Season 3 of my return to PES2011 is here. Coventry City in the Premier League, where they rightfully belong.
I accidentally captured this image while trying to snap a pic of the pre-match Premier League logo:I pressed the shutter button at the moment the image changed to the players lining up in the tunnel, pre-match. I think it worked out.
There’s nothing like the excitement of your first season in the Big Time in a Master League career. You expect everything to be refreshed and brand new, and it is.
First I had to haul myself through The Void that separates the end of one season from the beginning of the next.
After the last game of Season 2 came the long, long weeks where all I could do is progress from one empty week to the next. Someone might suggest: ‘Just press the Skip To Week button!’ There is no Skip To Week button in PES2011. You have to manually cycle through the empty half-weeks from May to September – about 22 of them. One. After. The. Other. Wait for the game to load the next week. Click through all the status messages. Repeat.
It takes about 8-10 minutes to get through The Void between PES2011 seasons, even with Autosave switched off.
I had my reward at the other end. A fully-fledged Premier League! With all the correct badges and logos and everything.
Granted, having the likes of CSKA Moscow and Sporting Gijon rubbing virtual shoulders with the Newcastles and the Chelseas feels peculiar now, after several years of not having to put up with that sort of thing – but it’s astonishing how quickly the old PES instincts resurface, once you commit to the course. The quality of truPES gameplay makes up for everything. Everything.
Fixture number 1 was disappointingly against one of the ‘expansion teams’, as I think of them, Sporting Gijon. I won that 2-1. And then I had my first proper Premier League match, versus Everton – which was a straightforward affair that ended 0-0. I was rarely in difficulty, and should have won it. I think Top Player is not far off.Newcastle are up next. At odd moments of my days lately, I think of myself playing ‘proper PES’ again, and it makes me smile. Giving up on nuPES isn’t giving up on PES. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Interestingly, what haven’t I mentioned so far throughout the two full seasons I have played back here on PES2011? 7 years after my first go-round with the game?
I have not mentioned the stumble animation.
A certain Northern poet once remarked that the passage of time leaves empty lives waiting to be filled. What he should have said was that the passage of time lessens one’s infuriation with certain aspects of past football games.
The stumble animation was a major grievance for me in 2010-2011. For those not in the know: the stumble animation is triggered whenever your player has certain kinds of common physical collisions. Your player will stagger forward for a few steps, and then stand there, motionless and dazed, for enough time for the AI player to make away with the ball.
7 years ago I found the animation intrusive and destabilising in a very fundamental and deeply aggravating way. It was the key component of a spoiled experience, and directly led to me abandoning PES211 after ‘only’ 11 seasons(!), without having won anything.
Now, after several years of button-mashy, arcade-sprinty, ballerina-skippy, online-sucky PES, I genuinely don’t notice the stumble animation at all.