PES2011 on the PS3 in the year 2018 is not without its challenges, but it is a marvellous football game, which more than makes up for everything the game – and the platform – lacks.
And Master League, of course, was better in the old days.
Tootling around in the Master League menus, what do I find but the individual training menus, which I had almost completely forgotten existed.
This is where you allocate Focus Points on a per-player basis, and have the option of adding skills through skill cards. Similar to PES2018’s system, but better in all sorts of ways. First because there will be an undoubted effect upon the players that translates to on-pitch action. And second because of the sheer time it takes to complete the training, and the financial commitment required.
For example, here I am training up Schwarz in the Passing skill (I want him to be the complete player, moving forward).
PES2011’s menus’ trademark lighting effects spoil this screenshot, and most screenshots of the game, but it can’t be helped.
Note the length of time it will take: 72 weeks. SEVENTY-TWO WEEKS! Instant gratification, I don’t think so. Those 72 weeks would have been 144 weeks if I hadn’t allocated a precious Focus Point to the Skill Training. Decisions, decisions. After every week there’s an appreciable cost deducted form my budget for this training. Granted, I’ve got the cheaty Advanced Start, which means a bigger budget, which means this training isn’t squeezing my finances as much as it otherwise might.
This Training menu demonstrates just one aspect of many in which Master League has been dumbed down in more recent years.
PES2011 and its immediate predecessor were the best Master Leagues that the series has ever seen. Why they were dismantled in the way that they were is one of the great enduring mysteries of gaming, and of life itself. The obvious answer why is that Konami wished to facilitate online gaming, which entailed reducing the amount of time that users were spending in a non-profit mode. This seems to be the only rational answer, regrettably.
I’ve played 6 League matches and 1 in the FA Cup. I won the latter 2-1 with a stylish diving header at the end from El Moubarki, arriving late to a deep cross. I thought about getting the phone out to make a recording of the goal, but in truth, it wasn’t remarkable enough to make it worth the effort. Had that been a PS4 goal, you would be watching the replay even now. This is one of the factors about going back to the PS3. The threshold for what is and isn’t a recordable goal is raised by some margin.
The table – look at that lovely Bundesliga logo, and that lovely Division 2 name, and just look at the hodgepodge of teams and their lovely badges:
Now that’s a proper old-school Master League screenshot, right there.
So what’s the state of PES2011 after a week?
Well, my life right now is such that I get very little time to play, relatively speaking. I tend to play just two or three good sessions per week, rather than an almost-daily session as of old. I’ll be honest and confess that my thoughts have often turned back to the PS4, or even to the PC platform. I think often about the joys and conveniences of what I could find there. But the quality of PES2011 on the PS3 transcends every issue at the moment.