An accidentally artistic picture snapped at a moment of transition. On view are three of my key players in my unexpected Extra Time Squad in Season 15, superimposed onto a pitch in a kind of dreamy tribute to the ineffable Soul of PES or something like that.
No, resuming PES2015 wasn’t a flash in the pan or a passing whim. I have indeed kept on with my renewed Master League on PES2015 — playing on in a parallel world where the end of Season 14, as recounted a month or so, ago never happened. I left that save well alone. Original, proper ML history is always sacrosanct. I reverted to a backup save from about 6 matches before the end of that season and have played on from there.
In this new reality I lost out to Arsenal in the chase for the Title, and lost in the Champions League on penalties. I won the FA Cup though.
Two more sessions have been played since the one that inspired Friday’s post. I’m about 7 matches into Season 15.
I never thought I’d see this again. New pics of my old players, in a new kit — just another vaiant on my favourite stripey theme, this time with a darker blue that pops out of the screen more.
One thing I’m looking forward to with PES2016 are proper, bright visuals appropriate to the current generation of consoles. Whatever anyone says, PES2015’s graphics were chalky and dull compared to FIFA15’s, for example. PES2016 is a step up.
Metal Gear Solid V’s arrival at the end of this week (ShopTo/Royal Mail/Bank Holiday weekend willing) will slam the brakes on PES2015’s Indian Summer. When it comes to games other than football games, I rarely follow through and make the time for them, but MGS is a once-every-five-years special occasion for which time will be made.
Doubtless I’ll still have odd sessions on PES2015 here and there between now and PES2016. The football gaming habit is too deeply ingrained. If you have a spare 45 minutes you know exactly where you are with a football game. You know exactly how to spend that 45 mins and there’s no danger of overrunning. Everything is just neat-o.
So time spent on PES2015 and football gaming won’t stop when MGS gets here. It’ll shrink, though.
Top Player and 1-bar passing is a great setting for me. I tried 0-bar but the games degenerated into — dare I say it — FIFA-style midfield tussles for the ball that never seemed to end. 1-bar is a nice halfway house between where I spent most of my 14 seasons (2-bar) and the 0-bar that is probably the long-term aim. Maybe not unril PES2016 though.
I lost the Charity Shield opener against Arsenal. I lost my first two league matches. It felt a lot as if I was playing a new game. PES2015 is a game that has had many moods and personalities over the months, and it’s showing me another one now. I’ll save more musing on this front for my end-of-year retrospective in a few weeks’ time.
Here are two goals from my most recent session, First of all a completely ordinary goal of the sort I score quite often, to correct any impression that all PES2015’s goals are the same. This is a straightforward training ground-style goal, complete with a so-called ‘cutback’ of the sort that you’re somehow not supposed to do, despite lateral passes to teammates in the box being as basic a part of football as the ball itself being round:
Forlan is a better striker than Crouch now. Peter Crouch hasn’t been the top player he was for some time, and I’ve kept him around for sentimental reasons. If I make it to mid-season here (unlikely, but if I do), Crouch will be moved on, with Lord Sugar-style regret.
Now here is a better goal — Robben jinks away from a defender and slams one into the top corner with his good foot. The way the AI player is left behind wouldn’t really happen on Superstar, or so seldom as to make no difference:
Lastly, after some thinking on the topic of all things PES and football-gamey over the weekend, I talked myself into wanting another look at PES2014. That’s the one that everybody hates and has forgotten all about.
I played two matches in my old Master League save. I’m not just being playful or contrariwise when I say I had a good time and I found the game more than playable in its fully patched state. I repeat my oft-repeated claim that this game, patched, is a neglected mini-classic of PES.
Whatever else PES2014 is, it’s certainly a curiosity piece. It’s not the monster that most people think. It’s simply not.
Rather than being a monster, PES2014 is a kind of tragic hero. If PES2014 were a TV hero it’d be Bill Bixby in a clean white shirt, thumbing a lift while the lonely tinkling piano music played in the background. If PES games were Doctor Whos, PES2014 would be Colin Baker.
Here’s the best goal I scored in my two PES2014 matches, with me voiceovering experimentally:
My flat Midlands tones reverberate across the Internet.
I’m toying with some ideas for PES2016 release week, one of which is recording and posting in full my first England vs Scotland match. Indeed, it’s most often a dull affair watching somebody else play a football match. But I might enliven it with some spoken commentary. We shall see.