Dial R1 for Murder

In all the years I’ve been doing this blog, I don’t think I’ve posted quite as many screenshots of league tables as I have with PES2014. These league tables are always fascinating. Last season, attentive readers will recall, I became lodged in 4th place for almost the entirety of the campaign, and after a while the top 4 was so far above the 5th-placed team that we formed a mini-league all of our own, all the way to the end (which saw me finish 4th).

Well, here’s what might be shaping up this season:

PES2014 Season 11 after 16That’s an 11-point gap to 4th. There’s three of us in our own mini-league. I really think I’ll have to win every single remaining match of the season, and hope Manchester City drop points along the way.

I was sweating on qualification from the Champions League group. This is the season where I’ve ‘set my stall out’, as commentators used to say, to win something. Already eliminated from the FA Cup, it’s now the League and/or Champions League, or nothing.

I breezed past Motherwell, which left me needing to beat Juventus to progress. At least I was at home, but home advantage counts for little in PES214 when the AI is determined to make life awkward.

It was a great game, steeped in meaning and dripping with importance, as only the best games in Master League are — and as only Master League can do, in my experience. I know that FIFA and Football Manager can deliver on this front too. Also other career modes in other sports games. But only Master League has done it consistently for me. This was one of those matches where the time invested/context generated dynamic of Master League really paid off.

I picked Dzeko for this one, Torres having been iffy recently, and Di Natale purple-arrowed. Dzeko has rarely featured for me at all since his arrival, a situation with a star name that often prompts a storybook-style outcome when he eventually plays.

My plan for the game was simple. An old standby of mine. Keep a clean sheet no matter what. I always fancy myself to score at least once, and as long as I keep a clean sheet, if I score, I’ve won.

And also: lay off R1. There is a strong correlation between hectic, out-of-control matches and R1 abuse, I’ve noticed. That applies to all PES games, of course, but to PES2014 in bucketloads.

A cagey start, with Juve gaining possession and mounting a dangerous attack, which I fended off, followed by a dangerous spell of pressure, which I withstood. I swept upfield and fed the ball to Joaquin on the left (he always plays on the left for me). Holding the ball up is a skill to acquire in PES2014, and one of the most common methods of losing the ball is holding it up too long while you wait for a runner to get into prime position. So with two Juventus players bearing down on Joaquin and no outlets in any direction, I launched the ball long — really long — in the direction of Dzeko on his own up front. It was him and a defender.

Here is where one of PES2014’s signature ideas came into play. Dzeko and the defender went shoulder-to-shoulder, tussling for the ball that was bouncing and dropping in front of them. Dzeko won the battle, and emerged in the penalty area with the ball at his feet. I aimed and shot past the keeper into the far corner. 1-0.

An expected phase of Juve dominance followed. I couldn’t get the ball, or keep it when I got it. Then something happened and I discovered something about PES2014 that I didn’t yet know. I burst into the box with Moritz, aimed at the near post, and pressed shoot. Alas, I’d been squeezing R1 — Pro Evo’s Original Sin —  and it took some time for the player to respond. PES2014 will disregard inputs, or delay them massively, while you’re fondling R1. That’s just one of the rules of PES2014 and you can either like it or lump it.

Anyway, I noticed the keeper was covering the near post and there was little point shooting there. So while the shooting power bar was illuminated, and before my player struck, I changed the direction of the shot — aiming for the far post instead. The game kindly overrode my ‘banked’ instruction and the shot went in the changed direction, not the one I’d originally aimed in. Responsiveness fans would hate this moment, as they hated PES2014 in general, but I loved it. Let go of R1, people. Just let it go.

That was 2-0, and I’d have to be really careless to lose or draw the match from here. I added another midway through the second half to seal the result. 3-0. Qualified.

PES2014 Season 11 final CL qual group


  1. Good effort, and an interesting observation. I’ve felt for a while there was a delay, a racked up instruction thing due to my outrageous goal line walk ins. I hadn’t attempted altering the shot though as I’d usually be scrambling to push every button. Some more far cry 4 for me, it’s really nothing new but very enjoyable.

  2. Uncle Turf — any suggestion of special inputs and button combos and we’re in bad-old-FIFA territory of course. A complete no-no for me. It still makes me wince with pain to see YouTube compilations of tricks-filled goals in FIFA and PES. I suppose they’re quite nice and all, but not what the game/s is/are about.

    I didn’t get to finish my ‘other-game game’, XCOM2, yesterday after all, on account of the final mission being unexpectedly long. I will do so today though. Then Fire Emblem. I keep being tempted by Far Cry on PS4 — sometimes it’s on sale ridiculously cheap for PS+ people — but there are so many games ahead of it that there’s no point. Witcher 3 will be my next console-based other-game game.

  3. NG – Great post and for a moment imagined you bursting into song (Let it Go). I have to say I am quite envious of your time with PES 2014. I could start a campaign myself but as I haven’t stuck anything on for just under a month now I am slowly losing my religion.

  4. Yes, great post n-G.

    Back to PES 2016 and finally finished season seven with an oh-so-near double. Finished on 92 points and just two defeats but still one point behind leader Chelsea who didn’t quite stutter enough for me to catch then on the last day.

    Onto the the Champion’s League Final vs Juventus. Went 1-0 down early on with a mesmerising passing move and finish which had me fearing the worst. But – probably with that part of the script complete – I hit back with two goals from Castledine before half time to go in leading. Second half and an equaliser for Juve from their brilliant striker starting with M. Can’t remember his name now. Rekuvina – my second best striker this season – scored what I thought was the winner before a late equaliser forced extra time. End to end until the 115th and up popped Rekuvina again to nod home a cross from sub Brandao. 4-3AET and that’s my first PES silverware since PES 2013, unbelievably.

    Taking a break now to play a gamey-game (more Star Wars Battlefront as I see No Man’s Sky has been delayed). But I’ll be sticking with PES 2016 now. I might even take on an international job. Oh, and I see NBA2K16 is free on PS PLUS in June. Anyone played it before?

  5. John – That is interesting indeed. I played the 2014 game. Easily the best sports game I have played. Sadly I don’t know much about the game or players, so it missed that one thing for me to get me hooked.

  6. Darryl – once you get out of the regular footy gaming habit, it’s a hard one to get back. And maybe it can only really be thought of as part of one’s daily routine if it’s been one for many years.

    Shed – great news about NBA2K16, I played the demo and enjoyed it, but I don’t know basketball well enough as a sport to appreciate it properly. I.e. why not always go for 3-pointers? A bit like always trying to hit the boundary in cricket games, and always going for 4th downs in American Football games. I’ll be getting it and giving it a good go.

    Congrats on the silverware after all this time. And Castledine is the gift that keeps on giving. One of the best ever Defaults.

  7. interesting league tables not-Greg, the script is making it very tough for you! Maybe there is a big gap in team quality between the title chasers and mid table teams in your league, or perhaps the game has just ‘decided’ that you will need to win almost every game to deserve to win the league

    Both my kids love Rocket League, and as I was setting up their profiles and a new controller on PS4 the other night so they can play against each other split-screen I had a quick go on PES2015 and FIFA15. Although I enjoyed FIFA15 at the time I must say that it would be almost impossible to go back to these sort of footy games after PES2014. Action is far too smooth and flowing, there is little charm, character or individuality in the gameplay

  8. Turf – Mice update. In the end I went for some poison stuff that I put in trays. Really not bothered about killing them humanely. Just another example of the world going mad as I saw yesterday a trap that housed multi mice and they could be kept alive. Inside it had a little ramp and all sorts. What next? Maybe install a sofa and Sky TV.

    Abbeyhill – maybe a little bit tempted to play 2014 again, maybe.

  9. not too sure about that Eurogamer preview of PES2017 today. Some things sounded good, like the slower and more measured pace of play, fewer goals plus better individuality. But then the guy started talking about being most excited about ‘little details’ such as the ability to playfully point to each corner before trying to save a penalty so I suspect his opinions are not to be trusted

  10. abbeyhill – out at work all day, just catching up on the PES2017 previews now. Not seen any yet (they’ve blocked just about everything on our work internet lately) but I know what I’ll be looking for. No-fouls has become a reliable canary in the coalmine. And I bet all the previewers just played each other as usual.

    Darryl – if you really do have the fully patched version, somehow, it’s as if PES2014 wants you to play it.

  11. Darryl – I avoided poison as they have a tendency to crawl into a hole and die with a bad smell. The old fashioned trap gets them instantly and as long as you don’t mind being up close to fling them in the bin there’s no lingering whiff. When I worked on a farm for the uni we had dozens of them everywhere, you’d open a cupboard and the bloody things would run out. I never got used to them, they made me jump every time. It was so bad that when they got old and slow the blokes I worked with would simply stamp on them. I saw one flattened by a clipboard once.

    Now did I mention the time I had to kill rabbits with myxomatosis on a golf course…? Ugh.

  12. Just browsing the PES2017 preview articles, and there’s this staggering news from PESfan’s piece:

    It’s all change on the condition arrow colour front. The upward arrow denoting highest form is blue, then comes green (second highest). Yellow is now the mid-point with orange (second lowest) and red (lowest) denoting poor conditions.

    Now that is going to take some getting used to. For how many years has blue denoted poor form and red the best?

  13. That will be confusing but to be honest they haven’t felt relevant for some time though. I’m still not sold on heart in 2014 but I don’t bother considering whether a player is purple arrowed or not. Is there an annual crackpot idea? Boots, power ups, rewards for playing online before ml?

  14. NG – I really should have a go. As for changing the colours I have no idea why they would want to do such thing. To be honest I would rip the whole damn thing up as that article highlights the confusion. In one breath it calls it form and in another it calls it condition. These are two very seperate things. It has never been entirely clear which it is.

  15. Turf – I still reckon there is a clear difference between a purple and red arrowed player. But maybe it is all in the head, like not-Greg’s Heart. Actually on PES2014 at the moment I do often play purple arrowed players, in contrast to previous PESs. It is more important that the ‘system’, within which each footballer has a clearly defined role, functions correctly than that the players themselves are on peak form.

    Sassuolo 9 points clear, 7 games to go in Serie A, on the verge of one of my finest ever PES achievements. Most of these guys have been with me for years, in fact the default keeper Iolechia remains between the sticks. Overall team rating still only 82 but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts

  16. Darryl – as long as you’re sure your PES2014 is fully patched (it’s not worth the effort otherwise IMO), then go for it. Something quirky and surprising happens in every session, sometimes in every match. Probably the last ever football game of its kind.

    abbeyhill – that would be a fantastic achievement indeed, and what an odyssey. Here at the business end of a Master League you really get to enjoy the main course after all the appetisers leading up to it.

  17. Proud moment today as the four year old bought his first game. The game was Grand Tourismo for £1.99 on the PS3. He is obsessed with cars and knows all makes of cars, especially Mini’s and can tell all the different range apart. He did a lot of crashing into the barriers at first, but soon got the hang of it. I have always avoided driving games but two hours later, we had a great time.

  18. Darryl – the Gran Turismo games always had that whole sim-like “PES of driving games” aura about it, and is one of the few driving games I’ve ever persisted with as well – back on the PS2 I think. Much like certain other game genres, the driving game genre went downhill as soon as online multiplayer became the focus.

  19. Superb 2-0 win over Juventus, one of finest teams in the game at the moment with (original) Schmeichel in goal, Scholes, Pogba, Marchiso in midfield, Denilson, Weah and Eto up top. An old school PES crunching header from Cahill followed by a flicked header from Florenzi to finish them off. Title is now almost certain….

  20. classy choice by your son Darryl – mine love Mario Kart but the subtleties of Gran Turismo would be lost on them!

    Crunching header to (almost) guarantee the league:

  21. abbeyhill – good going. I score quite a few headers like that. In your crossing situation I usually look to cross first-time in case the defender runs me out of play.

  22. it was a pretty bog standard goal not-Greg, but given how few of these I’ve scored on PES2014, plus the importance of the occasion, it felt really special!

  23. That’s what I’ve started thinking a lot now I’m (hopefully) at the title-winning end of my ML too – that the genius of ML and PES is the context it creates, the meaning it generates. You put in all that time and effort for a reward at the end of it.

  24. Darryl – Gran Turismo 3 on PS2 was immense, Played that and PES only for nearly two years.

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