometime between 4-6am before crawling into bed, seems like a very long time ago now. Because it is.
It’s weird playing at night. Feeling tired, knowing that pretty soon you’ll have to call it a night. Morning-time play is open-ended. Of course it isn’t so in practical terms, not really. It just feels that way because the whole of the day is ahead of you.
I found playing at night (and they were two decent, longish sessions) to be a very different, slightly more oppressive atmosphere. It wasn’t a terrible experience, but I’ll be happy to go back to my morning routine now.
During my two night sessions I went through a patch of winning games 2-1. They always worked out the same. I would go behind 0-1 to an early-ish CPU goal, which always came either straight from kick-off, or—if it was my kick-off—during the CPU’s first attack. And there are still people who deny the presence of scripts in PES. Incredible.
Then I would huff and puff but fail to get through the CPU defence. But I’d score my equaliser midway through the second half. Then get my winner towards the end of the match—sometimes at the very end, with the last kick of the ball.
A few such samey matches in a row is nothing unusual. But I must have had about six of these 2-1 wins in a row.
It was a relief eventually to get out of this patch of 2-1 scorelines and back to some different-feeling sorts of matches.
At least all the 2-1 wins meant I was in with a serious chance of winning the title with a few matches to go. I really thought I might snatch it. But I lost a couple of matches badly and that was that.
The final table:
That orange blob at the bottom, stretching from Sunderland to Everton? The nighttime orange glow of my bedside lamp, reflected in the TV screen.
The wretched CPU goal-scoring leaps out from that table. It doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in the underlying logic of the ML world as a whole.
But I’m very satisfied to have finished in a Champions League spot. Although I will of course have to navigate a tricky pre-season playoff tie. I’m confident. In all the years since they introduced pre-season playoff ties, I dont think I have ever lost one of them. (You’ll have to imagine your own famouslastwordshashtag thing here. I cannot bring myself to deploy one of them for real.)
The Team of the Season was very strange. I scored lots of goals and played good football, but only had two entrants. Minandinho getting in ahead of Wroughllen (the club’s top scorer with 20 goals) was peculiar, but at least Minandinho finished top of the Assists chart. Spot the orange glow again:
Oh well, I suppose I am in the Premier League now, and I ‘only’ finished 4th. I should be happy to have two players in the mix.
And that was season 5. This time last year, playing PES2012, I was in Season 3, and still in Division 2. The year before that, in PES2011, I was at the start of season 5 in the top flight. The year before that, PES2010, I was only on season 2—of course, the game came out much later back then. And I think I restarted as well.
So, onward to season 6. Change of strip? Yes, of course. Change of difficulty? Fancy a bit of Superstar?
I’m not sure. Possibly yes, but just as possibly, not. On the one hand I’ve been having a good time with Professional. The big teams are able to hand me my arse on a regular basis. But for much of the time, it does feel as if I’m coasting…
I’ll play a few Training Matches on Superstar and see how they feel. And of course I’ve yet have to find what my new club ranking will be. I still don’t know at the time of typing. That could be a huge factor, affecting player acquisition, squad quality, all of that. I’ll have to see.