Heading into April in Season 2 of my PES2011(PS3) Master League adventure, and exciting times seem to be ahead:
I’ve lost 7 matches but am within easy touching-distance of the promotion spots, and even the top spot.
I have sensed the hand of ML table scripting helping me along throughout this season. At least my goal-scoring is comparable to the others around me.
I think promotion has to happen this season. Which would be very good going considering it took me, I think, about 7 seasons to get promoted back in my original run on this game.
Bearing in mind that now I am playing ‘only’ on Professional, and with the help of PES2011’s ‘Advanced Start’ glitch. i.e. a boosted budget that enables the immediate purchase of better players and the upgrading of coaching staff. I think it took me 5 seasons or more to get to this level, the first time around.
In truth, at this juncture, I needed the Advanced Start, and I needed this rapid progress. It was a long, long slog on PES2018, and it’s never a good idea to go immediately for another big long ML. My normal routine for years has been to ‘rest up’ through the summer before starting another long campaign in the new PES. Here in my retro PES life I will have to ensure that I replicate that natural breathing space between long MLs.
This will not be a long campaign. I fancy 5-6 seasons and done. Season 3 should be in the Premier League.
PES2011 as an overall retro PES experience continues to hold up. It is delivering exactly what I was looking for. There is more player individuality in my squad of 20 players than there has been in the 100s of players I have played with from PES2016 to PES2018.
As ever, I am struck by how Classic PES achieves its excellence by preventing players from doing everything. Almost nobody can turn on the spot like a spinning ballerina (as everyone in nuPES can). PES2011’s sliding tackles are so ineffective, relatively speaking, that they’re almost never worth trying. Shooting is wholly context- and stats-based. No point shooting with Shimizu’s weaker foot from an angle. No point shooting with any of Palmieri’s feet from any distance or any angle.
Passing, crossing, the physicality of the game. It all feels ‘right’. It all feels PES.
The only blot on the copybook is the relative absence of fouls. Now that I’m used to the game, the AI only ever gets to foul me roughly 2 times, on average, per match.
But here’s the real issue with fouls in PES: when the rest of a PES game is properly constructed, properly individualised, properly restrained, fouls are not so important. I hardly notice the relative lack of fouls in PES2011.
The fouls scandal in nuPES is a symptom of its much deeper-rooted, arcade-focused contagion. It shows us what the makers of PES have decided is valuable in PES, and what is not.
Pro Evolution Soccer achieved greatness through limitation and confinement. The forced imposition of constraint on the player is what made the series so legendary. The abandonment of constraint to make an accessible and ‘fun’ online experience has destroyed the PES of old. Fouls were and are just one aspect of the constraints that have been abandoned.
Eh, whatever. The PES2019 ‘full reveal’ dropped this week. I actually expected to feel more nostalgic emotion about it than I did. I thought it’d be tougher for me to resist the annual impetus to get geared up for the next PES.
But it isn’t tough at all to stay right where I am.