Weekends are full working days for me, so I only had time to play a few matches of PES2015. My hoped-for retrospective look back at PES2014 will have to wait until Friday or later. I might not even get around to it for a couple of weeks yet.
I want to use all my precious spare time to explore more of PES2015 and find out just how good the game can be.
I’m not yet ready to anoint PES2015 as the new anything, but in terms of general handling and lasting difficulty, it has started reminding me of PES5. It is of course impossible for any football game to match up to the mother of all football games. More study required here.
I played a few league matches and two more Champions League matches.
In the Champions League, after a bad start in my first 4 group matches I needed to win both my remaining fixtures to stand any chance of qualifying.
I took the lead in the crucial match away at Copenhagen. This was the goal from that man again, Peter Crouch:
Scoring that goal in realtime was eerie. The impact with the crossbar took the pace off the ball and it flopped down into the back of the net. A very realistic moment. Not that I’m looking for realism in a football game, but it’s nice when realism occasionally shows up.
But then I got cocky. I felt that I was bossing the match, that the momentum was entirely mine. Assuming that victory was a given (despite only being a goal up) I decided to try to grab another goal or two to make the goal difference more respectable.
On the attack, I switched briefly to my alt-formation of 2-3-5 — and promptly lost the ball.
The CPU broke at pace, magically jinking and dodging my tackles and blocks. Their striker was in on goal, but not yet in the box. I slid in from behind, intending a professional foul, but took the man inside the box.
Penalty, and a red card for my defender.
Copenhagen scored the penalty (Friedel got a hand to it, agonisingly).
And soon into the second half, I was 2-1 down. This was a disaster. Only a win from this match would do, and the momentum was now entirely with the CPU.
I rejigged my formation, going to one DMF (I usually play with two). Playing PES with 10 men or less is a satisfying sub-game in its own right. You can grind out some famous victories and create wonderful memories in the process.
I gave it my all, but it was not to be.
I did manage an equaliser in the 89th minute with a header from Castolis.
The cross for the header was provided by that man again, Peter Crouch. Here’s the goal, the actual scoring of which is nothing really special.
What is special is the way Crouch sets it up. They say of him that he has a good touch for a big man. In PES2015, that is certainly correct — check the exquisite touch at 0:17:
Whatever else happens with PES2015 from here, I will always associate PES2015 with Peter Crouch. ISS98 was the edition of Michael Owenn (sic). PES3 was Stoichkov. PES5 was Bergkamp. PES2012 was Hagi.
PES2015 will always and forever be Peter Crouch.
I would never have even looked at Crouch in a million years. Not my kind of player — or so I thought. But my curiosity was piqued by a random comment left by a commenter — Darryl — on Ultra Soccer Blog a few months ago. PES2015’s Crouch is a unique player, he said. That was enough.
Crouch is not a superstar player. Nothing like the best computer game footballer you’ve ever seen or played with. I don’t imagine he’s much in demand on myLet’sAllSqueezeOurControllers or whatever it is they ‘play’ online.
I drew 2-2 and was out of the Champions League. With one match to play, the group table:
So that’s that for another season. I’ve still got game 6 to play, against Barcelona, but will have to treat that as a practice match and give a few youngsters a run-out. I will now focus on at least qualifying for next season’s tournament.