Umlaut of örder

Gotze bemoans a derby defeatSeason 6 of Master League. I’ve just passed through the mid-season transfer window. One bit of business to report, and it’s a pretty big one.

I finally located a top-rated player who agreed terms. Again, as has already happened a few times in PES2016, he’s a bit older than I’d usually consider. But this is a PES where the oldies can still do the business — chiefly, I suspect, because this is a PES where stats and age mean less than they ever have before. They’re not completely meaningless, just less meaningful. Thus the older players are pretty much as good as the young ‘uns, until they start officially declining. So I have found, anyway.

Step forward the 32-year-old M GOTZE, the most famous World Cup-winner that nobody remembers. Seriously, stop a hundred random people in the street and ask them who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup Final, and you’ll be lucky to get, what, 5/100 correct answers? Maybe even none. It’s a curiosity of our times that football is held as being some all-conquering entertainment juggernaut at the forefront of popular culture, but its actual status is somewhat more marginal. Video game football is better anyway, so it doesn’t bother me.

I sold ARCAS. That’s right — the man second only in my affections to Castledine. I parlayed a £15m offer up to £19m, and he was on his way. That was enough cash for Gotze’s transfer fee, a very reasonable £18m.

Gotze famously plays up front as an accomplished SS/CF, but his major role is as an AMF. So in letting Arcas go I’m trading like for like. At 89 OPR, Gotze might be my first 90+ rated player in PES2016, but he’ll start declining soon enough. Castledine, currently sitting on 88 OPR and still growing, is likely to be my first 90+ rated player.

Onto the on-field action. I’ve hit a rich vein of form. Here’s a typical run of results:

PES2016 season 6 a typical run of resultsThat 2-2 against West Ham was the kind of match we know all too well. Both their goals were straight from kickoffs. When the game decides you’ve won enough matches, there’s little you can do except get away with a draw if you can.

Here’s the table after 23 matches — exciting stuff:

PES2016 season 6 after 23

The league title is definitely out of my reach, but Europe is a near-certainty in my current form. Champions League here I come? It’d mean getting a shot at the Treble next season, which would spell the end for PES2016 if it comes. We shall see.

One other dynamite bit of transfer business that happened just before the time of writing (Thursday morning). Long after the mid-season window had closed I had an offer for Cavani. I’ve turned down quite a few, Cavani’s one of my ‘names’ of PES2016 — one of the players who’ve defined this edition for me.

This was the offer:

PES2016 Cavani the offer too good to to turn down

He’s 34 and officially in decline. I took the money. £22.5m for a declining 34-year-old is something I cannot turn down. CANNOT turn down.

Cavani will leave my club at the end of the season. This was a tough decision but one I feel increasingly comfortable with. Luca Toni is just 20, already as good as Cavani at his peak, and only going to get better.

Cavani still has something (as this season’s highlights reel will show), but there are a few too many matches now where he fails to make any real impact. Just like a real-life ageing player.

The cash will pay much of my wage bill and free up some funds for squad-building. Another key player or two and I really fancy my chances of a Season 7 Treble.

But first I need to finish this season in the top 4.


  1. NG, I get what you mean about the oldies still having something to offer, in my opinion players abilities increasing or decreasing don’t seem all that noticeable, in previous PES games I’d religiously only sign young players so they would develop but it doesn’t seem worth it this time.

    Incidentally, my FA Cup run with Newcastle was ended in the semi’s by Southampton. I was still happy but my coach/secretary less so. Unacceptable apparently! Swines.

    Nearly at the end of the season, promotion is secure with 5 games to go but I’m a whopping 25 points behind QPR.

    Diafra Sakho, Berahino and Atsu signed for next season so far.

    NG did you ever promote WROUGHLEN this year? His goal celebration is cringingly bad…..

  2. Yep, oldies are goodies in this PES – especially if they’re “known ” players with traits and skillz!

    Normally, I would be looking to shift a player like my CMF Kurtic (He’s over 30 and a slowly declining 74 OVR) but I’m going to keep him because he doesn’t feel like he’s fading away.

    Three games of season three to go and I only need to win one of those to clinch the Div 2 title on Superstar. I’ll be finishing with over 100 points for the very first time in any ML season ever (I think) and Courtinho will most likely to be my first ever ML player to score 40 in a season. It’s not like the old day’s is it?

    Looking forward to getting stuck into a tougher challenge in the Prem but not quite as much as mini-Shed and I are to get our hands on Star Wars Battlefront at Christmas. I wonder what it says about you when you and your kid want the same things for Christmas?!

  3. NG – I went with Far Cry 4 in the end, at £12 second hand in CEX seemed worth a punt.

    Shed – Kurtic is a decent player, I used him to great effect in the Slovenian squad that qualified for the Euros in my ML, before i promptly left to win the world cup with England 🙂

  4. Mike — the FA Cup difficulty is heightened this year, and I absolutely hate that boogie-woogie celebration. You skipped ’14 and ’15 when that celebration came in for many Defaults and Youths. I’ve never liked seeing it and have never so much as cracked a smile at its ‘wackiness’. I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to be. Gangnam style? Some porno cowgirl thing??

  5. Shed — you and your lad have dovetailed on the gaming interests and it’ll last until he gets a girlfriend probably. And that free-to-play news has been in the wind for a few weeks. PES2016 is a multiplayer game. I’m quite relaxed about it. Probably the only way there can be a Pro Evo nowadays is if it’s a multiplayer game first and foremost, and succeeds as one. No fouls, powerslide tackling, etc. are all part of the effort to make the multiplayers happy.

  6. stewdog — don’t neglect the PSN Black Friday sale either. FIFA16 for £27 (until the end of November) is as good as it’ll get until next spring probably.

  7. PS4 on the way! EXCITED!!!!

  8. Chris – 22:09? Planned purchase or late night drunken impulse?

  9. I have had a bit of a downer on the gaming industry for a while as the big budget titles just don’t deliver anymore as the games have decent ideas but in the execution and bringing everything together lacks thought and planning. I really do believe I could do a better job on the design front.

    Every now and again I play a low budget game that restores my faith and at the moment I am playing Two Brothers: A tale of two sons. Currently £6.50 on PS Store which is a steal. It is a work of art and the more you play the more you appreciate the thought put into every part of the game as it is superbly written and the scenery and graphics are stunning in its own cartoon like way. At first it all seems a bit strange controlling two charachters but you soon come to appreciate each others stregths and gives the game that immersion we all crave from games. Bravo!!!!!

  10. Cheers for the tip Darryl I’ll check that out.

    First full four hour session on FarCry4 last night was really impressed and involved I didn’t even realise it was 2 in the morning. Guiltily I’ve never killed and skinned so many animals in my life. My hunting skills leave a lot to be desired. Need to sharpen up so to speak. 🙂

  11. Stewdog – stick with it for first 15 mins or so as it gets better and better. I have also heard a few people say how good Fallout 4 is so may be on my list to Father Christmas.

  12. Chris99 – Drunken purchase!

  13. Chris – a PS4 copy of PES2015 might be in order. Or even PES2016, which is better in most aspects (even the fouls aspect), except for longevity.

    Darryl – you would love Ico based on that description. A shame it’s only PS2/PS3, though.

  14. NG – Just had a look at Ico on youtube and good call as it is remarkably similar and you have to give them credit for the detail that goes into these games.

    I was just thinking last night whilst listening to the Tyson Fury fight that the whole Sky/Box office stuff is killing sport as here we have now an undisbuted heavyweight title holder. He may not be everybody’s cup of tea but there is a real honesty about him and if his next fight was in this country on prime time national tv people would warm to him as I don’t think he will get the recognition he deserves.

    Just shows how my game habits have changed as the Mrs is away this weekend and when it came to little one’s bedtime I would have been eager to stick the console on. Instead I watched Big Fish and listened to the fight.

  15. Darryl – it’s the mysterious castle and no explanation of any back-story that makes Ico the singular game it is. That and the Last of Us-style connection you have with another character in the game whom you have to lead to safety.

  16. NG – that is what I love about these type of games. In the Brothers game it feels clunky at first and having two people to control is awkward but as the story evolves you get used to the controls more and I think the game design makes it slicker and you seem to both move together in symmetry, which builds on that brotherly bond. It is like old school ML in an adventure game. Very clever indeed.

  17. Last night’s action inspired me to order Fight Night Champion off the bay. Another game I previously enjoyed but didn’t dedicate time to(because of Pro Evo)

    How’s this for a run of fixtures for my newly promoted Newcastle?

    Chelsea (A)
    Liverpool (H)
    Spurs (A)
    Man United (H)

    Haven’t played the United game yet but I drew 0-0 with Chelsea, lost 2-0 to Arsenal (sub Alexis Sanchez with both late on) drew 1-1 with Liverpool and beat Spurs 2-0 with 2 very enjoyable rebound tap ins from Berahino.
    Somehow I’m looking past the lack of fouls (average 2 free kicks per match and only 1 within shooting range every 5-6 games) and scripted goals and just really enjoying the game for what it is

  18. Ng – off to cex for witcher 3 and either pes or fifa 16. Anybody played fifa yet? After a solid year of pes 15 I’m thinking it’s time for a change of scene… The consensus on operation sports is that fifa has been wrongly maligned this year and I tend to believe those guys over other forums and reviewers playing an hour of multiplayer. Plus you guys seem rather lukewarm on this year’s pes?

  19. Chris
    I’d add inquisition and farcry to that list

    Fifa will probably be great but it’s just not pes

  20. Stewdog – I loved far cry 3 so at 12 quid that’s a good call. Inquisition’s another one on my list. So many good games, so little time!

  21. Far Cry 3 is going to be free to PS+ subscribers in December so I’m holding off for that.

    Chris/stewdog – I am lukewarm on this year’s PES. It’s a multiplayer game. 4-3 goal extravaganza are depressingly common, instead of once-in-15-matches rarities. The Team Spirit mechanic makes the first season or two of Master League in PES2016 one of the most alarming things you will ever experience as a PES fan. You can carefully toil to a gritty 1-0 in PES2016 just as before, but it’s a rarity. It’s super-slick and responsive, which is NOT a good thing in a football game. The much-trumpeted collision system is almost literally worthless, as it yields 1% of the fouls it should yield. Add an absurdly overpowered slide-tackle and you’ve got the ingredients for the type of churning, frantic, all-action gameplay that is the very essence of ‘arcadey’. Stamina is meaningless. Stats and abilities are levelled down to their least individual point ever. It is a multiplayer game. I’m sure they’re having lots of ‘fun’ online, but that sense of fun was always just a part of PES’s greatness, rather than the dominant whole.

    With all that said it’s still not bad at all. I’ll get at least 7 enjoyable seasons of ML out of it (7 seasons for a 7/10 PES is appropriate) and that’s nothing to be sniffed at, but it’s nowhere near a classic year by any measure.

    re. FIFA, it’s been wrongly maligned ever since FIFA08 in my view. The only one I really didn’t like and thought was a step back to the bad old days was FIFA11, and even there I probably just didn’t play it enough. You still see PES forum posters saying you can score hatfuls of goals from anywhere on the hardest difficulty, which just isn’t true. Having said that, no, it’s not PES. FIFA15 was the best FIFA ever made for me, and one of the best footy games ever made too. I’ve yet to sample FIFA16 but I intend to at some point this game year. I’m tempted by the Black Friday sale.

  22. nG – Game are selling both PES and FIFA at about half launch price in their Black Friday/weekend/long weekend/week/random stupid period of time sale.

  23. Well that confirms my worst fears really. It just doesn’t sound like my bag at all given i prefer a good 1-0. Fifa it is!

  24. Chris – we sing from the same hymn sheet as they say in the corporate world. You can’t beat a gritty 1-0.

  25. Darryl/Chris all I’m getting is 1-0 wins! Halfway point of the season and I’ve only scored 14 goals in 19 games. Really struggling.
    I bid for Charlie Austin last season and QPR demanded a ridiculous 24m for him, they’ve relented now and accepted 5m + Denis Suarez. My search for a top CB was fulfilled by my youth team in the form of 73 opr Michael Dawson, as well as a load of regen Serie A stars to sell on.

  26. Naughty PES! Despite romping through season 3 with with just four defeats all season, it still took an 83rd minute goal in my last match away at MK Dons to clinch the Div 2 Championship. A surge by second placed Villa and some very suspect final games for my Brighton side meant I flopped over the line with 102 points – one more than Villa. Still, that late goal was a proper punch-the-air moment which I’m sure is what Konami intended.

    Onto season four and, finally, the Premier League. Still enjoying it. No, this isn’t one of those hard grind, complex Master Leagues but it’s still a very entertaining football game and perfect for the limited time I have to play it.

  27. Chris – there’s good news, as the past PES that PES2016 reminds me of the most is PES2013. Core elements are all in place for a great game, but certain exaggerated mechanics make the ML experience a relatively short one. I don’t think my ML will last past 7 or 8 seasons, but that’s still 7 or 8 seasons – 2 or 3 seasons more than the all-holy PES6 managed to give me, 2 seasons more than the most I’ve ever played FIFA’s Career Mode for, and roughly the same as the likes of PES2009, PES2013 itself, and older classics like PES4, PES2, etc. Certainly if you’re looking for the longer-lasting PS4 PES, it’s PES2015 you want, but PES2016 is more than worth a look at some point too. FIFA15 or 16 won’t steer you wrong either.

  28. Shed – of course, the ML table scripting works both ways, and that’s a classic engineered finale. No way would Villa have ended on 101 points if you hadn’t got 102, and so on. Same as it ever was. PES and ML are extended stories that we voluntarily participate in.

  29. I’ve played PES for single-player and FIFA for multiplayer (though predominately against friends, or in the Co-op Seasons and Pro Clubs modes – I rarely have an appetite for the potential horrors of playing randoms) since FIFA became a viable alternative back in 2007 or so. I’ve never really got along with PES as an online experience, but I put dozens of hours into Master League every year.

    The Master League experience in PES 2016 is *so close* to being excellent. I really want to enjoy it, but I think I’m now officially tapping out until Konami release some form of meaningful rebalancing patch. And if that ‘patch’ has a 2017 suffix and costs £40, so be it.

    IMO, the two biggest problems with PES 2016 (the lack of consequences for aggressive/foul play, and the ‘soft’ goals scored by the AI) are not oversights, or misjudgements by the match engine designers – they’re short-term fixes for incomplete features. I’m sure that the PES team aren’t happy with them either.

    The AI scores that same horrible slo-mo roll into the corner (with the goalkeeper fooling nobody with his half-arsed lateral slump) because the attacking AI is still very much a work in progress. Late in the development schedule, I think they realised that the AI simply wasn’t scoring enough goals – and so this was engineered as a solution.

    I’m pretty sure that the problems with the physical side of the game are present for similar reasons. I can only speak for the Superstar AI, but would assert that it actively needs to get away with its particular brand of measured brutality in order to remain competitive. Start to penalise even 20% of its crunching slides or shoulder barges with the defensive AI as it is, and I think we’d all be moaning that it’s too easy. And, of course, berating the refs for their woeful inconsistency.

    I’m hoping that the PES team have been working on these areas of the simulation over the past few months, and are prepared to roll out interim advances and improvements rather than holding things back for 2017. If not, I’m done for this year – and it’s not even December. What a damn shame.

  30. JP — thanks for your comment, and it is a shame indeed. I only disagree about the reason for the lack of fouls and free kicks. I think it’s straightforwardly the case that Konami wanted to maximise multiplayer satisfaction, which meant reducing ‘interruptions’ to an absolute minimum. Reviewers lavished praise on the physical modelling in PES2016 –a feature with close to zero gameplay significance. We can enjoy watching the players tumbling about and barging into each other, but that’s it. Very little gameplay outcome at all.

    We’ll know for sure next September, of course, or July/August for the demo. If you’re right, and PES2016 is all about a lack of development time, PES2017 will feature a proper amount of fouls and free kicks as well as true variety in AI goalscoring. If I’m right, and PES2016 is all about the mutiplayer, it won’t. I do believe that Konami will be satisfied with myClub, and that’s all that counts, and this will be the template for all footy gaming from now on. This time — call it the time of Football Gaming Multiplayer Hegemony, for short, and because that’s what it is — has been coming for years, has been foretold for years, and I believe it is now here. But we shall see.

  31. I suspect that we’re both actually correct – it’s both a consequence of a philosophy (that multiplayer and single-player tuning should be broadly identical, with design efforts concentrated on the former, and the belief that players will be infuriated by frequent breaks in play) and a lack of development resources.

    (Weirdly, even though the AI is absolutely awful in FIFA 16, and has been for years, single-player FIFA is tuned differently to its multiplayer sibling.)

    The FIFA and PES development teams really need to stop attempting to please all of the people, and offer their audience two distinct modes to choose from: one where the match engine is set up to offer a measured simulation of the real-life sport (slower, stronger officiating, more tactical involvement), and another where elements are stripped back to provide a broader but action-packed approximation of football (minimal tactics, lenient referees, and so forth).

    IMO, I’m not sure that this would require an enormous amount of work or investment. I’m amazed that both teams are still attempting to find one size that fits all. It doesn’t exist. It never has.

  32. JP – it is a good point you make there and other sports games such as NBA 2K are doing this now.

    As for developers being only concerned with mult-player satisfaction this is not just limited to footy games as it is destroying the whole gaming industry now in my opinion. We see too many boring, so called open world games that lack imagination. Open world games suit the on-line experience. So I am waging my own gaming ideology war as gaming should always remain a solitary pursuit. So from now on I will only be supporting games that are single player games and I will not waver as I have the ghosts of Spectrum loading tapes ringing in my ears as I do battle with the biggest boss fight of all time.

  33. 2 defeats at the end of last night’s session scuppered my Treble aspirations. Lost 4-1 to Basle in the CL last 16 2nd leg to go out 5-4 on aggregate, the lost to Spurs to fall 4 points behind bloody Chelsea with 6 to play. Got City in the Cup Final.

  34. Here’s a quick highlights reel of my Div 2 Championship winning season 3 of ML.

  35. Lloyd – to my surprise I find I’m a bit ahead of you this year. Season 6/7 on Superstar, I feel I’m on the verge of the title at the very least.

    Shed – what a Coutinho you’ve got there. He scores one of everything in that compilation doesn’t he?! I got rid of mine after he had a drab season 2 or 3, I think it was. I tried to buy him back a season or so ago but he’d have been a £35m man, so you did well to hang onto him. My favourite goal is Giorza’s volley at 1:30 though.

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