Season 1 has come to an end in my born-again adventures on PES5. So far, so good. A slog, as expected, but an enjoyable one.
If you’re just joining the story and you want to know what platform I’m playing on, or with what controller, or anything like that, here is a handy all-in-one FAQ post. If there’s something about my setup not covered there, feel free to ask about it in comments here and I will add it. The idea is that I’ll add bits and bobs to the FAQ, as needed, as I go along.
With just 8 teams in Master League Division 2, there were only 14 league fixtures. Something of a relief after the long, long seasons of recent nuPES years.
The final table:
Just 6 goals scored. Castolo and Ordaz finished as my joint-top scorers with… 2 goals each.
That’s par for the course in Season 1 of classic Master League. The players are poor, the matches are generally poor (it’s true, they are), and goals are at an absolute premium.
In fact, having played through this season over the past week-and-a-bit, I have to say I can understand why they changed Master League, even though I wish they hadn’t.
There is no way in 2017 that the average mid-to-late-teenaged gamer (gaming’s core demographic) is going to sit through even a few matches like the matches you get in Season 1 of a classic ML with the classic Defaults. Just not going to happen.
The general feel of this opening season in PES5 has been one of grinding through the matches. There are lots of differences in the general gameplay of PES5 as opposed to nowadays. The through-ball in PES5 feels ‘wrong’, now. It just isn’t the precise instrument we’ve got used to using over the past several editions in particular. Rather than the scalpel of PES2017, the through-ball in PES5 feels more like a blunt, rusty knife. Attempts at aerial through-balls in particular usually go way, way off. Happily, this seems to be strictly stats-related. Individuality is as strong as expected. Ruskin is Ruskin, rather than just a generic all-purpose side-back.
Also notable is the lack of control I have over the ball sometimes. The Defaults have a terrible first rouch, and a worse second and third ones. Again, this aspect of classic PES is not something that would find much favour in 2017. You can imagine the howling on the forums if a PES appeared in which almost every player didn’t have perfect first-touch trapping and control.
PES5 also has a number of mechanics tied to the R1 sprint button that would find disfavour today. First, and most obviously, stamina goes down and actually has an effect on the pitch — see this screenshot:
— which is from the middle of the second half in a typical match. My front players have spent so much time chasing the ball around that they’re all almost dead on their feet. Truly, these were the Golden Years.
Also, if you’re holding R1 and change direction when you receive the ball, there’s a ‘spring’ mechanic whereby the player will automatically knock the ball ahead two or three virtual yards and sprint after it. Unless you’re doing this deliberately, the chances are you will lose the ball.
A decade of online-oriented PES games have conditioned us to hold R1 more or less permanently. It takes time to get into a PES5 frame of mind, and lay off sprint.
My one new player, Mathieu, is still ordinary, for now. Not quite the PES superman yet. I have just started getting the ball to him in prime DMF long-ranger position — central, 35 yards out, in a bit of space — but so far every effort has whistled a long way wide or thumped into the keeper’s chest.
That’s Season 1 in this Master League, in this PES, though. Just one long war of attrition to get to the other side.
Post-season has already begun. In this ML you can line up your choice of pre-season matches and use them to earn Points for wins and goals, adding to the transfer kitty. Another mechanic that could do with a revival in some form, but I won’t go on.
Next time I will have redesigned my Home and Away kits, played most or all of my pre-season matches, and hopefully signed a player. Yes, that’s 1 player, singular. I can only sign one player. That’s all my transfer kitty will allow. He won’t even be a very good player. Just slightly better than what I have. Truly, 2004-2005 was another era.