Month: March 2013

The time and the place

ML2011 front end

Playing PES2011 on PC means a better class of screenshot. See the old front end of Master League 2011 above. It doesn’t take long to settle back in and resume navigating the long-abandoned menus and features like a champ.

The theme for today is: PES2012 and PES2013’s Master Leagues: what happened?

ML2011 mid-season 1 formation and squad

Here’s my mid-season squad. This is after all the mid-season transfer activity. Many of my starting Coventry original squad members are already history.

I’m currently only playing on Regular difficulty—due to go up to Professional for the latter half of the season (because it would be rude not to).

I bought the 36-year-old Sibon in what is probably his last season before retirement, figuring his goals and power might just take me over the line into the Premier League.

Before the kickoff

Palmieri and Schmidt are raw Youths but still better than the Coventry City original defenders that my option file came with.

I also got Ruskin. That’s a journeyman right-back, Damia, on the other side. And a journeyman striker up front, Pavone.

Here’s the table—only on Regular, remember. I wanted to ease myself in, and I’ve done that. No, there’s not many goals around:

ML2011 season 1 after 16

These screenshots are scrumptious, aren’t they? I like not holding my phone up to a screen. I like rather a lot about being on PC, actually. I’m not a convert to the Master Race yet. Consoles are just too convenient and hassle-free in too many ways. But let me just say that the PlayStation4 doesn’t feel like as much of a must-have item as it did a few weeks ago.

And of course this ‘old next gen’ Master League with all the features can be enjoyed on any platform. I’m enjoying PES2011.

Sibon’s individual training regime, as designed by me:

Sibon Training

I figure I might as well get all the shooting and power out of him that I can in the last months of his career.

Here’s young Palmieri’s training regime, on the other hand:

Palmieri Training

Much more balanced, with no shooting training for now. The way PES2011 plays, I’ll rarely want to see Palmieri storming forward.

Here’s a gratuitous shot of the Myth of Castolo about to score a vital goal:

The Myth in Motion

I’m playing in a  generic lower league stadium for now.

ML2011 my stadium

Looks lovely, doesn’t it? Here’s another one from another stadium—Watford’s:

The Goalkick

But what about the gameplay? What about the stumble? What about the step-around? What about everything that almost drove me crazy back in 2010-2011, and is still there for all to see?

This post from May 2011 is fairly representative of the loathing I came to have for PES2011. What about all that?

What about it indeed. I just don’t know. There’s no accounting for context, really. Some things have their time, and it feels as if this is PES2011’s time for me.

The PES that got away is now firmly back in my sights.

Stagnant for the last time

NSS career to date

The news today is… no real news. A few busy days in real life has meant no FIFA13. Things have lain fallow, becalmed, inert. I’d like to play whenever I like, but alas, life doesn’t always cooperate.

I could have forced a window of time to play a few matches for the sake of the blog, but the blog exists for the sake of the gaming, not the other way around.

There has been some football gaming. The BAFTA-winning New Star Soccer continues to occupy me in bursts.

My professional is partway through his first season back at Coventry, after a title-winning season with Barcelona and a European Championship-winning tournament with England.

NSS struggling with Cvntry

I’m way, way overpowered for this team—but the team is underpowered for me, and so I’m struggling to carry them through every match. We’re top six at the moment.

I keep trying and failing to get back to my Football Manager 2010 save. I’ve been playing the same career since the day I got the game back in 2009.

I’m quietly proud of the long-term investment in this save, which sees me just keeping Coventry in the Premier League, season after season. I’m not very good at Football Manager so it’s always a challenge.

When I left FM2010 last, I had a massive decision to make about Tomas Necid, a new star striker signing, who hadn’t scored a goal by mid-season. Think Giroud, with knobs on.

Do I grant a leave of absence my guy’s requesting, and try to nurse him back to happiness and goal-scoring? Or just cut my losses in the looming transfer window?

Necid was a £20m acquisition, my entire transfer budget. I don’t want to make the decision, so I’ve avoided it by not loading the game for a month now.

I have had some actual hands-on footy action over the past few days. I’ve played something on the iPhone on the bus to work.

DLS in progress

After a tip-off from a commenter on the blog (thanks Adam) I downloaded and played a few matches of Dream League Soccer.

It’s not bad at all. The world it takes place in—the eponymous Dream League—is very reminiscent of old-school Master League. So much so that it can only be a deliberate imitation.

I’ve only played a few matches so far, with this as my most memorable goal—and my first:

I find virtual touchscreen buttons very hard to deal with in ‘action’ games. That’s the only barrier between me and what looks like a very immersive mobile Master League-like game.

So no FIFA13 over the past few days. Do I miss it? Yes and no. I miss the white-hot heat of intensity that I had with the game roughly this time last Friday, when I must have played for 6 hours all told.

The rest of this week has seen that white-hot heat cool down rather dramatically.

This Charming Manual Passing

Another few days of limited footy action time, but I squeezed a few matches in. FIFA13 continues to impress. There’s been a levelling-off of admiration, but not a decline. I’ve settled down to the business of playing.

It’s tough. The traditional routes to goal are all blocked off. By ‘traditional routes to goal’ I mean ‘everything I’ve got used to being able to do in ISS and PES for fifteen years’.

This is probably the point at which many a seasoned PES player will decide that FIFA isn’t worth the effort, and abandons it. I’ve been that player for the past few years, but this year, I’m going to stick with it.

So I need more and better routes to goal. But what was starting to really frustrate me about FIFA13 was the final ball around the box, a problem I’ve noticed in FIFA for several years now.

Far too often my input would be overridden and the ball directed magically to the CPU defender. It’s a sinister nerf at the best of times. When you’re struggling to get anything going on World Class with a two-star team in League 2, it’s pretty darn near unacceptable.

So I moved to manual passing. I’m still there now. It’s… not really manual any more, is it? Or is that me misunderstanding what manual passing has always been?

I’m sure that the last time I tried manual passing, a few FIFAs ago, I was sending the ball anywhere but where I (thought I) was pointing.

Now, on FIFA13, I’m suddenly a master of manual—?

It doesn’t quite make sense. It’s far more likely that EA have changed manual passing, moving it towards assisted, than that I’ve become au fait with manual passing overnight.

But I like it.

Results are slightly better on Professional difficulty with manual passing. Instead of, say, play 10, win 1, lose 7, draw 2, it’s now something like play 10, win 3, lose 3, draw 4. That kind of incremental movement.

I need that. Things were getting grim on World Class with semi-assisted settings.

We’re all different players with different methods, needs, approaches, and skillsets, of course. What’s good and true for me is very unlikely to be good and true for you.