There’s nothing like a Master League’s first European night at home. The seasonal-specific colouring of the sky. The floodlights. The different font. No matter how far PES has fallen – and fallen it has – these moments remain magical.
I had a change of kit to implement, thanks to regular commenter Paul of PESFX. It’s been a while since I changed kits, and I had grown so fond of his previous kits – Home and Away – that I kept them on as my 3rd and 4th kits respectively.
Also, apologies to anyone whose OCD I might be triggering with my eccentric squad numbering. Defenders shouldn’t wear the number 9. I keep meaning to fix them all, but keep forgetting to.
I drew 0-0 in this match against Slavia Praha, but then my next tie was away to Barcelona. I traditionally tank badly in my first European season in any Master League, so I feared the worst. But given that every team in PES2018 plays in a Barcelona-like fashion, there wasn’t perhaps so much to worry about.
This one should have ended 0-0 too, but I converted one of my few chances to snatch the surprise away victory.
This result and a few others have started me thinking that it might be time to give Superstar another go. I don’t want to, as I suspect it won’t go well, but if these kinds of results keep coming I will have to. I will probably wait until mid-season and review it all then.
By the by: that number 21 in my team list above, S ATAIDE, is the 94OPR player whom I was on the verge of signing in my last post. He is, of course, Classic Ronaldo – the original and best Ronaldo. Brazilian Ronaldo. That one. (That’s him standing next to the team list in the screenshot above. The resemblance is uncanny.)
So far, he has done nothing. All his stats have yet to manifest themselves on the pitch in any way. His Finishing stat of 95 has no apparent effect on his actual finishing. Or is it me? It’s both, of course. I would seriously struggle to tell the difference between ATAIDE-RONALDO and any 70-something OPR-rated Youth striker.
And this, right here, is the True Tragedy of nuPES.
Forget fouls and forget AI and forget everything else on the nuPES Shitlist. When they turned the series in the direction of online, they had to ‘balance’ the way the game plays, which involves the flattening out of stats. I.e. my Ronaldo can still be ‘better’ than your Danny Ings, but not by much. Barely at all, even, given that the mechanics of first touch and dribbling are rendered more or less universal by the demands of online matching. Can’t have the game making complex player-by-player decisions based on stats, and slowing the flow/creating lag, now, can we?
The near-total elision of player individuality is the current era’s principal Crime Against PES. One of the most revered of football gaming legacies was unceremoniously chucked overboard in the name of business models and spreadsheets, and here’s the kicker – it had to be done. PES as it was, pre-PES2014, probably couldn’t survive in today’s marketplace. No point in giving the masses Gran Turismo when they want Mario Kart.
That the wisp of something like PES player individuality still remains is undeniable. Everyone – even me – has favourites whom we would hotly defend as individuals. But they are scattered names. Not even enough to make a five-a-side team.
The League table after 6 matches:All my usual gripes aside, I had a couple of sessions of PES2018 that were so good I almost started to entertain fantasies of becoming a nuPES liker, or even lover. I amused myself thinking of how I would turn it all around on the blog, and join in the PES2019 party after all.
But no. In PES2018 I’m very much enjoying what is a good football game of the 21st century. To get my full PES fix I will indeed have to go back to the past – and stay there.