Only a couple of sessions and a handful of matches this week. Traditionally, mid-to-late April is doldrums time in PES. But this year – thanks to the late release, and then another delay while I made my mind up about PES2015 – April sees me at the height of my involvement with the game. I’m always itching to play more and longer sessions and advance my ML progress farther and farther. The PES equivalent of Pokemon’s ‘gotta catch ’em all’ tagline is ‘got to win ’em all’. PES2015 is proving most stubborn in refusing to cooperate.
I’d already had a terrible start to Season 9. Another attempt at playing on Superstar led to disaster, with one win from the opening nine or so matches. It left me at the foot of the table and seemingly out of the title race. I went back to Top Player with the title race seemingly already too much of a mountain to climb.
Ah, but Master League has always had this thing, where results above you will magically go your way just enough to allow you back into the mix.
I’ve been on a good run, and the teams at the top of the table haven’t. ‘Nuff said.
Below is the current table – as expected, the game has allowed me to catch up to the leaders. With over half the season remaining, I’ll certainly be challenging for the title come the end of it:
Just 6 points behind the leaders. The amusing thing with this ‘results matching’ is that we all put up with it. It’s all part of the show, the suspension of disbelief. Just as you can’t watch a film without pretending you don’t know that the characters are all actors reading lines from a script, you can’t play Master League (or PES, or any football game, or arguably any game at all) without pretending you don’t know that you’re also in the hands of a script.
A ‘sandbox’ football game without any off-field or on-field scripting would be interesting – but what would it consist of? Would it be worth playing? Would it keep bringing me back year after year for hundreds of hours at a time?
Elimination from the Champions League at the group stage was a blow this season, but I won my final fixture against Barcelona, at home, in style: 3-0. This meant I finished 3rd in the group table, and qualified for the Europa League Round of 32. Which I’m strangely excited about.
I’ll be meeting up with Benfica, and the first leg is away, which I always prefer.
Finally today a little clip of some goalkeeping excellence.
It has often been said that in PES2015, they finally got goalkeepers more or less right, and this has been my experience over the seasons.
For most of my 9 seasons I’ve played with one keeper – the Regen Brad Friedel. I got him when he was 17, and he was solid from the outset, a fine shot-stopper in keeping with his real-life original. Here he is making a save that made me shout out when I watched it happen in real-time. It had looked such a certain goal otherwise:
Yep, you can say the classic ‘you’d expect him to save that’. But viewed in real-time, at full speed, it was a spectacular reaction save – the kind of save that keepers in PES2014, for example, were mysteriously not making.
Keepers have been PES’s Achilles’ heel for far too long, and they’re finally not, and that’s worth noting and celebrating.