Big season, this one. As PES2019 has grown and matured for me, I have become attached to my players in ways that I haven’t in a Master League for many a year.
PES2015, probably, was the last time I really got into the nitty-gritty of assembling a squad and getting the absolute best out of every player.
I’ll be disappointed not to get at least into the playoffs this season.
It’s a big challenge, not least because I just don’t have the squad. With a few players gone and only one coming in, here is my current squad of 21:
At this time, if I could overlay my personal ‘Traditional ML Feeling Heatmap’ over this PES2019 squad, most would be glowing orange, and a few would be bright red. In recent nuPES years, most would still be only pale yellow at this time, at best.
A huge deal for me, this. Master League has been part of my life for the best part of two decades. The last few years have been a case of making do, through gritted teeth. To feel now that I have got ML back, in some way… I almost don’t want to get too attached, knowing what can happen.
With this closeness comes a great curiosity to see what life is like in the Premier League, and in Europe.
I really do feel close to this lot, and am even half-toying with the idea of only getting a couple more players – making it up to a squad of 24, say – and then shutting up shop. For good. As a kind of crude House Rule. NO more new players, ever (apart from replacements for retirees, should there be any).
I don’t think I will do this, because that’s not how I roll in ML. I mention it here only as evidence of just how embedded the game is getting to be, for me, this year.
I played the post-season/pre-season All-star match by mistake. I pressed X when I meant not to press X. As the pre-match screen loaded, I thought I might as well take a look. I haven’t played this fixture since PES2017, because it traditionally represents the very worst that PES and football gaming have to offer.
And so it proved again. 1000mph. Zero fouls, very few stoppages of any kind. The 22 players on the park might as well have been called Defender004 and AMF0231 and the like. Total rubbish. A 1/10 match, and the 1 was for the final whistle.
The sobering thing about the All-stars kind of gameplay is that for a large part of the current footy gaming market, that is the kind of gameplay they want to have all the time. I’ll be ultra-careful never to accidentally play this fixture ever again.
Onto the real action.
Swansea were a bit of a bogey team before they were promoted after Season 1. I’ll be watching out for them now they’re back.
First match of the season wasn’t very encouraging. One of those where you batter the AI goal from the outset, but nothing goes in. Then the AI scores with its one shot on goal, and that’s that.
Only 4 shots on target for me is poor. A symptom of my tendency to blaze away form distance. But that’s how I like to play, and PES2019 rewards distance potshots often enough for them to be worth trying.
Also note the Free Kicks stat. Zero AI fouls in this one, and only 1 foul against. I don’t like PES2019 when it decides to drop into a nuPES fast-flowing-fun groove. I blame the All Stars match for setting a session tone.
My only signing of the pre-season transfer window was from my own Youths. I took a risk and splashed the wages cash on M GOMEZ. He popped up in my Youths after one season but I couldn’t afford him until now.
Gomez has been pretty mediocre so far, as is only to be expected from a youngster, The problem with picking up ‘name’ Regens is that the name makes us imagine they’ll be a lot better than they ever can be at age 17 or 18. It takes a good few seasons before they’re any good, usually. Traditionally nuPES patience doesn’t last that long, but I think PES2019 will force me to stick with Gomez for longer than I would have done in previous years.
I’ve played 10 matches or so of Season 3 at the time of writing. Here is the table after 8 matches:
Nicely positioned on the leaders’ shoulders. I’ve won 1 and lost 1 in the matches since this screenshot.
Matches are tight. PES2019 feels great. The AI plays loose passes and varies its attacks. My players are emerging into fully rounded individuals and a team with which I have a real connection. I look forward to sessions in a way that I haven’t for 4 years or more.
Everything is perfectly set up for the late October Konami patch to come along and wreck everything I have built here. We shall see.