Season 6 of PES2014 has ended with the clinching of promotion — albeit in 2nd place instead of the 1st that seemed so likely for so long.
‘Promotion already? That seems quick,’ some might ask. Well, this is a Master League campaign that I’ve been playing, on and off, for over two years now. This is by no means a quick promotion. In terms of real-world calendar time, it’s easily my slowest.
And it nearly didn’t happen. With about 8 matches remaining, my team suffered a substantial Heart-related wobble, and results went pear-shaped.
In PES2014, the Heart feature is more fundamental to player performance than the trusty old Form arrows, or so it currently seems to me.
In fact, when was the last time the Form arrows really, really mattered in PES?
For the past three or four editions, I cannot say, hand on heart, that a red-arrowed player handles or performs substantially better than a green-arrowed player. I still automatically de-select purple-arrowed players, but I have come to suspect that I’m just doing so out of habit.
Since roughly PES2012/13, I strongly doubt that there’s been much of a gameplay penalty to fielding a purple-arrowed player. A purple arrow still inflicts a -10 stat reduction across the board (we hope) — but what does that really mean these days? Individuality isn’t what it used to be in PES.
Individuality manifests in PES2014 due to the excellent player modelling and contextual lack of responsiveness, but what of PES2016 with its instant, silky-smooth handling? I have dark doubts.
Where was I? Yes, that’s right, my team’s wobble toward the end of the season, and why Heart is more important than Form in PES2014.
It started with a draw, followed by a defeat, and those things combined were enough to take my Hearted players from having full-on radioactive glowing chests, back to having sober, drab, green chests. Which seemed to be enough to sabotage nearly everything I tried to do. A run of results followed that threatened to spiral me out of the promotion places.
There was a stage when there was a serious chance of dropping out of the top 3. There are no playoffs in PES2014, so it was top 3 or nothing.
I dug deep, ground out a couple of results, got some of my players’ Hearts glowing again, and went on a winning run that secured second place.
It could have been so much more. I drew my final match, and discovered afterward that Norwich had drawn theirs too. A win would have secured the title. I’m jinxed with these D2 titles in PES, Down the years, I don’t think I’ve won more than one or two D2 titles in any of the Master Leagues I’ve played.
I had only one player in the Best Eleven, my versatile and reliable striker MASSANA, one of the notable individuals.
Only having one player in the Best Eleven is about right. I’ve got a few other players who stood out for me, but my overall performance this season was too up-and-down to make the game take notice.
ADEBAYOR retired at the age of 34, which the game kept nudging me to remind me about as the last game approached. I took him off with a few minutes left at the end of the final game, expecting to see a cutscene of him waving at the crowd. Nothing. What was the point of the game making such a fuss about it then?! The bizarre world of Pro Evo.
Onward now to Season 7 in the Premier League. I’ve already started it, and I am loving it. Still loving PES2014 too. A football game with actual weight and inertia, with sustained build-up play, with frustrating goalless draws, with fouls, with a satisfying degree of player individuality, with goals that are hard to score and meaningful! Oh my.