A wild unicorn appears

A great session yesterday morning has gone a long way to restoring some of the polish to my view of PES2020.

I’ve been up-front about my disappointment at the lack of great goals in PES2020 for me so far. I don’t believe that will change much, if at all, anytime soon. This era of PES is firmly under the jackboot of online multiplayer. Long-range goals are Not Allowed, generally.

But… but, yesterday I scored a goal from about 28 yards! Not a true long-ranger in my book, for reasons that will be clear upon viewing… But technically, it is one, and I’ll take it.

It’s the very first goal in today’s mini-compilation, which also includes two other unicorns of PES2020: headed goals from crosses. All 5 of these goals came in that great session yesterday:

King Castledine and Prince Jarvis dominating proceedings there.

And yes, I have gone back to my traditional Wide camera.

The dearth of spectacular goals – goals that look and feel great in their own right, rather than being ‘only’ contextually great – is a PES2020 trait. I foresee me marking down PES2020 next August because of it.

But the rest of the play… setting aside the grouches… it’s pretty bloody good.Over in the League and Cup in general…

I’m into the FA Cup final for the second season running after a wonderful comeback against Liverpool in the semi final where I was 0-2 down before half-time. I stormed back to make it 2-2 at 90 minutes. The goal that started the comeback was a fine opportunist header from Jarvis, who quietly has a bit of the David Speedie in him. A little guy with a knack for headed goals. That was a great match.

Also great was the match versus Chelsea, away, where I dug in grimly from an early setback and came back to win 2-1. That match was remarkable for the amount of AI fouls in it. There were 7 (SEVEN), a complete anomaly for me in PES2020. If only every match was like that.

I’m still holding on mid-table. 10th after 32 matches of Season 5, with 32 goals scored and 31 conceded. My 1 goal per game average is an improvement on my 0.65 goals per game or whatever it was on Superstar.

I wonder if I will ever go back to Superstar now, but I think I will when I have the players to cope.

And I wonder if I will ever upgrade this squad much past the point where it currently is.

I fancy more or less shutting up shop now, letting player development take its course, and sticking with what I’ve got to the end. It feels too familiar and predictable to follow the route of bringing in new players until I’ve got a team of galacticos. My excellent PES2019 campaign, where I pretty much did exactly that, is still fresh in my mind.

I don’t know what or where the end-game scenario is for this ML career. I used to always regard the first Treble as the natural culmination of things. This year it’s probably a time-limited ML, as come January/February-ish, I believe I will want to give the PC platform a proper go.

So there’s about 10-12 weeks left in which I will see what I can do with a halfway-house squad of journeymen, Defaults, and one or two big name Youths. Should be interesting.

That man and Robin

Today is all about Robin van Persie, specifically, my Master League Regen version of him in PES2020.

The story so far with my Regen version of Robin van Persie:

I am always looking for the classic ML experience of bringing in a ‘name’ player whilst young and developing him into a personal legend. It has happened to me so many times over the course of my Master League life that I could fill a hundred posts with tales of the great and memorable players I’ve had through all the eras of PES.

Stoitchkov in PES3. George Best in PES4. Bergkamp in PES5. Raul in PES6. The list goes on, past the Golden Age era of PES, all the way through the Silver PS3 and Bronze PS4 years. It is the foundational principle of Master League. There is an Eternal Champion who must be found – usually more than one.

Master League retains this essential aspect of itself. No matter how blighted the current PES era is with all those appalling concessions to multiplayer (no fouls, no long-rangers, no headers, no penalties, etc.), the magic persists.

Last year in PES2019 it was Forlan. This year, I’m still holding out hope that Robin van Persie could be the man of PES2020.

So far it hasn’t looked good. He arrived in the first transfer window of Season 2 as a raw 16-year-old.

It’s currently the latter half of Season 5. RVP is now still only a raw 19-year-old and it shows. He’s scored only 3 (THREE) goals in three (3) seasons – until now.

Away to Manchester United – decent in PES2020, but beatable – a combination of injuries and poor form meant I had to play van Persie up front as an out-and-out CF. Here is a 90-second clip of his highlights in the match:

I was happy, it’s fair to say. Both great finishes with his favoured left foot, with the first one being especially satisfying.

The problem after this was something I have always noticed in nuPES: the dreaded Next Match Nerf.

RVP’s form arrow was firmly down for the next match. How absolutely aggravating is that when it happens? In what footballing universe is a young player who’s just scored two match-winning goals in a big game, not considered to be on form for the following match?

Or are the arrows supposed to signify other things? Injury during training? I don’t think so – the arrows exist solely to indicate morale and form, as far as I am concerned, and as far as I am concerned, RVP’s form arrow in the match immediately after the one above should have been glowing bright and pointing UP. But it wasn’t.

Yet another balancing method from online that has infected offline.

I’ve focused on one player and one theme in today’s post for two reasons:

1) Nothing else really happened worth mentioning. PES2020 is still not a PES of great goals in their own right for me. And I’m still ticking over in mid-table. I can’t post yet another picture of me in 9th. I just can’t.

2) The potential Story of RVP is representative of the spirit of PES and ML. This is what makes the series and mode distinctive and still worth playing year after year.

Oh, and 3) I’ve spent the week playing a bit of Death Stranding in the time I would have otherwise spent playing PES2020.

I’ve decided I will give Regen van Persie another 4 seasons. That’s all the way to Season 9. By then he’ll be in his mid-20s. I want him at least on the same level as Jarvis – a striker who is as deadly in PES2020 as any other striker I’ve yet to play with. If PES2020 ended right now, it’s Jarvis I’d remember. Let’s see if RVP – or any other contender – can change that.

One of these men is 19 years old

It’s the one on the left. Let’s assume he’s had a hard life and move on.

He’s a new Youth CB signing, whose name I have embarrassingly forgotten. His first initial is A and his surname starts with M, and it is something Romanian-sounding. He has good OVR (77) and great supporting stats. He’s fast (Speed 80), which counts for a lot in PES2020. He also has RB as an alternate primary position, which is always handy. I have the usual high hopes that he will be distinctive. I hope I’ll remember his name by the end of the game year. That’s all we can ask really, isn’t it?

I still have the Default E CANNING in my squad, by the way, and he still plays regularly when my first-choice LB is out, and he still does great. A nuPES Ruskin is what he most certainly is.

I also brought in a Regen ‘name’ player whom I spotted in the Free Agents list. One of these two men is 17 years old…

I’m still in the middle of the January window and these two are my only youngsters.

I’ve got some experienced players too – Ikone at AMF, for one, and others currently in mid-negotiation.

I’m on the verge of selling Bryan Gil but with no one coming in for him he may get a stay of execution.

The latest news on my so-far-disappointing Regen van Persie: no goals and precious few near-misses for him. I just cannot get him into any game. I’ve played him in the middle, on the right, on the left, as a CF, as an SS dropping deep – nothing. His close cousin (in terms of player type), Jarvis, pops up and tucks them away for fun, and is on-target to be my top scorer again, so it’s not my play-style. RVP has scored 3 (THREE) goals in almost 4 (FOUR) full seasons now. This is becoming a thing. He’ll get two more seasons after this one.

I have played a short session of 4 matches on full manual! Well, on my version of full manual – PA0, with shooting left on Basic. So not full manual, Persie, but the next best thing to it. All with an eye to eventually playing PA0 full-time.

Verdict? It’s too soon for me. I’m still in the throes of building my club and finding my feet in PES2020. Manual settings are for a mature PES and for when ML is past a certain stage. One for when the days start getting longer again.

I beat Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup Quarter Final to make it through to the semi. I’m very interested to see if I can retain the trophy this season, and make another Europa League.

In the domestic league I’m still paddling in circles in the middle of the table:Goal-scoring has picked up a little. Only a little. I still keep trying shots from distance. It’s about stubbornness and nostalgia more than hope. I refuse to stop trying long-range goals. Scoring long-range goals has been one of my principal footy gaming pleasures since I played my first proper football game at the end of the 1990s.

I will never give up on long-range efforts. I will never stop judging football games by how long-range shots are treated. PES2014 didn’t allow them until one of its excellent late patches (February, I think it was). PES2020 currently doesn’t allow them either, but it’s only November.

Today’s post is yet another where I don’t have even one goal worthy of showing off. There are goals in PES2020 that make you grin and shake your fist, but they tend to be good because of the context of the match, or a player who has suddenly sparked into life, and that kind of thing. PES2020 is not so far a PES of great goals as a visual spectacle in their own right.

So here is one of my full matches on PA0, for the curious. Arsenal vs Coventry, in the league.



Tidy finishes are the new rock and roll

I’ve played quite a bit since Tuesday’s post, but I only have the above screenshot of the current league table to show for it. There have been no on-field highlights worthy of recording.

I’ve played as many Europa League and FA Cup matches as league ones. I’m out of the Europa League at the time of writing, having disastrously lost one of my remaining group matches versus PSV. I then won the final match of the group but PSV won theirs, and so my players sank to the floor in the now-traditional gutted fashion.

I’m still in the FA Cup though, and more than fancy my chances of retaining the trophy for possibly the first time ever on a nuPES game. That would be a handy route back to Europe, as the league route seems unlikely.

In the league I’ve started flitting back and forth between Superstar and Top Player. I find Superstar just too hard and Top Player just too easy. I score lots of goals on the latter, too many. On the former, I score few goals — too few.

I’ve started holding L2 frequently to play manual passes and shots and they feel great. I have more than half a mind to formally switch to PA0 rightaway. I might give it a few sessions and see how I feel.

There are no other highlights to show or talk about really. I remain committed to PES2020, but am not yet dazzled by it. PES2020 does not so far seem to be, for me, a PES of great goals. Good goals, yes. There are many goals where I nod appreciatively and admire the way a passing move came together, or feel delighted that Jarvis has netted yet another (he’s the box finisher par excellence).

Regular readers will be very familiar with the kind of goal that has me figuratively leaping out of my seat (or literally doing so). Those goals are simply not allowed in PES2020. It frustrates and annoys me.

I’m over 4.5 Master League seasons into PES2020 now. Which is a lot of games. It’s reasonable now to assume that I have experienced a thoroughly representative sample of the game. The amount of goals I would count as great are… few. Perhaps one or two.

It’s a PES of context and player/team development rather than those super-duper wowser moments. Maybe that’s for the best, who knows?

Some bonus content today.

My PES PC project continues — but not the PC PES2020. I’m still gathering all the stadia and other files there. It’s a project that will mature sometime in 2020 itself. I have learned that the effective PC release date is somewhere around the turn of the year. Up until that point it is all about experimentation and assembling the many parts that go to make the whole. Which is its own kind of fun.

I have an ambition to install every PC version of PES, and pimp them out as much as possible. The first candidate is PES2013, which I would like to get running with the Jenkey patch and gameplay tool — still the best such that I have seen on any PC PES.

I installed PES2013, the 1.00 vanilla version, the other night, and recorded myself playing my traditional England vs Scotland opening match. Professional difficulty.

Take a look at the surprising outcome, with a moment at 10m35s that will amuse any reader who has been following the discussion here about PES2020 free kicks:

Yes, I got hammered — HAMMERED — 5-0, on Professional, on PES2013, by the AI. I remember the game being so easy in a matured ML that I didn’t really take this Exhibition match seriously enough, and got punished.

And here is that amusing moment if you don’t want to click through the video searching for it: