And so it came to pass, as the month of June 2012 entered its final week, that I finally won a bloody trophy on Superstar difficulty in Master League on PES2012.
It’s been a long, long journey to here from last October. I went through a rocky spell that saw me nearly quit the game back in February—and then experienced a rebirth of PES, the like of which I haven’t known since the heady days of PES5. My end-of-year review of PES2012 in September should be interesting.
My last serious haul of trophies was on Professional difficulty. That was 5 seasons ago in-game—almost 3 calendar months ago, realtime.
Here and now, on Superstar, I was in with a shout of the FA Cup and the League title.
My FA Cup Final opponents were Manchester City. I was the ‘away’ side and wore my away kit.
I went with my patented strategy of ‘position two DMFs so deep that they might as well be playing in goal’.
Thus equipped with a back 6, and with Sibon and Rooney and Barnes and Simao more than holding their own up front, I Hodgsonned my way to a resounding 1-0 win.
The breakthrough was a headed goal by Sibon just after the break. It decided the flavour of the whole match. One of the laws of PES2012 is that the scorer of the first goal exponentially boosts his chances of winning.
Man City dashed themselves again and again against my DMF wall, but they couldn’t get through.
They were most dangerous down the wings, but I focused so hard on double-teaming only with full back+winger (i.e., no CB/DMF coming across to help out) that even when they got through, I had enough bodies in the box to survive.
The Cup was mine, all mine.
Incidentally re. Sibon, a 29-year-old who I spent £40m on mid-season: I did say that if he got me just 10 goals and won me a trophy, he’d be worth every imaginary penny. So it has proved.
And then, after the Cup Final, I also went and won the Premier League title.
Yes, I have won the Double on Superstar. I’m happy.
I could only manage a draw against Everton in the penultimate league game. It was a bad result that should have handed back the initiative to Man Utd. But they lost at home, against Stoke. A surprise, to say the least.
It meant I needed just a draw from my final match against Sunderland to guarantee the Premier League title.
It was a home match, and knowing I just needed a draw was very relaxing. I still went for the win, though. I didn’t use the 2-DMF defensive strategy. Instead, I pushed Farinos up to the halfway line and left Neeskens to cope alone, which he did more than adequately.
I got a corner and decided to try something a bit different. I worked the ball out of the corner to Farinos, lurking in that withdrawn CMF position, and walloped the ball into the net from 25 yards past a crowd of players.
I went on to win 2-1, and the title was MINE.
That Farinos goal in this mini-compliation of the end of the season—scenes of wild celebration are included (mild spoiler alert):
The final league table:
That’s a pretty good defensive record, if I may say so myself. George Graham, you were right. Not conceding goals is the key to success in this Master League.
The Team of the Season:
Agostini was overall player of the year in league and Cup. PES2012 loves left-backs. My previous player of the year was also a left back, Hyam, back in season 10.
My squad was the happiest I’ve ever seen it. What’s next for me and PES2012?
Of course, I have already won trophies on PES2012, on Professional—an achievement in and of itself, as everybody who plays (and frequently suffers) PES2012 knows very well.
But since the move up to Superstar, life has not been easy. Quite the opposite.
Superstar plays a better game of all-round football. But it drains you. It demands everything from you, so much so that to win anything on Superstar feels like a proportionally greater achievement than anything else on PES, ever.
‘Treble on Top Player’ used to be the yardstick by which we measured expertise with any edition of PES. And those old games were usually ‘completed’ by December or January.
Surely the ultimate would have to be ‘Treble on Superstar’ in PES2012. I’m not sure it’s possible for me, but I intend to spend most of what’s left of footy game year 2011-2012 trying to make it happen.
And then there’s the unfinished story of my young Regens, just starting to come through. Kaka, Ribery, Gerrard, Schweinsteiger. And of course Hagi. There’s so much left to see and do in PES2012.
First, though, I need a bloody rest. I’m knackered.