There’s many a script ‘tween the FA Cup and the lip

Season 4, Superstar, PES2017, and a certain something has started to seem standard – look at the stats in this match, a 1-0 defeat:


About 5 of my 16 off-target shots were gilt-edged chances that ‘should’ have been goals. Each shot hit the post or crossbar. I hit the post or crossbar 5 times in this match.

Scripting is an old debate on Pro Evolution Soccer, and in football gaming generally – but it shouldn’t be. This match was the very acme of a scripted PES match.

The game has always massaged outcomes to matches, always, without question. The only concession I would ever make to the scripting-sceptics’ camp is to acknowledge that if I replayed the above game 10 times, I would score goals and win some of them. Perhaps I’d even score goals and/or win in most of the 10, but only because this first match had prepared me for what was to come.

So the scoreline of 1-0 to Everton with me having 24 shots, 8 on target, and hitting the post/crossbar 5 times isn’t a literal, scripted outcome. The general tendency within the match is the scripted element.

pes2017-season-4-losing-streakAll scripting and repeat-woodwork-hitting ridiculousness aside, I loved this match. Personal and work commitments this year have limited my time on the game compared to previous years, and will continue to do so. My progress meter is about 60% of my usual rate. This is reflected in a heightened appreciation of the game when I do get to play it.

The Everton match was my first one back after a few days away from the game. The brightness of the pitch, the lithe athleticism of the players, the weighty smack of the ball – I loved the whole thing. Football gaming is great. PES is great. PES2017 is… I cannot say great, not yet. It’s a good football game.

Look at the fouls/free kicks stats. I managed not to concede a single one, and got only 2 myself.

It’s a measure of how impoverished our expectations of single-player football gaming have become that those 2 fouls against me would be considered satisfactory by many football gamers in the year 2016. Perhaps even most would be happy with 2 fouls per match. (2 is in fact a lot for me. My average fouls-per-match is still around 1.)

But 2 fouls per match isn’t enough. Isn’t even nearly enough. I will not be satisfied with the fouls/free kicks situation in PES until we get back to PES5-style levels of fouls and free kicks. Yes, I am calling for an average of 7-10 fouls per side, per 10-minute match.

I know. The chances of that ever happening are so slim that you could add it to your Brexit/Leicester City/Donald Trump accumulator and multiply the odds by a staggering amount.


I’ve abandoned the 4-2-4 that served me so swashbucklingly well in Division 2 on Top Player. It just wasn’t standing up to Premier League teams and Superstar. I gave Youth promotee Darren Fletcher his debut as a DMF in the 4-2-4’s last outing and the poor lad was just swept aside.

I’m experimenting with a 4-3-3 at the moment. Early results are not encouraging. I’ve played 3 matches with the above setup and scored 1 goal, losing two of them. Friday remains goalless in 7 Premier League outings now, and I can’t even recall a decent chance falling to him.

I did hold Man City to a 1-1 draw after extra time in the FA Cup 2nd Round, and then won the penalty shootout, so I’ve got that going for me.

In the league, I’m slipping dangerously near the relegation zone.

Another few defeats and I’ll be able to join the elite club who declare their relegation completely certain with only 30-odd matches remaining.


Updated: 22nd November 2016 — 10:45


  1. Hey Not-Greg – I finally succumbed and got out of PES 2012, after playing it for endless four years. I tried PES 2013 back when it came out, but for some reason got so disgusted by the complete change in dribbling controls that I just abandoned it and sticked to 2012. A couple of months ago I decided to give 2016 a try (all of this on the 360, mind you) and actually liked it, and even put in the effort to learn how to dribble.

    Fast forward to a few days ago, now I’ve finally put my hands on an Xbox One and PES 2017, and I’m enjoying it immensely.

    My ML is only in the beginning, on Professional, but I’m finding it immersive and just right for my current level of skill. I’m also getting a lot of fouls. Too many sometimes. It’s like the refs are all Brazilian. Sometimes I’ll get a card for absolutely nothing or for a very mild shove off. I even got a penalty.

    That’s with only a dozen matches played. I did get my share of fouls on PES 2016 on the 360, so I wonder what’s going on.

    Anyway, I’ve been reading the blog for the past several weeks, catching up. Hope you’ve recovered from your recent illness.

    Take care.
    btw, I have a new album out. Check it out at

  2. Adriano – great to hear from you, and great to hear you’re still playing. All hail the mighty Kim Cyun Hi!

  3. Mid way through third ML season and I’ve had my first injury! PES 2017 frustrates the hell out of me because it’s so,so close to being an incredible game. If only there were more free kicks, penalties, injuries and fatigue. Oh , and it’d be great to have a realistic youth team with no regens and less 70+ rated players.

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