Season 1 of my new adventure with Saint Etienne has concluded. This is Season 12 of my PES2017 Master League overall. I transferred to Saint Etienne from Coventry City at the start of the current season.
It’s been a tough season. I’ve observing some rather stringent House Rules, to prevent the game running away with itself and becoming too easy. Here they are:
- No player in the squad rated above 80 OPR.
- Any player whose OPR hits 81 or above can still be picked but must be sold or released on Day 1 of the next transfer window.
- New signings must be either Youths, Regens (sub-79 OPR), or Veterans in decline.
These rules have produced a very competitive, edgy Season 1.
Team Spirit spent most of the season in the doldrums – probably a good thing, on the whole.
Towards the end of the season Team Spirit picked up, and the quality of the matches dropped considerably.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. The fast-and-furious ‘thrash metal’ gameplay that is such a blight on Pro Evolution Soccer in its current phase – constant possession turnovers; ceaseless end-to-end flow; insta-responsive players who all feel the same; kung-fu slide-tackles galore, with not a referee’s whistle to be heard – seemed to increase, and I can only blame Team Spirit.
Such frantic, thrash metal gameplay takes everything that’s ever been great about PES, and all but destroys it. But it’s what the marketplace wants. Even the so-called hardcore fanbase wants this kind of thing, if the forums are any guide. So it’s what we’ve got.
But enough matches stayed good to make the overall experience still a solid 8/10, bordering on an 8.5.
Here was the table with 1 match remaining in the season:
I was facing relegation to Ligue 2. It was my own stupid fault, having squandered leads in successive matches immediately prior to this table screenshot being taken.
I needed to win my last match to stay in Ligue 1. I really wanted to win it as well. Relegation to Ligue 2 would have been interesting, but it’s a long, long slog to get through a second-tier season nowadays, with no guarantee of promotion at the end of it, as I discovered the first time around with Coventry City.
I won the final match 2-0, and waited to see how my players would react at the final whistle. I got a standard last-day sequence of cutscenes, and surmised that I’d survived. I’d have liked to see my on-field avatar David Pleating onto the pitch, but never mind.
Survived I had:
On to the next season now, with great enthusiasm and curiosity. I’m due to clear out a few players who are nudging the 80-81 OPR mark. I have already arranged to sell Regen Griezemann. But I might hang onto Regen Ronaldo for another season. He’s still only 76OPR, and pretty average.
I’ll be looking at the strikers. The Crouch and Friday partnership had a golden few matches in the middle of Season 1, but fell away badly toward the end. It might be time for Jarvis to take Friday’s place as first-choice. Or I might swoop into the Youth team for a no-name player and see what I can make of him. This kind of thing is what these Saint Etienne seasons are all about.