Month: June 2015

I was Hagi in the haze of a drunken hour

Hagi arrives

So I’ve only gone and got Hagi.

He’s not in PES2015 at all, as far as I know. I did it myself – added him myself – as a special treat for my final furlong on PES2015.

I created my own version of Hagi in the Editor, and signed him from the Created Players list within my ML save.

I found Hagi’s PES stats in one of the many online databases, deducted 5 points from each global stat, and fashioned a 20-year-old bizarro version of the man who ended up as a 91 OVR:

Hagi Edit

No, he doesn’t look anything like the original – his skin colour alone should be a shade or two darker. I haven’t quite got the stats right.  And that position coverage is wrong. He was an all-round attacking midfielder. I’ll be heading back into the Editor for another tinker before he actually kicks a ball for my side. Maybe I’ll bring that OVR rating down a few points.

No guilt. No worries about ‘purity of essence’. I did a similar thing in PES2012, when a stale Master League was revitalised by the injection of 5 or 6 Classic Players.

PES2015’s ML isn’t stale by any means, but it is winding its way to an end, if not this season then the next, or the one after that.

I devised a House Rule Consequence for getting Hagi: I had to release – not sell: release – one of my uber-superstar top players. Hagi would then be a replacement for that player.

I released Drogba. The former World Player of the Year. The out-and-out powerhouse. A 26-year-old at his 97OVR peak.

It was either him or Forlan, and I went for Drogba because he’s slightly the better player and the more frequent goalscorer by a long margin. He’s also a 97OVR player and releasing him hurts. I’ve never done anything like this is a Master League before and it feels strange.

Hagi won’t arrive until mid-season and I’m not actually there yet. Friday’s post should see him with a few matches under his belt and hopefully a goal or two. I’m excited about this.

I’d like to get a free kick or two to try him out. A free kick like this one, from PES2012:

I still haven’t scored a single free kick on PES2015, which isn’t surprising when you consider that in around 700 Master League matches I’ve had maybe 5 free kicks in shooting range. Literally. About FIVE free kicks.

It’s a disgrace, it’s wrong, and I hope it’s fixed for PES2016. It probably won’t be fixed. The online multiplayers don’t see it as a problem. Their hyper-aggressive style accumulates plenty of fouls already. Football games are calibrated to cater for online multiplayer as the first priority. Those of us who play solely against the AI (depending on playing style) see few fouls per match or – in my case – more often no fouls at all. An unintended side-effect of the focus on multiplayer, doubtless, but a very real side-effect nonetheless. No-fouls football gaming is here to stay, people.

I beat Barcelona in the last Champions League group stage to take the runner-up spot in our group.

Season 13 beating Barca

A dour, grinding win. I was deliberately holding on for the 0-0, denying possession to the CPU, which seems to work, and I snatched a goal for the win in classic fashion.

Season 13 CL group final table

In the league, I’m not as close on the leader’s shoulder as I’d like to be, but I’m still in the chasing pack. With just over half the season remaining, I’m confident I’ll be there or thereabouts. I’m still in the FA Cup, needless to say. This Treble is still very much on.

Season 13 after 18



Stop me if Youth think you’ve heard this one before

Season 13 Recoba hat trick

Recoba has come good after a typically Master League-like indifferent start. A couple of goals in a couple of matches were capped by a sensational hat trick against Manchester City that helped me to a thumping 4-1 win.

In Master League it takes any new signing approximately 3-6 matches to bed down and feel like one of the gang. You used to be able to check how a new player’s teamwork was progressing. Back in the old PS2 days, a tap of a button cycled through various graphical displays. You would be shown how well (or not) your players played together in a latticework of connecting lines and numerical ratings.

Today each player has a static teamwork rating, but the deeper data has been mostly abstracted behind the scenes, which is a shame. You can still feel its effects on the surface in how it takes new players time to gel with the rest of the squad.

Here’s the league table after 12 matches of Season 13:

Season 13 after 12

I like my position there. With 1/3rd of the season gone, I’m lurking behind the leaders and biding my time, a bit like Steve Ovett in the 1500 metres final in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Or was it Seb Coe who did the shoulder-lurking? I think it was Seb Coe, now I think about it. Whichever one of them it was, I’m like that.

After my bullish confidence over the Champions League group draw, reality dashed cold water in my face. An opening 0-2 defeat at home by Barcelona woke me up. I won the next two matches, then lost the most recent. I should still qualify, but I’ve made it unnecessarily tricky through over-confidence. After you get to a certain stage in Master League, you just don’t expect Europe to give you any trouble.

PES2015 Season 13 CL group after 4

Recoba has been a highlight of the season so far – another highlight has been the progress of some of the ‘Emergency Youths’ that I signed last season to bulk out my depleted squad.

Among them was this young man – one K BELLARABI, an 18-year-old RMF, rated 66 when I signed him and now up to 69.

Bellarabi Stoops to score

That’s a picture of him just before scoring an unusual sort of goal in PES2015 that I’m saving for a special goals video in a week or two. The vid will be compiled from all the types of goals that don’t usually make it onto highlights reels. So there’ll be no 30-yard net busters. They’ll all be in-off-the-knee scuffers from two yards, and goals like that.

It’ll be something different, and it’ll show just what variety PES2015 is capable of. Non-players of any football game could be forgiven for thinking that the only goals scored are Hollywood long-rangers and the types of multi-pass ‘team goals’ that are always held up as being the greatest goals of all. (There’s no doubting that ‘team goals’ in football are good, but they’re undeserving of the excessive joy always lavished upon them, IMO.)

I play at least one of my Emergency Youths from the start in most matches, even the big matches. Why not? It adds spice and interest.

Bellarabi is as solid and dependable in a midfield slot as any of the more experienced, higher-rated players. And it’s very satisfying to complete a good performance with him.

And they’re by no means all potential world-beaters. One of my other Youths, J ILICIC, will simply have to go in the next transfer window. Every time I play him, he has a ‘mare, with passes going astray and the player gradually disappearing entirely, his morale almost visibly shot to pieces.

I have a youth CB called BAUER (whom I imagine answers the phone with a snapped ‘Bauer‘). He has been a revelation too and I’m always confident putting him in for one of the first-choice CBs.

It’s a shame in many ways that these Youths have arrived on the scene so belatedly. It’s likely that there are only two more seasons at most left in the PES2015 tank for me. Thus I’ll never get to see them flower fully. It was a mistake to disregard the Youths early on in this ML.

Season 13 begins

Season 13 Recoba on board

Season 13 sees the departure from my squad of Pirlo, a long-serving player who did some good things and occasionally wowed me. Overall, though, Pirlo just never stood out enough for it to be worth paying his gargantuan wages.

Wages that another player of equivalent ‘name’ stature might put to better use… Time to go shopping for a big player. With Gerrard now covering the DMF role, and Carrick/Conti covering him, I felt it was time for a more attacking midfielder.

Step forward Recoba, and bring your pun-promising name with you. All these post titles are now sadly inevitable: They Think It’s All Recoba. Recoba The Moon. Recoba and Out. And, just for all the Elkie Brooks & Chris Rea fans: Fool If You Think It’s Recoba. I’m sure there are many more.

I offered Pirlo to Liverpool as the makeweight in the deal and only had to pay £9m for Recoba. A good deal.

We lifted the Supercup, again. It’s getting to feel very nice, watching Gerrard hoist aloft a Cup of any description.

Gerrard lifts the Supercup

Some lingering business from Season 12 – here was the updated Club Ranking, which reflects my newfound status as Champions of Europe:

Season 13 club ranking

Quite a leap from the last few seasons where we were humiliatingly down among the bottom-feeders. I expect Season 13 to furnish me with at least a Double of some kind, ideally a Treble, so that ranking should be top-10 at the very least by this time next season.

Onto the start of Season 13 proper, and I started great with two wins on the bounce, and then ran into the familiar PES2015 wall of scripting (it seemed) that threw a defeat and a draw my way.

It could have been better. But considering last season’s terrible start that I never truly recovered from, I’ll take this table after 4 matches:

Season 13 after 4

Season 13 CL draw

The Champions League groups stage draw took place, pitting me against Barcelona and two old friends.

If the six matches follow usual Master League form, the toughest encounters will be against Copenhagen.

Still, I won’t be taking anyone lightly. The Champions League remains one of the trickiest parts of the Treble. They’re all tricky parts, in different ways. A Treble on PES2015 would be the greatest Treble ever.

Season 13 home kit

Oh, here’s the new home kit. Yes, I have kind of run out of ideas. I want to get to the promised PES2016 editing suite now. I’ll bother a bit more when I can have Coventry City badges and sponsors and so on.

I do like playing with default PES-style stripes though. It seems to give my team an automatic visual identity. If we’re in stripes, I’m happy.

So here we go with Season 13 of… however many seasons there turn out to be.

I won’t bother trying to conceal something here that most regular PES Chronicles readers over the years will have picked up on: that I’m now looking to conclude my business with the current PES.

Only a Treble will bring the curtain down on PES2015, though, and that may prove to be the tallest order yet.


Four goals, one cup

Season 12 FA Cup action

Season 12 ended with league failure, as expected. I was too far behind towards the end, so far that not even this game was going to give me a helping hand. I was happy just to secure 4th spot on goal difference:

Season 12 Final TableThe FA Cup final was against Manchester City. Seeing them as my opponents made me hiss through my teeth. My league matches against them are typically grim, scrappy affairs low on excitement and high on sheer bloody hard work.

The final was exactly the same. 0-0 for a long time, then City snatched a goal to make it 1-0 to them, and then no matter what I did, no matter what I tried, nothing would happen for me. Defeat in the Cup.Season 12 FA Cup final defeatOnto the Champions League Final and another sight to make me wince: Arsenal were my opponents. Another team where our usual sort of league encounter is a tight, dour match that ranks among PES2015’s least enjoyable matches.

Season 12 CL Final setup

Great atmosphere and pre-match buildup, as ever. Just shows that Konami can do this kind of thing very well, when they put their minds to it. It probably helps that the Champions League is Big In Japan.

For this biggest of big matches, I played Gerrard at DMF and made him captain.

I’d  been intrigued to see Gerrard picked in the Premier League’s Team of the Season at DMF, a position I never really played him in. So for the Champions League final I dropped Pirlo (so often ineffective for me, the way I play) and put in Gerrard instead.

Season 12 CL Final Tunnel tensionThings were very different in this Final.

I streaked into a 3-0 lead by half-time, and that was effectively that. Gerrard at DMF was simply a class above Pirlo or Conti or anyone else I’d ever played there.

I decided there and then to get rid of Pirlo in post-season and go with Gerrard as my captain and first-choice DMF for the rest of my time on PES2015. It’s one of life’s amusing ironies that Gerrard in video game football tends to be the consistently world class player that Liverpool fans devoutly believe him to be in real life.

It was a comfortable 4-0 win in the end – yes, it was one of those ‘easy’ PES finals. But I believe I’d worked for it. I’d seized control from the first whistle, denied the AI quality possession, and taken my chances.Engraving the European CupA well-deserved victory, and my first Champions League title on PES2015. I enjoyed it as much as my digital guys seemed to.

Season 12 CL Final victoryGerrard has great stamina and lasts whole matches in PES2015. He was still on the pitch and wearing the armband at full-tme. When I saw him lift Big Cup itself, I couldn’t help thinking it was just over ten years since a certain famous night in Istanbul.

Gerrard lifts it high

And there the season ended. Not the Treble I’d hoped for, but I’d won the most important trophy in club football, which was a nice bonus.

Some random goals from the season’s end:

Messi, Forlan, Forlan, Messi. Pretty standard goals, all of them, with a few points of interest: Forlan’s breakaway Goal 3 is a rare instance of an AI defender, in prime position to intercept an attempted pass, not doing so. Goal 4 is a satisfying in-off-the-post effort. Messi is coming really good now.

And so on to Season 13. I’ll be in every competition except the Charity Shield (sorry: Community Shield) equivalent. One or two more big players and I’ll have a great chance at the Treble, at the very least. #thistime