I have scored my first proper long-range goal in this PES2018 Master league. In fact, it’s my first proper PES2018 long-ranger, full-stop. I don’t recall scoring one quite like this in my pre-ML Exhibition and Tournament warmups:
BOOM. The scorer there is my new big man up front, one LARS VELDWIJK. This was one of the goals from a stunning debut hat-trick against Millwall. (Naturally, the nuPES nerf meant he did sod-all for a few matches after.)
He’s this year’s F FRIDAY, it already seems, and just like last year’s big man, I picked VELDWIJK up from the Dutch league.
I looked up the pronunciation (isn’t the Internet a marvel?). I’m going to go with the most common UK version. Veld-witchk. The second syllable is close enough to ‘witch’, with a hard K at the end.
Over the years, people often ask me what buttons I press to score these goals. I press the shoot button. That’s it. Goals like this come along if you try them often enough. This must have been my 100th attempt, at least, to bag a long-ranger in this ML. This attempt was the first one that didn’t either whistle wide or land in the keeper’s gloves. Persistence and the shoot button are the only real ingredients of getting a PES long-ranger.
It’s nice just to belt one in from 30 yards every so often. The long-range goal is football gaming’s equivalent of the explosive headshot in an FPS.
Back at the worktable of my ML, my pre-PES2018 mutterings about House Rules are on hold for now. I have filled my boots with new players in the transfer market. I have a huge, versatile squad. I will see where this road leads me in PES2018.
There is my full Season 2 squad, on the right here.
J CORREA got the star signing cutscene.
Veldwijk has been the star so far – 5 goals in 9 games.
Puncheon and Baker are promoted Youths.
Besic was my most expensive signing from Everton at £9m.
Cris is on-loan somewhere and shouldn’t be in this picture.
F Grillo is one of my most important signings – an LB who can deputise as a CB when required.
Cumulative stamina takes its toll this year, I’m finding, so a squad this size feels pretty much required.
I’ll be dumping Arcas and Castledine as soon as I can. Both players are shockingly anonymous for me this year.
Canning and Erikson and Candemir and the other Default dross can go ASAP too. I have no attachment to them, no sentiment.
These were the promoted/relegated sides:
Hmmm. If I can find a bookmaker to put a few quid on those sides being the real-life promoted/relegated sides come next May, I might take it. Only a quid or two, though. The accumulated odds for all 6 outcomes would be very favourable, especially with Palace’s start making them seen near-certs for the drop.
The first three games of the season were tight, tense affairs – the best football gaming that PES has to offer. Then the results started coming. Veldwijk won a couple of games on his own. At the time of writing I’ve just completed a session where I lost badly a couple of times – once to newly-relegated Huddersfield, who rightly seem better than the average D2 opponent – which all leaves me like this after 9 matches of the new season:
Veldwijk is a star already. It’s not just the long-ranger. It’s all-round play. Small, nippy strikers in nuPES are far too common and samey. I’m talking about the tiresome CF/SS/AMF hybrids, who might as well all be the same player. Much more interesting to play with big, lumbering men up front who can’t play anywhere else. I wonder what a Veldwijk-Friday partnership would be like? Probably rubbish, in a Gerrard-Lampard kind of way, but I’d like to see. So I have cheekily popped back into the transfer screens and laid down a marker for the great man:
No chance of signing him yet, but the time will come.
PES2018 is simmering along nicely. No, this isn’t anything like the Master Leagues we enjoyed in the Golden and Silver Ages of the series. But it’s very decent nonetheless.
If the fouls aren’t fixed, PES2018 will never be a classic edition of the series.
But when was the last true PES classic? By true classic, I mean a PES game that was popularly-acclaimed as being so, rather than a ‘personal’ classic. Thus, my precious patched PES2014 – definitely a personal classic – doesn’t really count.
By this strict criteria, the last popularly-acclaimed PES classic would have to be PES2012 or PES2013. Both of those had enough dissenting voices that we might even have to go back to PES2011 for the last classic PES.
There have certainly been no classics in the series since the current generation of consoles came along. PES2015 comes the closest, but even that was and is by no means popularly acclaimed.
PES2018, I feel, is unlikely to reach classic status (but you never know).
A PES doesn’t have to be a popularly acclaimed classic to be worth the time and effort. Most PES games in history haven’t been widely-acclaimed classics, let us remember. PES3, PES5, PES6, and PES2011 – that might be it on the popular classic front, and at least two of those choices are debatable.
I can almost hear the voices: ‘I’d say PES2 was a classic…’ So would I, but the question is about popular acclaim, not personal affection.
So I’m putting aside notions of whether my experience with PES2018 is or isn’t ‘classic’, and just playing it and enjoying it.