Strangedays here I come

It was 7pm on the evening of Monday, July 23rd, 2012. I had a PS3 controller in my hand, and PES2012 playing on the TV. I was 1-0 up at home to Stoke City. With a minute of normal time remaining, I missed a golden chance to take a 2-0 lead. Seconds later I was pegged back to 1-1.

The final whistle went. I had 20 shots, 11 of them on target; Stoke had 5 shots, 1 on target. I’d been robbed.

And you know what? I wasn’t really bothered.

I just shrugged, and waited for Autosave to do its business—a painfully slow 20 seconds on the PS3. Then I quit the game, backed my current save up to a USB stick, and turned off the console. And I’ve not touched it since.

I am experiencing something that I haven’t felt for months: a profound disinclination to play PES2012.

I seem to have hit a wall in my football gaming year. Frankly I couldn’t care less right now if I never played another football game in my entire life.

Of course, that last bit is an exaggeration. I’ll grab the PES2013 demo later today, muse about it in a special post on Friday, and be back in the PES2012 saddle by Monday. Hopefully.

But it’s not too much of an exaggeration. After 16 seasons in Master League—the last 4 exhausting seasons on Superstar difficulty—I feel thoroughly burnt out.

My form at the opening of season 17 has been patchy to say the least. This is either a reflection of the game stepping it up to counter my great form of last season. Or perhaps the great weariness that I feel with the game is seeping into my on-field performances.

Too many draws—the old enemy of many an ML progression—are holding me back. Look at the table after 7 matches:

Manchester United have rediscovered themselves. Streaking away at the top there. It’s not hard to spot which CPU team has been paid a visit by the goal-scoring fairy this season.

In the Champions League, I have played PSV, away, and beat them 2-0. I then played Bayern Munich, at home, and lost 0-2. That was one tough game, where for once the CPU created more chances and had more clearcut openings, so no real complaints.

I beat Bolton 2-0 in the FA Cup. Next I’ll play… someone else. I didn’t look.

This sudden collapse of interest in PES2012 is very strange. It’s the first year since PES5 that I’ve been still playing a Master League at this stage, in July. My life today is very different from what it was back then. I have a job now, and plenty of other interests besides. I’m also a good deal older—I’ll turn 40 later this year. Back in the days of PES5 I was a very youthful 33-year-old.

I don’t know what to say. I should be pulling the threads together into some kind of conclusion. But all I can say is that I’ll play the PSE2013 demo sometime today or tomorrow, and I hope to get back to PES2012 in due course.

Or this could just become a Dwarf Fortress/Football Manager/Civilization blog from now on.

55 Comments

  1. Paul—are you saying ‘in the manual’ figuratively or literally, there? There’s a PES2013 manual somewhere?!

  2. Max—sounds like a proper PES nightmare there with that league match. We’ve all had them, and the matches that go that way all stink. I personally hate the straight-from-kickoff routine as much as I’ve hated PES2012’s wonky shooting or last year’s stumble animation. It’s so false. Many real-life teams do go to sleep after scoring goals, and they do concede straightaway, but nowhere near PES2012’s AI’s levels.

    Hope you ended up having a few matches on PES2013 and enjoying them anyway.

  3. abbeyhill—playing a new footy game demo in proportion gives you the best of both worlds. Played for a short time, you sample the goodness (hopefully) and preserve enough mystique for the Big Day. After a few more days, and a few games per day, I doubt I’ll touch it again.

    By the time release day comes round there’ll be PES forumites who’ve notched up hundreds of demo matches. The PC demo players, with team-expanders and time-expanders and whatnot, will have had quite the fully-rounded PES2013 experience between now and October. And then many of them will wonder why they feel jaded for the full game.

  4. uncle turf—L2 is also the modifier for manual passing. You’ll always see the arrows whenever you press L2, regardless of your shooting setting, unless you disable their appearance from the controller options menu. When you say you ‘stopped bothering’ do you mean you went back into the menu and re-enabled normal assisted shooting?

    And yes, the way this demo plays even if they don’t change the gameplay (and they will change the gameplay, but if they don’t) will be nothing like how the game will play in early ML seasons. I’ve already seen a few instances of what I thought was central shooting with Rooney et al in this demo, worryingly. How will that tendency translate into a Default career? Wouldn’t it be so Konami to actually just leave shooting as it has been in PES2012, and give those of us who don’t like it the manual option? (Which does work well as a manual option and is totally different from assisted – the arrows were confusing you.)

  5. Filbert—other than Chris’ comment on here yesterday, I haven’t heard a thing about this ML online-offline linkage thing. Even if it’s true, I’ll just ignore it and play with what I have offline.

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