Month: March 2019

Pro Evolution Jerry Cornelius

PES2019 is unexpectedly enjoying a bit of a revival with me. Football game career modes are all about experiencing peaks and troughs. Those who play Master League long-term are well used to experiencing periods when it seems more of a chore than a joy. The trick is to keep going through those periods.

After a substantial trough that lasted most of a month or two, PES2019 suddenly seems to have rediscovered its mojo.

The great goals have kept coming. No real 30-yarders among them, just very satisfying finishes in matches where the results really counted. It’s great to be ‘allowed’ to score from outside the box again. There is a short compilation of goals scored in my most recent Monday night session at the end of this post.

Here is the table after 7 matches:I’m surprised that the game ‘allowed’ me to win 7 on the bounce in the League. Usually it chucks in a forced draw or defeat. I feared the worst before the early-season six-pointer against Manchester City, but I even trotted out a winner in that one too, winning 3-1 away.

In between all these league wins, I am playing Champions League matches where I have won 1 and lost 2, though. Perhaps those defeats are keeping the game’s internal script at bay.

Man City went 1-0 up straight from kickoff at the start of our league match. It was one of those heavily scripted-feeling 1st minute AI goals where I actually recovered the ball at least twice, but my players just couldn’t seem to dig the ball out and play it to safety. The AI kickoff momentum was too strong, and when the ball went into my net I was not surprised.

But I’m made of sterner stuff this season. You can see what happened next at the start of today’s clip reel below.

My players have all matured like fine wines at the same time.

Castledine is amazing now. I rarely post stats on this blog, for several reasons.

First because this is a very bird’s-eye-view blog, really, and second for time reasons (capturing, clipping, positioning on the page etc.; I’d rather be playing), and thirdly (perhaps most importantly) because of the stubborn uneasy feeling that stats ain’t what they used to be in the world of PES.

The consolidation of the stats several editions ago, coupled with the appalling focus on online multiplayer and its ‘balancing’ requirements, means that the way we used to exult over a player having 90 Speed feels rather old-fashioned now. I don’t believe that stats are meaningless in nuPES, but they’re certainly not the glowing holy numbers that they once were.

Castledine in PES2019 is now the kind of PES player that I will remember playing with in a decade’s time. He plays as a central AMF, just a notch short of the SS zone, and he can take a game by the scruff of the neck. He can also score a goal or two as well, as last week’s 30-yard blaster showed, and as the first goal in today’s highlight reel (below) also shows.

The debate over ‘which is the best version of the Cas-character’ is an eternal one.

The astounding Castello of Master League’s earliest days is the best one for me. Cinalton and Castolis and PES2016’s Castledine (the last black version of the character) were all great. But PES2019’s Castledine, for me, pound for pound, all things considered, is the best Cas-character PES has seen since the one that started it all off, Castello.(I couldn’t find a proper headshot of Castello.)

Here are my informal ratings of them all:

Castello (ISS2-PES2) – 10/10

Castolo (PES3 and PES4) – 8/10  (these first two incarnations were the foundation of The Myth of Castolo)

Castolo (PES5-PES2011) – 5/10 (it didn’t matter that he was no longer great: the Myth persisted)

Cinalton (PES2012) – 7/10 (an interesting remix of the character)

Castolis (PES2013-PES2015, when he became Greek) – 7/10 (a return to form)

Castledine (PES2016, and Brazilian once more, and still black) – 8/10 (an overpowered incarnation in an arcade-driven edition of the series)

Castledine (PES2017-18, still Brazilian, but now turned white!) – 6/10

Castledine (PES2019) – 9/10

My memory is not what it used to be and I may have forgotten one of the incarnations of the character, or got a detail wrong. Feel free to chip in with corrections and with your own ratings of Master League’s very own Moorcockian eternal champion.

Right, that compilation to finish with, and the very first goal here comes from the man himself, E Castledine. He also has a few assists throughout the package.

Cannonball pun

4 cracking goals to show off today. It feels like a very long time since I had a ‘WOW’ moment when scoring in PES2019 – and then 4 ‘WOW’ moments came along in the space of two short sessions at the start of Season 12.

Boring stuff first: Season 12 has started very well – 5 wins on the bounce in the League:

This was the updated Team Ranking after last season’s 2nd-place finishes in League and Champions League:

40th in the game world as a whole feels about right. In previous nuPES MLs, I was easily number 1 by this stage, so this has to be seen as progress in one small direction. Overall, nuPES ML remains severely crippled of course.

This is the Squad I’ll be fighting at least the first half of Season 12 with:

Buonanotte is now a first-choice player. ‘The Shimizu of PES2019’ is not an idle nickname.

I brought in 3 Loanees to bulk out my numbers: Lobato, Shaqiri, and Boateng, at CB above. I still have a massive wages bill deficit and cannot bring in new players.

And so the season started. New kits courtesy of PESFX’s Paul. The new Home kit is visible at the top of the post, sported by the fantastic Captain Castledine. He’s 31 this season. Where does the time go?

And just above we see Forlan showing off the new Away kit, a homage to Coventry City’s famous-notorious ‘excrement kit’ of old. This 2019 version is a lot less offensive than that kit was, and in motion (as seen in a couple of the imminent goals vids) it looks lovely IMO.

And now for those goals vids.

First, two goals from the same match, an early season encounter vs Southampton.

Casteldine’s opening 30-yarder was my first true long-ranger on PES2019 since last calendar year. Then, like late buses, moments later Buonanotte gets a slightly-less-far-out carbon-copy of the same goal. Bad day for this virtual keeper:

I was happy with those two, particularly the first one, as regular readers can imagine. Nearly every box was ticked as to the kinds of goals that I try to score and love to score more than any other. A PES where such goals are literally impossible would never be PES.

That emboldened me to go back to trying lots of crazy things. Next up, just a match or two later, was a wonderful power volley from that man again, Castledine – here in the Away kit:

I play Castledine as a central AMF, just a notch or two short of being an SS, which puts him at the heart of most things.

At the moment where I have my GK bowl the ball out to my RB, Enache, I glanced at the radar at the bottom of the screen and saw one of my yellow dots making a run towards the defensive line. And I thought: ok, I’ll try it

The power volley put me in computer game goal heaven at this point, naturally, but the best goal of the bunch (IMO) was yet to come.

Here’s Forlan blootering an absolute CANNONBALL, from a distant angle, into the part of the net that keepers cannot reach:

Four spiffing goals, if I may say so myself. I thoroughly enjoyed scoring them – and as readers will again imagine, I am once more emboldened to start blasting away from everywhere. When you do that, some of them have to go in.

Barca-style tika-taka team goals? Pfffffffff.

There’s a new Lincoln in town

Season 11 has ended.

I was in the running for two honours, which would have been my first in PES2019: the domestic Premier League title, and the Champions League. With 35 matches played I was 3rd and just a few points off the top. I was in the semi-final of the Champions League.

I said last time that if I won all 3 of my remaining league matches, I would win the title.

I did not win all 3 of my remaining matches. I did not win the title.

I did win the first of the group of 3 matches, comfortably, beating Huddersfield 3-1 and sending them down. Last season they were title contenders; this season, they were relegated.

I checked the table afterward: Chelsea still top by a point, with me in 2nd, and the 3rd placed team now 4 points behind.

It was the middle one of the 3 matches that I lost: I lost 5-1 away to Manchester City in a disaster of a match. Knowing I needed the win, I went for it a bit too enthusiastically, and conceded a goal. I tried even more enthusiastically to get the equaliser, and conceded another. I tried too hard again, and conceded another… 3-0 down, I finally did get a goal with enough time left to feasibly stage an unlikely comeback. I conceded another goal straight from kickoff: 4-1. Then I conceded another later one to make it a proper 5-1 hammering. Ouch.

Even then, the Master League script was still in operation; Chelsea drew their corresponding fixture, leaving me 2 points behind before the last match.

I would make sure I won my final match against Southampton, and hope for the best. Chelsea faced Newcastle, who were in the bottom 6.

I beat Southampton 2-1 (leaving it late to get my winner), and waited to see what my players would do.

They sank to the ground in abject misery. Chelsea had of course thumped Newcastle 3-0, and won the title. The final table:So this Season’s title winners won the title with 11 defeats (ELEVEN defeats) and 4 draws. Is there anyone who seriously doubts the rubber-banding/scripting in Master League?

Onto the Champions League, the semi-final of which was played among the 3 final league matches.

The semi-final at my place was a tight sort of affair, decided by this sublime moment:

My first R2 curler since before Christmas! I really thought they’d been patched out of the game. I wonder if I will ever score another one in PES2019. And it came from my trusty former Youth LB, Texeira. He doesn’t get many goals, but the ones he does get tend to be important.

That goal proved to be very important indeed. It was the winner, not just on the day, but in the tie overall. I held on in the second leg for the 1-0 aggregate victory.

In the final… Bayern Munich, at Ibrox.

These were the lineups:I’m no longer so attached to PES2019 as a game. It’s probably the best of the nuPES bunch, but that only means it’s the least-worst of PES’s shitty multiplayer era. But I am highly attached to my group of players. Largely thanks to the great start that PES2019 enjoyed, back when Visual Fatigue and long-range goals were still a thing.

The pre-match scenes surprised me with the sighting of an actual trophy.I went 1-0 down to a Bayern team that played like the top teams in PES2019 tend to: hyper-fast and relentlessly chasing me down, online-style. This match ended with the AI fouls count at 0.

I equalised pretty quickly, and then had the cheek to take the lead! It was still 2-1 to me with half of the second half gone, when I slid in recklessly in the box, and conceded a penalty (rightfully so). I failed to save it.

2-2, and the rest of the 90 minutes dribbled out.

Extra time was imminent when I got sloppy in defence and conceded a killer third goal. I had time for one solitary attack that came to nothing. The final whistle went. My players all did a Bayern ’99.Bugger. I would have loved to see if that pre-match trophy was going to be presented too.

And that was that. After all that effort, all that slog, I ended the season with nothing.

…which will only make my triumphs in Season 12 all the sweeter.

It still has the feel of being my last season on PES2019. I feel ready to bank the good things I’ve experienced with this game and move on.

A good night was had by all

I came through my Champions League 2nd round 2nd leg against Monaco, winning it 2-1 at home to sail past them 4-1 on aggregate.

Nice to be back in Europe and seeing the famous old sights again, even if the sights in PES are not what they used to be. Losing the Champions League licence really did hurt PES, I think.

The domestic league is where it’s all happening for me right now.

My miracle run of form came to a halt when I met fellow title-chasers Fulham, who held me to a dour 0-0.

As ever when you meet a top team in PES (and Fulham are now a top team in PES) it’s a 1000mph interruption-free sprintfest. It’s the kind of football gaming that gamers of today are prone to describing as ‘fun’. If you were to show a 1000mph nuPES match to a typical PES fan of a decade ago, and tell them that many PES fans of the future would be describing it as ‘fun’, they would be reaching for the smelling salts in shock. No, we really never thought PES could ever come to this, did we?

I won my next few, and was dizzyingly TOP of the table – for one week only. Then I lost a match, I forget against whom, could’ve been anyone (that’s nuPES in a nutshell).

Currently this is the table after 35 matches. There are 3 (THREE) matches left to play:1 point off the top. Roughly equal goal difference and goals scored (apart from Fulham). This, right here, is true squeaky bum time.

Any one of those 4 teams could end up top of the pile come the final whistle on the final day.

I’m reasonably confident that if I win all 3 of my remaining fixtures, it’ll be me who wins the title.

So that’s 3 MASSIVE league games coming up.

And I’ll be playing those final matches around the Champions League semi-final, at least. I beat AC Milan in the Quarters. Here were the teams before the first leg–

–which ended 0-0 in an eerily lifelike tense first leg where neither team wanted to risk too much.

It was a big night back at my place in the return fixture. Milan were incredibly tough, but I got a goal early in the 2nd half, and then they pummelled me for the rest of it. They only needed one goal to go through of course.

It was incredibly tense, and the kind of siege I’m under at the start of the clip was pretty much how it was all along. But then I went on a breakaway, and my young player, Buonanotte, raced through – with a SUBLIME first touch that took him towards the goal and set up the strike. (Fun fact: this was the farthest-out I’ve scored from in as long as I can remember. God damn you, nuPES.)

It sealed a 2-0 win on the night and on aggregate. I’m through to the semis where my opponents will be… Arsenal, who saw off Fulham in their Quarter Final.

It’s all set up perfectly for a League and Champions League Double, or one or the other, or nothing at all. And it’ll all be done and dusted by Tuesday.