Month: April 2018

1 is the magic number

It finally happened… I have only managed to play literally 1 single match of PES2011 since the last time.

This is simply how life is at the moment. Work and several other factors take up nearly all my time, currently.

It’ll be like this until… next week, when I have the week off work. I plan some serious gaming time then.

Was the 1 match a good match?

Nope, not really.

It was a dull, plodding 1-1 draw in the middle of a drab season. No wonder Konami jazzed up Master League with the recent all-singing, all-dancing, Ibrahimovic-focused editions. Nobody under 30 is ever going to play old-school Master League ever again.

They don’t know what they’re missing. When Master League was a slog to begin with was when Master League was greatest.

I’ve got some transfer deals in the air, just waiting to hear. It’s very easy to sign players, relatively speaking.

I boobed at the start by inadvertently triggering PES2011’s ‘Advanced Start’ glitch. This is where Editing a team prior to starting Master League somehow awards you several million extra pounds, and bumps your ranking up to the low 50s instead of sticking you at the absolute bottom of them all.

I would not have done this deliberately, but on reflection, I’m glad it happened. I’m not in the mood for a traditional ML slog at the moment. I’m in the mood for Classic PES, and the Classic PES feeling is what I’ve got.

The players in PES2011 mostly have the turning circles of oil tankers. By comparison to the nimble ninjas of nuPES, even the likes of Shimizu feels like a lumbering armoured knight on horseback.

I still haven’t scored any really noteworthy goals since that very first long-ranger almost from the first session of play. This one, from Motta.

Everything since that time has been scuffed headers, and kneed-in bouncers from corners and the like. Classic PES did scruffy goals very well indeed. It makes you work for the slightest reward.

I cannot say that I never miss nuPES. Strangely, I do. Over the space of 4 years it was my PES world, and that has had an effect. But I miss the PS4 platform more than the game. I came back to PES2011 in search of nougaty truPES goodness, and that’s what I’ve found in bucketloads.

Next week should see me really get down to business, with long daily sessions, just like in the good old days.

Harry Schwarz

Just look at those red arrows. My defence and keeper were well up for this game. Shimizu too.

The rest of them? They were so-so about it.

A nice bundle of red arrows was always a cheering sight in a pre-match formation screen. Back when they actually seemed to mean something. Maybe they’ve never meant anything, or maybe they still mean something even in these benighted nuPES multiplayer-action-frenzy days, who knows.

In mid-season of Season 1 now, and I have a few incoming transfers lined up. Quite a few of the Defaults are on their way out too. More on all this next time, when the window has passed.

The match where my defence and Shimizu were red-arrowed was against Brescia in my bespoke Bundesliga-logo’ed UEFA Super League Division 2 (England). How I love twanging the reader’s nerve that that hits!

Brescia had the cheek to take an early 1-0 lead that I just could not seem to overturn. I laid siege to their goal at times, and at other times, was laid siege to. This old PES AI wasn’t too great. PES2012, just one year later, had a much better AI, and of course we’ve had very competitive (if cheaty) ones in recent years.

It all ended 1-1 and here’s the goal that got me back into the match. The only reason I recorded it is that it’s a bit of a novelty item. The game awarded the goal to Schwarz, who knew nothing about it.

Shimizu with the snap half-volley after Schwarz’s failed header, and it should have been his goal. I’m developing an unexpected soft spot for the little twerp, after years of dislike. He was awesome in PES5, but everything and everyone was awesome in PES5. Even the players who were terrible in PES5 were terrible in an awesome way.

Cut to the Silver Age of PES – the PS3 era – and suddenly, Shimizu is a highly-rated player who can’t really do anything. But this PES2011 incarnation of Shimizu seems to overturn everything I thought I knew about Shimizu in Silver Age PES. He can tackle, he can shoot, and he lasts full games.

Shimizu’s shot glances in off Schwarz’s head. The merest graze. The game showed Schwarz wheeling away in shameless celebration, Harry Kane-style. Fair enough.

How is PES2011 so far? Still decent. It’s settled at an 8/10 sort of experience, overall, on average, from session to session.

The only real demerit is the PS3 platform itself. Loading times are really starting to grate, not least the initial booting load time. Sometimes that spinning green circle spins on a black screen for over a minute, to the point where I think the console has gone kaput. And then when it finally loads, there is a seeming eternity between game-weeks while the game auto-saves and loads the next week. It is somewhat aggravating. And no, I won’t disable auto-save.

But that is all that’s the matter. I’m mid-table, and the first transfer window is here. I do need new players, and will be getting them.

I used to prefer Equinox

My muscles and mind still remember the past 4 years of PES promoting the crash-bang-wallop, arcade-style gameplay. It’s difficult to go back to PES as it used to be – still fast and furious (and ‘fun’) when it wants to be, but massively tempered by the various realistic limitations that made PES PES.

I still automatically keep trying to play PES2011 as if it’s PES2018. Different times, different games. Only 7 years separate them, but PES2011 is like a 1980s episode of Horizon compared to today’s products.

Only one more session since the last time. Playing so seldom isn’t through choice. At the time of PES2011’s original run, I was playing every day, sometimes multiple sessions per day. Life and work have changed for me since then.

The mid-season transfer window is nearing and I have already agreed to sell two of my Defaults: DODO and ESPIMAS. Neither has done much by way of catching the eye. Most of the others will follow them, sooner or later.

The only Default who is likely to remain with me for the duration of this Master League is RUSKIN. The sturdy, dependable Side Back is only 24 years old and ripe for training up in a few skills. I might even do a position re-train and make him an SMF. Lord knows that thanks to one of PES2011’s most infamous quirks, he keeps appearing in the pocket just behind the strikers anyway. As does his counterpart on the other side of defence, El Moubarki/Giersen (they share the RB role).

CASTOLO will go. ORDAZ and GUTIERREZ will go. The two Hs – HAMSUN and HUYLENS – are already gone, which I might not have mentioned yet. I shipped them out before the first window closed in September.

By this time next season, I want to have my squad made up of only 20% Defaults, with the other 80% being my own personnel.

The new players I have already brought in – SHIMIZU, SCHWARZ, IAQUINTA, MOTTA, PALMIERI, SCHMIDT, and DE SANCTIS in goal – are variable in quality at the moment, to say the least.

All are certain starters when they’re fit and un-fatigued. But perhaps only Motta shows any real consistency. Schwarz is so far fairly disappointing, but he remains a fresh-faced Youth. I remember what a sledgehammer that left foot will turn into in a few seasons’ time. Shimizu, also a Youth, is surprisingly useful, which I don’t remember him being at all.

No goals to report, or show off. I’ve scraped one or two over the line, but none in any way worth recording.

I remain mid-table in the UEFA Super League Division 2 (England). Zero chance of promotion this season, I think. Next season, though, I do want to go up. My first go-round with PES2011, back in 2010-11, lasted 11 seasons, and I recall it took me 6 or 7 seasons to be promoted. That’s what Master League – and football gaming – was back then.

Here and now, I confess, I would like to be contesting for the Premier League title and European silverware by Season 3. Maybe that’s nuPES exerting its baleful influence once more.

You can’t always Ettori what you want

13 matches in my PES2011 Bundesliga UEFA Super League Division 2 in the English League!

The current table:The 9th session was not as good as the 8th, but it was still epic.

The highlight was scoring a goal, just one single goal, against the top team, CSKA Moscow.

This goal might be the most ordinary goal I have ever uploaded to this site. It is not worth your click. It is not worth the 20-odd seconds that it takes to watch. It’s just a bog-standard PES goal, but for that very reason, it’s remarkable.

PES – true PES – creates the contexts in which ordinary goals feel extraordinary and meaningful.

I’ll describe it, and you can decide if it sounds like a goal you want to watch.

I’m 0-1 down to the league leaders, CSKA Moscow, midway through the second half.

Iaquinta gets the ball inside his own half and runs at the CSKA Moscow defence, which retreats in that curious PES2010-like fashion that I don’t remember noticing originally in PES2011 all those years ago.

Finally blocked off, I lay the ball off to Shimizu, and try to tee up a shooting opportunity with him. My Shimizu in PES2011 has a waspish shot on him, again, not something I recall from back in the day.

The shooting window won’t open, but what’s this I see behind me – is that… is that Ettori coming like an express train, surging through a gap from midfield??

One tidy through-ball layoff later, and Ettori is through on goal.

This is the first time I can remember having this kind of opportunity in the box for a long time in PES2011. (See the league table above. See my Goals Scored column.)

Ettori finishes, to make the score 1-1 at this juncture. There was no fairytale finish. I went on to lose this match 2-1. CSKA Moscow got their winner in the 94th minute with the last meaningful kick of the game.

A sickener, but I was pleased with my goal. Here it is:

The time is coming when goals like this will be replaced by the 35-yard Schwarz howitzers that I’m not too far away from scoring.

But these goals, the bread and butter goals, the constructed goals, are what PES does well.

How is PES2011 going in general after a few weeks now? Work-and-life currently mean that I only get to play a bit, relative to how I used to be able to play. So my football game has to be one I really do want to play, not one I feel I have to play. PES2011 is that game.

It’s not all wine and roses. The PS3 environment continues to annoy me in a number of ways. It’s not just the lack of screenshot and video recording – the lengthy loading times are truly tiresome. ‘Move to PC, then’ is the obvious solution here, but no. I won’t be moving over to PC, having started this ML. The surest way to never playing anything is to be constantly moving and restarting. I am slowly getting used to it, though.

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