I got underway, feeling as grand as a ship captain setting sail for lands unknown. That’s a decent avatar of me. I can’t quite achieve that whole Lex Luthor-style, billiard-ball-bald look, though. There’s always a shadow of hair, Lombardo-style. So this totally smooth-headed avatar represents an impossible ideal that I will never attain.
Challenge mode. I have to finish in the top 9. Okay. Will do.
Another cunning Konami stunt, moving the menus from the horizontal to the vertical and hoping we’ll passively accept it as being a revamp. Is there another example anywhere in gaming of a developer so comprehensively shafting a beloved game-mode, year on year, than PES Productions does with Master League? I mean, if there were no Glory Years to remember, this would seem fine, probably, but there are so it’s not. It’s almost as if they don’t want us to play it! I know, crazy talk…
The new Team Status screen. This, plus a slider to negotiate contracts with, are the new additions to Master League.
I decided to go full-throttle old-school with the formation. I need to win games. Goals win games. A 4-3-3, then, similar to my Glory Years’ 4-3-3 (the same formation I was still playing with in PES5, this summer just gone).
This is the stuff, right here. Nothing feels better in gaming, in life, than the feeling of the nights drawing in, a sudden chill in the air, the central heating pipes clanking under the floorboards, and the warm hearth of PES flickering on the screen…
I lost that match. And quite a few others too.
Top Player, PA1, before anyone asks. I’m not a great player, and probably should have stuck to Professional for at least half a season as I normally do, but I fancy making Challenge Mode challenging. I will stick with Top Player. If/when I restart, though, following the sacking, it’ll probably be on Professional.
I’ve won one match so far.
Here is the table from a few matches ago – I’ve played more since this was taken, but am still bottom of the table:
9th is a long way away from here.
I’ve toyed with the formation, switching to a version of the 4-3-3 with two DMFs and a sole AMF. Trying to beef up the defence.
It hasn’t really worked out. I still concede, on average, about 2 or 3 goals to the AI per game. I have to go on record as saying I love this aspect of PES2018.
Whatever else happens from here – and the fouls/free kicks situation, year on year, has dragged the series into quicksand – I’ve been waiting since PES2012 for an AI to feel consistently deadly again. Here it is. Brilliant.
I don’t even care that most teams mostly play the same way. There’s never been great individuality at the team level in any football game.
Random thing: I always press L1+dpad-UP to make my kickoffs feature the traditional two players. The game remembers this setting for the rest of the match. Wish it could be permanent.
All hail a momentarily confusing usage of ‘marching orders’ in the American English sense:
These menacing board messages do keep popping up. I saw this one after an atrocious run of results:
Which made me fear for my future after losing the next one. But all I got was a sarky message about potentially clearing out my desk soon. I hear that there is no wiggle-room in Challenge Mode. I will be sacked, probably in mid-season.
I’m tempted to jump before I’m pushed, and restart with a renewed sense of purpose and focus. Every match matters. But this is the first time such a feature has been included in Master League, in this way, and I want to pay tribute to the old girl (meaning, Master League) by letting it sack me at least once.
On the pitch, PES2018 plays a very good game of football. But there is a dark, dark cloud on the horizon. The end-times are at hand. Never in my worst nightmare did I think that the low-fouls of PES2016 and PES2017 would lead to the situation we have today in PES2018. Almost literally no fouls at all.
Roughly 1/3rd (maybe even half) of my matches feature zero free kicks for either side. The remainder feature a pathetic 1 or 2 at most.
15 or so matches in, there has not been one single match with more than 2 AI fouls on me, and that was itself a rarity. Appalling and unforgivable.
So the time has come. I solemnly pledge now that there will be no PES2019 in my life or on this blog if this keeps up. And PES2018 is on borrowed time.
The no-fouls issue, unless it is resolved properly, and SOON, has effectively destroyed Pro Evolution Soccer.