A lovely Coutinho hat-trick – with a new post-match scene of him taking the match ball – was the sign that I’d got to grips with Professional.
I went back to Top PLayer after this match, and won the first such match, but promptly lost the next two.
I have already switched from Challenge back to Classic Mode. I have also abandoned any thought of House Rules, until further notice. The difficulty levels having been rezoned, and the AI beefed up n the way that it has, I’m hoping to get a classic-feeling ML environment, i.e. one where the pot of involvement and fascination and challenging matches never fills up no matter how many new and better players you add to it. I’m hopeful that this could be the first PES since PES2014 in that regard.
The main PES forums are in meltdown about the AI, and there’s been plenty of debate about it here, but at the moment, I like it. The single-player game needs an AI like this in order to sustain itself. That involves cheating. With my sci-fi nerd hat on, I follow real-world AI developments quite closely, and it’s debatable if we will ever get anything more ‘intelligent’ than a garden snail. Giving itself lop-sided, unfair advantages might be the best that a computer game AI can ever get.
Sessions are deep and interesting, and everything looks promising. I have to keep reminding myself that this is only Season 1. But things haven’t felt this good at this stage since… maybe PES2013?
I’ve tweaked my camera setting again, after deciding that I need a more zoomed-out view to see player runs more effectively. I haven’t gone back to Wide – I’ve simply zoomed out a few more notches. As seen in this clip of a nice Castledine half-volley at the end of a short build-up:
It still strikes me as odd that Castledine is white now. The change came last year, of course, in PES2017, and has continued to this year.
The oddness here isn’t just that he is white, given that the eternal champion we knew as Castello-Castolo-Cinalton-Castolis was famously a cool black dude. PES2012’s Cinalton and PES2016’s Castledine were physically modelled in a somewhat different style, granted, being more reminiscent of the late David Rocastle.
It’s arguably more odd that this change has just been accepted by the fandom. One of Master League’s most beloved characters is white now, and that’s simply that. Where are the campaigns? Where is the outrage?
I continue to be vastly irritated by the online flourishes that contaminate the offline, single-player world. I hate seeing this crap:
(I know I can fiddle with Settings in the game to stop these notifications. I will do so when I remember to.)
GP is the currency of online PES. ‘Online PES’ is a phrase with roughly the same meaning as ‘Shit-filled doughnut’. Seeing the pitchside adverts for online is bad enough. Having these messages pop up quite regularly is pushing me to the limits of my zen-like tolerance.
The game devs clearly imagine that I’m going to see enough of these fatuous messages – Pressed X in a menu! GP acquired 300 points! – that eventually I’m going to think ‘Wow, it’d be a shame to let all these imaginary GP points go to waste, might as well head online and check it all out’.
I’m not saying I’ll never at least have a couple of online matches. I usually do, every year – PES2017 was probably the first PES game where I never played a single online match.
But online football gaming is not football gaming. It’s a football-themed online game. Which is something very different from a football game. And it necessarily brings a set of gameplay values that are killing Pro Evolution Soccer, year on year.