It’s a funny old game. I’ve been going crazy for the Blimp camera this week and praising it to high heaven. Let me do some more of that.
Wednesday morning’s session was my first full one with the Blimp. It was pretty amazing—easily my best single session with PES2012. Afterward, I’d have sworn on a stack of holy PS2 games that PES2012 was one of the best, if not the best, PES that I’d ever played. Seriously. Everything that its most diehard fans claim for it, I saw.
Passing was better. Movement was sublime. I kept the ball more effectively and I did things with it that I’d never dreamed were possible in PES2012. I put in some performances and got some unprecedented results. Results like this one:
2-0 against Liverpool, with 72% possession, and more than double their number of shots. I’ve beaten Liverpool before in PES2012, but never like this.
Before switching to Blimp, the game had pretty much been kicking my arse. Suddenly, I was a new player. I won 4 matches and drew 1. I was up to 4th in the table at one point, just 5 points off 1st.
I began to dream of the unthinkable.
And then Thursday came along and slightly cooled my ardour. Yesterday morning, I went through a frustrating run of 4 goalless matches.
I suppose I should have expected it. I’ve always believed in the existence of macro-scripting in Master League, where the game dynamically reacts to a human player’s good form by throwing a ‘balancing’ curveball or two your way. Many experienced PES players scoff at such notions, but many just as experienced PES players know that they are facts, not notions. Scripting exists, man…
So I couldn’t score for 4 matches. Wasn’t allowed to. Sniff.
But I was still unbeaten. I didn’t concede any goals in those 4 matches either. In fact, in about 12 matches since switching to Blimp, I’ve only lost 1 match—in the Europa League knockout phase, first match, first leg, 1-2 at home. And I played that match on the old Wide camera to see how it felt now…
It’s hard to describe exactly what’s changed for me. I’ll give two examples.
I was 1-0 up against Derby and coming under immense pressure, the kind of pressure that only PES2012 can apply.
I noticed the Derby right-back had pushed a long way upfield. Barnes was standing in space on my left wing with no one near him. Now, in the Wide view, I would never have seen that. I would have had to see it on the radar screen, and I rarely have the prepossession to do more than glance down there.
On Blimp view, it was all right there in front of me. The whole pitch, every player. So I passed an extravagant through-ball up to Barnes, he ran on and held up the ball until strikers arrived in the box, and then sent in a cross. He’s a superb crosser, is Barnes.
Van Basten was there in the box to nod it in. 2-0 to me, and the end of Derby’s realistic chances of getting anything.
I was delighted with the goal—sitting up, grinning, shaking my fist at the wall. You know the deal. It was just a simple run down the wing, a cross, and a headed goal from 2 yards out. For more than a decade, that is what Pro Evo has done: made ordinary football moments seem totally extraordinary.
My other example is from that man of my PES gaming year so far, Georghe Hagi.
My Hagi is in decline, sad to say. I feel about this much the same way I felt when I started losing my hair in my early 30s. I don’t want to believe it, but I know it’s happening.
He was 29 when I got him and he’ll be 33 this season. He’s noticeably less effective in most matches. That astonishing left foot no longer packs quite the same threat.
But he’s still got it enough of the time to justify making him a first choice player. And when he pops up with something—an assist or a goal—it’s often significant, and usually a stunner.
It was 0-0 against Blackburn, away, and the 88th minute.
I’d all but given up on getting the 3 points. All my players were exhausted after one of those bewildering International fixture days just two days before the match. I set off on what had to be my last attack, and worked the ball to Doolin on the right. As seen in the clip below, I cut in slightly, and when you see me get to the corner of the box, I was automatically readying myself to take a shot.
That’s when I saw Hagi steaming up from midfield. In the replay below, he’s only visible late on, but in Blimp view he was visible to me for long enough to think: Okay, no wild shooting here, I’ll play the ball to Hagi and see what happens. And I did:
Not his most spectacular, but I was drooling at the placement. I love the ‘tucked away’ nature of it, across the keeper with the instep. Once again, this was PES making the nuts and bolts of football technique feel like something much, much more.
All of which leaves me with this league position after 26 matches:
I know—the goals scored column is a shocker.
What can I do? Blimp has revolutionised my general approach play, and made me better at defending, but I still have to deal with PES2012’s shooting. The more I discover about PES2012’s unexpectedly rich depths, the more unhappy I feel about the shooting.
So what does this all mean for the immediate future? I was going to suspend PES2012 after this season and play FIFA12 for a while. My born-again Blimptastic PES2012 life has made me look again at that decision. If I finish in a Champions League position, I think I’ll be tempted to play on…
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll play it by ear.