A new era has begun for me on PES2015 – well, probably.
First things first, my new home kit is nothing extraordinary: just a plain all-sky-blue, with a lighter sky blue section on the back of the shirt and the shorts, which appears as a brighter white lozenge on the players as they run around on the field – like this:
Not an intentional effect. This was one of my quickest and laziest-ever new kit designs. It does me.
The big departure for season 11 is in my new swashbuckling formation.
After 10 seasons of struggle and hard graft that saw me actually use the much-hated (by me) 4-5-1, which was serviceable but uninspiring (exactly like the real thing), it occurred to me that I had yet to try an all-out, swashbuckling approach as in PES of old.
Of course, there are many variants of 4-3-3. Here’s the narrow 4-3-3 formation I finally went with – I remember playing PES2010 with something similar:
That screenshot is taken from the middle of a match where I’d already picked up yellow cards. Crouch and Forlan are CFs. Robben is an SS.
That young midfielder on the right there isn’t yet my first choice, but as ever in PES he’s a great, great player. Gerrard has only ever been a continental-class player in real life (and even that’s possibly overstating it), but in PES, every time I’ve had the fabled Stevie G, he’s been phenomenal, truly world class, always living up to the hyper-idealised image that every Liverpool fan has of him.
PES2015 is no different.
The only slight niggle at the moment is that I’ve yet to score a typical long-range Stevie G screamer with him. It’ll come. He’s a Regen and still only 20 or so.
Back to that new 4-3-3: I’m now experienced enough with PES2015’s defensive system to have some measure of confidence fielding just one DMF. That would have been suicidal in my early-to-mid seasons. Nowadays most of the threat comes from the game disabling my defenders’ reactions. Good defensive work comes from anticipating the nerf and compensating in other areas. It’s about knowing when it’s right to swarm the ball-carrier, or when to stand off and cover passing lanes, or when to just slide in and take the bugger out (accepting the card, whatever colour, that follows).
This 4-3-3 is lots of fun to play with, and surprisingly often seems to work like a 4-5-1 (spit), with Robben and Forlan often popping up in deep midfield alongside Pirlo.
When the attacking bonus kicks in, I get the occasional match where the momentum swings to me and stays with me. Then I run absolutely rampant over the opposition. Such as here in the Europa League, away to Valencia:
And here in the League, at home to Chelsea:
Two unprecedented results. In previous seasons I rarely scored more than 3 goals in any match.
Alas, it’s not all goals and action. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, the game clamps down and produces the same kind of gritty 0-0 or 1-1 that I grew to know so well.
Here was the table after 12 matches of the 4-3-3 – look at my puny goals-scored column:
That was before my 6-0 against Chelsea. My goal difference is much healthier now.
That table is not going to make me declare that the 4-3-3 experiment has been a success. 4-3-3 has never really worked in PES since PES2010.
I’ve been at or near the top of the table at this stage in every recent season of PES2015, and fallen away. Having played a session or two after the above screenie, I can report that the game is already closing me down in lots of ways. 4-3-3 is not going to be a procession by any means.
At least I’ve made it to the Europa League Round of 32. I’m still in the FA Cup. I’m near the top of the table with mid-season coming into sight. I’m hopeful. That’s all that can be said at this stage.