Here’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:
And second the annual awards:
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.
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:
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…
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.
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.
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.