Hanging up my stocking on the free kick wall

pes2017-season-5-cup-winners-group-photo-sans-cupSeason 5 has wound to a close in spectacular, memorable fashion. Not on the League front – I’ll get that bit of business out of the way with first:

pes2017-season-5-final-table11th. A very poor final few matches saw me finish not just a long way off the hoped-for top 6 place, but with an average goals-scored ratio of less than 1 per match.

Usually this stage of an ML – my second season in the top flight – would see me laying the groundwork for a serious title challenge in the next season. But something tells me I won’t even be close to being a title contender in Season 6. We shall see.

Something also tells me that the trajectory followed by so many others with PES2017 will not be the one followed by me. The way things look now, I’ll still have serious business with PES2017 by February, and there’s not many saying that.

‘Twas ever thus, back in the PS2 days, and I’m pleased that PES2017 is showing me this side of itself.

The highlight of my run-in was this goal — a type that most of us will have scored in PES2017, but was my very first:

I beat Arsenal in the Cup semi-final (2-0, fairly straightforward). Which led me to the Final, against Manchester United.


A sighting there of Man Utd’s current First XI in season 2020-21. Just a couple of names that don’t feature in 2016-17. One of this Master League world’s biggest disappointments is how the AI teams conduct themselves in the transfer market, or fail to.

The match itself was an anti-climactic one. Not one of PES2017’s horror shows, I’m thankful to say — meaning the types of matches I’ve been moaning about from Day 1, the 1000mph fouls-free slidefests. But it wasn’t great either. Somewhere in-between.

Then I got a free kick about 28 yards out. Something like that.

I’d never scored a proper over-the-wall free kick in PES2017 before this moment. Never even really come close. So this was one of the year’s standout moments. I’ll remember the moment this free kick flew in as long as I remember PES2017.

And that was the winning goal. I won the FA Cup.


you-won-the-cupSeason 5 ends with silverware on the table for the first time since my promotion from the Championship.

As our calendar year 2017 heads for its conclusion, PES2017 is still going, stronger than ever.

PES veterans often speak warmly of the old games’ gritty, grinding 1-0 wins (and losses). For me, PES2017 delivers plenty of these types of matches. I enjoy them immensely. So the general outlook for PES is the brightest it’s been for many a year – probably not since PES2012, or even PES2010, has a PES held up this strongly for me at this time.

The only downer is the lack of player individuality, which is annoying me more than any other issue at the moment, yes, even more than no-fouls, which is still a massive problem in its own right. Once again I will be shipping out all the clones. Halilovic – who’s just a generic bundle of pixels with the name ‘Halilovic’ attached – is top of the Do One list. There are others.

I’m also going to strenuously resist helping myself to Youth Regens, no matter how enticing they might be. They’re never great to begin with, and I need to start making progress now.

A post-season clearout and a fresh start in Season 6. There’s nothing like Master League.


I’m going to take some time off over Christmas and New Year. This period is just a normal working fortnight for me, and I do have a lot else on besides, so it makes sense to give myself some breathing space regarding the blog.

Here’s the blog’s Christmas-New Year schedule:

  • Tuesday 27th December – no new post.
  • Friday 30th December – normal post
  • Tuesday 3rd January – no new post.
  • Friday 6th January – back to normal. Yes, we made it through another one, people…

So I’m taking the next two Tuesdays off. Friday posts will appear as normal.

I will remain active in comments as much as possible. I’ll also be putting in some serious PES time in and if anything astounding happens there I will be sharing it.

Please do all keep your comments coming, about PES, about gaming in general or, if you must, about ‘real’ football. (Boxing Day football is one of the highlights of my Christmas, but what terrible fixtures it’s thrown up this year!)

It only remains to wish all readers, commenters, and lurkers alike a very happy Christmas and best wishes for the imminent New Year.

Updated: 23rd December 2016 — 10:30


  1. a version of Journey where you played as a young keeper would be amazing, you would have to master an entirely different set of gameplay controls under huge pressure after being thrown in at the deep end

  2. abbeyhill – I have tried to play as the keeper so many times in FIFA since it became possible, but I’m just not feeling it. It’s not a rewarding part of a football game because it doesn’t manage to produce even an abstraction of what it’s like, in the way that playing as an outfield player does. Playing as the keeper is just a Quicktime Event in football game form, about as deep as a Flash webpage game circa 2007 or so. I say this as a goalkeeper, with a heavy heart.

    Darryl – I simply don’t have time for FIFA or the Journey, even if I wanted to (and my brush with the FIFA17 demo convinced me that I don’t – it struck me that FIFAs 15 and 16 were much better).

    No Man’s Sky continues to entrance me. With Elite on the horizon for PS4 I hope and imagine the NMS developers have plenty in store for their game.

    My actual, real, current desktop:

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  3. NG – indeed you are probably right. The gameplay on The Journey is much better, but am not feeling anything on the career mode. It is very difficult to play Fifa after a period of playing PES as you find yourself missing that solid sturdiness that PES provides. It is hard to put this into words as it is just a feeling I get, but Fifa seems too light and flimsy.

  4. Darryl – Have you found out where the camera zoom and height settings are this year in FIFA? I can find how to change camera but not customise an existing one. My old man eyes need a bit of zoom on the new default camera.

    Also for the love of god can you skip the cutscenes in The Journey? I know the story and don’t need to see it slowly unfold again.

  5. NMS looks enticing – I just got Doom as a “side-game” for 2 euros though so that will take precedence for now. As a huge sci-fi fan though, seems I can’t ignore NMS for much longer. Also looking forward to Cyberpunk 2077…won’t be out for a good while but should please the sci-fi buff.

    On a PES 2017-longevity-related note: I wonder if the short player development curves have a positive effect on difficulty, especially when looking for consistent succes. For instance I want to recreate Frank de Boer’s recent real-life feat with Ajax as a trainer (4 championships in a row) – but looking at how quickly the development curves taper off and players start declining – that might be easier said than done. Which would be a good thing IMO.

  6. Darryl – I’ve got tired of my annual FIFA merry-go-round, it’s just a two-week wonder, every time. The only way to play and enjoy FIFA, in my experience, is to do so before that year’s PES. FIFA12 and FIFA15 are the two standout FIFAs in my recent memory and it’s no coincidence that they both came out, and were acquired and played by me, before their respective years’s editions of PES. There’s no going PES-to-FIFA for me in any year and it’s time to stop trying. As I’ve discussed a few times, this is in no way whatsoever a football gaming blog and thus I’m cheerfully not going to ‘provide balanced coverage’.

    #1 – but has the game got the development arcs right on other, younger players in the ML world? I’m not sure yet.

  7. NG – neither am I and that will be a deciding factor I think. I plan to find out if the game continues to behave as it has been the last couple of weeks.

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