Another day, another few hours of PES2008. My opening games in Master League went surprisingly well. I drew the first game 1-1. I won the second game 1-0. I drew the third game. Then I had an amazing match in the fourth game, coming from 0-1 down to win 2-1 in the final minutes. I played against Celtic, who look very fetching on my HDTV in their green and white hoops.
(I know. These mobile phone snaps look terrible. There’s many a wag who would tell you that this is more or less what PES2008 looks like on the PlayStation3 anyway . But I’m not one of them. Really I’m not.)
I followed this up with a couple of poor results. Poor performances from knackered players led to a clutch of heavy defeats. Galatasaray trounced me 1-4 in a truly miserable defeat for the home team. As the first Cup game approached, I feared the worst. My already drained squad would be all but annihilated by two games in one week. Then I got a pleasant surprise. The player team has been seeded for the first Cup game and has a bye to the next round, said a popup message (in so many words). Whoo-hoo! No Cup games for me just yet. I celebrated by winning a few games in a row and drawing a few other games. Every little helps.
Here’s today’s completely random goal:
Hamsun can just be seen blurrily putting the ball into the net. I’ll score a real cracker one of these days. Then you’ll see.
So, after the opening dozen or so games I am in the unusual position of being 7th in the Master League – it’s unusual for me, anyway. Usually I struggle to string two passes together with the Default squad players, then hit rock bottom and stay there until I get to the first negotiation period. This year, however, there are 20 teams in the lower division and it’s a helluva long way to that stage. Perhaps I am rising to meet the challenge. Or perhaps PES2008 really is easier than its predecessors, as the word on the street has it.
I’m sticking with the First XI for the moment. Yes, Burchet has jet-heeled boots and would be the more logical choice to play as right-sided AMF instead of Espimas. But Espimas has the precious Middle Shooting ability. Against Celtic he got me the equaliser from 20 yards out. Burchet is more or less playing every other game anyway, as Espimas’ stamina is among the worst of the worst. His AMF buddy on the other side, Ximelez, is probably my least favourite player in the entire squad. But he is the only left-footed midfielder whom I feel comfortable with playing there. You go onto the field with the players you have, not with the players you want.
My defence is atrocious. I am usually a good PES defender but this lot seem to like nothing more than passing the ball straight to the opposition, and singularly failing to clear the ball when I want them to. The efficacy of the sliding tackle has been more than a little nerfed this year. It’s no longer a true sliding tackle. It’s more a case of the player going to ground and sticking his leg out while barely moving off the spot. CPU attackers simply sail by them.
As for the X-tackle… Don’t go there. It’s more common to concede a foul or poke your toe into thin air than it is to come away with the ball. It’s a mystery how I haven’t conceded 40 goals already. Every game finishes with the CPU teams having had 12 or 15 or 20 shots on goal. I rarely get even half that.
Overall, though, I can feel myself easing back into the comfortable groove of Master League on PES2008. The length of the first season is slightly worrying. Also slightly worrying are the frequent occasions when the game forces me to play at home in my away kit. (Stupid Konami, taking out the pre-game kit selection process. Or is its omission an oversight? Nobody knows.)
If I didn’t have to go to work I would be making a much bigger dent in this first season. I have a day off tomorrow, though, so I should be able to put a good few hours in. If I want promotion in this first season, I’m going to need at least four new players – good players – to do it. I really want to get to that first negotiation period. If I’m in the top 10 at that time, I think I’ll have a chance.