Well, will you look at this. Promotion as champions might be about to happen.
Season 2, played 30 matches, 4 matches remaining – and I am top of the league.
I never thought I would get to the top this season. I believed promotion was on, but never the title. Now I’m up here I want to stay here. I have very rarely won the Division 2 title in any PES.
If I know my ML table scripting – and boy, do I know it – the team(s) immediately below me will not slip up. So it’s up to me. 6 points from my last 4 matches will guarantee at least promotion.
I will of course be going all-out for 4 wins out of 4, all 12 points, and the title.
In practice, with my superior goal difference, 10 points will seal the title. 3 wins and a draw.
It might seem from all this that PES2011 on Professional has clicked for me, and a move up to Top Player is imminent. But no – it hasn’t quite clicked in the way it might seem. I’ve huffed and puffed to 1-0 and 2-1 wins, most of the time. My only real gameplay gripe with PES2011 is the way the AI only springs into life after going behind. I rarely feel any sense of threat at 0-0. But when I go ahead, it’s as if a switch has been flicked (which of course it has), and things go mental. 8 defeats speaks for itself.
What I have done is really made hay in a few matches where I have streaked ahead to big wins.
And I have another noteworthy goal to report.
It’s Pinilla again – my mid-season signing has bagged 11 goals in total for me since January. (It’s May in my Season 2 now, as it is in our so-called ‘real life’.) Iaquinta has scored 19 all season, mostly tap-ins. The real howitzer-style goals that I remember from my first tilt on PES2011, 7 years ago, have yet to come.
Here is PInilla’s goal. I’m already 1-0 up and resisting a wave of AI attacks. Suddenly there’s a break on. My team surges forward, there’s some nice one-touch play (comparatively rare in PES2011), and a nice lofted side-foot finish:
One of the genius touches of PES has always been the way it reserves certain player actions to itself. Here I mean the stats-and-context-based appearance of player traits. I did not press any button combo to achieve Pinilla’s lofted side-foot finish – I was actually going for an instant rifle past the keeper. The game itself rolled some random numbers and produced this outcome.
It must be acknowledged that this is perhaps not ideal – but what has all the supposed ‘freedom’ of recent PES titles ever got us? ‘Freedom’ in nuPES translates to online-centric ‘balancing’ by another name, i.e. every player being more or less the same. An exaggeration of course, but not much of one. ‘Freedom’ as a football game buzzword has been of dubious value at best. It actually overturns one of the foundational elements of what made PES great – as a single-player game. And there’s the rub. There are two pills on offer, and we’ve been force-fed the wrong one for a few years now.
Football games are best when they abstract certain things away from the human player. When I’m immersed in a collection of pixels on a screen, all disbelief suspended, going with the flow of the illusion that I have consented to be a part of, I am not going to quibble.
Last time I put the gamepad down to record a goal, it broke my concentration and I quickly conceded an equaliser. This time, I focused and kept my discipline, and cruised to a 3-0 win in the end.
At this stage of play I am going to call it, and say that promotion to the Premier League is a certainty. I am surely experienced enough in PES, and in PES2011 by now, not to blow it from here. Famous last words…