A Cliffhanger for Christmas

Vertigo1Here’s a cautionary Christmas tale to warm the cockles of jaded hearts. I’ve got a story to tell, and at the end comes a Question. A cliffhanger for Christmas, as the title promises.

Cast your minds back to the end of Season 7, when I won a Treble on Superstar difficulty for the first time in PES2016, and for the first time in any football game since PES2013.

A Treble on Superstar! It doesn’t get much better than that.

That was last week. I switched off and forgot about PES2016 for a few days.

Then I returned to progress the timeline through the post-season 7 period, and capture some screenshots for the blog.

These screenshots aren’t part of the story, but here they are anyway — first the Team of the Tournament:

PES2016 season 7 Team of the Tournament

And second the annual awards:

PES2016 Individual Awards season 7

Pretty good, eh? Slightly surprising just to have one player in the TotT, but I swept the individual honours.

I’d had a great Season 7, winning the Treble on Superstar!

What a happy man I was.

Little did I know that my world was going to come crashing down around me just moments later.

The Old Boys game appeared on the ticker at the bottom of the screen. Before leaving PES2016, probably for ever, I thought why not just play this?

I thought I’d have a go at Unassisted passing and shooting too. I’ve mucked around in Training with these settings but rarely persisted for long in a match.

But I decided to play on a lower difficulty. You know, to offset my inevitable fumblings.

post-season 7 going to the settings

I’ll change it down to Top Player, I thought.

So, for the first time in a season or so, having won the Treble on Superstar, I tabbed along to General Settings:

post-season 7 General Settings

Look closer. Look.

When you see it…

It’s important to bear in mind that I looked at the above screenshot as a man who’d just won the Treble on Superstar…

…the Treble on Superstar…


There’s a shot in cinematography that I believe was invented by Alfred Hitchcock – the ‘dolly zoom’ or ‘vertigo’ shot, commonly used to depict a moment of sickening realisation.

A famous example from Spielberg:

That was essentially me sitting in front of my PS4, realising what had happened..

I had spent the entirety of Season 7 on Top Player.

Cropped Top Player

Not on Superstar.

I worked out what had happened.

Last season — post-Season 6 — I also had a little play with Unassisted passing for the Old Boys game, and changed the difficulty to Top Player for that match. And then I never un-set it. I stayed on Top Player, with Assisted passing and shooting, afterwards.

This explains so much. It explains my Invincibles start, and much of the routine nature of this Treble. I’ve never been the greatest PES player. I’m still not. I spent an entire Season labouring under a delusion.

Cropped superstar

I thought I’d won the Treble on Superstar. I haven’t. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before on any PES.

I promptly changed the Difficulty to where I thought it was all along, and played the Old Boys game in a kind of daze. (A 1-1 draw that I lost on penalties. Casillas was the retiring player.)

And so this is the Christmas Cliffhanger: what happens next?

What do I do? What do I want to do?

Season 8 on Superstar? A tilt at a ‘proper’ Treble? Do I want to do that? There’s no way that I would play Season 8 just because I feel I ‘have to’. No way at all.

Or do I just smile about it and move on? I never bothered overmuch with Superstar on PES2015. I’m not committed to the ‘Superstar or it doesn’t matter’ viewpoint that is so prevalent in football gaming circles. I had a pretty good time on Season 7 — on Top Player, as it turned out. Perhaps this is the most fitting end for PES2016.

Maybe I should carry on and do what I intended, which is to move onto FIFA16, PES2014, PES5, or something else.

But there is goodness in PES2016. It’s like Return of the Jedi‘s Darth Vader in that respect. One more go-around on Superstar (really this time) might be just what I need.

I genuinely do not yet know. I am going to take the next week to decide.

Once I’ve decided, that’ll be it. No vacillating or dithering. Either I play Season 8 on Superstar on PES2016, or I move on.

I’m going to take Christmas Day off. There’ll be no post on Friday.

I will return as usual next Tuesday, 29th December, with a special post outlining the near future on the blog.

As ever I’m open to comments and suggestions and takings-of-piss, and will remain active in comments over the next week. (I’ll have New Year’s Day off too. All back to normal on 5th January.)

It only remains to wish everybody reading this a Happy Christmas. And check your Settings. Just in case.


  1. Festive greetings all.

    Lego Jurassic park….you can play as a triceratops?!! Playstation, dinosaurs, how good does it get to be young now.

  2. 3-6-25-13-74. Not a vintage first season with the defaults, especially after winning the first game

    Happy Christmas to you all. For once my roast potatoes and parsnips were done to perfection. And Xenoblade Chronicles X – now THAT is some present from the wife!!

  3. I bought FIFA16 yesterday morning in a January sale (I know, groan) and played some of it. That came after a session on PES2014. I’ll say more on Tuesday but I think FIFA has stolen another great PES idea – players actually handling slow and clumsy sometimes. They feel very similar in general handling terms, but of course the graphics are literally generations apart. Still too early to say much more about FIFA16 but I like it a lot.

    Hmmm, Lego Jurassic Park and Xenoblade Chronicles X. I wonder if there’s two wider-apart games on the gaming spectrum!

    I still have MGS5 to finish and Witcher 3 to start.

  4. I have started Fallout 4 this morning and am hooked already. I spent an hour this morning sight seeing and wandering down a river and taking everything in.

    As I also got some money Fifa 16 is on my radar but I don’t want it to distract from Fallout just yet. I have said for sometime that Fifa and PES are moving in opposite directions and are both after territories that each other once occupied. The Fifa direction being my choice as this is what creates the player individuality that we so loved from the PES as this is what makes a career/ML come to life.

  5. I’m hoping I haven’t made the mother of all boobs in the transfer window… advice please:

    I had an offer accepted for James Rodrigues which has left me starting the new season £22.5mill in the red however about half my first 11 and some of the bench need contract renewals in Jan.

    If I have no money can I renew contracts, some of which will increase greatly? will my debt just increase or will it prevent me renewing and therefore lead to a mass exodus with me getting no transfer recompense and losing half my squad?

    My PS4 backlog is looking troubling, witcher 3 unfinished, dragon age unfinished, uncharted unfinished, Fallout 4 barely started and just got far cry 4 for Xmas on top of pes taking most my limited gaming time.

  6. Pete – debt in and of itself is no longer the terminal scenario it used to be. So no Game Over, but you might find the game outright sells one or two top players to make up the debt. If I were you I’d cue up a few big money sales before January so you don’t have to worry about what the game is going to do when the window arrives. At least that way you’d have a say on who gets sold. I don’t know what’ll happen if you do nothing.

    Darryl – FIFA16 is an eye-opener indeed. The % chances I gave the other day are now something like this:

    FIFA16 – 35%
    PES2014 – 35%
    PES2016 Season 8 – 20%
    PES5 – 10%

    Hold off on FIFA16 for now. You’ve got enough going on. But it’s refreshing to experience true player handling, with weight and inertia. It’s not completely absent from PES2016, but wow, how FIFA has overtaken PES in that regard. No wonder the online crowd apparently hate FIFA16. They hated FIFA15 too, of course. So it does seem that EA are taking traditional PES territory year on year.

  7. I’ve got FIFA waiting for me when we get back from a few days at my mums. Are people playing with or without updates, as the word on the street was it was excellent out of the box but patched to appease online players?

  8. now that is very intriguing not-Greg. As you might remember I loved the pre-demo FIFA16 closed beta for very similar reasons, but rather complacently assumed it had been completely watered down for release. Look forward to reading Tuesday’s post. Obviously I’ll stick with PES2014 for the foreseeable future, but it is highly encouraging to hear there might be something to play after that!!

  9. Over the pond I played my first franchise pre season game last night, Redskins v patriots (the Redskins have always been my team since they sent me a parcel full of stuff when I wrote to them age 11). I’ve knocked the quarters up to ten mins so a game can take an hour. Fantastic, loads of passing errors by me but some great defence forced the Patriots to punt a lot. Seven nil up at half time it went seven all before I snuck a field goal. Two missed kicks meant there was just one score in it for the last quarter but my mean back line kept them out and I ran the clock down. I haven’t had tension like that for a good few weeks of gamng, never felt it was scripted.

  10. Only had an hour on Fallout 4 this morning as I thought the family would be lying in longer as everyone stayed up way beyond the usual bedtimes. Was pleased with myself as I built my first construction. It was only a water pump but you have to start somewhere. I get the feeling that there is potential to lose a whole year into this game. I like the fact that you can save at any point as this means that I could just play for the odd half an hour if I wanted too. I am hardly Ray Mears though as I drank out of the river forgetting that it would be contaminated.

  11. Chris99 – I’m on the digital version of FIFA16 so I have to be on the latest patch. No experience of out-of-the-box alas. It still seems to handle very well.

    abbeyhill – I still will give a month or two to PES2014 at least, only question is when. Immediately, or after FIFA16. It’s looking now like PES2016 is history, Superstar or no Superstar.

    Uncle Turf – I was (and am) a Redskins fan too! My best mate at school got me into American Football and he was a Raiders fan at a time when the rivalry between the two was intense (early 80s), so I picked Redskins. They duly got to the next Superbowl to play one another. This was in the era when Superbowls were usually anti-climactic, one-sided affairs, and so this one proved. LA smashed Washington something like 45-10 (I could look it up but won’t) and the next day at school was horrible.

    Darryl – Fallout4 is a timesink I’ll not get round to for years, but it sounds great. You never got into Minecraft I take it…

  12. NG you are totally right in your initial thoughts on fifa it’s surprisingly slow and players with quite different feel. Big lumps feel like big lumps, would like to see a few more miss controls and the like though.

    Had to turn down 70k a week contract for Bayern in Jan staying at Sevilla as I’ve a chance of the treble in player career mode. Still lots of challenge even tho I’m rated 81

    Oh and there is freekicks and cards in fifa 16

  13. NG – No I have never played Minecraft I have to confess as there are too many demands on time these days and with my OCD the game would drive me mad and would result in lots of lost time and frustration. I did enjoy Little Big Planet though but that is enough for me. The main thing with Fallout is that I am already looking forward to the next session already. I love games where you can just do your own thing if you want too and explore. I also love the option that if yoyu encounter something horrid you can just run away. So far it is ticking all the boxes in the type of games are for me.

  14. it seems as we head into 2016 we are all very content with our current gaming, even if PES2016 is not heavily featured within this

  15. not many attractive options in the transfer market after season 1 with PES2014 defaults, so I’ve spent my limited 4m euro stash on a slightly better LB, RMF and CF, all 76-77 OVR. 6-0 down at half time against FK Odersteich in the first game was not a promising start, but I pulled it back to 6-1 in the second half and have since lost two and won two, including a tremendous 5-1 against Cantlesir Spor with the new CF Horgenho and LB Jorguera featuring heavily. Already feels like this could be a splendid ML

  16. More in today’s post later, but if it’s a straight choice between FIFA16 and PES2014, what might swing it is simply having access to the PS4’s features. A few sessions of PES2014 threw up some interesting goals that I had to record with my phone, and I needed to take a screenshot for today’s post that I also had to take with my phone. Also, history shows that FIFA is a short-term game for me (relative to almost any PES, even PES2008/16), so I might just want to deal with FIFA before PES2014. I don’t know, though, the call of PES2014 is strong. It almost seems like my destiny to play a minor part in rehabilitating this game’s reputation.

  17. nice blog dude.. I’ve also just completed my season 7 (the one where Casillas retires) and playing on superstar, with varying degrees of success. Spent the first 4 seasons at United (2 of which were on Top Player, I wont count those titles).. with a league and a champions league win on Superstar.

    Now in my third season at Barca.. one league title.. 2 copas and one Champions League.. still no treble tho.

    I am almost midway thru season 8…top of the table (by 3 points), and sill alive in the copa and champions league. This could be the season..

    I’m killing time on ML until the post January patches are released… then I move on to Become a Legend. That’s where the real fun is..

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