Midnight Mass-ter League

On Friday and Saturday nights I did something I very, very rarely do: I played PES into the wee small hours.

I haven’t deliberately avoided playing PES at night over the past few years. It’s just been how things have worked out. Working at a job with non-standard hours, it’s been natural for me to play in the mornings. I let night-times stay reserved for other activities. Such as reading, watching TV and movies, talking to other people if I have to, etc.

The time when I would switch on the games console at about 11pm and switch it off sometime between 4-6am before crawling into bed, seems like a very long time ago now. Because it is.

It’s weird playing at night. Feeling tired, knowing that pretty soon you’ll have to call it a night. Morning-time play is open-ended. Of course it isn’t so in practical terms, not really. It just feels that way because the whole of the day is ahead of you.

I found playing at night (and they were two decent, longish sessions) to be a very different, slightly more oppressive atmosphere. It wasn’t a terrible experience, but I’ll be happy to go back to my morning routine now.

During my two night sessions I went through a patch of winning games 2-1. They always worked out the same. I would go behind 0-1 to an early-ish CPU goal, which always came either straight from kick-off, or—if it was my kick-off—during the CPU’s first attack. And there are still people who deny the presence of scripts in PES. Incredible.

Then I would huff and puff but fail to get through the CPU defence. But I’d score my equaliser midway through the second half. Then get my winner towards the end of the match—sometimes at the very end, with the last kick of the ball.

A few such samey matches in a row is nothing unusual. But I must have had about six of these 2-1 wins in a row.

It was a relief eventually to get out of this patch of 2-1 scorelines and back to some different-feeling sorts of matches.

At least all the 2-1 wins meant I was in with a serious chance of winning the title with a few matches to go. I really thought I might snatch it. But I lost a couple of matches badly and that was that.

The final table:

That orange blob at the bottom, stretching from Sunderland to Everton? The nighttime orange glow of my bedside lamp, reflected in the TV screen.

The wretched CPU goal-scoring leaps out from that table. It doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in the underlying logic of the ML world as a whole.

But I’m very satisfied to have finished in a Champions League spot. Although I will of course have to navigate a tricky pre-season playoff tie. I’m confident. In all the years since they introduced pre-season playoff ties, I dont think I have ever lost one of them. (You’ll have to imagine your own famouslastwordshashtag thing here. I cannot bring myself to deploy one of them for real.)

The Team of the Season was very strange. I scored lots of goals and played good football, but only had two entrants. Minandinho getting in ahead of Wroughllen (the club’s top scorer with 20 goals) was peculiar, but at least Minandinho finished top of the Assists chart. Spot the orange glow again:

Oh well, I suppose I am in the Premier League now, and I ‘only’ finished 4th. I should be happy to have two players in the mix.

And that was season 5. This time last year, playing PES2012, I was in Season 3, and still in Division 2. The year before that, in PES2011, I was at the start of season 5 in the top flight. The year before that, PES2010, I was only on season 2—of course, the game came out much later back then. And I think I restarted as well.

So, onward to season 6. Change of strip? Yes, of course. Change of difficulty? Fancy a bit of Superstar?

I’m not sure. Possibly yes, but just as possibly, not. On the one hand I’ve been having a good time with Professional. The big teams are able to hand me my arse on a regular basis. But for much of the time, it does feel as if I’m coasting…

I’ll play a few Training Matches on Superstar and see how they feel. And of course I’ve yet have to find what my new club ranking will be. I still don’t know at the time of typing. That could be a huge factor, affecting player acquisition, squad quality, all of that. I’ll have to see.


  1. Madrab73—whether the form arrows actually mean much in PES2013 is a question that’s cropped up before. I think the feeling still is that blue arrows aren’t as bad as used to be the case, but purple ones are still Very Bad news. Couple either of them with fatigue and that’s some sluggish player(s) you’ve got out there. I still avoid picking blue/purple-arrowed players if there’s an alternative available.

  2. Mike—I’d like to think there’s some underlying sense to the form arrow problem, perhaps one that will become clearer over time as our MLs mature. But I also suspect that Konami have seen the chance to introduce another random layer of difficulty to ML, and taken it.

  3. Paul—so what was this one greatest game of PES ever? Details, please.

    Totally agree that as fine as ML and PES2013 can be, there are tiny things that can spoil the good feeling, and form arrows is this year’s ‘thing’ it seems. I do love to see a whole first team of orange and red arrows, as happened to me last night with one match. A rare sight though.

  4. Chris—I have no idea what level 5 staff will do in this PES yet, not having got that far. With nothing else to spend cash on (players won’t sign!), we’ll all soon get the chance to find out. Can you even spend money on fatigue management? Don’t you mean spending GP, on items in the shop?

  5. I mostly avoid playing off form players but due to ten players being away for internationals had to play off form players away to Chelsea this morning including both central defenders and the goalkeeper. I didn’t really notice any difference and fluked a win – 3 shots on target and 2 goals.

  6. Form arrows definitely have an impact – had no choice but to pick a couple of blue/purple arrowed players last night and I noticed positional awareness wasn’t as good, more sluggish and passes weren’t as accurate.

    NG – the best game I eluded to was the match against unbeaten top team Spurs.
    As mentioned, they whooped me 4-0 on the opening day of the season, and are unbeaten in 19 games, scoring a shed load of goals (CPU GF doesn’t seem a problem in the premier league for me).
    I had to pick several off form players due to the issues mentioned before and I was quite concerned my run of good results would end.

    I stuck with my trusty usual 4-4-2 formation, and just focused on solid defending, laying off the secondary pressure tactic, and just keeping a good solid shape and make Spurs work for their win.
    This paid off as I largely contained Spurs for the majority of the match, reducing them to one half-decent chance in the whole of the first half, whilst creating a few good chances myself, with my CF Bancé squandering two goals coring opportunities that I’m sure he would have taken if he wasn’t Blue arrowed.
    The second half started with a potent Spurs attack which saw Coynborough cement his legendary status with a last ditch tackle to nick the ball off Adebayor’s foot as he was about to slot home and then start a counter attack that saw Robinho slip Bancé through with a neat chipped through pass, which this time Bancé took a bit closer to goal and leathered home. 1-0 us.

    for the rest of the second half I dominated possession, passing the ball around, keeping shape and controlling the game, when Spurs did break they always looked dangerous but astute defending and excellent positional play always sniffed out their chances.
    78th Min, after some consolidated keep ball around the Spurs penalty box, the ball rolled loose, and was picked up on the left flank by my marauding LB Macovshire, who took one touch, knocked it forward a yard then let rip with a left foot screamer from 22 yards that clipped the inside of the post and ricocheted in. 2-0 !!!

    Spurs managed to make the late pressure count and scored a beautiful cross and left foot volley to pull it back to 2-1, but a switch to a 5-4-1 defensive formation with the att/def levels set to all out defense saw me finish 2-1 winners, avenge the 4-0 previous drubbing and end Spurs 20 match unbeaten run.

    The game just had everything, a big match atmosphere with the custom chants adding to it, great tactical play, realism in how the game opened up when Spurs were chasing the game, and tactics winning over a better team. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  7. Paul—great account there, and many bonus points for still having Macovshire in the team (or at least picking him that match). I’ve still got him too, but he rarely plays. And what was I saying a while back about how the famed full-back screamers seem to be back in PES2013?

  8. Macovshire has developed into a very capable 78 OVR rated LB, i flick between him and Johansen, depending on who’s in better form.

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