I’m not quite at the end of Season 8 yet. Reason being, I’m still involved in European competition at the end of a season for the first time in PES2017. I’d forgotten just how much being in Europe elongates the season.
I’m two matches from the end of the domestic league campaign:Heading for a last-day decider and it’s ‘exciting’. The ‘quotes’ indicate my roll-eyes ‘appreciation’ of the huge dollops of table scripting that seem to engineer these types of run-ins more often than not.
Two matches ago I was 4 points clear, but then mysteriously lost my shooting boots. I drew against Spurs at home (1-1) and then was perplexingly beaten at already-relegated Fulham away (lost 1-0).
I say ‘shooting boots’ but I really mean ‘scoring boots’. I had 20-25 shots in both matches, half of them on-target. There was one farcical passage of play in the Fulham match that consisted of me taking a shot, seeing it saved, then winning the ball back immediately, working the chance, taking a shot, seeing it saved, over and over, for most of the first half. The veteran PES2017 player will know exactly the kind of fevered, relentless, churning gameplay I mean here.
I’m preparing for my forthcoming PES5 months by tuning up the PC it’ll run on. This requires playing a few matches of PES5 every day at the moment. PES5 is surprisingly zippy after all these years and its players also dart around at a surprising rate of knots.
This handful of warmup PES5 matches have refreshed my view of PES2017 and made me appreciate what the latter game does that’s good. I’ve always been dead-set against playing multiple different football games at the same time. And with good reason — so much of the way I play football games is about settling into a groove and staying there. But a groove can just as easily turn into a rut. Sometimes we need our perspectives reframed.
Which in turn isn’t to say that I’m suddenly happy with PES2017’s no-fouls, individuality-lite nature. Far from it. I’m just seeing what else it does that’s good, anew.
I’m through to the Europa League Semi-Final (above) after seeing off Everton 2-0 in the return leg of our Quarter Final – another mostly fouls-free, 1000mph affair.
The Semi-Final draw was interesting. I drew a made-up club called Verwestadt, and have the probably-dangerous feeling that it should be a stroll.
The other Semi is between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. It should be an interesting final if I make it. I’ve already played the first leg against Verwestadt. I won it 1-0. The away goal is gold. It’ll still be a nervy return leg at my place.
And so onto Friday, when the whole of Season 8 will certainly be done with. And March will be well underway.
In the meantime, here’s a Houchenesque diving header from one of the undoubted pearls of PES2017’s Defaults, Jarvis: