Unbecoming a Legend

Oh dear. It’s not improved, you know. In fact, it’s got worse. A lot worse.

I’m talking about my career in PES2010’s Become A Legend. I’ll cut to the chase: it’s just about over. I’m completely and utterly fed up of watching the godawful, empty, endless swathes of CPU vs CPU ‘action’ that the game mode forces me to sit through, session after session after session after session after session…

I’ll say right now that I’m not even going to try out PES2011’s BaL mode unless it has a ‘skip CPU matchtime’ kind of option. Things are that bad.

It’s now almost the middle of my second season. I’m still on the bench. I’ve been on the bench for all but a short period at the start of this season. I can’t believe it. I can’t accept it. I’m struggling with it. A lot.

By this stage in 2009’s effort to get into BaL, I was starting regularly. Perhaps I’m just not good enough at PES to have the same kind of career path that so many others seem to have had. I’m sure that’s got to be it. If I sound a little like I’m waving goodbye to BaL here, that’s because I think I am doing that. It is just about all over.

Which is a shame. I was looking forward to the Master League-style magic that so many glowing testimonies tell me BaL truly possesses. But the way it wants to take me there is intolerable. I think I am literally incapable of sitting through one second more of CPU vs CPU football.

Below are my player’s current stats (the second page is embedded afterwards).

Not the most impressive stats, and certainly in real life I’d never get anywahere near a first team. But I expect to spend my time with a console football game playing the game. BaL doesn’t let me do that, and it’s unacceptable for me.

With not-Greg sitting on the bench, it’s the 60th, 70th, sometimes the 80th minute before I come on. When I play BaL I’m sitting and seething for 75% of the time.And then it’s all over in the blink of an eye. Whoosh. There went my playing time.

I don’t want to occupy myself with other things during the CPU vs CPU torment. I can’t consume things in bite-sized chunks while doing other things. If I wanted to read a book or play PSP or anything else, that’s what I’d do: I’d read a book or play PSP or do whatever. When I play PES, I want to play PES.

I can’t really go on spending time on BaL—any time—like this. Having said that, I would probably persist for the 5 seasons of BaL that I promised myself (even while hating it, because I can be stubborn like that)…

But something has happened. Something that has probably ended this year’s BaL experiment at a stroke.

Yesterday morning, I came on as a sub for 20 minutes and got a 6.5 post-match rating in a 2-1 victory for Stoke. That’s pretty good. And I was good. I contributed a direct assist, made some vital tackles, and played some good passes. That, I was sure, should get me a starting place.

Next match? On the bench.

In a fit of temper, I quit BaL with some time to spare of my play-session. I didn’t fancy having a go on FIFA10. The mood I was in was no kind of mood for Manager Mode…

Looking down my pile of games, I saw PES6 for the Xbox360 among them. Hmmm. Why not?

I played one match in my unfinished Master League career, as PES United. (The 360 version had very meagre Editing.)

I played that one match—and every cell in my body seemed to vibrate with sympathetic magic. This is the stuff I need, I thought. As King Arthur says in the underappreciated 1981 film Excalibur: “I didn’t know how empty was my soul, until it was filled.”

I know exactly what he meant. More next time.


  1. lol – What a superb quote! Only you could use a line like that to describe the feeling of playing PES. Not-Greg you have been on great form recently.

  2. i really dont know how you can play a game that is 5 years out of date still!?! surely the old technology is v limiting in the sense of fulfilment you can achieve.
    I absolutely loved Mike Tysons punch out on the NES, but if i went back and played it now, compared to fight night round 4, it would appal me ……..

  3. Grilled Seabass—there was a time when I used to pause that film (I had it on video, late-80s) just where the young Helen Mirren’s breast is clearly visible through her thin gown (the scene where she seduces Arthur). This was pre-Internet, naturally. Such innocence…

  4. Paul—but the gap between NES-level gaming and today is much wider than the gap betwwen the Xbox360 version of PES and the 2010 games. Lots of people play the old PESes, from PES3 upwards. It’s not that strange a thing to do if you look around the PES forums. And if you’ve ever played PES6(360), I think you’d agree it’s a strong contender for the best next-gen PES gameplay yet. Which is shameful for Konami, yes, but doesn’t alter the fact that it’s still a great game of football. And that’s the most important thing, really. Wednesday’s post will be partly about this issue.

    Shame about the prehistoric feel to Master League, though. So much feels very dated. (What is ‘Condition Team’ supposed to be?!)

  5. I must confess I’ve never seen Excalibur, but I will search it out. Helen Mirren was quite a stunner when she was younger.

    I agree that PES6 has the best next-gen gameplay. PES2008 (spit) had pretty fast exciting gameplay but was ultimately too easy. PES2010 feels like an NES game in comparison to PES6.

  6. I may not say much but I still read every post here! I have little interest in football games these days but its still fun to read your progress Not-greg.

    Incase you ever thought about going back and trying online, I have two words for you- do not.

    I fired up FIFA for one match, hit ranked online quick match. After a million cannot connects it found me a suitable opponent. After his flicked automatically to the ever popular Barcelona, I picked my Valencia side. Needless to say I couldnt get out of my own half as he sprint clamped into me. I was a respectable 2-0 down at half time (although I hadn’t seen their goal). To make matters worse, his user name Rauooll97 (its scary to think thats his age) was giving me confusing insults down his mic.

    Tried to change to 4-5-1 to find more space for passes but he decided to just pass the ball in the back for the first minute of the 2nd half, and doing keep ups to ‘humiliate me’. I pressed the PS button, held it in, scrolled to turn system off and that was that.

    But there was no rage quitting, just a calm ‘I knew it would still be like this’.

  7. Grilled Seabass—after just a few sessions on PES6(360) I can see how the main three next-gen versions, 2008/9/10, have been a puzzling decline from that level of gameplay. PES2010 was good, and I thought PES2009 was decent, but neither had to-die-for gameplay in and of themselves. Since last year I’ve consistently thought PES6(360) has got it, whatever it is. It does suffer to some extent from FIFA10-itis, though: a great game seriously let down by shoddy content. The lack of features is shocking. Even I think the lack of Editing is a joke. No replay saves. Etc.

  8. Not Given—I haven’t even considered playing online. It’s just not something that enters into my thoughts—it’s like suddenly wondering if I should take up scuba diving or learn to speak Hungarian or something. There’s just no reason for me to think about it. Even if I could find a good group of players—and I know they do exist—I don’t have time to play online and still get my quota of offline gaming in. I love my offline gaming and it’s not up for grabs. It’s valuable to me.

    And there’ll be some who’d say that if you had a mooch around any of the PES forums, you could probably hook up with like-minded online players who would want to play ‘properly’. My experience of this, though, is that even with the best will in the world, all parties tend to head by increments towards sprint-clamping. Little by little, because it works so effectively, that’s just what happens.

    On the topic of sprint-clamping in general, it could easily be fixed—or alleviated a good bit—with a proper fatigue penalty. The perma-clampers would soon stop it, or ease back on it, if their players were slowed to walking pace by the second half. But I can’t see EA, for one, ever implementing a proper model like that. The kids would hate it, and for better or worse, they’re the majority online and the ones that have to be catered for.

    We keep hearing good noises about PES2011 having a proper fatigue model—but when it comes to the crunch, do you think Konami will risk bucking the system? I doubt it. I think they’d be so happy to get a working online game for once that they’d be keen to shadow FIFA’s success as closely as possible. That’d mean enabling the clampers to feel at home.

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