There’s more to life than bookings, you know, but not much more

PES2015 pirlo corner

I probably finish more than half of my matches with 10 men. Because it’s PES2015, it’s Superstar, and I’m defending most of the time in a furiously violent fashion, like a possessed demon. That’s right: like a demon who’s been possessed by a demon.

I’m going for my very first title on PES2015. This is a pretty big deal. It’s going to be June next week. Space-year 2016 is shimmering into view. Can you see it, out there on the horizon? I can.

I want to get to some kind of conclusion with a bit of time to spare. And this is the hardest-ever PES.

It’s the hardest-ever PES for me. Other perspectives are always available.

I won the big crunch 6-pointer encounter with Manchester United. The kind of fixture that, in real life, Sky Sports would trumpet for weeks in the build-up, with dramatic operatic music pumping in the background. Carmina Burana never gets old.

I won the Big Match by two goals to nil, and it was quite easy in the end. Almost anti-climactic. But I played with 100% focus and was duly rewarded. Considering I was playing away from home against the then-runaway league leaders, it was a great result and performance to match.

PES2015 has a few characteristic little moments. There’s the big dipper-style volleys that come along occasionally. And there are also the delicate directed headers that come along occasionally. Here’s Robben scoring my opener against Manchester United in the Big Game, directing a delicate one past the ageing De Gea:

This was Man Utd’s starting XI and bench:

Man Utd lineup for the big match

Bergkamp is the only Classic player in this ML world whose name I have edited. I edited him before understanding that if I did any more I’d have to do all of them. That seemed a whole lot of work and so I never bothered. With the limited chunks of time available, I’d rather just play the game.

Here is the table with 7 matches remaining in the season:

Season 11 after 31

5 points clear with a comparable goal-difference to my nearest challengers. Going 4-3-3 has paid off in that sense. But boy, do you have to work hard defensively.

Manchester United have fallen back a touch after my defeat of them at their place. Liverpool. the current reigning champions, have emerged as the likeliest challengers.

After the Big Match I suffered a baffling home defeat against Crystal Palace.

0-1 down from almost the first minute, my frustrations mounted. I was down to 9 men by half-time. I’ve mentioned before that I actually relish playing football games under such conditions. Quite a few times in my footy gaming life, I have pulled off miracle results with 10 or 9 or even 8 men.

Alas, this wasn’t one of those times and I suffered a terrible 0-3 defeat. That’s one of PES2015’s hallmarks too. It punishes you more severely than previous editions.

I continue to see bookings rain down on my team like confetti. I’m easily the dirtiest team in the league, with greyed-out players permanently filling the bottom of my squad list.

I’ve defended with a lot more finesse in other football games. In this football game, stopping the AI is paramount.

But needs must. On Monday, it’ll be June. Traditionally the time when thoughts turn to the other end of summer and the imminence of a new football gaming year.

Me, I’m still firmly rooted in the present, and focusing all my time and attention on PES2015. I want that title this season.

And I want that Treble next season.


  1. NG – Good luck with the remainder of the season as winning the league would be well deserved. Staying in the present is my mantra now and just take each game on its merits. It is a tired old footy cliché but that is the mentality I need.

    I am starting to like the mundane nature of the ‘big matches’ now and as the over billing of football matches and sporting occasions is a real issue for me I do like the way PES games just plod along in one gear.

  2. And how marvellous not to give a shit about the FIFA-Blatter ‘story’ too. I find myself genuinely not caring what happens to the organisation or any of its employees or to the professional sport that it oversees. PES roolz! I’m not even following the news of what’s happening that closely, just enough to stay in touch with the big sweaty drama of it all. (That’s all news ever is: entertainment.)

    I’m actually loving how Blatter has turned all supervillain and stubborn about it. I hope he really has got suitcases full of money buried somewhere and that he continues to hang on, which is really starting to annoy the journos. I’d like to see football reset to Year Zero. A Rugby League/Union-style split with a new code would be good.

    At the moment having some career mode up and running on some football game (PES, FIFA, Football Manager) is better than football itself.

  3. NG – the public secretly love a supervillan don’t they, take Oysten at Blackpool for example who has stood on at the club despite everything and takes pleasure on having confrontation with the fans. You have to have some admiration of these characters.

  4. down to 9 men in first half v Palace, lol! Glad to hear your career is reaching a crescendo though, not-Greg. I must admit you have got me with the Smiths reference though, which is strange as I normally know them all

  5. Great header NG, I’ve hit a dip in terms of regens and am still waiting for the likes of Robben, Gerrard and Drogba to retire (Drogba’s still playing for Chelsea in my game at 39).

    I had an interesting cut scene at the end of a recent match where I conceded a last minute goal due to my right back being caught high up the pitch and being left for dead. One of my players was shown to really berate the fullback for several seconds as they walked off the pitch which I found delightful despite the dropped points. It’s those little moments…

  6. abbeyhill – how can you not have instantly recognised the post title’s inspiration? Consider handing in your credentials at the security counter, please…

    I initially tried a riff based on John Champion’s habit of pronouncing Robben as ‘Robin’, which is not how I have always heard it and said it myself. (I say it more like ‘Robb-un’, with the final ‘en’ syllable identical to the one in the word ‘garden’, and believe I have only ever heard TV commentators say it this way too.) So I was going to have a paragraph about the old PS2-era commentators being the sentimental favourites. The post title at that stage was: There’s more to life than Trevor Brooking, you know, but not much more.

    Chris – as the seasons have rolled by I’ve seen loads of little extra cutscenes that I never would have dreamed existed in those peculiar early seasons when the game seemed rather flat (admittedly this was before the now-customary three or four patches it takes to make a PES what it should have been from the start). This PES has certainly been a grower.

  7. May have to wait another season for a shot of the title as am 8 points behind Chelsea in second place with 21 games played as Chelsea just haven’t let up and have won 19, drawn 1 and lost one whilst conceding 9. Punishing to keep up with them and have done my best winning 10 games on the bounce at one point. Still loving every session of this gripping game.

  8. New season, slightly new formation and new striker to replace Drogba.

  9. Not a bad debut.

  10. Darryl – you’re not out of that title chase yet. Keep winning and Chelsea will falter. In PES2015 it’s damn hard work keeping the wins coming in that kind of chase, though, so it’s easier said than done. A few too many draws and you’re gone.

    Lloyd – Shirare Take A Bow…

  11. NG – funny thing is I have cut our the draws as last year I only lost four games and this year I have lost five already.

    Have to say what a strange old football gaming year it has been. I started out last year on Fifa 15 and had got through 2 seasons before the tragedy struck that anyone who knows me from Paul’s forum will know about. Despite everything as a form of escapism I somehow got through the third season, which turned into a marathon as I played the odd game here and there. Then PES 2015 came along and despite hating the demo I was pleasantly suprised and really liked it at first. Then I experienced my lowest moment in football gaming even by my standards. During the course of a week I started and re-started a ML campaign no fewer than four times. I really thought that was it and for my own sanity I have to give this up. Gave it up I did and a few months past without me missing any of it. All it took was one post from NG to say the game was now £15 on PS Store and the rest is history. I knew I had to knuckle down and get on with it and just play the game and that I did. I did set myself a challenge to win the league on a full season on superstar in a year since the events at the start of this post. Well I am into season 9 on World Class and I am no longer concerned about that now as I would be more than happy to win the league on World Class. I am proud to say I have got through 9 seasons and I that is largely thanks to the positive vibe on here and the sharing of ML stories. This game is by far the best gaming experience I have ever known and remain baffled by the critism the game gets in some quarters as it will always retain a special place in my heart.

  12. Darryl – to some extent the very real tragedy that struck you focused my attention on enjoying the trivial things in life. What is a football game? Something that we play with to amuse ourselves and spin a web of stories around ourselves, making a cocoon of sub-reality. That has great value in a world where terrible things can happen. A football game having some ‘issues’ – and PES2015 certainly has issues, just like every football game ever made – is of so little consequence that it barely makes the needle quiver. Enjoying a football game (or books or movies or TV shows or dressing up like characters in Star Trek or whatever) is all-important. So-called trivia is what makes life bearable.

    9 seasons! You’re almost caught up with me, and will probably do so as I never get to play on weekends anymore with my working hours being what they are.

  13. Darryl – I still think of that time and, like n-G says, it continues to put life into perspective. Not that it’s quite on a parallel, but I’ve had my own sadness to deal with over the past few weeks – hence my infrequent postings on here and just as infrequent PES time. My father passed away a fortnight ago. The funeral is this Friday. After that – when time is more of my own again – I’ll be needing plenty of the trivial relief PES, books, TV, movies and even real footy provide.

    It’s good to see so many ML campaigns continuing to flourish and I look forward to getting back to my own. Season 7 I think I’m in. There’s still the summer to go for a bit of silver wear but I somehow doubt I’ll ever land the treble on Superstar.

  14. NG – I could not have summed that up better as enjoying the trivial things in life is what keeps the balance in tact and is so important. It does make you refocus and I unashamedly admit that I am able to enjoy my gaming even more now and not worry about finding the perfect settings or football game as none exist.

    John – I am very sorry to hear about that and can’t recommend enough still getting the odd game in and still posting the odd post as when you are in the bubble of everything going on you need that.

    Little session this morning saw me win 2 and lose one at home to Liverpool (again) and see off my title challenge realisticly but am in the knock out stage of Champions League and still in the cup so not bad at all.

  15. Shed – sorry to hear of your loss. One of the many things we’re not prepared for when we hit full-on adulthood is the prospect of watching our parents age before our eyes and then pass away, or be taken suddenly. Either way, it just isn’t something we think of when growing up – I know I didn’t. The upheaval it entails wipes out all prospect of seeking refuge in trivia for a while, but it is a necessity of life. I couldn’t imagine staying reasonably sane and healthy without enjoying a film every now and then, or having some TV show on the go, or my regular sessions of just laying back, controller in hand, playing PES or something similar and losing myself in that world for a while. (Another reason I dislike playing online: having other people in it ruins all sense of a private oasis; there’s no relaxation online.) Hope you get back to it soon.

  16. Cheers guys. I’ll be back to pick up my Brighton ML campaign shortly.

  17. All the best for the tough days ahead John Shed, my thoughts are with you. Still have strong memories of my mum’s funeral three years ago, eg making a speech about her,getting slightly annoyed about random chit-chat from distant relatives, leaving my dad on his own as we all headed off home. But as Darryl and Not-Greg have said, sometimes the fundamentally inconsequential nature of escaping in a good game is important in these times

  18. There could be an interesting story developing in my ML as am 7 points behind Chelsea with 8 to play (including them). I also play them in the cup final after a brilliant 2-1 cup win against my old nemesis Liverpool in extra time. The thing with Liverpool is I have never found a tactic that I feel confortable against them. At 1-0 down at hald time and a shot count of eight to nil it was looking like the same old story. I switched at half time to 4-4-2 with devastating effect. But going back to the scenario both myself and Chelsea are in the Champions League quarters as well. Have Barcelona in the next round, which doesn’t put the fear into me that the game should.

  19. Darryl – it could be that the Treble will sneak up on you like it did for me.

  20. Darryl – the CPU teams go in for a lot of transfer activity, which means that after a certain amount of seasons of ML, Barcelona are rarely Barcelona anymore, and it’s other teams – the Liverpools, the Sunderlands, the obscure Greek teams you’ve barely heard of – that are now the Barcelonas of your ML world.

    E.g. the Champions League in my ML was won this season by…. Saint Etienne. They’ve got Dzeko and Klose up front.

    This is how the ML cookie crumbles and always has done. You do get to the point after X seasons (usually 4 or 5) where it feels a shame not to be scared of meeting Barcelona. But it’s the very randomness and bizarre nature of the ML experience that keeps me coming back for more, year after year.

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