Patchwork tilt

Patch Wednesday was as interesting as I thought it would be. The size of the patch—13MB—was a surprise. As it installed, I had to wonder just what I was in for. A football game is a delicate balance in so many ways, a tradeoff between enabling user freedom (that new buzzword) and deliberately hard-coded limitations. Tinkering with any part of it risks ruining the whole.

And my first match was definitely a bit weird. I sensed a slight change in the handling—I imagine that sensing a disturbance in the Force must be a similar feeling. I didn’t notice any change in game speed, as such. I play on -2 and have done since early on in my PES2011 adventures.

The only overt change I would swear to noticing was in the touchline control issue. It’s much better. I found that my players could collect the ball for a change.

It used to be that a bouncing ball approaching one of your players within several yards of a touchline would simply bounce off them in a ridiculous manner and go out for a throw-in or corner—one of the stupidest things in any PES game, ever. True, before touching the ball you could super-cancel and ‘renegotiate’ the interaction, but I resent having to do that. It should work to begin with.

I’ve just got to the Premier League with my Master League team, and I’ve bumped up the difficulty to Top Player. Not the ideal time to assess the impact of a major gameplay-changing patch.

After a pretty easy first few games on Top PLayer, I’m struggling to get any kind of game going. A large part of this has to be the patch in action, I feel. The sudden leap from my previous session to the rock-hard difficulty of the sessions since the patch, is too great.

In my first post-patch session I played 5, won 0, drew 3, and lost 2. I scored about 2 goals. One of the matches was a traumatic 5-0 defeat at the hands of Blackburn:

Perhaps more significant than the scoreline in that match was the possession statistic. I’m used ot having at least 60%, usually more. But I had the least amount of possession for the first time since my very early days with the game.

Is it the patch or not? Is it the patch or not? Is it the patch or not? That’s what I keep thinking every few minutes, every time something thought-provoking happens in-game. Is it the patch or not…?

Like I said, I have no way of finding out—other than to suspend my play for a session or two and carry out all kinds of exotic experiments featuring other accounts on my PS3 and whatnot. Which I’m not prepared to do. I haven’t got the time, even if I had the inclination. This is a blog about playing Master League, not an inquiry into meaning and truth. I’m happy to sit back and let the forum sleuths investigate and argue amongst themselves. If I’ve got a PES game that I’m happy to play and that gives me enough of a challenge, I’m happy enough.

Below is the league table after that disastrous session—I’ve slipped down the table a long way. I’ll have to be careful not to get dragged down into a relegation battle.


  1. It would be nice to have some sort of memory wipe after installing a patch to stop the insanity setting in.
    I’ve noticed my goals against column is significantly higher than any other ML or FIFA career I’ve played since the year dot which is great. It’s great to have a similar goal difference to the AI although I’ve stopped shipping as many goals since I dropped my defence back to a deep setting

  2. I’ve not installed the patch yet (it won’t work with Kitserver at the moment), but I really am disappointed that Konami haven’t allowed PC users to play with negative game-speeds.

    not-Greg: 60% possession is your average!? You must be playing some nice football. I just checked my average possession and it’s 49%, while my lowest is 40%, my highest just 55%!

  3. Darshan—I’ve got the PC version of the game, but never liked its super-fast speed. It’s a shame there’ll be no official -1 & -2 speed.

    I’ll have to check my official average possession, which will be a lot lower than 60% over all 5 seasons so far. I was basing my assessment on what I’m used to feeling, subjectively, over the past two seasons—on Professional, in Division2, which is a very different prospect from Top Player in the Prem. I’m suffering badly.

  4. Isn’t it weird some people love the patch some hate it and some cant see a difference, personally I’m unsure at the moment.
    I was really enjoying the game prior to the update but not so much now, I don’t feel the game has become any more difficult as a result of the patch but games feel much more of a stop start affair now a bit like when i first played the demo.
    To me the speed has slightly slowed, again feeling more like the demo, incidentally I play at -2 as well, tried -1 the other day but the difference seemed massive, I’m wondering if anyone can actually play +2 or would it be like that star trek episode were Spock and that lass in the red dress keep hearing a buzzing noise which turns out to be Jim and Bones….
    you `d need to watch it.
    I digress,
    shooting seems to have changed a bit as well, I’m back to ballooning a lot of shots over the bar, all in all I feel like I’m back with the demo but I appreciate different strokes for different folks and all that…

  5. Chris- Couldn’t agree with you more, this is the first football game I’ve ever played were looking at the table you wouldn’t be able to tell which team I was controlling.
    Its a little thing that lot of people probably wouldn’t notice and yet its one of my favourite parts of this years game.

  6. cautiously impressed with the game so far (having not played it pre-patch). I’m certainly missing the fluid movement and full control on all-manual that FIFA provides – I can see that the new PES passing system is moving in the right direction, but it’s not clear when I misplace a pass whether it’s because of my aim, or the stats of my player, or just the COM deciding it’s time to make a mistake! However there are compensations, there’s a certain precision to the way players control the ball and I like the shooting. First game, playing as New Zealand v West Brom my CB chipped a through ball over the defence for Killen to run on to and hit a superb half volley into the top corner. One concern is that it might be too easy (the above goal was on Top Player)? Anyway, really looking forward to getting a ML started this weekend

  7. I am going to say it I feel let down by this years pes and so gutted I am 7 seasons in and had won nothing for 6 of them (2 finals which I lost both on pens) however this year 7 I appear to be going to win the treble (fa cup and euro already in bag)I am gutted a pre crimbo treble! ah not-Greg I need your meanderings now more than ever because it now looks like your pes enjoyment will fill the void that this TREBLE will leave.

  8. Just a quickie – played 3 games on the new patch and suddenly Schwarz is back and scoring in every game??? Whatever Konami have done, the big man seems to like it. I’m now in the Europa League spots though, which is a bit worrying considering I have a dreadful team, but Arsenal away next so Im sure I’ll take a tanking.
    Having seen a couple of my previously affordable transfer targets go for 800k and 1 mill it’s definitely going to be a barren January transfer window for me. Can’t believe I’m going to play a whole Prem season with feckin Dodo at DM???

  9. Decc66—was that Nurse Chappel?—dock yourself 2 points for forgetting her name, or 1 if you were only pretending to forget it. That theme of existing at different rates of time was recycled very effectively in Charles Sheffield’s excellent sci-fi novel ‘Between The Strokes Of Night’—well worth a read if that’s your kind of thing.

    I haven’t tried out the game at speeds other than -2. I played it so little on those other speeds that it wouldn’t really be a test.

    I’ve noticed the increase in fouls and general ‘stop-startiness’. I’m one of those who liked it in the demo, then disliked the fewer fouls in the full game, and now I’m not so sure about the apparent return to demo levels in the post-patch game. Moral: we will never be totally satisfied with change, but we’ll probably get used to it.

    I’ve got big problems with the game right now. Going up to Top Player has caught me out. I have no space. None. Ever. It’s bad. That’s a good thing, I think (I was getting acres of space on Professional), but I’ve also discovered it’s very ‘stumbly’. My players want so long to gain even basic control that it;s often pretty ugly in midfield with all the collisions.

  10. abbeyhill—you catch me today on a slight downer with the game after a challenging session. All I’ll say is that it takes about 30 matches, as ever, to take the temperature of a football game. I think Top PLayer will really stretch you in ML—the Exhibition games are way, way different, as are the tournaments, the UEFA CL mode, etc. etc.

    PES2011 is a great game, but it’s got its issues like any of them. Even the hallowed PES5 has issues, as I’ve discovered recently while playing it on a PC installation.

  11. Gary—I’ll do my best to keep going with PES2011 for as long as possible. What I can say today after a few sessions on Top Player is that I understand people who are frustrated with the game in a way that I didn’t understand them before. I could go on in my usual way here, but I’ll save it all for the posts next week 😉

  12. not-greg, yes I noted the stumbliness and stop-startiness of the game in midfield, quite a contrast to the ebb & flow of FIFA. It looked more like the level of football I play at on a Saturday morning! I was hoping it was just because it was New Zealand….

  13. I’ve got a question. Last year, the specialized training for a skill card would leave the player completely out of regular training thus not developing in stats. Has this changed in 2011?

    I just started a new master league with defaults and I’ve got Shimizu learning speed merchant while Palmieri is learning slide tackling.

  14. abbeyhill—I deliberately took a few days off PES last weekend to do some work and played a few matches of FIFA11 to ease my hunger—the game is much too fast (even on Slow) compared to PES2011, and the stupid sprint-pressure-clamp is as stupid as ever, but I have to say that in many important aspects, it feels a lot better than PES2011. The PESness of PES (whatever that is) will keep me playing PES unless and until it seriously blows up in my face. But I think this could be the most impressed I’ve been with FIFA since 08. Its shooting is the best it’s ever been.

  15. bkmelendez—4.5 seasons in and I’ve still not accumulated enough cash to have the luxury of skill card training, so I can’t answer your question directly. I would like to think it’s the same as last year, but given how much else in PES2011 is inexplicably different, you never know. Maybe somebody else will know.

  16. I don’t know what skill card training was like last year, but this year you allocate some of your training focus points towards skill card training. Allocating more points allows you to acquire the card more quickly, but obviously diverts more away from regular training. However, even if you allocate the maximum number of points you can for skill card training, there should be enough points for a fair amount of regular training. It’s hard to judge what effect shifting focus points has, with player development being so vague.

    Since the patch, the game seems to have got so much harder, I can’t seem to score anymore! I’d normally welcome a rise in difficulty, but am actually pretty annoyed at having to take a backward step at this stage of my ML career. I finished in a champions league spot last season, at the moment I’m lower mid table. Still, only quite early into the current season. This could, of course, have nothing to do with the patch…

  17. Oh dear, just caught my 1 yr old son with Pro Evo disc in his mouth and a jam sandwich in my ps3, is that what you call an own goal!

  18. Lord Stanley, I trust you were more concerned about the damage to your PS3 than to your son!

    Not-greg, I had my first look at FIFA11 last night and was seriously impressed, there seems an extra crispness and responsiveness compared to FIFA10 coupled with a more solid feeling of players and ball. I think they’ve nailed it at last. Played Ipswich v Norwich on legendary all-manual and although I lost 1-0 it was a barnstorming game with chances at both ends

  19. I think that should have been Eat my Goal!!! Not Greg do you have any funny stories/dramas where Pro Evo impacted on your real life??

  20. Filbert—see my post tomorrow, which I’ve just finished off. I think I’ve run into the same wall you have, post-patch. I don’t know what to do for the best. I don’t want to go back to Professional, but… well, I’ll have to see.

    And you’re quite right, this kind of thing may have nothing to do with the patch. The forums—particularly EvoWeb—are talking a lot about it, and in a different, more unanimous way from the Option File theory. Whatever’s happened, AI pressure in my PES2011 ML is suddenly at a level of such ferocity for all 90 minutes of every match that it’s bordering on unplayable.

  21. Lord Stanley—I also trust that you immediately rescued your PS3 from the offender’s clutches and tended to its needs? If not, why not?!

    And I tend to play PES in an hermetically-sealed antechamber to the rest of my life. Once, just once, an outside influence entered the scene, when I played a two-player game of ISS Pro Evolution Soccer on a PS1 at a friend’s house. He was a casual football gamer whose hours on that game could only have been numbered in single-figures, whereas I was having one of my usual 100 hours years. I played him and it was a 2-2 draw, but only thanks to a lucky late equaliser from me. I was disgusted with myself for letting him score twice and get a draw off me. Disgusted….

    That’s more funny peculiar than funny ha-ha, I know, but it’s literally the only example I can think of. 😉

  22. abbeyhill—I’ve had great times on FIFA11 just messing about in the Arena with different players and playing with the ball physics and the new shooting system, which really, really appeals to me. Shooting is such a huge part of a football game. FIFA11 gets it as right as next-gen FIFA has ever done IMO.

    It’s a shame about FIFA’s ‘defending’, which 90% of the time consists of ‘squeeze three buttons and wait two seconds to get the ball back’. Every time I wonder if I could take FIFA more seriously, I remember the sprint-clamp, and that’s that.

    Still, if PES2011 had come out with the kind of general ‘handling’ of FIFA11, PES fans would have wet themselves with joy. But because it’s got the F-word on the box, it must be condemned. Ahhh, if I ever do write a book version of this blog…

  23. just finished my first season with the defaults, 10min, top player and normal game speed.

    I went out of the cup first round losing 2-1 to Chelski but got promoted in 2nd one point off top spot.
    62 points W-17 D-11 L-7 GF-52 GA-25, scored most goals in league and conceded the least… I have never got promoted the first season…

    i signed most of my youth team in august by the end of he season i only left Kim Jol and two SS´s going into the next season. finished the season with a bank ballence of 5million which i have decided to spend on staff upgrades and one midfield player 66ovr, i spent 1 million on an athletics trainer that has maximum focus points for the players “form arrows” a better scout, and a better coach so i now have 20focus points per player. After all deducions i hav about 800,000points left and my sponsership almost covers my wages so i´m all set to take on he prem with Sharze and co.

    so far i have only played january, w-2 d-1
    2-2 arsenal
    2-0 win Aston villa
    1-0 win Spurs

    i am enjoying playing, every game is still hard work but i shouldn´t be able to have achieved what i have in one season, i never have done before. Never got promoted before season 3 previously, what to do…

  24. Have been out of the lop with regards to reading this blog since weds as have the messiest weekend I have ever had, work events followed by a free bar then a lads footy team xmas night out consecutively are not good for the body, im too old for all that now!
    Last post I made i eluded to the fact that id stripped my pes installation down and removed several OF’s only to leave the WENB full one, and restarted my ML career.
    Am only 6 games in so far but thoroughly enjoying it alot more now and am currently on a 4 game unbeaten streak with 3 wins so looking promising, sat in 9th place at the mo.
    Id say my perception of the patch overall is very good, player switching is 95% fixed but still not perfect but much better than before, shooting im still perplexed on! when to use a slight tap? when to power it right up etc… all methods seem to give varying results, but the reduced CPU overhead kicks is much better.
    Touchline control… havent noticed any major difference from before tbh, and one thing that i still think Konami need to urgently patch is the refereeing. Its absurd that you can literally assault a player off the ball and nothing is ever given let alone a card, also i was through 1 on 1 with the keeper only to be cynically mowed down from behind by the defender, i got a free kick surprisingly but the defender wasnt even booked, it was the most blatant red card ever!!!
    The refereeing in PES11 is fundamentally broke.

  25. Max—Kim has been one of my solidest signings throughout a difficult ML campaign so far. It looks like I’ll be sticking with him for the best years of his career now (if I can stick with PES2011, of course).

    Are you playing with the 1.02 patch released last week? If so, and if you’re seeing the same levels of AI pressure that I’m seeing in my ML, that is a very impressive starting season.

  26. Paul—my perception of the patch was good in the first few games, bad after a few more games, and utterly abysmal today after about 30 games! The refereeing is the least of my concerns right now.

  27. not-greg, no i´m playing it out of the box Just played 2 more games to try out my only 2 signings, one of hich is Bellion, and went 3-0 and 2-0 up by half time and managed to weather the storm in the second half to win them both. I do score a lot of my goals on the counter attack, quick direct 1-1 passing and i´m quite good at long ball passes to, basicaly its like i score a few goals then try for the rest of the game to predict what “script” is about to play out and stop it…

    can i download the patch to a pen drive? or do i have to set up my PS3 near my internet conexion?

  28. Max—I’m not certain but I don’t think it’s possible to install the patch from a USB stick. You have to have the PS3 directly connected to the internet somehow.

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