And so I begin season 2019 in my continuing Master League career on PES2008—the very good PS2/PSP version of PES2008. Not the other version that must not be named…
It felt great to start the season after I had a welcome little break of a few days. I just had to play Metal Gear Solid 4 all the way to the end. As a long-term Metal Gear fan, I found it a truly epic and unforgettable experience, although I can’t imagine what anyone coming to Metal Gear for the first time would make of it all. For me the last section—Act 5—dipped in gameplay quality after a superb beginning and middle, but the whole was still an unmissable, fitting finale to the Solid Snake era. As I’ve opined previously, MGS4 is a fine example of what Konami as a publisher can produce when it allows developers the personnel, resources, and time needed to deliver the goods. We can only hope that PES2009 is currently receiving the same kind of loving attention that obviously went into every single aspect of MGS4.
My theme for season 2019 is: keep it tight at the back. I’ve spent too many seasons conceding too many goals. It’s no wonder I’ve hardly won anything compared to similar stages in previous PES years. There’s no doubt in my mind that even this ‘classic’ PES2008 is easier than it was in previous years. It’s easier to create chances and it’s easier to score than ever—particularly from long range (see below). But it also seems a lot easier to concede goals. I don’t seem to be able to stop the CPU getting a goal when it really, really wants one. But then there’ll be other times when I do seem able to stop the CPU even when it’s in full-on God Mode, so I don’t know.
What I plan for this season is to shut up shop at the back. I want to make defence my first priority in every game. Last season I conceded 24 league goals. This season I’d like to concede less than 20 league goals. I’m not too bothered about how many goals I concede in the Cup matches as long as I win them.
So I’ve got 3 main aims for the season, which I’ll list here, for posterity. No doubt it’ll be amusing to look back on them as each one is FAILed…
- Win a Treble of League, Cup, and European Cup
- Remain unbeaten in the League all season
- Concede <20 League goals all season
Yes, I’m setting myself up for a mighty fall, laying it all out in the open. But I think it helps to have definite aims for each season as time goes by. It helps to keep things alive and ticking over.
My first actual game of the season was against an old ‘friend’, Espanyol. I played with caution at the start, keeping in mind my aim of conceding fewer goals. The result was a 4-1 half-time lead that turned into 8-1 before 70 minutes were on the clock. There’s nothing like starting the season at a gallop.
Naturally I wanted to get to the almost mythical 10 goals mark, but it wasn’t to be. The CPU defence closed around me like a vice whenever I advanced on their goal. And they’d managed to get themselves a consolation goal into the bargain—something I was mightily unhappy about, because it felt very much like one of those goals that just cannot be prevented. Never mind. It was only 1 goal.
I’ve always loved scoring long-range goals in PES. In the rout of Espanyol I scored what is my longest-range goal yet. Just over a month ago I posted a goal that I scored with Bradley from level with the outer edge of the centre circle. This one below, from Prieto this time, was about a yard further back. See how the ball flies…
These kinds of mega-long-range goals are pretty common in PES2008. A bit too common for my liking. I’m not saying that I’ve stopped enjoying scoring them. I’d just prefer it if they were a bit harder to pull off. One of the many things that I would like to see in PES2009 is an altered shooting mechanic that returns these goals to being the rarity they were until PES4. I wouldn’t even mind if they were made impossible for any but a select handful of players to score, and then only once in a blue moon.
After Espanyol, my second game of the season was against Valenciennes. I won it 6-1, another great performance that was again only slightly spoiled by conceding another ‘auto-goal’ to the CPU near the end.
These two results left me top of the league, of course. Already I’ve got the kind of goal difference that’s worth an extra point in its own right. It’s early days yet, but I don’t foresee much trouble retaining my league title this season at the very least.