Category: kits

PES2014: Season 8 gets underway

welcome wunderkind RobbieSeason 8 has begun on PES2014, and with it the serious business of trying to actually win things. Until now I’ve just been squad-building and finding my feet in this new-old game. I’ve even recently had my first wobbly session, in which the game seemed like more work than pleasure.

That ‘wobble factor’ is an intrinsic part of football gaming when you indulge in the pastime as much as I do. There’ll always be stretches when you’re just not that into it. I always remember the late Terry Wogan saying his then thrice-weekly chat show had to be bland and routine sometimes, because that’s how things become beloved.

I play nearly every day and that kind of routine has to generate a wobbly session or two. Time passes and a football game matures in your hands. It’s unavoidable.

The more wobbly footy games show themselves through a sustained kind of dispirited disinterest that the Internet age renders as ‘meh’. So far that has not been the fate of PES2014. I’ll make a bold prediction that it won’t happen to PES2014 at any stage.

Looking back, the ‘meh’ factor has arguably never happened to any PES game until long past the stage of ‘completion’, when I might have played for a season or two too long. It tends to be the FIFA games that get the ‘meh’ treatment. But I have digressed.

PES2014 season 8 new Home kit

A new Home kit for Season 8, and a chance to try out one of my favourite homebrew types of kits: the chequerboard pattern. (Or the Croatia-style as I still think of it, thanks to those classic early 2000s strips.)

Those shorts and socks are not black, but very dark blue.

I left the Away kit alone. It’s a rare match when I get to play in my black-and-orange kit, and it’ll take another few seasons for it to start to seem old.

Onto the transfer market, and I had a pleasant surprise,. After 7 seasons of scrapping for journeymen, I was pleased to see that some useful players want to play for me now. My 5th-place finish and Europa League qualification obviously counts for something.

I treated myself to one of PES2014’s Regen wunderkinder. I could have had a few more of them, but I don’t want to give my team – and this PES – an artificial feel. You know, no more of an artificial feel than something made of pixels, plastic and imagination could possess, anyway.

Robbie Keane was the wunderkind. A former real-life Coventry City player, of course. Our record signing at the time. I wasn’t actually there at Highfield Road in 1999 when the stadium announcer proudly introduced him as ‘…Roy Keane!!!’, but I wish I had been. Wonderful days.

My List of Targets was suddenly populated with great players. Loads of players rated 85 and above with a better-than-80% chance of signing. I rubbed my hands with something like glee and got down to business.

I didn’t go crazy. I have team spirit and Heart and all that stuff to consider. And I wanted to save some cash for mid-season. I might get there and need another top striker urgently. I settled for a couple of established 25-year-olds, Bianchi at AMF and Ceballos at CB. Plenty of cash in the bank for a mid-season transfer raid if needed.

Here’s my full Season 8 Squad and preferred First XI:

PES2014 Season 8 squad and First XIThis lot have got to be good for a Champions League finish, and good progress in the Europa League, I’m thinking. Famous last words…

The Swansong Begins

Season 14 new home kit

Season 14 has got off to an indifferent start, which is very worrying considering that this is my last chance to get the Treble in this Master League.

This will be my last season of PES2015. I have more or less filled up now on what is a very good football game (not the best – nowhere near the best – but very good regardless).

I had decided to play either until the end of July, or a maximum of 2 more seasons. But it takes me about a week and a half (sometimes two weeks) to get through a season. That takes me close enough to the end of July to mean that starting another season will take me well into August, and I don’t want that. So this season, my 14th in Master League, is definitely my final one.

Season 14 kit 2

First order of business, as ever for a new season, is deciding on the kits.

With this being my final season, I wanted to go out with something traditionally Sky Blue. I went for the faint chequered shirt as seen above-right. For the away kit I settled on a sort of bumblebee pattern without meaning to. In kit design I tend to just feel my way forward without any real plan and see what emerges.

Season 14 kit 3

The third and fourth kits remain the same they’ve been for the past few seasons. My chequered pseudo-Croatia strip is number 3, and actually gets used more than the official second-choice kit.

Season 14 kit 4

Kit number 4 – intended to be horrible – gets used maybe once per season, if that. Typically I’m in kit number 1 for 99% of matches.

All that sorted, the next thing on the agenda was: new players.

It’s been said before but it bears repeating that the transfer market in PES2015’s Master League is not very well designed. It doesn’t compel you to seek out new players.

PES2015 has a ‘feature’ that auto-nerfs an outstanding player after he’s played a good couple of matches. One or two matches of brilliance can often be followed by five matches of complete anonymity. This is a peculiarity of PES2015 that I don’t remember featuring in any previous PES (with the possible exception of PES2014, which I didn’t play enough to find out).

Maicon joins season 14

That’s another reason why PES2015’s transfer market isn’t as exciting as it should be. There’s not much point in getting great new players and teasing great performances out of them when they’re going to be invisible for several matches afterward.

I didn’t really need any new players, but I wanted to get at least one anyway. I had a look at my squad and decided that my long-serving right-back, Pineda, was starting to decline – down to 79OVR now from a high of the mid-80s a few seasons ago.

So I searched for quality right-backs, and took my time choosing one.

In the end I went for MAICON. He’s got the pinpoint crossing trait, and also the long-range shooting one.

After all that it was time to get on with playing.

I won the Supercup – again. It’s never been a tough trophy to win on any PES.

Here’s the league table after 3 matches:

Season 14 after 3

1 draw, 2 defeats, and they were as abject as any I’ve ever had. This was with my all-new formation, too.

Season 14 new formation 4-1-3-2

This formation seen on the left here. Last season I felt that my 4-3-3 had become stale and that the AI had ‘cracked’ it, as Football Manager aficionados often say of their game. I needed to bolster my team’s presence in midfield. Long periods spent chasing the ball while the Superstar AI kept possession were starting to get to me.

I alighted on this 4-4-2 and tried it out for a few matches. It didn’t really work. It’s still a very attacking one with those advanced SMFs.

I’m going to have to change it – again – to something more like my old 4-2-2-2, with two defensive midfielders sitting deep in front of the CBs. If I have to, I’ll go for the dreaded 4-5-1. Yes, the formation that – as much as any other factor – has neutered real-life professional football.

This start I’ve had to season 14 is a very unfortunate one considering I it’s the last season. But I remain relaxed about it, knowing for certain that a good run of results will effortlessly lift me back up into contention. Master League is just like that.

They dink it’s all over

Season 9 ends

Season 9 has trundled to a gentle halt. Over the last few sessions I upped the difficulty to Superstar, and switched from 1-bar passing to 2-bar, and had some great games. I was still in with a shout of a Champions League spot, but in the end I finished 6th.

Two crucial defeats meant that a final-day defeat at home to Spurs didn’t really count for much. I was already out of the running for a top-four spot.

The final table (top 10, anyway):

Season 9 final table

I now head into Season 10 having still won nothing on PES2015 save a solitary FA Cup a few seasons ago. My tentative target is to be challenging for the title by Season 11, and going for a Treble by Season 13.

I had an update on my Club Ranking. We’re still only ranked 62nd in the entire ML world. This has got to be the slowest climb up the rankings in my entire ML history.

Some of the teams around me are Championship sides — oh the shame

Season 10 world ranking

Look at the team that finished immediately above me. All week I’ve been asking people how to pronounce their name, but I keep getting funny looks. Strange.

I only had one player in the Team of the Season. Yes, it was that man again, Drogba.The game loves him. He only started about 1/3rd of my matches, and was nowhere near any top-scorer’s chart.

I ploughed straight on into Season 10, with a new kit — basically the same one with slightly different colours. You can see it in motion in today’s goal video further below.

I went through my players and started sifting the dead wood. Bob Paisley used to say never let your players’ legs go on your pitch, i.e., move them on before they start to decline

Poor old Castolis has been a great servant for this club, but his legs have gone now, and his time has come. This time last season, he was still in the 80s OVR.

Selling Castolis

I went looking on the transfer market for players rated over 95. There were just two. TWO players over 95 OVR, after nine full seasons. Something is not right. It’s a glitch, has to be. No way would Konami make a scale that goes all the way up to 109 OVR and then not fill it up with an abundance of talent.

I only signed one player, one S GERRARD Esq., currently aged 18, and currently playing for AC Milan. I had to spend most of my transfer kitty to get him, and I had to chuck one of my deadwood players, M TEVEZ, into the mix.

Gerrard arrives

Gerrard is a welcome addition. I’ve always loved his shooting power in real life and PES life. It’ll be a few seasons before I see the best of him.

My other youngster, Robben, is starting to show lots of little moments. I plan to spend Season 10 cultivating him some more.

I played the pre-season ‘Training Match’ because it was against Barcelona. I usually skip the Training Matches but thought I’d make an exception in this case. My late-season run-in on Superstar, with 2-bar passing, was patchy enough for me to be a bit worried about how Season 10 would start.

Barcelona, I thought, would be a good test. A good yardstick to measure things by. I went down early on, but rallied after half-time with a fine spell of pressure.

Robben streaked onto a loose ball, held off the defender, and cut back to deliver a lovely cross for Villalba to dink one in at the near post:

A creditable 1-1 draw. I could have nicked the win a couple of times late on, but I dragged a couple of clearcut chances wide.

Inexplicably shooting wide with the goal at your mercy is one of the hallmarks of PES2015, at least on Normal shooting. Often you want to ‘make sure’ of sticking the ball wide of the keeper, and only manage to drag the ball wide.

And so with that, Season 10 proper has got underway. This season my target is just to finish in the top 4. I feel that that will be strenuous enough, given the difficulty of this PES. The game just won’t let me get comfortable. I’m already finding life tough at the start of my first full season on Superstar, and I’m having to get used to playing matches with 10 men, and sometimes even less – more about this on Tuesday.

Of bars and Superstars

Season 9 4th Kit

That up there is my 4th kit for season 9, a deliberately cheesy orange-and-pale-blue number that I hardly ever get to actually wear. One of my first three away kits always fits the bill.

I think this match, whenever it was and whoever it was against, was the only time this season that I’ve used it. The orange stripes are strangely appropriate with Robben in the picture there.

That’s Pirlo on the left, who’s been nothing special for me in this PES. I hang onto him because of who he is, not what he does. I might move him on soon.

That’s Kalou in the middle, and he’s just scored a goal in this picture.

I’ve had Kalou since season 2 or thereabouts and his stats have remained consistently high. He rarely starts a match these days, but he’s always on the bench, and usually comes on at some point. He can play anywhere from deep midfield, or out wide, or up front. He’s quietly been one of the most dependable players of the team. I’ve tried to sell him a few times but, in PES2015’s bizarre transfer market, there’s never been any takers. I’ll be hanging onto him until the end now.

At the moment, I’m coming to the end of Season 9. The only outstanding question is whether I’ll qualify for Season 10’s Champions League, or have to settle again for the Europa League.

I’ve been considering having another crack at playing on Superstar difficulty, something that has so far defeated at least three separate and whole-hearted attempts. PES2015 on Superstar, with 1-bar passing, is just too much for me.

A discussion in the comments section of the last post about passing assistance levels set me thinking. I have always played PES2015 on 1-bar, simply because that was the level I played PES2012 and PES2013 on.

But for my next attempt at Superstar, why not switch to 2-bar passing assistance and see what happens?

So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve already made the switch, even with some of Season 9 still to go, and with important questions remaining.

I decided to appoint a new club captain for this hopeful new era — step forward, the man of PES2015, Peter Crouch:

Captain Crouch

…and Superstar promptly started kicking my arse, again — even with 2-bar passing.

Possession is at an absolute premium on Superstar, and I had to focus and force myself to exercise discipline with the ball. Things were slightly better with 2-bar passing, but not a great deal better.

It’s so tempting to treat it like a computer game, and imagine that you’re entitled to ping the ball forward without obstruction and create hatfuls of chances with ease.

I wonder if it’s that factor that has turned so many players off football games these days? There’s so much else vying for our attention: other games, TV, films, books, not to mention so-called ‘real life’… I wonder if people just aren’t prepared to put in the hours any more and allow themselves to grow into a football game like a pair of slippers.

I ground out a 0-0 against Sunderland. I beat Derby 2-0. Manchester City thumped me 3-1, and they finished the match with 70% possession to my 30%, probably my worst possession stat ever. I got a draw against West Ham. I lost against Villa.

The important thing was the feel of the games. They felt great — some of the best games I’ve had on PES2015, full stop.

2-bar passing on Superstar looks like a winner. I’m not fleeing back to Top Player this time. Here is where I’ll make my stand.

I’ll finish today with a couple of noteworthy goals.

Both were scored in the above-described first session on Superstar, 2-bar passing. My favourite is Villalba’s, the second in the clip. Crouch’s goal was satsifying too. Just before the pass got to him, I planned what to do, and double-tapped R1 to perform the knock-ahead that creates the space for the shot: