The text in this screenshot sums up my most recent progress in Season 3 of Master League:
What he says there. In 25 words he says essentially everything that the rest of this post says in 900 or so words.
(In the months to come there may be occasions when I don’t have time to do proper posts. If/when that happens, I’ll post neatly summarising screenshots like the one above and just chat about my PES life in comments. Seriously, that’s the fallback plan!)
Before we get to the great run referenced by my man above, a certain other milestone has been reached.
I’ve scored from a free kick.
Finally, it has happened to me. It’s my first free kick goal since PES2014. So forgive me if I milk this a touch:
That’s Alan Ljajic there with the swerving strike.
My regular free kick taker, Elijah Castledine, was sitting this match out due to fatigue. You can see me before the kick is taken trying to decide whom to give the kick to.
PES2016 remains a virtually free-kick-free zone for human players playing offline against the AI. Not great, really, but at least you do get them occasionally, and some of them are around the box. Which is a hell of a lot more than PES2015 ever gave us, so I’ll take it.
The other week I spent twenty minutes practicing free kicks in Training Mode. It wasn’t until I did that, and had a chance to indulge in plenty of continuous trial-and-error, that I really grasped how sensitive the infamous dotted line is — and how useful it is too.
That goal came at a vital time in a rivals match against Birmingham City. I won the match. It was one result in a string of great results that has seen me catapulted back up the table into playoff contention.
Here’s my post-January window First XI and squad. I got Vietto up front, Miguel Rosas out wide. This meant switching my two most important players, Arcas and Castledine. The former moves to the right and the latter moves permanently to the middle.
Quincy Arcas and Elijah Casteldine are my two most important players. I’ve connected with them in a way that I so far haven’t with any other. They’re my Dalglish and Rush. My Shaggy and Scooby. When they’re both fit and on form, I don’t feel I can lose. It feels very much as if they’re going to be around for the whole of this career, whatever else happens.
I’m disappointed with how Reyes is developing. When I picked him up I said I’d be keeping an eye on him and gauging how he develops as an individual.
So far, nothing. His impressive list of skills simply do not show up out there on the pitch. This ties into a deeper reservation I have with PES2016, and also with PES2015: the nerfing of player individuality.
Individuality was always one of the jewels in PES’s crown, and I feel very uneasy with how it’s been watered down in recent years. It’s not gone, of course, but there has been a drastic drop-off. Ljajic handles more or less the same as Seferovic who handles more or less the same as Vietto who handles more or less the same as Giorza (a defender), to be brutally honest. More players handle essentially the same as more other players than at any time in PES history.
Still, at only 18 it’s early doors for Reyes, but he’s my Patient Zero in this. He has to become a distinct individual in the next few seasons, or I’ll consider the case closed.
So I’ve been on a run. On Friday’s post I said this:
I won’t be getting promoted this season. Not unless the Master League macro-scripting gods are very kind.
These were my results for February:
All good, solid, traditional PES-style scorelines. The toughest of those matches was the 1-0 against league leaders Fulham.
Here’s the table around the end of February/beginning of March:
I’m 8th, and just a win or two outside the playoff zone.
After the above screenshot was taken I played an immense 3-pointer against Huddersfield that I did very well to get the win from. It took me above Huddersfield, but Burnley between us won, so just keeping me out of that psychologically important top-6 for now.
I’m going to do it, aren’t I? I think automatic promotion is out of the reach of even the most preposterously charitable league-table scripting (or is it?!). But with the momentum I’ve built here, if I don’t finish this season somewhere in the top 6, I might as well just hand in my PES badge at the door.
Finally today, a mini-compilation video that shows some memorable goals and moments from my fine recent run. There’s quite a bit going on in this video. Any questions, I’ll be happy to field ’em in the comments:
And here’s Castledine scoring a super-long-ranger that came just too late to make it into the above: