A busy weekend of work meant no PES2018 from Friday to Sunday. It was my longest spell without playing the game since release. I returned to the game Monday morning, refreshed and eager to get Season 5 under way.
As ever following a mini-break, the game felt shiny and exciting. My four-match session wasn’t technically the greatest. Two of the four matches were frenzied, zero-stoppage, end-to-end hack-fests. Very low-quality, and very much in keeping with the nuPES vision of how football gaming should be in 2017.
But after a few days away the experience of playing felt so gratifying that on this occasion, I didn’t much mind. Sitting with a controller in hand, amusing oneself with a football game, is one of life’s richest pleasures.
Before the matches, I had to get through pre-season.
Season 5, and a move to a new stadium, more fitting for my club’s current stature.
A snarky message from the board:
Rather pointless, as I’m not playing Challenge Mode and there are no consequences for failing to miss targets. I suppose these messages are decent mood-setters.
Finances for this version of Master League are even stranger than in the past few years, which is saying something. The hallmark this year is that you get a grossly inflated transfer budget, but a proportionally puny salary budget to go with it. As seen here:
Yes, that’s £106 million in the transfer kitty, and just over £7 million in the salary budget. I could almost buy a real-life Neymar, but I couldn’t pay him more than a few months’ wages.
Despite the absurdity, there were a fair few players in the 80OPR-range (a rule-of-thumb rating, as ever) whose wage demands were only in the £4m-£5m bracket. Some wheeler-dealering ensued.
I got Verratti from PSG for £22 million. He earned a special cutscene:
I sold my back-up keeper, Savic, and a right-back whose name escapes me (despite him being my first-choice RB for a season or more). This freed up enough salary budget to bring in two more players, leaving me with a healthy 24-man squad for the commencement of battle in Season 5:
My other big signing was K MANOLLAS at CB.
W CAMACHO was a free agent, and had a famous PES name, so the stars seemed aligned there.
A BORUC is a promoted Youth keeper Regen.
I thought about looking for a player called KING and signing him, just for the sake of a sequential post title, but abandoned that idea, and did it anyway.
I switched to three CMFs in order to accommodate Verratti and Can and Baker in the same line-up. Early indications are that this isn’t really going to work out. I will try a diamond next, with a single central AMF and two CMFs.
Baker had to be my pick for My Favourite Players this time around.
The action began away to Arsenal, then away to Chelsea, then at home to Stoke, then at home to Burnley.
My record: LLWD. I’m 7th from bottom. Verratti has been ineffectual so far. I’m hoping it’s traditional PES settling-in time, and not an indication of nuPES-style anonymity.
My squad isn’t really that much better than last season’s bunch. I should have picked up a top striker in the transfer market, instead of settling for what I’ve got. It could be a long season with many more snarky messages from the board to come.