A philosophical fragment

Season 9, spanning the in-game years 2017-2018, has ended. I finished 9th. I fought my way up from 13th in the last matches of the season to attain a respectable final placement. I won five out of seven, scoring a nice few goals in the process.

After a fairly poor season, I think I have to be satisfied with 9th. It’s the same finish as last season, when I somehow qualified for the Europa League (still no idea how that happened). Hopefully I have qualified again for Europe next season. I’ll find out when I get there.

Porto romped away with the league title. Only Arsenal scored more goals. I’ve now played all the top teams in Division 1 at least four times each over the course of the past two seasons. Porto are far and away the best of them. They’re incredibly fast and strong and determined. (Okay, ‘fast and strong and determined’ in a PES AI team just translates to ‘shenanigans’ an awful lot of the time, but I’m speaking in-mythos here; I’m embedded.)

It’s been a funny old football game year for me so far. FIFA10 arrived like a rocket. I liked it and I still like it—but I’m not playing it.

The end of January is almost here. The days are getting a fraction longer. Birds can be heard tweeting in the hedgerows. And I’m still playing a next-gen PES game, with the same intensity and enthusiasm as on Day 1—with a good bit more intensity and enthusiasm, actually.

At times I hate things that happen in PES2010, with a rare passion that almost frightens me. I’ve never been a controller-thrower, but PES2010 brings me closer to becoming one than any other game I’ve ever played in my life (are there really people who throw controllers in frustration, or are they a myth?).

But overall, as befits a game I’ve now played for a total of 167 hours, I love PES2010. It’s not grudging acceptance, the exercising of habit, or an unwillingness to engage with the mysterious FIFA10. It’s love. I would hotly deny being a fanboy—anybody can see how critical I’ve been of next-gen PES over the past few years. I love a game, PES2010, that many good PES fans despise with all their hearts. And the thing is: I know why they hate PES2010, and I agree with their reasons for hating it. But I love it. It’s in spite of, against all reason. It’s not supposed to make sense. It’s a paradoxical mysterious enigma.

It’ll be February in a few days and I’m still playing PES2010. This fact astonishes me. I’d have put money on me moving over to FIFA before the end of November last year. The more I’ve played PES2010, the more I’ve liked it; by degrees, this has ripened and matured, and become something much more than duty or habit. As time passes I’m actually less forgiving of the game’s many infuriating quirks. But its pleasures are deeper than its torments.

If I was giving a review-style score right now I’d have to award PES2010 a solid 9/10. Yes yes yes, I know exactly where and how it’s broken, and how unacceptable it all is. I seethe too. I seethe too. But for a Master League aficionado, as I am, this is a vintage PES year. Whatever happens from this point on, I have to count PES2010 as a vintage PES product. Not knowing or caring about any kind of multiplayer, or any other mode but Master League, helps a lot, obviously.

And so I move on to season 10 of the most epic and enjoyable Master League career I’ve had for five years. I’m already looking forward to changing my kits, looking for new players, tweaking my formation and tactics, rolling up my figurative sleeves, and just getting on with it. The question I’m asking myself now is: just how much further can PES2010 take me? Could it be the first PES since PES5 to take me all the way through the football game year?


  1. Who could have predicted this back in October! I’m pleased to read it though. I’m currently on a Master League Hiatus whilst I enjoy BaL again, but i’ll be back.

    I see the goal scoring is getting a bit better, but the defence a little leakier. Probably more entertaining that way.

  2. not-Greg,
    This PES was really quite enjoyable, and it made me realise how much I miss football games. And, then it had to go and mess up the difficulty. Sigh. Hopefully next year will fix things.

    I’m shocked that Porto won the league; in my MLs, no D2 team (other than my own) even came close to challenging. What sort of team do they have? One filled with the Porto youth players, or mainly regens?

  3. How much of a comparitive opposition is this ….
    I havent touched PES10 since a week after I bought it back in October. Im currently hammering FIFA 10, having bought it on both the PS3 and XBOX360 and am spending 95% of my time playing online on XBL, having notched up near 100 online games!

    Sounds like your having fun with PES though, its great when a game enthralls you and immerses you so much that it carries you throughout the year.

  4. I’m with you, not-greg. I love the game. Too much, actually. I’ve lost a lot of sleep, trying to sneak games in while the wife and child are sleeping! And I’m constantly thinking about tactics. Of course, you know this, as I’ve never posted so many times in this blog before!

  5. @ Ken,

    LOL, I know exactly how you feel, trying to sneak some playing time here and there while the kids are asleep. I too have lost a lot of sleep over this game.

  6. I agree completely, 50 hours into ML already. I have already played a single career longer than I did FIFA 09 or 10 and it’s much more immersive. The changes to ML are also welcomed and it retains the qualities it always has.

    Although it’ll save me, im almost disappointed in being able to avoid that by ignoring transfers. It was obviously an intended part of the game and feels cheap to by pass it. Too bad I already sold the brilliant Kakuta.

    As for why you were in Europe last season, im not 100% sure but isnt there a European place for fairplay?

  7. Liam—I would never have predicted it. Like I said in the post, even if it all ends tomorrow (with me suddenly notching up 10-0 wins with one hand tied behind my back), the cumulative experience until this point makes it a vintage PES year for me. And it won’t end tomorrow.

    I’m still not scoring enough goals for my liking, and as you’ve seen I’ve started conceding more. Things can change, though, things can change…

  8. I had Kakuta at a certain point, too. Great LWF. I got him from the free agent list, and sold him for a ridiculous amount after one or two seasons, though. Pelaez is filling in his place brilliantly.

    It’s amazing how many excellent players you can get for free if you keep an eye out for them.

    Some players I got for free that I thoroughly recommend: Adrien Silva, Pavlis, Z. Hines, N. Pedersen, Mustacchio, Jonathan, Braulio, Mrowiec.

  9. Darshan—it’s as much a mystery to me why you and others have found ML so ridiculously easy, as it is to you that I find it such tough going!

    I’ll have a look at Porto’s players and put the info in Friday’s post for you. It’s already a very Porto-centric post 😉 Off the top of my head their team is packed with unknowns. Remember I set up a custom Division 2 packed with good teams, which may have had a Darwinian effect on the teams from there, forcing them to be good and develop, etc.? Pure speculation, but it’s possible.

  10. Paul—the great thing this year is that at some point I know I’ll pick up FIFA10 again and play it with great enjoyment.

    I’m not surprised to hear that you and other PES fans are playing and loving FIFA10. It really deserved its lavish praise at the time of release. As I’ve said many times and will say again, it’s Master League that’s pulled me into PES2010 and has me by the balls and won’t let go. I still say the general gameplay of PES2010 is not to the high standard of FIFA10’s… but Master League provides a satisfying framework that FIFA10 lacks in my current opinion.

    How are you getting on with FIFA10 online? Is it still a universal clamp-fest? Come on now, be honest… 😉

  11. Ken—the tactics this year have been a slow-burning revelation for me. I was too conditioned in past MLs to setting up my favoured settings and basically just getting on with playing the matches. I’ve found the hard way that I can’t do that this year, or at least not so much.

  12. Not-Greg,

    I’m sure if you had started your ML with Barcelona (even with the defaults), you’d have had much less trouble. Your budget, for once, would be much larger. If you had started with the Match Mode players, it would have been a joke. It’s a no-brainer that if you play PES with one of the best teams in the world, you’re bound to find it very easy.

  13. Adriano—I just had to pick this year to start an OU degree. It’s entirely a ‘distance learning’ deal so I don’t actually have to go anywhere to do it… But I’ve skimped on reading and viewing the course material a lot to play PES2010. Lately I’ve started taking the course more seriously, which is why the pace has slowed down on the blog a touch, but it can always speed up again…

  14. Not Given—as the seasons unfold, if you can refrain from losing your mind at some of the shenanigans that I think you will hate as much as (or more than?) I do, this PES is the real deal, IMO.

    Ignoring the transfer requests isn’t quite a magic bullet for the problem—I remember one player still being unhappy for a few weeks—but yes, it is a bit ‘gamey’ to evade an intended feature in this way. I’m still doing it though! Maybe in a future House Rules ML I’ll force myself to respond to the requests and take the consequences, but right now I need the advantage that the ‘gamey’ ignoring of them gives me. I’m only very slightly ashamed 😉

    I’m not in the Europa League in the next season, despite finishing 9th again, so it had to have been something weird last season.

  15. Not-Greg,

    Don’t worry about us, you can bury your head in your books, and we’ll carry on the discussion here amongst ourselves.;)

  16. Adriano—re. free players, it’s still the case that 95% of my signings come from the Free Agents and Youth Team. I’ve just signed an 85 OVR striker as a free agent—my best find yet. I’m not rich enough yet to start dabbling properly in the transfer market.

    As for playing with top teams, I think those who report finding the game easy have also played it the hard way with Defaults and no money, and still found it easy. I find that as bizarre as they must think my struggles are!

  17. I think if you get the least cards in a season you go into Europa for ‘fair play’. Think it’s the same in real life too.

    I know what your saying about the FIFA gameplay, but so far I have enjoyed PES much more in that department too. So many varied goals has kept it interesting and although ive bemoaned crosses, at least you can score them too! PES player individuality is no myth either.

    I think I have a great first team that id like to challenge for silverware with. As in PES psp I like to keep an english backbone to my teams, no idea why.

    GK: Jacobs
    LB: Ruskin (captain)
    CB: Watts eng
    CB: Wilkinson eng
    RB: El Moubarki
    LMF: Jaimes
    CMF: Nathan Doyle eng
    AMF: Stam
    RMF: Latinen
    SS: Cwyka
    CF: Hutchinson eng

    In talks for a replacement for Latinen as hes in a huff over a rejected move, and i’ll be looking for a few more English players too.

    *I would advise you to look into Nathan Doyle, what a player! Hes led us to 7 straight wins, we are top of the table with 40 points, but still a long way to go..

  18. Again, for me, “easy” is a relative term. I started with Barcelona, and it has been “easy” in terms of winning silverware. But the games themselves are rarely easy. I’ve had a lot of battles with the top teams in the league as well as in Europe, and although I’ve come out on top more often than not, it’s still challenging. That said, I am going to start a new ML soon, renaming a default team to Derby County (I worked there in ’99) and seeing how I make out with the defaults in the “English” league :).

  19. I recently encountered a situation in where one of my players in ML went up one point for dribble accuracy after a game but then lost that point in the next game. The player in question was Obinna (Malaga) who is a promising speed demon and relatively young. Anyone experience this?

    On a side note, Bellamy (age 32) sustained a long term injury in my ML and his stats are dropping faster than normal. He still has 7 weeks to recover but I’m really considering putting him up for sale since he’ll become almost as useless as Burchet who I can’t seem to get rid of if I may add.

  20. Not Given—my Europa League spot this season could only have been due to something like that. It’d be nice if the game told us everything that was going on behind the scenes.

    As you may have noticed, I had Hutchinson too for a while. Good to see you taking full advantage of the Free Agents list. (Is it a little too easy to get good players there? That might be an idea for a future House Rules career: no Free Agents, ever. That’s if I ever play a House Rules ML, of course, which I doubt. I’m enjoying this one too much without them.)

    Good luck with the promotion push. As I said before, don’t take my experience—7 seasons to get promoted—as any guide to what ‘should’ happen in PES2010. I think 3 seasons is about right.

  21. Ken—make sure to stock your D2 with good pan-European sides, and it’ll be a better experience IMO. Those made-up Konami teams have got to go.

  22. bkmelendez—you’ll find that some of the Defaults will just hang around/haunt you until you decide to put them out of their misery and release them (or they retire naturally). It’s a shame we can’t offer players as part-exchange in transfer deals any more.

    I’m also worried about one of my stars at the moment inexplicably dropping ability points. I have no idea, really, why. He’s playing regularly, he’s playing in position, he’s even scoring goals. Could it be a feature of the game this year, introducing random variance in player ability as well as form?

  23. I think some players just peak very early, and then either stabilize or starting declining. It’s just that we don’t have access to their future development curve anymore.

    I have this SB Feyton who developed very quickly from 47 to 75 OVR from 17 to 21 years of age, and now he seems to have stopped growing.

  24. Adriano,

    If that is the case, then that is super-realistic. I love that there is a random element to player development. How many times in real football have we seen players that we thought were going to be amazing, but never developed any further? These are the gambles that real clubs have to make all the time. Is this guy as good as he’s going to be? How will his future play out? Interesting questions that we have to ask in this game. I think we have all experienced different growth curves for the same players; my Agbonlahor isn’t developing, despite only being 24 and scoring every time he’s in. But he develops for other people. Who knows????

  25. I wish Burchet would just get that little broken heart icon and leave the club already but apparently he bleeds the colors of my ML team. Not-Greg, you are correct in saying that it’s a shame we can’t offer players as part-exchange in transfer deals. I really want the bidding negotiation to go back to the way it was or at least give me the option to negotiate with the player I want without doing away with the current system for those who enjoy that sort of thing.

    Personally, I don’t like having my hand held throughout the Master League. I want to be in full control of all the operations. If a player gets injured in training, I want it to be my fault for not taking into consideration the high fatigue levels. Master League has always been for the most hardcore of PES fans so I wish they’d stop trying to make it as assisted as the passing in PES but that’s a different matter all together. I know there has been much controversy on whether PES should go down the FIFA route with manual passing with a power bar. For me, it is necessary to start tinkering with different options for the passing system because the one that currently exist is holding back the series.

    If anyone has played FIFA on all manual controls without assistance, I think that is the way a football game should be played. Amateurs can still have their assisted passing or what not but only matches that are played on full manual controls should be considered for the online rankings. The casual fans can still have their unranked matches in where they love to assemble their very own dream teams. People like this clearly don’t care for the beautiful game. They try to fool you by selecting a very low rated team and then you find out they have superstar loaded roster. By the way, EA never did anything about the “dream team” exploit on FIFA 09 which is where my frustration stems from. I am aware the exploit has been corrected on FIFA 10 but my point is that people who try to exploit the game’s flaws don’t deserve to compete in online ranked matches. Sure, fully manual controls can be hard to adjust to but it forces the player to constantly improve his skills and not fall into the “ping-pong” passing game that we all know too well.

  26. Can’t believe that finish. After winning 7 straight games we went top of the league for the first time ever, and that was the only time we were ever 1st. After that came Aberdeen, then displaced league leaders. They beat us with a last minute header, and we didn’t win again for another 2 months! After sliding down to 5th we put together a few very lucky wins. One memorable one was being 1-0 down to bottom place Blackburn in the 80th minute, and winning 1-2 with a last minute Thierry Henry like goal. (no not a handball)

    After getting to 3rd place the penultimate league match was none other than WE United, which we beat 3-0 to ensure promotion. Unfortunately we drew the final game and missed out on 1st place by 2 points, and finished 2nd. What an up and down season. Started badly, then had an amazing run, then fell apart and finally recovered for promotion.

    Taking the step up to top player now, possibly a little late. At least any finishes in division one will be fair. Going to record a few of the important goals of that season, the Blackburn one in particular is special.

  27. Adriano—the removal of the future devlopment graph is another of the realism mods to Master League. It can only be a good thing that we can no longer see magically into the future, surely? Assuming it was a deliberate omission, of course. The absence of the season records has got to be a mistake. Maybe the future graph got caught up in that.

    My fading player is Sazi, and I’m worried 🙁 Monday’s blog post should have the whole sad story.

  28. Ken—I agree, and at Coventry City I can recall Darren Huckerby in the early 90s seeming as if he was going to be the new [insert name of exciting, skilful player here], but he reached a certain level and just stayed there for a while, then declined. Peter Ndlovu too. Every club side has had such players and always will.

  29. bkmelendez—you still do have the option to negotiate with the player you’re after, your chance to do so just comes after your Scout has made the initial negotiations. Then you can step in and conduct an old-fashioned negotiation.

    It’s a little odd, but still works. For example, when selling a player recently, the CPU offered me £400k or so, but I stepped in and asked for £1m (!); a few weeks later the CPU came back with a raised offer of £700k, which I thought was acceptable, and I accepted. So the order of events in negoitations have been changed, and the front end of the Scout system is very much in your face, but it only seems that way. Scratch the surface, and most of the same old negotiations system is in place and working much as usual, albeit spread out over several weeks.

  30. Not Given—congratulations, and I think that it took 3 seasons is a promising sign on a number of levels. Get ready for the top flight, justwatch out for the speed of the top teams, especially on Top Player. I’m used to it now, but it was a shock in my first season in D1.

  31. We have only played former division 2 teams so far, but 3 wins from 3. As usual with PES it was River Plate in the league and then River Plate in the cup. We won on penalties in the cup, but it was my 2nd string. I picked every English player I have and played long ball after long ball, it was effective and I enjoy playing a crossing game. That’s the style id like to bring to the first team eventually. How I won on penalties I don’t know, having never taken one before..

    Liverpool coming up soon, I think ill see your point about the pace then with Torres etc.

  32. As a spurs fan i always have a Spurs ML on side for fun with the aim of ending up with a fantasy team to use against my mates. for years Arron Lenon’s growth chart dipped dramatical for the first 2/3 seasons before shooting back up again, strange that they made him like that but i guess thats what could be happening to the young players losing points. What gets me is that lennon has had the same groth chart for the last 3 editions, meaning each edition of the game he peaks a year later!

    Anybody now how i can use my ML team on other playstations?

    i have tryed copying the files, the PS3 reconises them but the game doesn’t… I am missing something obvious?

    I have to say that i really do miss the future growth chart. I don’t think its that unrealistic to have an idea how good a player “may” become. Sure u can see he will become a good player but u still have to do the hard work and play him for 5-10 seasons for him to peak.

    sorry about the bad english

  33. Not Given—I found Spurs the fastest and most annoying team—until I encountered Porto, that is. As we’ve seen, all our MLs differ by varying degrees, so you’ll probably have your own superfast team to contend with.

    I’m scared of penalties in PES2010, so it’s a good job I never get one. I’ll need to practice them some more as I move towards the likelihood of cup competition shootouts.

  34. Max—as far as I know, you have to copy over everything—the option file, the save game file, everything. Basically you need to replicate every file that the PS3 will need in order to reproduce your game environment.

    Lennon and Walcott are crazy-fast players in my ML. If they ever end up in the same AI team at their peak, I’d probably sim the match instead of playing it. I’m only half-joking!

  35. not-Greg—-so not just the folder with all my ML data, everysingle file i have? wil that not erase my friends data? have u actualy tried doing it? i even tried deleting his ML files but still would ead mine.

    when u “group” the files from each game they go into one sub folder but for PES there are 2, the original data and mine. I manualy put them in the same folder on my computer then loaded it back to the PS3 but they seperated again…

  36. max—I think you’d need your Option File and your ML save file for certain. And that would indeed erase your friend’s Option File, unless you put it on another account on that PS3. But I don’t know. I’ve never done anything like it so I’m really only guessing. I don;t know anything about the file structure for PES2010 and the PS3—I’ve still never used a custom Option File. (I back up my save file every day in the hope I’ll never need to use the backup.). Maybe somebody knows an easier way to import your ML team onto a friend’s game?

  37. i’ll give it another go tonight, good idea about using another user system lets hope that does the trick!

    We’ve tried online but its a joke! green to green concetion and we live a mile away from each other but still theres a huge button delay. I know ur not into online gaming but it realy is a joke, not the Madrid-Barca whores but actualy selling a product that DOES NOT WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. (applauds) Well said sir. Couldnt agree more.

  39. Phil—I never thought a next-gen PES with legs would or could ever happen, but it looks like it is happening—for now at least.

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