Season 4 of Master League on PES2016. I’m in the Premier League at last. I’m playing on Superstar, at last. And I think I’ve finally got past the stage of routinely doubting PES2016, at last.
The game’s not home and hosed yet by any means. If I was doing an end-of-year review right now, I’d still struggle to give it more than 8/10.
‘No fouls football’ is stupid and unforgivable. Defensively, the multipurpose slide tackle (combined with no fouls) promotes a relentless, churning, hurdy-gurdy gameplay that is often reminiscent of turn-of-the-century FIFA at its worst. To name just two of the game’s many issues.
But I have found myself playing the last few sessions just enjoying the things that feel right and proper, without thinking so much about things that are wrong.
I might even be believing that the October 29th update changed the gameplay slightly for the better.
I can’t be sure it’s not my step up to the Premier League and Superstar, but the game often feels slower and heavier. I’m noticing more midfield play, more individual battles, more of everything that I tend to regard as good and desirable in football gaming.
My first season in the top flight marks my permanent move to Superstar. I was braced for the worst, but it’s not going too badly. I think I’ve got my transfer signings right.
Here’s my First XI and complete Squad for the first half of the season at least:
I got Aimar and Marquez from the Youth team. That’s Schneiderlin sitting in my DMF hole, missus, with the captain’s armband on. Jese is a loan player with the Pinpoint Crossing trait. (I’m keen to road-test crossing and heading, which seems weak in PES2016.)
I did indeed sell on my great Youth keeper, Friedel. He was one of my heroes of PES2015. I’m looking for new heroes this year, so he had to go. Using the money he brought in — £5m, not bad — I got the experienced Cassio. My other Youth recruit, Weidenfeller, might turn out to be my long-term keeper this year, who knows.
The headline signing there is my £17,000,000 man, one Edin Dzeko. He’s 32 and in decline in this world now, and has already dropped a point of OPR in his short time with me, but he remains the big, skilful striker that he is in real life. I might only get one or two good seasons out of him, but they’ll be worth it, I hope.
He’s also something of a litmus test for PES2016’s player individuality. It’s a grim fact that too many players feel far too similar in this game, to me. You could swap nearly all of them around and I’d barely really notice.
I’m pretty satisfied with Dzeko up to this point. Only one goal so far, but he’s starting to gel with the team, and I’m starting to learn exactly what he can and can’t do. Such a refreshing change from the identikit strikers that PES2016 seems to throw up.
After a couple of indifferent opening matches, I met my big local rivals, Birmingham, in the Cup, and promptly lost.
Manchester City were almost unplayable and I did well to keep the score to 0-3. I also did well to hang on for a 1-1 against Liverpool. At this stage I started to ‘get’ Superstar, and it felt just like slipping on a pair of comfortable old trainers.
The rest of my results… haven’t been at all bad. I’m holding my own in the Premier League. For now. I’ve already met a few of the top sides and sensed the gulf in quality that separates us. Mid-table is likely to be my final resting spot for the season. But wouldn’t it be good to get into Europe in my first season back in the big time?