Season 2 has ended – my team finished in not too bad a final position, considering the bad start I had. And I was keeping an eye on everyone’s GF/GA column for authenticity’s sake. All looked fine to me:
I finished the season with something like 8 wins out of 10 matches. Proper promotion-winning form.
I’ll have to be careful not to go mad in the post-season transfer market. There’s a danger of bringing in so many new players that I have to take time to build up Team Spirit again.
The Master League macro-scripting gods are as kind in PES2016 as ever. If Season 2 had continued for another 10 matches, I’d have ended up in the playoffs. But even the game’s charity has limits, and there’s no recovery from the kind of bad start I had this season. So I’ll restrain myself with the transfers.
The final game of the season was the same as last season’s final game: against Cardiff, in glorious sunshine, at New Highfield Road, and it also ended in defeat (a 1-3 reversal, instead of 1-2, though).
As last season, I only played about 5 matches in daylight out of 46 matches. This isn’t good enough. It’s got to the point where seeing the familiar dark or murky conditions at the start of a match makes me feel correspondingly gloomy. PES2016 is giving me Seasonal Affective Disorder. This must be fixed on the 29th.
I added a 3rd kit to my team. It’s to complement the two official Home and Away kits (as provided by Paul of UltraSoccerBlog).
Nothing fancy for my 3rd kit. Just a traditional homespun sort of effort. I will stick with the official kits as my main ones for the duration of this Master League, but amuse myself with made-up 3rd and 4th kits as the seasons pass. Same as ever.
I’ve been spending some time in Training Mode, unusually for me, testing out a few things.
I spent half an hour practicing free kicks the other day. There was no point last year because you never got any in PES2015, or so few (literally about 5-10 in 700+ matches) as to make it not worth the effort involved to learn them.
This year feels almost as bad, sometimes. You can go entire sessions in PES2016 without getting a shooting-range free kick – but then you’ll have a session where you get at least one per match. And even sometimes a single match where you’ll get 2 or 3 free kicks in shooting range, all together.
I still haven’t scored one, but I want to, hence the Training Mode time. I think I’m ready now. But I haven’t had a free kick since!
I also tried a few different corner routines. I’ve always been an admirer of the type of corner that used to be known in English football as the Teddy Sheringham corner (or the Paul Scholes corner).
This was a hard flat ball fired from the corner to a player lurking outside the edge of the box.
While working on this in Training, I came up with a slight variant that seems more effective: a shallow ball – not flat, about waist-height at most – fired towards the crowd in the middle of the penalty box (not the edge). One of your strikers should run towards the ball and glance it goalward with their instep, or the outside of their boot.
It’s had some success in-game, with some tantalising near-misses. But only one goal so far.
Here’s the replay – see what I do with the dotted line to begin with, and then watch the flight of the ball that results:
It’s my usual corner routine now.
I find the conventional lofted type of corner so inconsistent. I think I’ve only scored one headed goal from a corner in all two seasons so far. I do still go for the lofted corner sometimes, as it often leads to cleared balls that my midfielders and fullbacks can pounce on for a shooting opportunity.
And so onto Season 3. I start with one aim only: promotion.
Division 2 is a feeble environment this year – probably deliberately so, given the much-voiced critique that there’s little difference between the lesser teams and the greater ones.
I remain upbeat about PES2016, on the whole. Certainly there are downsides: the game is often much too attacking, much too flowing – and it’s much too responsive.
There’s very little difference in the handling across the player types. There’s rarely any sense that I’m controlling a tank with a heavy touch and a ponderous turning circle.
Fair enough, you’ve got your token one or two big, lumbering players, whose turning circles are perhaps a half-second slower than the rest – but then indeed you have got all the rest, who are more or less the same. ALL of them. They’re the lithest, nimblest ninjas ever seen in any PES game. I often find myself yearning for the so-called clunkiness of PES5, PES2009, PES2010, PES2011, PES2014, and PES2015.
‘Responsive’ has come to be almost universally accepted as an essential trait in a football game. Arguably this trend is the worst thing that’s ever happened to football gaming. Great football games limit the human player’s control.
So PES2016 is not out of the woods with me yet. It’s certainly not in the woods, either. It’s, uh, walking along the outskirts of the woods. As I’ve mentioned before, having these kinds of doubts at this kind of stage are all par for the course with me and a new PES. It’s not how I feel after 2 seasons that decides it, but how I feel after 5 seasons, or 10.