Rooing the day

Part of the allure of Master League is being part of your own individual instance of a fantasy footballing world. It’s interesting to see what happens to the big-name players over time, particularly in their twilight years. E.g. the 39-year-old Messi at Sunderland and the like.

It’s only season 3 in my PES2011 ML, the equivalent of real-life season 2012-2013. In this alternate universe, Rooney has already set off on his travels and is now at QPR.

He played pretty well in this match, which I lost badly, thumped 3-0. Still only on Professional difficulty too.

The AI in this match had an odd habit of shooting often from long-range (with Rooney, and without). Football game AIs shoot from distance far too seldom, normally. More please.

The PES2011 AI in general has impressed me more in the Premier League than it did in Division 2, where it often seemed so passive and plodding that I actually feared for the long-term future of this segment of my sentimental journey into the PES past.

Matches in the top flight are tighter, and the AI more aggressive. You would expect this to be the case, and it is.

I still feel gratified at the many touches in this ML – reckoned by some to be the best-ever – that really make a difference to the experience.

E.g. after a victorious home match, you’re rewarded with a useful few £££s. These few £££s add up over the course of a season, and that sum really means something substantial. Hiring more and better backroom staff crucially affects your team’s form and fitness, and the better backroom staff are very expensive. It’s £1 million for a basic one, £3 million for a middling one, and £5 million for the best ones. There are 5 positions to fill. I think it will take me several more seasons to populate each position.

I’ve been toddling along with basically the same squad for a season now, because I’ve spent most of my money on backroom staff. So the £30k I got for winning the match above, if repeated with lots of other wins of course, all adds up, and all means something.

A few defeats have sent me down the table, but overall I am not struggling for results when I really focus on getting them.

I’ve made a decision about the difficulty level. If I’m still in the top half of the table come mid-season, I will graduate to Top Player and remain there for the rest of PES2011. (There was no Superstar level at this point in history.)

My goalscoring is still awful, so I need to invest in a striker come mid-season. Iaquinta and Pinilla have so far not delivered the goods in the top flight, and Schwarz is still very much a Youth in development.

Come the transfer window I’m favouring Old Forlan, as per my previous post, for various reasons. The personal satisfaction reasons being the main ones.

Updated: 29th May 2018 — 11:07


  1. Sounds great nG, I loved the days where every £ made a difference – memories of needing to get a result in my final pre-season friendly to be able to afford the wage bill!

    FIFA is still mixed, the action on the pitch feels so imprecise and lacking tactile feedback, but it is growing on me a little. I liked my ‘objective’ with Ipswich to build a side challenging for promotion within 2 seasons and develop youths which seemed nicely realistic and not too much short term pressure. And training up young players is a joy with these weekly training exercises. Plus the colours look so vivid with HDR…

    Turf – you caught an Alolan Exeggutor yet? Ours is CP 2005!

  2. I just need £10,000 to break even at the Season 2 Expected Earnings deadline in PS2 PES 2011. I’m banking on my cup match to make up that amount otherwise I’ll be losing a player or a £1 million rated member of staff. As n-G says, this kind of thing really adds to the ML experience.

    As for FIFA 18, partly due to a lack of access to the PS4 and not really taking to the game, I’ve not felt like playing it ahead of PS2 PES. That’s quite a testament to an eight-year-old game.

    FIFA 18 looks great, I love the atmosphere of the different stadia and the presentation but the gameplay is so nuPES, or is PES now like nuFIFA? Either way, I just can’t quite click with it. I’ve not played CM, just friendlies and the newly released World Cup mode but it just doesn’t quite do it for me.

  3. abbeyhill – PES2011’s retro ML feels like it should have been the future and properly has its hooks in me. The thought of nabbing an aged Forlan and seeing if I can get some goals out of him before his retirement is making me look forward to the next session like a good meal.

    Shed – I’m not being put off my eventual move to FIFA (late summer-ish, probably), because the detached sort of feeling you’re feeling was my takeaway from my FIFA17 dabbles (just before Xmas, and again just after PES2018 came to a halt).

    Context is very important with a football game. I was very into FIFA12 and then FIFA15 a few years later, like no other FIFAs in the modern era.

    What did those two FIFAs have in common? Both came out several weeks before that year’s PES edition came out. Both were played by me without any other football game setting up an ‘interference pattern’ in my head. Every other FIFA before, between, and since, has had to be slotted into odd gaps in the midst of a full and busy footy game year.

    One of the things I’m looking forward to in my post-nuPES era is finally giving a FIFA a good go. But yes – that nuPES-style flow and suppleness does not do the series any favours.

    And for what it’s worth, I think it’s been a case of PES stealing FIFA’s nuClothes over the past few years, rather than the other way round.

  4. Abbeyhill – not sure I agree with imprecise comment as give it more time as I have had many of those “I haven’t seen that in a footy game before” moments. It does look absolutely stunning on my new 55 inch 4K TV. I have the week off work and yesterday I was as happy as a pig in muck.

  5. NG – sounds like proper decision making, as it should be. Proper ML!

    Werd – no fallout 3 remake but fallout 76 has been announced by Bethesda as I’m sure you’ve read. Reportedly it’s online – centric which would mean Bethesda will have sold their soul which they already partially have with elder scrolls online. Sounds like Bethesda is also budging to the online crowd, something they’ve always taken quite a hard-line stance against. Woe are the times.

  6. Abbeyhill – yes indeed, and what’s more I caught it in Edinburgh. Up here for a few days and got it on the corner of George street. Big fellas aren’t they!

  7. #1 – the game is just about up as you will probably have seen the new Call of Duty game will have no single player mode. Sign of the times and quite depressing really.

  8. Haven’t had chance to try FIFA’s WC Mode yet as been away on business in Germany, looking forward to a dabble though.

    E3 is only a couple of weeks away, can’t wait to see the blurry leaked PES 19 videos showing in depth Master League features, Fouls, free kicks, varied AI tactical play and COM situational awareness.

  9. After 32 matches and almost one-and-half seasons, I’ve finally won a league match in PS2 PES 2011 ML. And what a match it was. A 3-2 win at home to Blackpool having been behind twice. This also marks my first three-goal haul in a match.

    The most remarkable thing about this retro ML is that I have stuck with the grind of losses and goalless draws for so long. I knew I was in for a tough time starting with the defaults on Top Player but this is by far my longest winless run on any PES (not counting a lucky 1-0 win in the cup in season one).

    The graphics and limited nature of the gameplay sometimes have me yearning for the PS4 and a shiny nu PES or FIFA but there is something compelling about the matches, the AI, the ML story and the player individuality in these old games.

  10. Is the player individuality really there so much though shed?
    The handful of matches I played on PS2 PES11 showed as outright fact that no matter who I controlled, any player, of any skill level, 50 OVR or 90 OVR, could not pass in a specific direction if the intended target was not along one of the rigid 8 directions allowed.

    Countless instances of having the ball in CM position, wanting to pass to a runner down the right wing but who had cut in to a more central right sided position, the pass no matter how hard or softly powered up would only go to the side, or to the diagonal NE direction, not to the player i wanted to pick out.

    How much individuality can you have when limited so badly to 8 strict directions ?

    I haven’t played it since.

  11. “Business in Germany” – im thinking Swiss Tony again….importing some beautiful fur coats for the ladies or calling in at the Stuttgart diamond exchange?

  12. #1 – I have been in a foul mood since yesterday. Selling their souls indeed. Its the way things are going now with everything it seems. Well gutted is an understatement.
    Seems the world was reminding me all the time last night. Wolfenstein 2 had a lovely post nuclear New York level and also watching Cloverfield Lane last night had loads of refs to fallout, shelter, nuclear attack etc. Went to bed muttering “Please stand by” and “Todd Howard Why?”

  13. Neither unfortunately Turf.
    Was based in a little countryside village outside Frakfurt called Egelsbach, where there is absolutely nothing to do nearby, the hotel was a 70s throwback, no air con, wifi was slower than 3G, not a single english speaking TV channel, couldn’t wait to get home.

  14. Shed – my learning curve on the PS3 side has been somewhat more gentle (Advanced Start glitch, Professional difficulty etc.) but I’ve had some of the same. I think the magic of old ML partly arises from the failure loop that the mode puts you in from the start. Fail-fail-fail-fail-fail-nearly win-fail-fail-fail-nearly win again-fail-fail-fail-WIN. The amount of investment the player gets is proportionate to that. I won’t compare it all to the era of Castledine & Arcas & co. here.

    I still miss the PS4 very much indeed. It’s not just the screenshot/video capture, although that’s important too (recording two goals just now for upload was a proper pain in the arse). It’s loading times too, and display.

    Paul – I don’t think you played it enough to (re)acquaint yourself with how old-school PES represents individuality despite/because the ancient-feeling 8-way mechanics. My long acquaintance with PES5 tells me that it’s not nearly as restricted as you paint it in any case. You end up ‘knowing’ which players can and can’t send a defence-bisecting through-ball to a specific winger and the like. You might say that isn’t possible at all, but it is.

    #1/werd – the depressing thing is that no matter how it’s sold, an online Fallout will end up much like Fortnite. I always remember when Gran Turismo went online. Random quote from the time: ‘The most perfect racing sim ever created is now just an online stock car racing game.’ Never forget that.

  15. NG – I’d love you to come sit at my PS2 with PES11 and show me how its possible to pick out passes that aren’t along the 8 directional lines, because I’ve tried it, dozens of times every match, with different players, different teams, of varying stats and I’ve yet to see it work.

    Back in the non 360 direction days we didn’t know any different so the lack of freedom, or realism, didn’t arise, as that’s just how it was, but after all these years, I can’t get back into a game that plays more like table football than proper football.

  16. Paul – next time I’m on PES5 on the PC – next week now sometime – I’ll see if I can cobble together a video that makes sense. Football games don’t make for good illustrative videos, as it’s all about the subjective feel.

    You’d definitely be happier with the PS3 era ‘Silver Age’ PES games, i.e. from PES2010 on.

  17. I should definitely have gone for a PS3 not a PS2, as PES11 on PS3 was one of my fave PES games ever.
    The PS2 graphics on a big tv aren’t helpful either.

  18. Turf – Importing expensive fur coats from Germany is very much like making love to a beautiful woman.

    Hopefully back on FIFA tomorrow, although unsure whether to try the world cup mode. If so it is unlikely to be England.

  19. I haven’t even downloaded the World Cup update as like the real thing it doesn’t interest me and is a distraction to the Career Mode.

  20. Well I for one shall be watching the world cup, most of it sat in bars on the beach in Ibiza with more than a few cold beers!
    And playing the FIFA WC Mode, I’ve seen some of the presentation videos and EA have done a superb job with the atmosphere, lighting, stadiums and team representations.

  21. You have to watch a lot of footy matches these days to find the ones that are worth watching. But World Cups are still worth watching for me, for the spectacle and the meaning. Even something as humdrum as a group encounter between Paraguay and Latvia (for example) can have storylines within it that makes it worth the time invested. Some unknown player who goes on to become a world star, that kind of thing. A bizarre sending-off. I’d miss not being part of the World Cup narrative as it went along, so for that reason will watch as much of it as I can – but maybe it’ll be more highlights than live matches this year as the Russia timezone kickoffs clash with my job more often than not. And I think it’ll be on the news for non-sporting reasons a lot of the time.

    Chris99 – Celtic virtue-signalling aside, you should definitely be England, because England are the best team and that. It’s objectively true.

  22. Disagree NG, There are a plethora of really decent matches, some good, some outstanding, and a few that are pretty boring, but on the whole the quality is definitely on the plus side, depending on your view of what constitutes a good football match I guess.

    History of football On History channel for the next 2 week,s has some superb programmes on, watched one the other night about Toto Schillachi at Italia 90. I was only 11 but it brought back some fond memories, I still recall watching the England v Belgium Quarter final with my Dad, he was decorating the living room, and when Platt’s rotating volley went in late on, the paint roller going flying across the room, the dancing about and him picking me up and swinging me around.

    That memory has stayed with me all my life, and other past WC’s, and no doubt future WC’s will create other new memories hopefully.

  23. I’ll be paying close attention to the World Cup too. Although I believe 32 teams dilutes the quality and means there are really too many matches, it is woven into my history. The first one I remember, the one where Scotland did quite well, those through school when Panini stickers were involved, the first that included alcohol, the first one holiday in a beach side bar with the future Mrs 99, the first where the kids took an interest.

    For a World Cup prediction thing at work I’ve created my own ranking system based on previous international matches. The current outcome is Germany to beat France in the final, but I need to re-run it once all the friendlies are complete.

  24. I have very fond memories of the World Cups from 82 until 98 but after then they started to get quite forgetable and fit in with the post Melenium malaise.

  25. I think 78 was probably my favourite.

  26. The AI in Fifa 18 can be crazy at times. Had a game this evening in which the CPU had 26 shots in total.

  27. Chris – 1990 was mine as some of the games were dull but it had the drama and the stories as NG mentioned.

  28. 1986 for me. I was doing my O Levels at the time and somehow managed to stay up to watch the games and still drag myself into school the next day.

    Chris99 – for both the last two World Cups, I’ve picked a winner before the start of the tournament, and both times that team has finished runner-up. Holland in 2010. Argentina in 2014. Lost money on both. I haven’t decided yet for this year, but whichever team I pick I’m going to hunt around for the football betting equivalent of ‘each way’.

  29. Mexico 86 for the quality of performances (Maradona etc), Italia 90 for the ‘Beautiful Game’ – it was just an outstanding tournament, USA 94 for the drama, France 98 for the emergence of Owen and the match against Argentina, 2002 – 2014 have been way less memorable, agreed.

    I drew Poland and Germany in the work Sweepstake, always got a chance with the Krauts.

  30. Forgot to add – ’82 for England’s Kit – Still the best England Home kit ever, to this day.

  31. Paul – and ’82 was a great World Cup too, if only for Italy emerging as ‘the Brazil of Europe’. Their performances were sensational in that tournament.

    Not a big fan of that England kit with the blue shoulder patches and shorts. Blue in an England kit is always a no-no. It even made it into the squad song: We’re on our way/We are Ron’s twenty-two/Hear the roar/Of the red, white and blue.

    No, England, no red white and blue!

  32. R,W & B presumably referring to the union jack, which of course isn’t ‘England’.
    But the 3 lions on the England badge are blue so blue usually features in every England kit.

    I liked that 82 Kit, it was retro standout, great simple design but bold.
    The 86 kit was the first England kit I had as a kid, wore it everywhere.

  33. Darryl – could you remind me what settings you are playing FIFA on? Suspect I need to move up from professional to world class even though that usually means countless 0-0 draws

  34. Mexico ’86 is my favourite World Cup. I was a late starter when it came to footy fandom but this tournament – followed mostly through Saint and Greaves’s daily highlights round up – hooked me. I remember collecting the World Cup playing cards and trying to score goals like a bandage-wristed Lineker on our school field.

  35. Shed – If you want hand strappings in a World Cup then look no further than Rene van de Kerkhof in the 78 final.

    Paul – I too was a fan of the 82 England kit, although it still make me thing of Mr Boring, Captain Shoulder, and the Crab Man.

    Of course for the sake of nG I feel I should point out that the three lions are actually leopards, and not lions at all.

  36. Something a bit more like this….

  37. Paul – Nice, although that would require the FA to change their logo.

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