Season 12: year 2020-2021. Is it just me who fully expects the real world in 2020-2021 to be ruled by motorcycle gangs and cannibal cults?
I’m very happy to be at this stage in PES2010. In the PS2 era it was routine for me to get this far—and usually further. After the last two years I never thought it could happen in a next-gen PES2010, but I’m delighted that it is happening now.
PES2010 is a great PES game in my opinion. It’s getting up there towards classic PES, for me. If I was in the business of handing out review-style scores now, I’d settle for 9/10. Easily. It’s hideously flawed in some areas, as a quick glance at any PES forum will soon tell you, but it’s still great. In that respect, it’s no different from the classic PES games that we look back upon with the marvellous rose-tinted spectacles of hindsight… Every past PES game has had annoying, embarrassing flaws. Remember PES5’s auto-stepover that would concede throw-ins? For just one example.
I think what’s changed in the PES community is a decreased tolerance for the flaws. PES2008 gave us a taste for critiquing PES, and it’s been open season ever since. FIFA08 was a serious football game and provided PES with a worthy competitor for the first time. The full story has yet to be written—the end of this console generation and the beginning of the next, whenever that may be, will provide a useful juncture to examine what’s happened to PES (and to PES fans) in this generation in more detail. But, for now, we’re living through this difficult period, and thus we can’t quite see it properly yet.
Setting aside all pretentious would-be theorising, the fact is that I am playing PES2010. I am enjoying Master League more deeply than I’ve enjoyed any other since PES5. I’m happy to go on playing it indefinitely. Season 12, let’s get started…
I have reverted to my stripey home kit of two seasons ago, with a slight difference. Instead of sky blue and white stripes, I’ve gone for two shades of blue. This home kit is now the permanent template for every season. Only minor colour changes will take place for the foreseeable future. My away kits will still change every season. The new away kit has been changed since the picture was taken. Those white shorts simply weren’t working out. I’ve changed them to black. Sorry about that, white shorts fans.
On the cashflow front I was £30m in credit at the start of the transfer window. I raised all my staff levels up to level 5. I spent £5m on skill cards. I stayed out of the transfer market after looking around but not really finding anyone I was keen enough to go after. Mathieu is currently 36 years old and about to retire at Valencia. I’ll watch out for his Regen next season.
I trimmed my squad by a few players. I sold Minanda, Voavy, and Espimas, who all brought in £5.5m combined—so that was the skill cards paid for. This is my first major splurge on skill cards. I bought a few for a couple of players last season but saw no major differences on the pitch. Sazi, if anything, has declined in ability. Or is that just my perception now that other, better players have slotted in around him?
Needless to say, I came into season 12 hoping to win the Treble. But it’s gone straightaway. I’ve been eliminated from the D1 Cup in the 1st round. That’s the Treble gone for another season—already out of reach. Damn! How could I have been so careless? Next season, season 13, I really will have to be more careful. All I can say in my defence is that Manchester City (them again) were pretty formidable in the first leg. Although I tried my best in the second leg, it wasn’t to be.
I lost my opening league match, at home, against a surprisingly tough Rangers FC—newly-promoted and obviously fired up at the sight of my hooped shirts. They beat me 0-2. One of their goals was that most infuriating of PES types: the one where the ball runs loose in a crowded penalty box and your players won’t do anything, won’t respond to any button presses, for just long enough to let an AI player pinch the ball and score.
A 4-1 win at home in my next match steadied the ship. I’m doing very well in the league, and suddenly scoring lots of goals. 23 goals in 11 matches is the joint-second-highest in the league, behind only a scarily resurgent Tottenham.
The key to my scoring spree is Munitis (pictured left). He’s scored 11 of my 23 goals and is top of the top scorers’ list. He might look as if he should be playing the banjo in a trailer park, but on the pitch he’s shaping up to be my most important left-footed striker since Hristo Stoichkov on PES3 (a fond memory indeed).
Perhaps the greatest thing about Munitis is that none of his goals seem to be anything special. They’re all ‘right place, right time’ finishes from 8 yards, or headers from corners that scramble over the line somehow. This is exactly what I need.
Below is a short clip showing two goals from this opening part of this season. First is a poacher’s side-footed finish from Munitis, following some sharp build-up play. Second is a traditional long-distance screamer from Sazi, which is uncannily like one of my old FIFA09 distance goals—fired into the opposite corner whilst running diagonally:
In Europe I’m in a fairly weak group (on paper). I’ve won my opening two fixtures against Nancy Lorraine (what a gal) and Atalanta. Basel 1893 look as if they’ll offer my main competition in the group, and they’re up next.
All in all, I’m very happy with my PES life at the moment. Fumbling the Treble (yet again) right at the start of this season is only a minor blow. The bigger picture is one of intense involvement and enjoyment in Master League. Just the way it should be, really.