But Evra knows I’m miserable now

Season 13 Treble is over

The Treble dream is over for another season. I crashed out of the FA Cup, 0-1, at the hands of… QPR.

It was one of those 0-1 Master League defeats against supposedly lesser opposition. They got the early goal, and then no goal of mine was ever going to happen.

I don’t need to describe in detail how it went down because, if you’re reading this, you’ve played a football game or two before and you know how things work.

It’s conceding the early goal that does the damage. The AI scoring an early goal triggers whatever script – yes, I said script, and I bloody mean it too – that’s working in the bowels of the game to frustrate your efforts. A moment’s loss of focus on your part, and it’s 0-1 to the other team, and if you don’t at least equalise by half-time then you’re nearly always as good as finished. The catenaccio vice closes, and the game’s over.

Season 13 Evra joins

Today’s post title is more than just a desperate recycling of an already tired joke that hardly anyone under the age of 35 really understands. Before the transfer window closed, I snapped up Evra.

He played in the ill-fated QPR match and missed a great chance late on that would have taken it to extra time. I had a shot that the keeper pushed out wide to Evra’s feet. From a tight angle, the goal was open and at his mercy… and the shot blazed against the side-netting. Today’s post title was chosen there and then.

Aged 25 Evra’s currently at his peak. He’s always struck me as a great attacking full back in real life, so we’ll see how his Pro Evo persona plays out.

But what of the main man of the previous post, one G HAGI esquire?

Things are going great. I made a few tweaks to his appearance, darkening his skin tone a shade or two, altering his body type and running style. (Such changes do carry over into an existing ML save that the created player has already joined, I can confirm.)

And I got a bloody free kick that I promptly swapped Hagi in to take, and promptly blasted into the keeper’s hands.

Homemade Hagi looks great

But look there – look at the distinctive Hagi-like stance. It’s him! It’s without any doubt the one and only Hagi… He plays like him too. (I scored a decent Hagi-esque goal with him that I’m saving for a longish compilation at the end of the season.)

Creating such a lifelike Hagi makes me feel proud, but I was working to a template from an online database. The credit must go the faithful online curators of PES stats going back years. Seriously, there’s a body of work out there that is almost staggering to contemplate. The well-known PC patches and console option files are arguably the tip of the iceberg of all the obsessive fan labour that goes into a typical edition of PES.

No wonder PES2015 has been something of a damp squib across the community. The PS4/XB1 version offered no way to permit the creators and curators to do what they want to do, which is edit the bejesus out of the game. PES2016 should remedy that. We’ll see.

Enough of my musings on The State of Pro Evo.

With the loss of the Treble chance this year, my focus has switched to the league title and the Champions League.

Securing even one of these would boost my team up into the top 10 rankings. Winning both would surely move me into the top 5.

Especially after I won the World Club Championship. I was surprised to find this competition was a tournament with four teams. My semi-final opponents were none other than WE United. It felt odd playing them, but I did and duly dispatched them, and then thumped Cruzeiro in the final:

Won the World Club

And then I was awarded the World Manager of the Year. So everything is falling my way except the darn Treble.

The League table after 28 matches:

Season 13 after 28

With 10 matches left, I fancy my chances of making up 7 points. Last season I was in a similar position and got sloppy. Every match will get maximum focus this time.

I saw off Napoli in the first knockout round of the Champs League. Next up, Bayern Munich. I’ve already used “I was happy in the haze of a Bayern Munchen hour” as a post title, back in 2009. So this coming Tuesday’s post title is not as predictable as you might think.

29 Comments

  1. NG – Evra is another player I have had for sometime now as a regen youth. Him and Cole my other choice LB have been a tad disapointing as they both peaked early (about 24/25 year old range). He is still a first team regular though and is efficent and reliable but doesn’t do much going forward as I hoped.

  2. The – in my opinion – very little difference between PS4 and PS3 PES 2015 and the added bonus of full kits/option files makes me rather pleased I’ve held off this long on upgrading to what was Next Gen but I guess what has become Now Gen. I’m in the market for cheap second hand PS4 now though, ready for PES 2016 and Mini Shed wanting some new frangled Lego game.

    Back to PES 2015 and I’ve got three new kits and some new signings ready for the new season. Just signed Llorente (loved him on the demo), Seb Larsson and a big, strong and crucially high stamina LWF as back up for Robben. Can’t recall his name now.

    I’ve also resigned myself to having to relax my house rule of only signing available players as it’s left me wanting in crucial areas. Goalkeepers hardly ever come up for sale/loan, for example, leaving only 16-year-old regens or youths up for grabs. So I’ve resorted to allowing myself to buy any player as long as they don’t play in a top division.

  3. Darryl – my Evra’s also inconsistent so far, like most of my players, and this continues a pattern that Paul first spoke about back in November – the way there are no really consistent top performers in PES2015. On the whole it’s probably a change for the better, but part of me misses the days when you’d get one or two players who performed game in game out.

    Shed – I’ve very little experience of the PS3 version so I defer to your judgement. I thought the PC version was different again, gameplay wise. But again that’s debatable.

  4. Frater – if you do resurrect the Asian Alian in PES 2016 can you please post a picture for me as it would make my day.

  5. More heart ache at the expense of Liverpool as I lost 3-0 in the CL final. I conceded in the first half and from previous experience of the coding of finals that first goal was going to be crucial. My players were in tears at the end and I know how they felt.

  6. January in season 18 sees me 9 points off the top after a couple of draws and I got smashed 4-0 in WCC by Minera. On a plus note, Ronaldo scored 4 goals in a 5-0 rout of Villa.

  7. Darryl – your incredible epic continues. With all these setbacks, how is eventual glory going to feel?!

    Lloyd – you lost a final by a wide margin too, suggesting it isn’t universally true that the final of a Cup is easier than the road getting there.

    PES2015: the hardest one ever, no question.

  8. NG – it certainly wil as I have put everything into winning something on Superstar. Despite the fact I could not say that I find the games always enjoyable on SS I am still loving the experience. I know it is only computer generated random events (or is it?) but in my world I have created a rivalry with Liverpool now they have pipped me to the final twice and beat me in the CL final. I have them next in my new season.

    As for the finals I think it is definitely down to the coding as I think they have tried to mimic real life, where most finsls are won by the first goalscorer. I think peoples experiences have been because they scored first as this happened in both the trophies I won as the game seemed comfortable afrerwards. Before conceding I had quite a bit of the play and later I could not get owt.

  9. Darryl – I’ve been beaten to the title by Man United 4 times out of the last 5. Only in the Treble season have I finished above them. They came back to beat me 2-1 last night. Gits.

    NG – totally agree, definelty the Hardest Pro Evo known to man.

  10. NG – different in the scripting or your own play? Or other? (PS3/4) – I must have missed the discussion of that. Then again I never saw the game most of you have seen in the first place so possibly I wouldn’t have noticed if I’d played.

    The ps4 remains one of the most disappointing, under utilised pieces of kit ive owned. Aside from some fifa/pes ive only really played lego marvel to any great lengths, everything else has felt merely polished same old same. ‘Just dance’ on the wii is getting more of a look in than anything on it. (I’m the master of Rasputin by the way…)

    Abbeyhill – it’s just not likely I’m afraid. Such is the depth of my skyrim, everything but footy games, feeling I actually bought a dark brotherhood tshirt the other day, my first ever piece of gaming clothery. Even the little fella isn’t interested at the moment, spending the day digging vast trenches along seaburn beach feels a much better use of the time, when paul fell I think I must have been roped with him.

  11. well just recreate Ribeiro on Skyrim then Turf!

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying Just Dance too. I can defeat my daughter on Outkast’s Hey Ya but she beats me on everything else including Rasputin

  12. Uncle Turf – no you never have really played PES2015. You gave it up before even the first patch as I recall. The patches it received changed things.

    Every football game is scripted. A football game is nothing more than an interaction with scripts. A football game’s worth depends on how convincing the illusion of freedom is. (The same holds true for any game at all – and arguably for anything at all, up to and including life itself.) PES2015 on Superstar deciding to hold onto the ball and fashion a chance no matter what is the scriptiest script I’ve ever seen on any football game. You can have 4 defenders around a lone AI ball-carrier and he’ll still get through. This might just be a style of gaming that you feel you have graduated from.

    The PS4 for me is roughly where the PS3 was at the same stage of its lifecycle: a football gaming machine that very occasionally gets used for another game. I like it. If I play fewer other games on it than I did on the PS3 at the same stage, that’s more about me than the machine. The games are certainly there. The likes of Witcher 3 and Bloodborne should be right up your Skyrim street.

  13. Decent start to the new season and have won 4, drawn 1 and lost one. Am two points behind you know who (yep Liverpool) but things feel different on SS at last as I am getting the feeling of being in control like I did on Top Player sometime ago and much more enjoyable. No idea which season it is as I have stopped counting.

  14. Darryl – I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad sign that you’ve stopped counting the seasons! I imagine you become all demented and Ahab-like in pursuit of the white whale of Superstar silverware.

  15. NG – me neither. Great analogy and some element of truth. This quest has taken on a far greater significance than just being about a football game.

  16. NG – was Ahab demented though, there is the question.

  17. Ah, a question that operates on a number of levels, but if the mind (in the Latin, *mente*, a conceptual layer imposed on naked reality) is part or all of the thing that must be overcome, and if we assume Ahab to have been successful and sane in the McKenna reading of the story, then yes, gloriously and righteously de-mente’d he surely was.

  18. Season nine (could be eight) underway and, boosted by some new signings, I’m feeling rather confident. Gael Clichy, Fernando Llorente and a rather impressive looking ginger bearded ‘keeper have made my squad look rather impressive.

    Those new signings weren’t available for my first game away at Swansea (1-1) but the in the next away at Cardiff the extra class told as I won comfortably 2-0. It should have been more. Llorente came off the bench for the still lacking in stamina but classy Ibrahimovic to score on his debut. Despite the new recruits, 66-rated Revell is still up top and has scored 2 in 2.

    Really focussing on some silver wear this season. Probably won’t be the league but the FA Cup or Europa will more than do.

  19. Shed — I’m having the opposite experience at the moment with the game shutting up shop for long periods and making everything insanely hard. I’m thinking my narrow 4-3-3 has become creatively bankrupt and it’s time for a fresh approach. Last year I said that PES2014 was the strangest PES ever and still believe that, but this one runs it close. So much in ML in particular isn’t what we’ve come to expect, for good and ill. If I change formation and results pick up I’ll be convinced that Konami have borrowed something from Football Manager, whose long-term players insist that their game ‘cracks’ player formation and tactics after a while, forcing change.

  20. not-Greg – surely this ‘feature’ has been in PES since about PES2?

  21. No, I’ve never noticed even a hint of it before. From PES2 through to PES2011 I played with the same 4-3-3 from start to finish of every ML campaign on every version. Then the 4-3-3 stopped being effective in PES2011 and I went to a 4-2-2-2 and I played with that formation (and no other) all the time until PES2015, where no formation seems to work for longer than a few seasons. This is the first PES ever that I’ve noticed this.

  22. NG – my experience is exactly the same and the game nuliflies you after a while and I often change tactics if this happens. I also find myself in the same position of chasing Liverpool with 17 games gone and I am 8 points behind in second place.

  23. yes I’ve been changing formations on the fly (Custom A/B formation) on PES since all the way back, even on the Winning Eleven Gameboy version, it seems the only way to create space at times. Still, fair play to you not-Greg if you’ve been winning trebles without doing so!!

  24. abbeyhill – you misunderstand, I too have been changing formations on the fly on PES all the way back, since ISS or whenever the ability was first introduced. I usually have an ultra-attacking and an ultra-defensive alt-formation that I switch to when the situation demands it.

    In this context, I was only talking about the starting formation that’s set up on the team formation screen. From my earliest times on ISS/PES that was always a static 4-3-3 formation from day 1 of ML until the very end. PES2011 seemed to nullify the 4-3-3, and so it became a 4-2-2-2 – again, something that was never changed. Now PES2014/15 seem to have nerfed the possibility of having a static starting perma-formation for more than a season or so.

  25. ah, fair enough. And are your alt-formations a different shape, or simply more attacking/defensive? I’ve tended to use them to switch between e.g. a standard 4-4-2, a 4-5-1 and a narrow lopsided 4-4-2 in the quest to find holes in the AI defence

  26. Vastly different, the attacking one’ll be something like 2-3-5 and the defensive one a 5-4-1 with everyone pulled back as far as they’ll go. I’ve been doing this and regularly talking about this on the blog for 8 years! In old-school PES L2+Square was my alt-attacking formation and L2+Triangle was my alt-defensive formation. Mid-match I’ll often cycle between the formations just to pull the players around the pitch for a few seconds and try to mix things up. If chasing a goal late on I’ll stay on the attacking one (and often be punished severely by the AI on the counter-attack – on this front, PES2015 is the most lethal and unforgiving PES I’ve played).

    But in terms of meeting the AI out there face-to-face, it’s the starting formation that makes the most impact on the way a match unfolds, and after a while like I said the PES2015 seems to ‘crack’ the starting formation in a way that I’ve never come across in PES before.

  27. Thanks to a couple days of work I had a great session this morning and having been 7 points behind Liverpool at the start of the morning I am now 1 point ahead with 11 matches to go. It has been nice as well just for one season not to be in Europe. My wage budget means that this only sustainable for one season but has meant I can fully focus on the league. I need to concentrate in the coming sessions like I have never done before.

  28. Ooooh, I’d like you to be 1 point ahead with about half that number of matches to go, but even so, keep your focus and try to get a cushion of 4 points asap, as that will do wonders for your morale. Heading into a match knowing you could afford to lose and still be on top oddly makes it less likely you’ll lose. Go for it Captain Ishmael!

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