There he is. The main man. My very own Bryan Robson, Kenny Dalglish and Roy Race all rolled into one. The Myth incarnate and actually real, for once.
The above screen popped up in February of Season 4. My first superstar-level player is the man I’ve stuck with when it would have been very easy to cash in. In the current season’s January transfer window alone I had a £17,000,000 offer. I turned it down – just as I turned down all the ones before it, and just as I’ll turn down all the ones that come in after it.
Castledine’s superstar status comes with a raft of bonuses:
I instantly made Castledine the captain again, having given it to Schneiderlin at the start of the season on account of the latter having the Captaincy trait. But it seems Schneiderlin has done very little, in truth, apart from be a decent DMF (all you can ask, really).
Castledine’s got the best ‘whipping hammer’ style of left foot that I’ve seen in PES since Schwarz. In an edition of dubious player individuality, Castledine’s one of the few true individuals I’ve come across. When he’s missing from the team, I struggle.
PES2016 could be described as PES2013 in new clothes. PES2013 was the Year of Coynborough. PES2016 is the Year of Castledine.
This hasn’t been his greatest season – my promotion season, last season, was that – but he’s starting to re-remerge as I find my on feet on Superstar in the Premier League. I think we’ll be seeing Castledine holding aloft the Premier League trophy before too many more seasons are past.
I didn’t buy anyone at all in January. I’m saving my money for a couple of top players who’ll provide the extra pizzazz needed for a title challenge in Season 5.
The table after 32 matches:
The game’s started being quite kind to me. I’ve been on winning runs. I’ve started concentrating properly and grinding out results when needed. I’ve started being able to cope with the top teams. I got a 1-1 against Chelsea at Chelsea. It’ll be strange if I’m not in the top 6 at least next season, and I plan to go all-out for the title. Perhaps this confidence is misplaced and it’s still a couple of seasons too early, but it pays to aim higher than your reach.
I’m in no hurry to get to the end of PES2016. It’s only just November, after all. But I don’t think this is an edition of the game with true longevity.
With not long to go until the end of Season 4, and taking everything into account, and looking at my progress… I wonder if I’ll reach double figures on the seasons in this game.
Lingering questions remain about PES2016, and it’s time to acknowledge that the questions will never truly go away for me. No-fouls football is this game’s first and greatest sin. Next, and related, is that monstrously overpowered slide tackle. The dodgy keepers come in third. They all add up.
Here’s a short clip of an awful, immersion-killing, groaning moment, whose title says exactly what the state of affairs is:
I deliberately framed the referee in the replay clip to show that there was no ‘false advantage’ given either. The game’s much-praised physical battling model is nicely on show there, isn’t it? What a shame that nothing actually happens because of it.
No, I don’t think I’ll ever stop going on about PES2016’s damned stupid and insulting no-fouls gameplay. It’ll never not be an issue for me with this game. I was incredibly kind to PES2015 on this front, which if anything had a no-fouls gameplay system that was even worse than PES2016’s.
Looking back, after the gap-year of PES2014 – which didn’t become truly playable IMO until very late on (April-May time) – I was just happy to get a decent-feeling, playable game out of PES2015, and I was accordingly charitable. So PES2015 got a contextual bonus.
But the context has changed, and this year PES2016 will feel my wrath.
There is no way that no-fouls should be just accepted and shrugged off. A football game that regularly does the above – and PES2016 regularly does the above – can never, ever be seen as great. No matter how otherwise good PES2016 is (and it definitely is otherwise good), it’ll never gain admittance to the upper ranks of football games. Flow? Flow? To hell with this ‘flow’ business that no-fouls football is supposed to promote.
Okay, setting aside the nasty stuff, here are two goals from that same match – against Stoke – that pleased me for different reasons.
Dzeko has started knocking them in. Even a few headers. His goal above was was a bread-and-butter centre forward’s goal. That’s followed by a classic right-back strike from Giorza – a player who, along with Castledine and Arcas, comprise the Big Three of the Defaults this year.