Month: November 2016

Down with the lurgy

lining-up-for-the-testimonial

Monday morning I woke up with that certain sinking feeling… nausea, whole-body aches and pains, lethargy.

24 hours – and a 12-hour sleep – later, I’m about 50% better, but still feel as if I will shatter into pieces if I attempt too much, so this post is a special from-my-sickbed post covering about half an hour of game-time that I managed to put in on Sunday night.

I grabbed a couple of Paul’s kits and did some work on them:

I’m aware that I forgot to add the club emblem. I might go back and do it again, but I probably won’t.

I’m keeping Season 3’s Home and Away kits as 3rd/4th strips.

Sunday night I had just enough time to move through that part of the post-season that takes in the Testimonial. Is it me or is that match hopelessly misconceived? I’d rather have pre-season friendlies against teams of my choosing, as in the hallowed PS2 days.

The player was De Rossi. I hope he does pop up in my Youths. I’m always in the market for a PES DMF.

I picked my “My Favourite Players” (all grammatical awkwardness there is Konami’s) for the year, and there could only be one candidate:

season-4-friday-fave-1

Yes, the man of the hour, one F FRIDAY.

seson-4-friday-fave-2

ccfc-season-4-home

ccfc-season-4-awayThe testimonial finished 0-0. It was a good game, if a little harem-scarem. There were no fouls until a cluster of 3 near the end.

PES2017’s change in character between Season 1 to now is undeniable, in my view. Whether it was the 1.02 patch, or whether the growth in Team Spirit exposed underlying code mechanisms, the effect has been the same.

Onward I go. Season 4. Superstar.

I plan to have a nice long session with the game today, still on my sickbed. I’m just recovered enough to make this a feasible prospect. I have the rest of the transfer window to get through.

Yesterday at about this time (coming up to midday) I was seriously debating with myself whether I needed to go to hospital.

The thought of doing anything else – reading a book, playing a computer game, watching TV, anything – seemed like the wildest fantasy.

It’s true what the elderly say about your health. If you haven’t got that, even for a day, you really haven’t got anything.


And a late addition to the post, from the midst of that sickbed session – quirky things happen often in PES and I’ve often thought a ‘What Happened Next?’ feature would work on the blog.

Game 1 of the Premier League season, West Ham away, 0-0 in the second half.

What Happened Next?

I’ll leave this open until somebody gets it or tomorrow, whichever comes first.

AND HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT:

Regular commenter Shed gets the credit for being closest with his suggestion of a lobbed own-goal from the defender.

What I love about the outcome is the way the keeper consoles the defender, as if it wasn’t all the keeper’s fault.

Lescott said, Son is mended

pes2017-season-3-just-won-it

Season 3 has wound to a finish. I dashed for the line in the end, playing the last 12 or so matches across two sessions close together. Setting aside some growing concerns about where the mature PES2017 gameplay is headed, I enjoyed an exhilarating run-in where I was nip-and-tuck with Aston Villa at the top of the table for the last few matches. I never managed to overhaul them, but kept getting close. Of course on the last day it was still all to play for, as it so often is in Master League.

I have a tradition in PES of going up in 2nd place, and for the longest time it seemed that would be how it’d go again. I met Cardiff in the last match and they were tough. I was behind twice, and fortunate to come away with the draw.

At the final whistle my team celebrated and I knew I’d won the league. A special feeling, particularly as it’s something I rarely do. 90% of my promotions in PES have been in 2nd, so this was special.

pes2017-season-3-final-table

I was festooned with garlands:

pes2017-season-3-lavished-with-praise

The roll of honour

season-3-roll-of-honour

Look at the kerning on GALLARJO between the R and the J. Shudder.

Only 3 players in the Team of the Tournament, though – about right, I’d say. Rice was a great performer for me again but he missed about 7 matches through suspensions.

pes2017-season-3-tott

That £18m of made-up money I spent on Friday pre-season was money very well spent.

pes2017-season-3-top-scorers

And finally some highlights from my run-in – can you guess what my favourite goal is from these? It’s not the one you think…

No, it’s not the Son rasper from 30 yards, although I liked that too (his first contribution of note since returning from that December training injury). Lescott’s scissors kick (and it is a scissors kick, not a bicycle kick) is also nice, but not something I felt particularly exultant over. Him kissing the screen was a surprise though.

My favourite goal in this clip is Cahill’s slotted finish from 0:55. It seems so straightforward, but I needed a goal like that. It came at a time when I was getting really pissed-off with Top Player’s fast and furious nature. I just wanted to put my foot on the ball and play a killer pass, and I did so.

I do end Season 3 on a high – with some misgivings, but on a high. This Master League is the best we’ve had since PES2012.

I’m looking forward to the Premier League, and to what will probably be an immediate transition to Superstar.

I’ve decided not to spend any more time on Top Player unless I have to.

I only moved up from Professional to Top Player mid-season, so my switch up now to Superstar is sudden – but necessary.

I’ve found Top Player to be extremely fast and furious, making PES2017 seem a lot more like PES2016 than I ever want it to be.

From that mid-season point onward, fouls all but disappeared completely from my game. Around 60% of my matches now end with no fouls against me at all. The remaining 40% end with a token 1 or 2. I never have any matches with more than that now. Rivals matches are the worst for this, as I believe the game represents the famous ‘referee showing a bit of common sense’ and hardly awards any fouls at all.

Low-fouls and no-fouls matches are typically insane, frantic, end-to-end affairs that have little deep interest for me. I never finish a fouls-free game thinking ‘what fun that was! the action neva stopped!!!’

I want and need PES2017 to go back to being the stellar 9/10 game I was playing a season or so ago.  The means a game that can be fast and slow. That features regular stoppages in play. Where I’m discouraged from sprint-sliding all over the place as my number 1 mode of defence. I’m hoping the Premier League on Superstar will make the second half of Season 3 on Top Player seem like an anomaly.

You do not talk about myClub

pes2017-season-3-after-31Moving up to Top Player has brought a little bit of pain. Results have wobbled. I just completed three matches straight where I failed to score a goal. I’ve fallen off the pace at the top of the table, inevitably.

I’m delighted about it. I would have romped clear on Professional. Moving up to Top player has made every match matter. It’s deepened my relationship with my players. Including a certain Mr Friday:

pes2017-season-3-the-goal-king

The very next match after this menu-screen blurb appeared, Friday stopped scoring. It’s been about 6 matches since – still no goals.

It’s as if the game knows that real-life players go on these runs of not doing whatever they were formerly doing rather well (cf. the real-life Ibrahimovic, Stones, Schmeichel, et al).

Rice had 3 games off following a straight red card. He hasn’t felt quite the same since his return. Son Heung-min hasn’t been the force he was before his brief injury lay-off. I’m loving this aspect of this ML.

Also very welcome is playing against an AI that does unexpected things. They won a free kick about 20 yards out. I prepared myself for the customary shot on goal. Instead, the AI free kick taker chipped the ball horizontally to a team-mate, who proceeded to execute a lovely Le Tissier-style chest-and-volley. I was almost disappointed when my keeper caught the shot with ease.

So PES2017 is a roaring success, right? It’d be churlish to deny that it’s a great PES. I think it is.

But doubts linger.

The fouls issue is bugging me massively at the moment. For a couple of weeks, fouls have been in steady decline as I’ve got used to the game and my usual pass-and-move approach to PES has taken shape.

PES2017 has always been a low-fouls match for me, but I was prepared to accept that as an improvement on PES2016.

The sad outcome is that I get entire clusters of matches with no fouls at all. Like this one:

pes2017-season-3-no-fouls

Seriously – I get two or three matches in a row where I have no free kicks at all. Not even PES2016 was guilty of that.

This was a supposed Rivals match, away to Birmingham. Look at the fouls/free kick count. Zero fouls against me and I only conceded one myself. That was with me playing a full-on thrash-metal style, a la PES2016. A horrible match, 1000mph, end-to-end crap. Everything that’s wrong with modern football gaming.

The annoying thing is that there were approximately 8 instances apiece that should have been fouls, but weren’t given as such. Had they been given, this shit match – and this was a proper shit match – would have been a great match.

The matches in PES2017 that have what I consider an acceptable amount of fouls — 4 per side or above is acceptable to me — are very, very rare now, in fact so rare that I cannot recall when I had the last one.

Fouls are not ‘fixed’ in PES2017. They never really have been.

Serious representations need to be made for the inclusion of an optional ‘Strict Referee’ setting in PES2018.

I want to see every single instance where a foul could be given, given.

Every. Single. One.

You often see the animation of a player holding out his arms in the universal ‘ref! ref!’ gesture. I want every one of these given as a foul and a free kick.

Yes, I know this would mean sometimes 8+ fouls per side per 10-minute match. That’s exactly what I want to see happen. I know exactly what I’m asking for, because that’s how things are in the greatest football game ever made, PES5.

If we have a Strict Referee setting in PES2018, there’ll be no need to discombobulate the online players. The current no-fouls model can still be the default setting. Those of us who want to actually play a football game, rather than a button-mashing rhythm-action game based on football, would have to go into a sub-menu and enable ‘Strict Referee’.

It could work very well. Everyone would get what they want. Us single-players would get proper matches properly punctuated with fouls and free kicks. The online players would still be able to enjoy their Real Munichelona cartoon blurs.

But it will never happen. Konami depends on shiteClub, as I wittily call it, to generate the kinds of extra revenue via microtransactions that probably make Pro Evolution Soccer viable as a commercial concern.

No shiteClub, no Pro Evo. And so there has to be the possibility that single-players will migrate to online play. Giving us single players a Strict Referee setting would probably seal most of us away from shiteClub forever, and Konami do not want that…

Everything bad that has ever happened in football gaming over the past 10 years can be laid at the door of online gaming.

  • frantic end-to-end pace (retaining player interest: the ‘MTV principle’)
  • the dumbing-down of player individuality (‘balancing’ for equally competitive online play)
  • the neglect of single-player modes (seriously, just what happened to Master League after PES2011?)
  • the gradual year-on-year reduction of fouls and free kicks (the fewer interruptions, the better)
  • the omission of injuries from in-game play in Master League (because in-game injuries not only interrupt play, they force the player out to the Squad screen – a mega-interruption)

I hate online football gaming.

I really hate it. I really mean this. I don’t hate anything else in the world. I don’t hate injustice or disease or death or suffering or anything else of that nature. Those things are inescapable features of a phenomenal world and there’s little or nothing we can do about them.

I hate online football gaming. I bitterly resent its baleful influence on the football game series that I love.

It is time for PES online and PES offline to go their separate ways. If not in the form of wholly separate games, then in the form of a Strict Referees setting for PES2018.

It is time to make PES truly great again.

The stars are bright

Not much time to write a long post today, but I have got a longish compilation of some recent notable goals. My two main men — Friday and Rice — being very much to the fore. Two stars in the firmament.

The main news is that I’ve moved up to Top Player and the quality of the game has taken a proportional leap forward.

Professional was only tolerable so long as I was being handicapped for lowish Team Spirit. As soon as I started waltzing through matches with little challenge from the AI, it was time to move up before that positive ‘PES2017 feeling’ stagnated.

Top Player has been a shot in the arm. I find the matches very competitive, with an intriguing step up in headed opportunities, as today’s clip will show. I’ve gone to about 1 in 8 chances being headed now. This is close to me having to agree that, yes, PES2017 is a header-friendly edition of the series.

Some of these goals were on Professional, but most came after the move up to Top Player:

I did a good bit of business – my Most Important Player has signed a new contract for the next 3 years:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161101191136

The question is, where will the team – and Rice – be in 3 seasons’ time? Will he sign a new one? As the above video shows, he’s very important to the team. A kind of Bryan Robson-Coynborough lovechild.

pes2017-season-3-halfway-pointI’m fielding a starting formation without an official DMF for the first time since… ever. In practice both Rice and Bartual (new signing) function very well as DMF-style CMFs, but it makes me uneasy. Expect this state of affairs not to last long.

After a match that saw me storm back from 1-0 down to win 1-3 away from home – on Top Player, that’s a great win – the post-match blurb made interesting reading…

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161101183853

…because it makes absolutely no sense at all.

The table after 26 matches:

pes2017-season-3-after-28

And here is the current top scorers’ chart. That £18m was imaginary money well-spent:

pes2017-season-3-top-scorers-after-28

AND FINALLY TODAY – THIS HAPPENED:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161031183242

He was back during December, none the worse for his brief ordeal.

 

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