Four-Four-Four

Nine matches into Season 11 of my Master League exploits on PES2014, and the table has a disturbingly familiar look to it:

PES2014 Season 11 after 9

I’m fourth, as I was for most of last season. The teams above me are the same teams that were above me for most of last season. Uh-oh, I’m thinking.

I’ve already lost 3 matches. I would say it was careless of me, but in truth, I wasn’t even at the races in any of the 3. The first team that did me was Manchester City, who pummelled me the whole way through. I can’t remember the last time a Pro Evo genuinely made me fear playing the big boys. This one does.

I hardly got a shot on goal. They won 3-0, with this as their third and game-killing goal:

Aguero with the scissors kick at the end there. I filmed it that way because it was more dynamic or something. Truth be told, filming things on my phone and then uploading them to YouTube is still a pain. It takes something noteworthy to prompt me to do it. Whenever I return to the PS4, I will not miss this aspect of retro footy gaming at all.

I’ve posted the above AI goal to show non-players of PES2014 (and there are plenty of them among the PES community) just what I’m up against with this PES2014 AI. One moment it’s doing things like the above, crafting stunning volleys. The next it’s stifling all my attempts to make chances. The next it’s pulling off wonder-saves with the GK. The next it’s doing something baffling that almost lets me walk the ball into the net.

I say these things not to damn the PES2014 AI but to praise it — highly praise it. PES2014’s AI is one of the most interesting AIs I’ve ever played against in any football game. Its frequent forays into ridiculousness (the rebound goal crops up just too often) are more than forgivable. This AI is unpredictable and often lethal, and that’s just how I like it.

The other teams to beat me were Blackpool (3-1) and Tottenham (2-1). I beat Chelsea when I met them. But will the other teams drop points as the season goes by? It’s one of those situations where every single league game will be of maximum importance. I feel that I cannot drop any more points..

And I’m out of the FA Cup already. I know, careless of me, but the team that knocked me out was…. Manchester City. In this game they’re proper, 2013-14, vintage Manchester City and they come pre-programmed with an appropriate degree of toughness.

I feel I must win something this season. All I have left now is the League and the Champions League.

And the Champions League is not going great. Motherwell thumped me 3-0 in the opening fixture. I snatched a draw in the next against Juventus.

The table after two matches:

PES2014 season 11 CL Table after 2

Hopefully I’ll be OK here. But what happens when I get out of the group and encounter a big AI team in the right mood to dish out a lightning 3-0 thrashing? What then?

‘Don’t let that happen’ seems to be the way to go. I’ll deal with it when the situation arises.

At the start of this season nearly all of my players were reset to basic plain-green levels of Heart. It’s taken me until now to coax them back to yellow-orange levels, and the results have finally started coming back. Heart is a big factor in PES2014.

The good goals are still flying in — here’s Deco scoring a semi-daisycutter type of goal, from distance, that isn’t that notable in most editions of PES, but still an occasion for celebration in PES2014:

39 Comments

  1. sounds familiar not-Greg, after my good start I came up against Juventus last night and they were vastly superior – could not get near them, let alone trouble Peter Shilton in goal!

    still not convinced heart is a factor at all on PES2014, e.g. in my promotion campaign last season I won 11 games out of 12 without shifting the green hearts and then later in the season I had a full screen of red hearts for the very first time and got hammered 6-0 by some lowlife team with reprehensible scripting afoot

  2. abbeyhill – you’re on Superstar remember where the cocktail of overlapping factors may be different. I am convinced about Heart personally. There is a definite correlation in my ML between going on winning streaks and good heart, and indifferent or losing streaks and average/bad heart. Certainly it’s the only thing I can point to this season so far. Either heart or another script triggered by me getting the team to a certain level OVR. Or both of course.

  3. I concur with my weaker league leading friend, heart on superstar seemed irrelevant when the forces of tight marking and flying keepers made every match pretty near the same. In top player IN ENGLAND the variety is very much evident, different styles and feelings of pressure, scripts and a much improved range of goals. I seem to recall it was the same in FIFA 14 where I could play quite happily on pro, winning promotion and the odd cup but world class was a step too far, not a natural progression but a painful struggle of clunky matches and unstoppable goals against. I still don’t see heart though.

    I have a new favourite default though, not just renaissance man vratakov but quick, rangy defender Richard harty. Never in my years has he been a solution to anything but he’s easily my most frequent last line of defence, the one who nips it off the toe of the striker or effects a timely slide. He won’t get a new contract of course but for one season he’s my Franco baresi.

  4. Squeaky bum time in the CL quarters. 3-1 down to Juventus after the away leg, BIG performance needed at home. BIG!!

  5. …and the result is….? That was an eastenders theme music inspiring bombshell.

  6. Just about to play it now.

  7. NG – I downloaded Tika Taka on my Kindle. It has bags of potential and is very well presented. I love how they have done the table and fixture list. FIFA and Pro Evo could learn a lot from those. Sadly though I too have a problem as I am old and can’t tell the teams apart. Just a tad more zoom and I would be hooked.

  8. Oh dear. It seems it’s not to be. The level of scripting must be through the roof when you are on track for multiple trophies. The treble always seems hard enough.

  9. Darryl – on a decent-sized screen, going to the closest possible zoom and choosing a bright kit colour does help. I find it playable, but the games that follow the pre-season friendlies seem very hard, probably to encourage in-app purchasing, although it is possible to toddle along with what you’re given.

    Lloyd – unlucky. With at least 4-5 months of PES2016 left, I’m sure you’ll do it eventually.

    Uncle Turf – Richard Harty?! Never one of my newer-Default favourites, but there are worse I suppose. Bring back Vornander/Vorlander…

  10. Vornander was a big man but out of shape. Harty is keeping jacomorac out of the side, and he is potentially survive till season 3 material.

    Top now after wolves drew plenty. Every win is by the odd goal despite some 20 odd shots on target so I know it’s not going to turn into a stroll. I’ve given up on tiki taka already, it clearly wants you to buy energy, my squad was wrecked by week three.

    Oh and….Cockfosters.

  11. League and Cup double. Now have 3 players in the Hundred club. Baggio, Iniesta and Kompany. Boom!!

  12. Are you getting up to triple regens? If you’ve had 30 plus seasons then some of the older players like Kompany must have been round the block at least twice?

  13. Turf – no yet, but I’m expecting it soon.

  14. In my legendary (to me) 40+ season PES5 ML career I had the likes of Mathieu, Bergkamp, Vieri and Prieto (whatever happened to Prieto!) 3 times each. They just seemed to get better and better and so did the game. The greatest ever football game just kept on delivering.

  15. I don’t think I’ve ever gone beyond 8 seasons. Largely thanks to the numerous restarts that plagued my quest for purity. Even in FM I never managed to hit the 2030 season X efforts that some folk manage, I’d either get bored or feel that I’d made too many transfer market clunkers and restart. I’d really love to have an FM game on the go but it just seemed to get too complicated, even with the classic option.

  16. Enjoying a few last gasp goals lately. Just got an equaliser against Everton in the 97th minute of the 1st game of season 23. Also won the FA Cup Final last season with an injury time winner in extra time(that one will be in the next goal video). Boom!!

  17. Apart from my exploits on PES 2015 with 14 seasons (I think) I have had a twenty one year career mode on Championship Manager 01/02 which IMO was the best of the CM & FM series. I also loved FM 2008. Talking of which has anyone ever played the Championship Manager game that was released as a comeback and a free game around about the same time as FM 2010. It was more more of a balanced game, with some very good ideas.

  18. Once again I find myself lacking in comparison when it comes to remembering the exact details of PES past. I remember certain goals, players, wins and losses but they all meld themselves into one tangle of a highlights package in my head.

    I know I’ve almost always got at least six to eight seasons out of a ML but that’s about it.

    As for my current PES 2016 ML, I really need to get back on it and finish season…erm… six, no seven (see what I mean!). I plan to have a few games tonight and am counting on a Champions League win to maybe round things off ahead of something else – Fifa 16 probably.

  19. John – To be honest I think you are best not to count the seasons as it doesn’t matter if you have four seasons or forty, it is the quality of those seasons that count.

  20. bit of a slump in form last night, but still scraped to mid-season one point clear at the top of Serie A. However I would confess to the first signs of ennui with PES2014 and am starting to agree with not-Greg & Turf – when you hit a certain level on superstar the only thing important is whether scripting is ‘on’ or ‘off’

  21. Back to PES 2016 ML last night and a session that left me in two minds about switching to another footy game for the summer as planned.

    The highlight of my five game session was the two-leg CL semi-final vs Man City. Away leg first and City went all nuts in the first half and it was all I could do to keep it to just 1-0 down at HT. Second half, only the brilliance of Joe Hart in goal kept me from getting a crucial away goal while a rode my luck at the end to take a 1-0 defeat back for the home leg.

    A bit of a cheap (the one where you catch the keeper in no-man’s-land as they pass to a defender) got me level early on through De Natale, leading to a right end-to-end thriller which somehow didn’t produce any more goals, even AET. So pens and, to cut to the chase, a heart-stopping 6-5 win to the Albion with my reserve keeper proving to be the hero.

    Two games left in the league and – thanks to another run of wins and the PES gods doing that thing where the runaway leaders (Chelsea in this case) suddenly have a bad run of form – I have the slimmest of chances of snatching the title before the CL final vs Juventus.

  22. abbeyhill – I think there’s a definite nerf of your team in superstar at certain moments, or at least a small boost to top player from form/heart/whatever. Under both I attempt a similar number of shots but where they would fly wide or close enough for the keeper to handle in SS under TP they seem to go more where I’m actually aiming. Same with the passing – I still get misplaced efforts as I’m on 1 bar but at times on a full on painfest in SS I couldn’t hit the ball five yards in the right direction. Headers work better in TP, I don’t get as many bookings for what seem genuine tackles, etc etc. I think SS marks a lot tighter but AI wise it’s not that different, it’s really about what it allows you to do.

  23. For time reasons I doubt I’ll ever go back to Football Manager now, as it’s much too complicated and I have PES and other things to occupy me more than enough already. I’ll always like the idea of what FM is and represents to other gamers, but PES and Civ and XCOM and other things are all my FM. There’s no room at the inn.

    Darryl — wasn’t that free Championship Manager just a free download of 01/02? I remember talking about it on the blog at the time. I don’t recall them giving away copies of the new versions for free.

  24. might also be a ML first season difference though Turf, rather than purely a TP v superstar thing. Even on superstar the first couple of seasons are quite fun, with varied gameplay etc – it’s only later that things get ramped up to hyper pressure mode and scope for creativity is limited

  25. I played a revamped App version of CM and it was woeful. For years they mentioned a CM using historic players but nothing ever came of it, I concur that the best years were the early 00s – I had Neil Lennon as my go to midfielder and he scored an insane number of goals. The flaws of the game were always in the widely circulated names of young stars who would net you 50 goals having been bought from nowhere for peanuts. I tried playing it as a networked game one time (with that Leicester bet winning guy hosting it actually) and everyone wanted to buy the same players.

  26. 4 games to go and 9 points clear of 4th. I’m almost certain it will be promotion but Wolves are just a point behind in 2nd so whether it will be silver depends on 4 wins I reckon. After that I currently have a balance of 1.4m so there’ll be no big names on their way to Gateshead.

  27. Uncle Turf – what about the Super Regens? You might find one or two of the newborns willing to come to you for nominal wages, no transfer fee.

  28. If it’s anything like last campaign the only one of note who would come was Lampard. I got nothing via my youth team, in all four seasons, so I’ll have to hope the frees fancy a move. It seems to be whether they think they can get a game how they seem to vary that percentage, often its zero and a bid knocks it up to 70, sometimes it seems if I sell a similar player it will rise. I need a whole back three, a better Dmf, a couple of wide men and a striker….in the tiny window.

  29. Afternoon fellas, been a while.

    My PES sabbatical is over and the itch just needed to be scratched. Started a new ML a couple of weeks ago on the PC version. Must find time to traipse through the archives to see what’s been going on.

  30. I can do a quick summary to save you time Tommy.

    NG is powering on, having fun but finishing fourth
    Shed has been in and out of the game, bit undecided
    Lloyd continues to miss out on numerous trophies, not quite got the dedication really
    Darryl is playing some weird philosophy game and likely to take some bad advice and buy ico
    Abbeyhill is playing in an easy league and doing quite well although his maxed pass assistance likely helps
    Werd…I think he might still be editing pes 2015 via a steam powered keyboard
    Not sure any others have posted regularly….who have I missed?

  31. Turf – Thanks for the low-down. Must have been pre-christmas since I last commented here, I can’t really remember. Truth is as soon as I’d won all there was to win after 6 seasons of ML, I lost interest. But I’d lost interest in games in general so I sold me PS4. Happy though picking up the odd cheap game on PC (and the free ones) so re-visiting PES again was inevitable. Not sure if anyone has played the PC version, but it appears to be identical to console, albeit quicker to load, which is nice.

    Last I remember (I still checked in occasionally) nG finally won the league, and now I see he is putting in the hours into “the one that got away” in PES14.

  32. Yes, me, him and Abbeyhill are on that.

    And I’ve just been promoted despite the most awful scripting I’ve seen. 2014 really doesn’t do subtle, a penalty saved by the keepers bionic foot and somehow I am able to hit the post from the middle of the goal line as I’m walking it in on the follow up. I wish I’d been quick enough to save a replay but the half time whistle went. It was classic old school player dimension jump. Now to try and secure the title.

  33. Champions, with a very ordinary record; w19 d10 l5 gf66 ga43. Only Robert got into team of the season and then only because he was top goal scorer.

    Sadly the finances never caught up and despite arranging some decent transfers – Torres, Sandro, etc – I couldn’t afford them. Obviously there are no regens until Jan season two so I was left to buy cheap listed players – Rodwell (England’s great forgotten starlet), nacho Fernandez (a FIFA favourite) and some winger from Monaco. I couldn’t even get youth players after that, I’m 1.4m in debt, despite selling vratakov, jacomorac and a few others. My gate receipts never increased the whole season, a mere 245k per match. At the same rate I’ll be about even by the next window. I’m tempted to alter my home stadium for something bigger, does it have an effect?

  34. Tommy – PES2014 is a deeply satisfying experience for me. Season 11 and no end in sight just yet. The right mix of old-school PES goodness and its own idiosyncrasies. Had the final, fully patched version of PES2014 been the launch game it might have changed football gaming forever.

    Uncle Turf – it’s never occurred to me to change my stadium so I don’t know. Well done on the Season 1 promotion though. Took me 3-4 seasons, and some of that was on Professional.

  35. Cardiff doing well in the league with 8 wins out of 9. I’ve beaten Man City and Chelsea, but suffered my only league loss to Newcastle. In the Europa League I’ve lost to PSV and had to rely on a 90th minute winner against Altmaar.
    However one of my strike pair is out for 8 months with an ACL. Fortunately at the end of the transfer window I sold Kenwynne Jones and brought in two cheap youngsters, Kingsley Coman and Kenedy. One of them is going to have to step up.

  36. momentum restored last night – I made a huge mental effort not to be drawn into playing like the AI, keeping a rhythm of passing going, not charging in, holding R1 for short bursts if at all. 3 wins out of 4 and back to 3 points clear. Nobody of consequence available in the window as my team ranking is still only 175 except for regen Trezeguet – 90 OVR but I thought his stats looked poor for a 3.5m wage so left him.

    Turf – one of my ‘favourite’ scriptings is when I’ve methodically carved out a clear shooting chance but then another of my players takes it upon himself to wander right in front of the opening! Your gate receipts should be closer to 1m in D1

  37. Chris99 – whenever PES2014 is done – another season or two I think – I’m heading FIFA16’s way. Traditionally I only last a few weeks as it’s too strange getting into a FIFA after all the PES, but I always try…

    abbeyhill – as uncle turf mentioned a while ago, my favourite scripted moments in PES2014 are where you drag a shot from the edge of the area just wide of goal when you ‘know’, deep in your footy-gaming fingerbones, that it should have been at least on-target. PES2013 started that trend, I think.

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