If you want to see your own banners hanging in stadia in Master League, you have to edit them before the mode starts.
Careful readers of the blog will recall me mentioning, a couple of months ago now, that I casually edited a single banner whilst browsing the menus when carrying out my pre-ML edits.
At the time, unable to think of anything else, I simply made one banner say ‘JIMMY HILL’. The great man is always on our minds in Coventry.
I catch poignant glimpses of my JIMMY HILL banner occasionally, hanging on the fences among my edited club’s other, German-language banners, and it always strikes me as amusingly incongruous. Just like the man himself.
(In passing: what is that pile of stuff supposed to be that’s partly blocking the view there? It looks like a pile of Christmas parcels and mattresses to me. What’s it doing there?)
I had the strangest start in the Premier League. My first three matches were against West Ham, Aston Villa, and Burnley. What do these teams all have in common? They all play in a version of claret and blue. My first three matches were against teams that looked exactly the same as each other.
First up were West Ham, away, and I scored my first-ever Premier league goal in some style, as seen on Tuesday’s sickbed post.
Then came Aston Villa, a solid 0-0 draw with lots of fouls, and a properly rancid ‘derby’ atmosphere that was reflected in that goalless scoreline. It was one of the highest-quality matches I’ve played on PES2017. PES never used to be afraid to dish out a stop-starty 0-0. These matches were one of the reasons the series acquired its exalted reputation.
One big concern, though, can be seen in this screenshot:
Zero shots on goal from the home team, on Superstar. That is already a concern for me on Superstar – the peculiar toothlessness of the AI.
I recall pre-release one of the Konami PR team, Adam himself, indicating that Master League on Superstar would be an extraordinary experience that he had to lobby hard to keep in the final game. That led me to expect something like a PES2012-style, rampant, unstoppable AI. So far I have seen no sign of that at all. I suspect the PES devs quietly undid Adam’s souped-up AI at the last moment.
No goals yet from last season’s star man, Friday. I have just played the FA Cup match, against Leeds, and Friday got a scrambled late winner there. But nothing so far in the league, and that’s where strikers earn their stripes.
Here’s my Season 4 Starting XI and Squad – I’ve started with the 4-2-4 just to see how it fares:
Maicon, Fletcher, Damonte and Cassano are all place-fillers from the Youths.
I sold Giorza after some rumination. I got £11m for him. He is a quality player, but I had him all through 9 seasons in PES2016. I’m giving his understudy, Komano, a chance. Maicon will share the RB berth.
That’s Ghulam on loan at LB.
My big signing was a big defender – Sokratis at CB, a £10m import from Juventus.
The overall experience of the gameplay on Superstar is good – even great, sometimes. PES2017 has settled down again after a somewhat ‘grey’ spell a week or so ago.
I still find that the pace increases to obnoxious levels far too often. There are now too many passages of play that are exactly like PES2016. Thrash-metal video game football is the worst.
How did we get here? Is it the game adapting to me, or me adapting to the game? Did patch 1.02 do something to unpick the threads that made PES2017 feel so distinctive and solid after release? Or have I just adapted?
Whatever the truth of the matter, the game needs an injection (or re-injection) of fouls very badly.
Yes, I know, I’m going on about fouls again. Fouls are my thing. The PES forums feature lots of obsessions: nets, kits, pitch textures, foot planting, etc. My thing is fouls – a real gameplay concern, rather than a cosmetic one. I will never stop obsessing about the relative absence of fouls from all football games of the modern era.
(You get fouls? I’m very happy for you. I wish I was you, and I mean that in a literal, Freaky Friday kind of way.)
Fouls are a barometer of quality in a football video game. Lots of fouls = a high quality football game played at a proper pace with regular hiatuses and dimensions of thought. Few or no fouls = a crazy frenetic blur where you have to queue substitutions in the 50th minute to be sure of getting them on before the end.
Fouls in a football video game enhance the experience so much that they cannot be missing without causing a serious degradation in quality.
A match with a decent amount of fouls in it has regular pauses that function the same as ‘beats’ in music, or linebreaks in poetry. Coherent and consistent refereeing enforces restraint in defence. No button-mashy, easy-squeezy sprint-clamping when there’s a whistle-happy referee on the pitch. I want that in every match. I want shedloads of fouls and free kicks in every single match. I can’t have them. Why?
Sigh. I’ve been going on about this for three years now. Fouls in PES are the very definition of a lost cause. Nothing is ever going to change.
This doesn’t mean that PES2017 is on its way down the tubes. PES2015 was also a fouls-free shambles, but it did a lot else that was right (individuality, shooting), and was a 9/10 game for me. I hope PES2017 will be too. PES2016, though, got a kicking on several fronts, so we’ll see where this one falls.
The early table – I do always enjoy my first glimpse of my team nestled in amongst the big names of the top flight: