Big men strike again

PES2016 a rare daytime matchSeason 5 of Master League on PES2016. It’s at this stage of a PES year — when the nights really start drawing in and Slade starts echoing from shop doorways — that I start getting down to the serious business of Master League.

I’ve played a lot of PES2016 over the past few days. I’ve gone all the way through mid-season and a long way past it.

The table after 30 matches:Season 5 after 30 PES2016I won’t be storming up the league to win anything this season. Last season I came within a couple of whiskers of the Europa League spots. I don’t think I will this time, but we’ll see.

I didn’t go mad in the mid-season window. I don’t observe a revolving-door transfer policy. I think I’ve got a good squad as it is. For all PES2016’s faults, it’s keeping me interested on a number of levels, and one of those levels is a traditional one: nurturing a nucleus of players in Master League and bonding with them over a period of time.Castledine after thumping Stoke Season 5The prime example being Castledine: he just keeps getting better and better. The player of PES2016’s whole Master League for me so far, without question. Although there are other contenders, Castledine has been with me from season 1 and will stay until the end, whenever that comes.Castledine, SuperstarMy team isn’t currently setting this ML world on fire, but Castledine certainly is. Teams of the Month like the one below are pretty regular:Seaons 5 a typical team of the monthI picked up Luca Toni in mid-season. The current 19-year-old Regen was mentioned often by a few regular commenters on the blog, something which usually puts me off those players. I like my discoveries to be my own. A player shared is a player halved and all that.

PES2016 season 5 Luca Toni arrivesBut there’s a method behind my search for big men. (No, don’t take that out of context.)

Individuality in PES has been nerfed over the past few years, of that there is no question in my mind, but the big men remain very satisfying. (Stop it now.)

Dzeko and Cavani, and now Toni, handle like all players in PES always should, There’s momentum and inertia. There’s clumsiness and lack of responsiveness sometimes. They’re not the insta-responsive ninjas that the online component of the PES community apparently spent years calling for, and eventually got. Konami should never have listened to those voices, but it’s far too late now.

Season 5 Rakitic becomes a generalAs well as the rare daytime match seen at the top of this post, I also had my first injury in about a season and a half — and it had to happen to Cavani.

Cavani gets injuredI missed him when he was gone (leave it now), and the goals dried up a touch. I think Dzeko is just past the period when he’s most useful to me. Toni came in and didn’t really do anything. Too young. In a season or two I’ll be in Europe, hopefully the Champions League, and he should hit his stride then.

Cavani returned, eventually, and started scoring again almost immediately.

Here’s a Season 5 Miscellany of goals that starts with another fine Dzeko header and ends with a stylish Cavani hat-trick. Gorgeous from Cavani! The third goal is one of the unusual stranded-keeper ones that I think we’ve all scored some version of by now. Somewhere in the middle is a last-minute winner from Castledine against Spurs that had me roaring with good old-fashioned Pro Evo delight. Aimar, fresh on a substitute, makes the goal with his pace and then with the cross.



  1. A nice selection of goals there n-G. Love the comedy one at the end.

    Also interesting to see that you’re still a fair way off challenging at the top of the Prem. That’s good to see given the fears you had that this might be a very short ML.

    As for me, my luxury couple of weeks of extra time for PES has come to an end and I’ve had no time to play since Friday. Back to snatching games when I can I suppose but I also find myself more and more tempted to pick up a gamey game for the PS4 – especially as I’ve played nothing but PES on it since I got the machine in September.

  2. It’s interesting what you say about the lack of injuries in master league, I’ve found that an issue with all versions of PES to be honest

    I generally, since 2009 anyway now play with an edited-in fictional team of my own creation and alway make all players injury prone, or very injury prone. When you do that the game does seem to respond.

    Saying that, in the rough and tumble of PES2013 my poor little guys are getting beaten up in every match! Surely this is the most physical PES ever! Injuries everywhere and plenty of fouls 🙁

  3. Shed — re. that final comedy goal I missed getting a good replay of the AI keeper getting up and then falling over my player (the blossoming Aimar) and thus allowing the time needed for Cavani to slot into an empty net.

    A few games every now and then is why we love football games, surely. And there are so many great game games for the PS4 now.

    Ridders — my playing style really does yield relatively few fouls in almost every football game (PES5 excepted), and I suppose few injuries. Although having said that, in PES2016 I do quite often see my players staying down and looking injured, and going off for treatment, but they always come back on uninjured. The rare injuries I see only seem to happen in ‘training’. I hate to point the finger again at online multiplayer, but it is their fault, They don’t want interruptions and they don’t want people fiddling around in menus with subs for long, so the game is plainly designed to make it very unlikely that a player will go off injured mid-match. I think I’ve heard of it happening so I won’t say it’s impossible, but coming up 230 matches of ML now and it hasn’t happened once. Everything is geared towards optimising the online experience now. Everything. We either find a way to live with that or we play older football games. Soon as I’m done with PES2016, that’s what I’ll be doing.

  4. NG – Regarding my experiences with injuries i’ve had on average probably four or five a season, usually Denis Suarez, Vilhena and Batshauyi then one of the youths. I dont change my players around that much and play them on less fitness so that might be why they get more injuries.

    I dont like the fact the computer doesnt tell me when a play disappears injured and then doesnt come back. I played the whole of the second half of a match the other day without Batshauyi!

  5. NG – spot on, the game is completely geared towards uninterrupted flow. Which, I understand the reason behind but completely disagree with.
    I love the nitty gritty of football, but then I’m 38 years old and knew football BEFORE the packaged WWE nonsense it is now thanks to FIFA/SKY Sports bull-shit.
    PES 2016 with realistic fouls/slide tackles and competent goalies would be a thing of beauty indeed!

  6. Lloyd – Sterling at 30 seconds is a mighty hit. Loving the -2 pace of the game too.

    stewdog – I’ve never had that one happen to me. Doesn’t the game take you automatically to the menu when a player goes off injured? (I wouldn’t know, it never having happened to me.)

    Ridders – I remember watching a live TV match in the mid-90s and watching the players came out to the strains of Robbie Williams singing ‘Let Me Entertain You’ – and I felt that it was just wrong. Real-life football soon disappeared into something called ‘football’, where they don’t even follow the basic rules of the game, and nobody seems to care because the actual sport is less important than the overall spectacle. I keep saying it because it’s true: video game football is better than football. Even the worst football game – FIFA2003, say – is better than football.

  7. 12 week injury for Cobillay(sp) during the match. Spotted he was injured when I went to make my subs.

  8. 96th minute equaliser to preserve my unbeaten start to the season, don’t mind if I do. The look on the Stoke players faces at the final whistle you would think they had lost a cup final. Boom.

  9. I’ve been enjoying PES 2016 the more I’ve been playing it. Actually had 3 day games in a row yesterday, and then a CPU player was booked for diving! It was actually Diego Costa, so either there’s a hidden stat for him or it was just a massive coincidence, but that was the first time I’ve seen that from the AI in this game.

  10. Dude, is the likes of Shimizu, Orellano and Schwartz still knocking around as regens in PES 2016 Master League?

  11. Absolutely awful session for me last night. Probably my worst of this year. In fairness I was tired and didn’t feel well but still, 4 games played, 3 losses 1 draw. The worst loss was a 3-0 spanking in a rival game vs Rotherham. Maybe it was my tired brain switching off but every game felt heavily scripted, at one point I made my wife snigger by crying out “For f**** sake I just can’t get the F***** ball off them no matter what I do!”

    I think the fact that my heart’s not in it, I want to get promoted solely to boost my chances of the Newcastle job, is a factor too.

    Incidentally, RIP Jonah Lomu.

  12. Max – I’ve been through little clusters of sunlit daytime games too, but they’re blips. Eternal night is the rule. In Season 5 it’s been 99% night/dusk matches.

    Aaeon – not that I’m aware of. The old-style ML characters were retired a few editions ago.

  13. Mike – Agreed. Anyone who batters England in a rugby match is alright with me.

    nG – No one seems to have mentioned the post’s reference to a certain song by the flower waving vegetarian narcissist, so I thought I would.

  14. Lloyd — Gerrard @ 1:40 — always a fine sight in Pro Evo. After Mathieu, Stevie G’s my favourite PES DMF.

  15. Xmas in Season 9 approaches and my record in all competitions so far is P24 W20 D4 L0. Guess who’s up next? The team I’ve never beaten and almost always beat me. Bloody Chelsea.

  16. Lloyd — if it’s any encouragement, I’ve beaten Chelsea on Superstar. A jammy 2-1 at home, admittedly, where I basically passed it around the back for long stretches, but a win is a win.

  17. Chelsea are most certainly beatable lloyd, it’s just the other 36 games they tend to win!

    I’m on a break at the moment while I finish far cry 3. I love all the open world bushcraft sneakery with the marvellous pay off of sniper rifle action at the end. I lost the love of random open world stuff with GTA, didn’t like the limited input of uncharted, and found sniper elite too rigid and mission focused but far cry seems to put them all together and keeps me happy. It’s very samey but so is skyrim really, and I just love hiding in the long grass with a bow and arrow.

    Next up I might try that Grendel game as my non football interest. Looking forward to see how big the world is in that.

  18. Dire times if we’re actively looking for player individuality in PES and are struggling to find it! As for me the enjoyment i got from the game has completely eroded. Just had a horrible, horrible match again. Interestingly it was a match i quit some time ago in disinterest. As it turns out the scoreline was exactly the same down to the minutes the goals were scored in (recall an earlier post by me about this) i can not bring myself to play even one more match of a sports game with such predetermined outcomes. I really am gutted as never Before has any (pes) game has fallen from such heights after So much initial promise. Oh well. Back to fallout, can’t say i didn’t give the game a fair shake.

  19. In your face Chelsea. 1-0 to the Liverpool. Scored by Drogba. Boom.

    1-0 is my new favourite scoreline, had 10 of them this season and 19 clean sheets.

  20. Turf – if memory serves there was a hub screen with 4 exits into different worlds with at least 4-6 screens each so we could be talking 20-25 screens of old-school hardcore action! Maybe Fallout 4 is coming close to surpassing this though

    #1 – now I do remember your previous post on this and we are getting into some seriously freaky territory. You have played the same match 4 times and in each case the AI has scored 2 goals in exactly the same minutes in each case? Despite what I would imagine your desperate attempts to avert this sickening scenario? If I were you I would be very very worried

  21. I’m out of the loop on a game – Grendel? Uh?

  22. sorry not-Greg if you don’t play PES on Superstar straight out the box then Grendel probably isn’t for you

  23. It’s going off tonight!! Went 2-0 down to Hull after 19 mins, they had a player sent off for 2 yellows on 26 minutes and I smashed them 7-2.

  24. Abbeyhill – it was a different match from the other freak occurrence i described a while ago but the principle holds : no Matter what i do the CPU goals fly in at exactly the same minutes regardless of hacking them down, changing strategy you name it. Interestingly, both these matches were domestic cup matches… Very worrying in my view indeed.

  25. #1 – all credit to you for perseverance with the game and take the crown from Uncle T who had a monumental struggle with Fifa 14.

    My MGS efforts have been comical as I really am not very good at these type of games anymore and blew myself up in a watch tower this morning. I am not missing footy games at all at the moment and am quite happy dicking around and blowing myself up in the air and shooting the odd round of golf.

  26. Fifa 14….sheesh. Enjoyable for a while then either the difficulty collapsed or went completely script mad. I remember thinking what I needed was a ‘Pro legend’ or ‘World Pro’ midway point as the sliders just sent me over the edge. As for my career I was the Peter Reid of my day; Riyadh, Dublin, the Canary Islands…

    NG – Grendel is a dramatic fusion of platform and concept rock. It helps to be wearing a jester suit whilst playing it’s only diffculty level of ‘unbelievable’ with your one life and no save points.

    I’m reading the Martian at the moment, I don’t really go to the cinema but am loving the book.

  27. 33 game unbeaten run ended on the 24th January 2024 by Everton. Bollocks.

  28. Uncle Turf — I ‘read’ The Martian in audiobook form on my work commute a year or so ago and really enjoyed it. I’d be interested in the film, as there’s too little sci-fi to enjoy IMO (and it is sci-fi: without paradigm-shifting technological leaps that’d make it affordable and worth doing, nobody’s ever going to Mars). I made the mistake of watching the trailer, though, which turned out to be pretty much the whole film.

    FIFA14 was great at first, and remained always pretty good for a few matches, but any session would quickly nosedive.

    Darryl — I think MGS5 is too big and complex to be a decent game-game as an alternative to sports games. What you want in a game-game is the equivalent of a short novel. MGS5 is the equivalent of five seasons of Breaking Bad. Still, if you can make it to the Quiet boss battle, I think you’ll be hooked to the end.

  29. If anyone is looking for a PES buddy, Just Cause 3 might be worth a shout, i had Just Cause 2 and it was wonderfully nonsense from start to finish. That and Unchartered (the underground accountancy game) blew my mind the first time i put them on, i quite enjoyed Dragon Age as well, but that was a bit more involved.

    It’ll be either that, or Battlefront for me. I just want a freaking lightsaber!

  30. Still trying to find a second hand copy of Don Bradman for less than £30.

  31. Not greg – on the conterary it may be the ideal alternative as it looks so far like a game that you slowly play all year round. Some at work have said it gets boring but as you once said it is the mundane nature of a offline footy game that makes them what they are. My gut feeling is there is an epic game there but most will not get to there as it looks like it isn’t the throw away pop game that people want now. I am intrigued by this.

  32. Darryl – MGS5 certainly gets routine in patches, but never boring. The big set-piece boss battles (a Metal Gear hallmark) are too widely spaced apart but as unforgettable as ever. It is an epic game, overall. I’ve been playing at the pace of a few long sessions per week for nearly 2.5 months and I’m not even halfway through. No, people do not want to commit to being involved with a game-game for that long a time. I’m in the same boat, as I won’t commit either. Only for a Metal Gear, and maybe a Final Fantasy.

    Chris99 – there are copies on eBay for £10-£25, depending on platform. Xbox360 version is £12.50.

    stewdog – I have Just Cause 2 buried somewhere in my archaeological layers of unplayed/underplayed games, and doubt I’ll get to it or any sequel now. I have to say Battlefront tempted me briefly this week, as did Far Cry 4 (£20 for PS+ members), but I’ve got one game-game up and running and another waiting in the wings. Part of good gaming is knowing you’ve got enough going. It’s the urge to go chasing after the next big game that destroys gaming.

  33. nG – Cheers, I’ve got a bid in.

  34. Darryl – no other game will get this treatment from me mind you. Any other game would have been tossed in the bin much sooner. Having said that i of course started thinking that “it couldn’t be as bad as i think it is” – So i gave it another two games. Let me tell you – i will probably give it another go somewhere along the line but for now id rather play fallout. Or any other game really. Actually i’d rather gouge my own eyes out at the moment. Ugh.

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