Month: April 2018

The Last Word on Castolo

Season 1 has ended. Castolo has retired. That’s him above, strolling around on the pitch after the final match. He wasn’t even playing in the match, and he wasn’t on the bench either, but he still showed up to take his retirement applause. I cannot recall a single good moment from Castolo all season – and he did play most of the opening third of it. Nope, I won’t miss the overrated Myth one bit.

One of my mid-season Youth signings, Pelaez, has been a revelation in the closing parts of the season – as was Shimizu. Both are automatic first-choices. I’m wondering if the Advanced Start also triggered something under the hood that made these two youngsters better than they ‘should’ be.

I finished 10th in the end. The final table:

I did my best with the photo editor there, but really, PES2011’s lighting is to blame. You can just about see that I scored 36 goals, and conceded 36 goals. I lost as many matches as I won.

A mediocre season, then, but oddly, I had a couple of players in the Team of the Season:

Palmieri I can understand, at a stretch, but Iaquinta? He scored about 10 goals, all in all. The qualifying factor must be the overall average of his post-match ratings, which were always good. Iaquinta was one of my ‘cheat’ players that I got thanks to the Advanced Start.

PES2011 is slightly annoying me in a number of ways.

First annoyance: the COM AI is really not up to much. We’ve had much better AIs in every edition since, in terms of aggression and, yes, the occasional (or frequent) feeling of unfairness. PES2011’s immediate successor, PES2012, and of course PES2018, both featured the kinds of AIs that beggared belief at times.

Second annoyance: many of the players on the AI teams have names like PLAYER and TRANSFER, which not even I can manage to overlook. I should get into my Option File and perform some in-flight surgery. I probably won’t, though.

Other than the above gripes, the PES-ness of PES2011 is unimpeachable. The way the players move and react continues to startle and impress me. What a football game we’d have today if they’d only stuck with this vision. Granted, not many kids would be playing it.

I still haven’t scored a great goal in PES2011. This vexes me, as one of the principal joys of footy gaming in general, and PES in particular, is scoring the occasional goal that plasters a massive grin on your face. The kind of goal you remember years later. I’ve mentioned it before, but I can still remember one particular goal I scored with Michael Owenn in ISS98.

In lieu of a memorable goal, here’s one that is fairly typical of the 36 I scored all season long:

That’s a missed shot right at the start. See how lamely wide it goes. That’s player stats and context at work, there, classic PES-style.

Ximelez retrieves the ball and send the cross over. Shimizu… handballs it back across goal, where Aduriz is the Johnnie-on-the-spot to score from 1 yard out. Seriously, 95% of my goals are like this. No wonder, really, that the bigwigs at Konami decided to go the more arcade-friendly route.

Here’s another old friend from PES2011’s Master League – the post-season Void:

I have to laboriously go through every single one of the above weeks, one after the other. There’s no skipping weeks allowed. I disable Autosave for the duration, of course, but that only makes a 20-minute operation into a 10-minute one. It’s still aggravating.

In summary, then, after Season 1: the classic PES feel of PES2011 is wondrous, and feels even more severe and sim-like than I was expecting. The Option File I’m using is an absolute dog. And Castolo is a cunt.

Thanks be to God

Finally, some relief from the twin time-sinks of work and life, and a chance to live as God intended me to live: just chillin’ in my yard, playing my Pro Evo.

A long session of 7 matches on Monday has moved me all the way through the mid-season Transfer window. And then some.

Suddenly, I’m in late April of Season 1.

The end of the season is in sight. Intriguingly, I might be within sniffing distance of the playoffs (if there are playoffs in PES2011’s D2; I really don’t remember).

Goal-scoring has been a major problem for me in PES2011. The nuPES methods of moving the ball forward and creating chances had become so baked into my muscle memory that I’m still even now only partially free of them.

I still revert to the awful, anti-PES, online-friendly, pinball-style approach.

Or I try to – PES2011 won’t really let me do it.

It takes the longest time to get used to the novel notion that players don’t have a universal great first touch. They can’t all spin in place, ballerina-style, without losing the ball. The kind of one-touch ‘ping-pong’ passing that nuPES has notoriously made feel normal, is largely missing from PES2011. You can still do it, but so rarely that they feel like special passages of play.

I’ve started creating the kinds of chances that are optimum in PES2011, and the goals have started to come. Not in a flood, but in enough of a trickle to keep me in mid-table and in touch with the leaders.

All of which was helped by a very active Transfer window. I shipped out a ton of the Defaults, without regret. I’ll be seeing more than enough of the Defaults throughout all my retro PES years to come.

I brought in some solid professionals.

I brought in the ageing Aduriz, in a rare case of reverse-influence across PES editions. We often get players whom we’ve had in past PESes. Here I am, getting a player in PES2011 that I had in a future PES. Aduriz was one of my star strikers in PES2017. Seeing him pop up in the List of Targets section was really a no-brainer.

31 years old, 79 OVR, and of course in decline, but I’m here to relish the world of Pro Evo, not to be some 1337_haXXor_Gam3r, or whatever the average online player calls himself.

The online gaming toxin that infected PES a few years ago now (probably around the time of PES2011, ironically) will never destroy the affection and regard that I hold for the series’ historical reality. No matter what happens (other than personal death or debilitating injury, of course) this timeless PES world will always be available to me.

Here is my full First XI and Squad for the second half of Season 1:

Yes, the Advanced Start has bought me a short-cut past the traditional Season 1 grind. That’s fine by me. I needed this non-grindy start to my past-PES adventure.

How are fouls? Intermittent – surprisingly many matches whizz past without any fouls, just like the very worst that nuPES has to offer. But most matches feature an acceptable 3 or 4, with some matches having many more. PES2011 is an honest football game that penalises both sides’ over-aggression, unlike all the PES games of recent years.

Still no great goals to report. I keep nearly scoring them, so they’re not too far away, I feel. I had forgotten just how seldom old-school PES dealt in spectacular goals. Rarity increases value. When one comes along, I believe I will emit a shriek.

1 is the magic number

It finally happened… I have only managed to play literally 1 single match of PES2011 since the last time.

This is simply how life is at the moment. Work and several other factors take up nearly all my time, currently.

It’ll be like this until… next week, when I have the week off work. I plan some serious gaming time then.

Was the 1 match a good match?

Nope, not really.

It was a dull, plodding 1-1 draw in the middle of a drab season. No wonder Konami jazzed up Master League with the recent all-singing, all-dancing, Ibrahimovic-focused editions. Nobody under 30 is ever going to play old-school Master League ever again.

They don’t know what they’re missing. When Master League was a slog to begin with was when Master League was greatest.

I’ve got some transfer deals in the air, just waiting to hear. It’s very easy to sign players, relatively speaking.

I boobed at the start by inadvertently triggering PES2011’s ‘Advanced Start’ glitch. This is where Editing a team prior to starting Master League somehow awards you several million extra pounds, and bumps your ranking up to the low 50s instead of sticking you at the absolute bottom of them all.

I would not have done this deliberately, but on reflection, I’m glad it happened. I’m not in the mood for a traditional ML slog at the moment. I’m in the mood for Classic PES, and the Classic PES feeling is what I’ve got.

The players in PES2011 mostly have the turning circles of oil tankers. By comparison to the nimble ninjas of nuPES, even the likes of Shimizu feels like a lumbering armoured knight on horseback.

I still haven’t scored any really noteworthy goals since that very first long-ranger almost from the first session of play. This one, from Motta.

Everything since that time has been scuffed headers, and kneed-in bouncers from corners and the like. Classic PES did scruffy goals very well indeed. It makes you work for the slightest reward.

I cannot say that I never miss nuPES. Strangely, I do. Over the space of 4 years it was my PES world, and that has had an effect. But I miss the PS4 platform more than the game. I came back to PES2011 in search of nougaty truPES goodness, and that’s what I’ve found in bucketloads.

Next week should see me really get down to business, with long daily sessions, just like in the good old days.

Harry Schwarz

Just look at those red arrows. My defence and keeper were well up for this game. Shimizu too.

The rest of them? They were so-so about it.

A nice bundle of red arrows was always a cheering sight in a pre-match formation screen. Back when they actually seemed to mean something. Maybe they’ve never meant anything, or maybe they still mean something even in these benighted nuPES multiplayer-action-frenzy days, who knows.

In mid-season of Season 1 now, and I have a few incoming transfers lined up. Quite a few of the Defaults are on their way out too. More on all this next time, when the window has passed.

The match where my defence and Shimizu were red-arrowed was against Brescia in my bespoke Bundesliga-logo’ed UEFA Super League Division 2 (England). How I love twanging the reader’s nerve that that hits!

Brescia had the cheek to take an early 1-0 lead that I just could not seem to overturn. I laid siege to their goal at times, and at other times, was laid siege to. This old PES AI wasn’t too great. PES2012, just one year later, had a much better AI, and of course we’ve had very competitive (if cheaty) ones in recent years.

It all ended 1-1 and here’s the goal that got me back into the match. The only reason I recorded it is that it’s a bit of a novelty item. The game awarded the goal to Schwarz, who knew nothing about it.

Shimizu with the snap half-volley after Schwarz’s failed header, and it should have been his goal. I’m developing an unexpected soft spot for the little twerp, after years of dislike. He was awesome in PES5, but everything and everyone was awesome in PES5. Even the players who were terrible in PES5 were terrible in an awesome way.

Cut to the Silver Age of PES – the PS3 era – and suddenly, Shimizu is a highly-rated player who can’t really do anything. But this PES2011 incarnation of Shimizu seems to overturn everything I thought I knew about Shimizu in Silver Age PES. He can tackle, he can shoot, and he lasts full games.

Shimizu’s shot glances in off Schwarz’s head. The merest graze. The game showed Schwarz wheeling away in shameless celebration, Harry Kane-style. Fair enough.

How is PES2011 so far? Still decent. It’s settled at an 8/10 sort of experience, overall, on average, from session to session.

The only real demerit is the PS3 platform itself. Loading times are really starting to grate, not least the initial booting load time. Sometimes that spinning green circle spins on a black screen for over a minute, to the point where I think the console has gone kaput. And then when it finally loads, there is a seeming eternity between game-weeks while the game auto-saves and loads the next week. It is somewhat aggravating. And no, I won’t disable auto-save.

But that is all that’s the matter. I’m mid-table, and the first transfer window is here. I do need new players, and will be getting them.

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