Treble yell

It’s all over. Season 2018 has come to an end. I’ve been going for the Treble of League, Cup, and European Cup. It’s been a long, hard slog on a number of levels, not least the sheer number of matches involved.

The Division 1 Cup final had my alarm bells ringing even before kick-off. My opponents would be one of my bogey teams—AEK Athens.

The match turned out to be just as expected. Against a Man Utd or an AC Milan,I doubt I’d have had any trouble coasting to an easy victory. But when it’s a bogey team…

I hit the post twice in the 90 minutes, had 20+ shots overall, and still it went to extra time. Early in the second period of extra time, I got the goal that I thought had to be the winner. It was a nice little Prieto thunderbolt scored from the ‘DMF hole’ 25 yards out. (In this entire ML career Prieto is probably my Most Valuable Player, all told.) Ah, but this is PES, and this was AIK Athens. Straight from their kick-off, they went upfield and lobbed a floaty pass over my defence. There was too much strength on it and I brought out Dudek to collect. Only, he collapsed on the ground in front of the ball, letting it roll past him. An Athens striker, following up, had an easy tap-in. Sensational! 1-1! I had to smile, really. What else can you do?

It looked like going to penalties. I hate penalty shootouts in PES—you really might just as well have a coin-toss to determine the winner. I kicked off with that rather forlorn feeling of hope that you sometimes get in PES… Gambino got the ball out on the right. I cut inside, jinked past a defender, jinked past another (unashamedly using the zig-zag dribble)—and from 18 yards fired an unstoppable shot high into the Athens net. It was almost literally the last kick of the match. I’d won 2-1. And that was the Cup.

By contrast the European Cup final was a tame affair. My opponents were Real Madrid and I beat them easily. 2-0 it ended, and it could have been 10-0.

2018-winning-things

My next league game was against Roma. It ended 0-0, frustratingly, but it was enough to clinch the title. And that was the Treble, finally, in the bag. Below is the final table, showing me with a healthy goals-scored column at last, and a healthier goal difference. I’m satisfied with the title win, but dissatisfied at losing 8 matches in the process. That shouldn’t really be a title-winning record, but there you go. It’s ‘only a game’. When I return to PES2009 (and I will return), one of the challenges I’ll set myself will be to win the league without losing any (or many) matches.

2018-final-table

Here are the post-match locker-room celebrations, for anyone yet to see them. I did see them last season but a bug meant that I saw the CPU team celebrating instead of my own team. Here are my Coventry City heroes of 2018, jumping about like lunatics:

———————-

And so that is that. I have to be honest and say that I have wearied of PES2009 over the course of this season. The main reason for this is that I have more or less worked out how to win matches, over and over again. The only times I get caught out now, really, are when I lose focus and get sloppy.

I am taking a break for a day and then returning on Thursday with—well, with what, exactly? Season 2019 in PES2009? (No, not yet—it’s still far too soon.) FIFA09? (I have played several more matches of my Atletico Madrid career in Manager Mode. It’s such a shame that Manager Mode feels so crude and empty. Such a great shame.)

But no, I think after all this time it’s time to broaden the scope of PES Chronicles. As of now, this is a general gaming blog—albeit with strong and frequent mentions of my PES/FIFA activities (because I will be back to them, eventually). I was a dedicated general gamer long before I was an obsessive ISS/PES gamer. I still love games in general and I want to play more of them again. So here goes.

8 Comments

  1. Firstly, congrats on the Treble!!!! I bet you thought it may take longer after those first few futile seasons back in the day in Div 2, struggling to string wins together!!!

    Where to now? I know you said you will try and play more general games and blog about them here, but I vfeel you’ll be itching for more footy game action sooner rather than later!! FIFA’s manager mode just doesnt cut it, blatantly!!! Be a Pro Mode??? perhaps!! but i feel its a bit too gimmicky!!

    We need a Game where football manager 2009 merges with FIFA and elements of PES!!! we can live in hope!!!

    I have sworn that when my first Div1 season is finished in PES i will save it for a while and finish some of my many other games on the go!

  2. Well congrats on your treble – it took you less than a “decade” 🙂

    Good luck with your other gaming exploits, although I doubt I’ll be able to relate to those other games, as PES & the series of games from Valve software (Half-Life series, CS, Portal & TF2) are the only games I’ve played these past 3-4 years. I guess when you find something you like, you stick with it..

    But then again, maybe I’ll read some of your other gaming posts & find some inspiration/incentive to see what the latest games have to offer…

    Happy gaming!

  3. Paul – thanks, and yes, thinking back now to those hard, hard early seasons it’s come along a bit sooner than I thought. It turns out that PES2009 isn’t so hard after all once you get past a certain plateau. One challenge for the future may—and it’s a big may—be to play with nothing but the Defaults for a whole career and see how far I get. I was reading on a forum about it the other day. One guy claims to have finished 2nd in D1 and won the Cup too, using just the Defaults. I think he was probably a great PES player and it would drive me mad to try the same, but I might just try it anyway. The Become A Legend mode (Be A Pro is FIFA) could also tempt me. I’ll see.

    diego – thanks as well, and technically it took exactly a ‘decade’, as 2018 was my 10th season.

    I’m looking forward to taking the blog in various new directions over the next few months but one thing is sure, the core elements of PES & FIFA will remain in place. If I go more than a week without posting a PES/FIFA post, it’s because I have been kidnapped and replaced by an evil twin…

    One of the (surprisingly many) games I’ve actually played over the past year or so was actually the exquisite Portal—one of this generation’s essential games IMO. I think I’ll be covering that as I always meant to get around to a replay, and now I can do so.

    Another possibility from left-field is my online poker exploits. I’ve dabbled in the game but never really taken it seriously. I’m an above-average player (I have more patience than most) but I’m trying to get better and make money. I might spend a post or two on that—whether things go well or badly, it’ll hopefully be interesting.

  4. yeah Portal was an absolutely magnificent game – gaming bliss, in some ways it reminded me of the movie “The Cube” – human labrats in an evil experiment.
    The only problem with that game is that it was too short 🙂

    The mod-community has released a bunch of add-on maps/levels, but I’m really waiting for Portal2 (if it’ll ever come), with hopefully another brilliant backstory.

    You doing a Portal blog? could be an interesting read…

  5. What game are you currently playing currently? You NEED to play Fallout 3. Of course it is dismissed by the majority of the ‘hardcore’ Fallout community, but it is a must play!

    I need to get around to VC, it looks very good.

    Good job on the treble, I have no doubt you’ll be back to being a football obsessive gamer eventually, but you need to play what you enjoy right now! You’ll be thankfull for that moment when you get back to playing PES and FIFA with a new vigour! I spend ‘too much’ time on individual games too, my back catalogue is so huge there are ps2 games I haven’t got round to playing yet. (Like VP2- unopened)

  6. ^ that post is so full of errors, I won’t even bother correcting it.

  7. Hey there,

    I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now, digging up lots of past posts – I have to say, I enjoy it a lot. It’s almost like reading newspapers to me.

    Congratulations on your Treble! You deserve the prizes after a decade-long slog.

    Personally, I am an avid football gamer as well (although I do play some other games). I am currently still playing FIFA08 – outdated, I know. I have tried FIFA09 by rental, I have to say I wasn’t very impressed – FIFA08 is so much better than its arcadey successor. Hence, FIFA08 still stay in my cabinet. I have about 700+ games under my belt now, in professional difficulty and looking good.

    Please carry on just as you are, especially with the new games (preferably footie) that you are playing.

    Cheers!

  8. diego – the mods for the PC version of Portal sound mouth-watering, but I only have the console version for now. I could, ah, ‘acquire’ the PC version and proceed from there, but it probably wouldn’t run on my PC.

    Not Given – Currently playing Valkyria Chronicles on PS3, and also FIFA09 on the 360. (I’m really trying my best to start liking Manager Mode but so far it’s not working. I should post about that early next week now.)

    The problem nowadays is that there are so many great games around that as soon as you start playing one you think about the other(s), then maybe load that other one up and forget about the first, then do just the same with that other game, and thus drift from game to game.

    I bet most current gamers trying Valkyria Chronicles would never play more than an hour or two of it even if they liked the gameplay. Because the missions take a long time and the story requires involvement, it wouldn’t be long before they start itching to try the latest release, and VC would just be forgotten. That’s happened too often to me and I’m putting a stop to it. As a big fan of traditional turn-based RPGs, I’m so tempted to load up Lost Odyssey on the 360, you know, ‘just to see what it’s like’, but I’m not going to. I’m playing Valkyria Chronicles to the end, even if it takes me another few weeks (which it probably will). It’s criminal to let all these great games go to waste because we’ve got too used to flitting from game to game after a short time.

    mlmaestro – thanks for your comment, and regarding FIFA09 there’s a lot of painful truth in what you say. It’s particularly painful for me after I spent my first few days with that game gushing about its greatness. And it is a good game, but it’s spoiled by some serious flaws IMO, not least the dreaded clamping bug/feature where you just grab the sprint and tackle and pressure buttons in a death-grip and wait for your players to get the ball back, and most often they do. It’s a major flaw with FIFA09. And, yes, overall it is much arcadier than 08. It’s been a long while since I played 08 but it’s still there on my shelf. I’m sorely tempted – but, as I said above, one game at a time. I’m currently trying to get back into FIFA09 and I will give it another week or so. There’ll be a blog post about it in due course.

    Re. the blog, the next few posts will see some general gaming action going on, but football games will continue to dominate, or at least be on an equal level. So I intend anyway.

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