I’ve played almost to the end of season 1 in Master League on PES2016. With great enjoyment, mostly, it has to be said.
This is a PES that works, on the whole, as a football game, with intuitive passing and shooting and, generally, a good tempo to events.
Contrary to What The Forums Say, not every shot on goal flies in for either side, me or the AI. I play on Level 1 passing with Normal shooting (I refuse to call it Basic).
I’m seeing fouls and getting free kicks, sometimes at a greater level than PES2015.
Master League is magnificent! The Defaults are very capable this year (bring back Hamsun!). Arcas and Castledine are the Lennon and McCartney of my midfield.
For the first time in 5 years — that”s 4 whole editions of PES — Master League is a worthy, substantial mode. There’s loads to see and do and ruminate over. I’ve got so used over the past 4 editions to just clicking my way from one match to the next that it feels strange to have things to look at and think about. I’m still getting used to it.
As ever with PES there’s a ‘but’.
The ‘but’ this time is that PES2016 seems very often to be an all-action, high-scoring affair that’s out of keeping with the series’ traditions. Online they’re talking about routine 7-4 and 8-8 and 11-3 scorelines. That reflects the kind of thing I’ve seen offline, in single-player, sometimes. It makes me feel… uneasy.
Last week I had several alarming sessions of high-scoring matches on Professional and then Top Player.
I’m now on Superstar, something that doesn’t traditionally happen until 7 or 8 seasons in.
The change came just after the halfway point of season 1. For the first time in my PES and Master League history. No other PES has ever forced me onto the hardest difficulty the way PES2016 has.
This might not necessarily be a bad thing.
Every year it seems the difficulty levels are ‘rezoned’. It was only in recent years, I think, that Professional became a worthy introductory level for several seasons, followed by a steady progression to Top Player and then Superstar once my team was appropriately matured.
That routine seems to have been thrown out of the window this year. I’m uncomfortable about it. I don’t know what it means yet. I don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t like it. I’m the sort of PES player and the sort of person who won’t be able to ignore this. I can’t simply forget about it, until it’s very clear that it’s not really an issue. So you have been warned.
Here were my first 5 matches on Superstar, last Friday afternoon:
Not bad, not too bad at all. I can accept, even applaud, the AI scoring hatfuls of goals against me. My own scoring was happily respectable.
It has to be acknowledged that Konami don’t publish football games exclusively for me. They’re under no obligation to cater for my tastes and expectations. If they’ve decided that they want to grab a piece of the pie baked by FIFA and Ultimate Team, and push out a high-octane, all-action, button-mashing festival of goals, that’s something I’ve either got to live with — or not. Up to me.
I’ve long foreseen a time coming where PES would be changed so much to accommodate the online player/the casual player/the curious new player, that the older crowd who’ve been with the series forever would be effectively sidelined. It has been coming. Now… is it here?
It’s far too early to tell. The true character of a PES game doesn’t show itself for at least a couple of seasons of Master League. There are so many factors in play.
By Friday I’ll have finished Season 1 and be well underway with Season 2. I’ll speak in some depth about my players and transfers. And then I’ll be going all-out for a Season 2 promotion campaign. Part of me’s worried that it’ll be a successful one.