Season 13 has ended, and with it this phase of PES2019. I don’t currently plan to return to the game at all this year – but history shows it isn’t wise for me to say ‘never’. Even by the time this post is published, I might be knee-deep into Season 14, with a clutch of new players and renewed zest for another fight. I don’t think that’ll happen… But I’ve passed many happy hours with PES2019, and that has to count for something.
I started this season – Season 13 – with a Community Shield win. It was my only trophy win of the whole of PES2019.
I ended the season competing in the Champions league final, having failed to make any great challenge in the Premier League.
I’ll get the domestic side out of the way with first. The final table:A creditable top-4 finish, viewed from one angle. From another angle, this has to go down as a poor domestic performance. Having scored the second-most goals, I can’t help wondering what might have been. A bit more of a defensive backbone might have made it a different story.
I’m not too downhearted, though. My 13 seasons of PES2019 have shown me that there isn’t a great deal the human player can do to stop this AI scoring when it wants to score.
nuPES games are configured to provide excitement and interest first and foremost. Focus group testing probably shows that the average player of today hasn’t the attention span for anything else. I work with teenagers who cannot seem to pay attention to anything substantive for more than 20 seconds. These are the target market. I’m not.
With about 6 matches remaining I had no chance of the title. But I still had a chance of proper silverware in PES2019. The Champions League!
Here I am breezing past Manchester City in the Quarter Final:And I put paid to Nantes in the semi – with slightly less comfort, but it was still never in doubt:How my players celebrated. The season rolled to its close, and I got to the day of the Champions League final full of confidence. I’ve got here before and blown it. Second time lucky?
As much as PES2019 is capable of setting a mood and giving it an atmospheric big build-up, it did, although it’s clear that losing the Champions League license was as savage a blow to the PES series as any it’s ever suffered.Great to see my avatar interact with all these players whom I’ve got to know so well, prior to what is their last ever match. (Probably.) Captain Castledine is just visible at the back, talking to Forlan. He’ll be 33 soon, and this might be his last chance to hold aloft an actual trophy.
The game started well and I took the lead – and tell you what, below is a massively abbreviated highlights reel of the entire thing. Just the goals, and the finale, which was quite memorable:
Ouch. I should explain why I didn’t dive my keeper for a few of the Juve penalties: Over the last few weeks I’ve conceded a few pens, and seen the AI put them down the middle nearly every time, so I thought I was being clever here. For the decisive Juve penalty of course I did dive, and they of course sent it down the middle.Me neither, mate. Me neither.
I really thought this trophy was the one. It had seemed predestined.
Tempted to reload? Never! Actually, that’s not true, of course I was tempted to reload – I’m often tempted, in fact – but I never do reload, because I wouldn’t feel that whatever result I ended up with would be ‘real’. It would be a cheat result. Master League is all about the journey, the highs, the lows. I don’t play Master League to win things (which is fortunate, considering).Having four players in the Team of the Season reflected well on the kind of season it was overall. A thoroughly enjoyable one full of great goals (of which more below).
A fitting farewell to the strongest PES since PES2012, for me. I know, I know, you probably think if dogshit was mass-produced it would look like PES2019, etc., I know. Worst PES ever! so many would say. The PES forums, what’s left of them, have been savage about the game this past month. But I cheerfully disagree.
And so I depart from the best PES and the most engrossing Master League since PES2012. As I assembled this post and the two videos it contains, I confess that I asked myself more than once: why exactly am I letting it go now, with so much left to do?
The following video encapsulates so much of what has made PES2019 great for me. The fun, the frolics, the drama, the quirks, the bizarre, the wonderful… I’ll stop now lest this brings me to tears. Here’s a 38-yard Mascherano long-range that the keeper ‘edges’ into the net. And an interesting moment when the AI sends its keeper up to take a free kick and I get the ball back with the keeper still stranded. There’s even an R2 curler in here, for old time’s sake.
(I took a bit of a gamble including those two licensed tracks – so evocative of PES. Hopefully YouTube will restrict itself to showing the odd advert, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the vid. If it gets blocked, I have another version with generic music that I’ll slot into place.)
So I bid farewell to PES2019, with some feelings of regret about the lack of a proper trophy, but a sense of great fulfilment.
The way the finances were set up meant I had to hold onto players long after I might have otherwise got rid of them. So I had to squeeze every ounce of performance out of every player, which deepened my awareness and understanding of their individual quirks in a very satisfying, old-school PES way… Which is what those of us who still haunt the precincts of PES are looking for. I found it.