Yippee Payet

Into January in Season 10 of PES2017, my last season on PES2017. Still closing in on the Treble. Still unbeaten — in all competitions. I’m having a memorable final season.

That image above was picked for its weirdness. An extreme close-up on the side of a West Ham player’s shorts, with one of my players a blur in the distance? How did the game choose that? Play long enough on any football game and you will usually end up seeing oddities and wonders — of which more at the end of this post

I feel quite well-disposed toward PES2017 at the moment. Perhaps this is helped by the arrival of springlike weather over the past few days. There’s something about laying back, the window cracked open for the first time since September, the room seeming so unnaturally bright, the radio on in the background, just relaxing with Pro Evo.

I’m suddenly feeling quite well-disposed to my ML team. Maybe my awareness that this is their final season is bringing sentimentality to the surface. But I think it’s more because this really is a better PES than last year’s.

I’d struggle right now to name many, if any, of my PES2016 ML team, but I’m quietly sure I’ll recall PES2017’s crew — the likes of Halilovic, and Palacio, and others — for a long time to come.

Since at least PES2015, PES’s famous sense of player individuality has been sacrificed in the name of online-focused ‘balancing’. There’s no question about that in my mind.

But just enough of the ghost of individuality remains for us to sometimes experience that uncanny sense of controlling more than just a bindle of pixels and coding.

The emergence of another individual, Regen Dmitri Payet, has helped. It also helps that the commentary team pronounces his name correctly as ‘Pie-yay’, instead of the cringesomely ignorant ‘Pie-yet’. If I was a continental European I’d be bloody delighted about Brexit. (Please don’t mock-innocently ask me about Paris/Paree in comments.)

Anyway, Regen Payet’s crossing and all-round silky skills on the ball are noticeable and pleasing to behold. Payet this season has played a large part in driving my rise to this position in the league:

Clear by 6 points. Still unbeaten.

I’ve got a great chance of a Treble and an Invincibles season, which I have never done before on any PES. This is my entire life now.

The Champions League Group ended with me winning 6 out of 6 and scoring a hatful in the process:

I’m also still in the FA Cup, having sailed past Watford 4-0 in a game that featured the first star performance from my new signing, striker C BACCA.

I just can’t think of a nickname for C BACCA. It’s driving me mad trying to rack my brains to come up with a nickname for C BACCA. I think I’ll have to call C BACCA something else as an interim nickname — Clive, or something like that.

Has PES2017 rolled over to have its tummy tickled? Not likely.

Only about 1 in 5 matches is anything like straightforward. I’m working hard for 80% of my results.

With all this fine feeling going on, what chance of a Season 11?

Not zero chance, but not a great chance either. I feel right now that I will win big this season, and thus could part from PES2017 on amicable terms, and take away many more good memories of the game than bad memories.

If I played a Season 11 I’d just be inviting the nitpick fairy back to stay, and postponing something I’m impatient to do right now — and that’s PES5.

So this is 99% certain going to be the last season on PES2017.

To end with, another one of those oddities I mentioned at the start.

Some months ago, in that week when two ‘scorpion-kick’ goals were scored in quick succession in so-called real-life football, I mused that this meant the PES devs were sure to add them as a possible animation in PES2018.

Well, I saw an attempt in PES2017 just yesterday morning —

Yes, it would have been better if the attempt had actually succeeded, but it just shows that PES, no matter how diluted and compromised in the name of the false online gods, retains the capacity to impress with novelty. Even after nine-and-a-half seasons and several hundred matches.

Updated: 3rd April 2017 — 17:30


  1. That table is an abomination – who puts the goals for before the match record followed by the goals against?

  2. Rhetorical question I know, but my rhetorical answer is “people who know about game development but not about football”. Over to you nG.

  3. I’ve seen that scorpion kick attempted hundreds of times by the com over my 8 seasons on PES 17, the novelty fast wore off.

    Coming towards the end of my first season on FIFA 17, battling it out at the top of the table with Chelsea, with just a point separating us with 5 games remaining, its going to be a tense run-in.

    every game feels that way too, theres a palpable tension about it, helped largely by the presentation, commentary and feeling of being contained in an actual football world.

  4. Paul – literally, hundreds? Having never seen a scorpion kick once in almost 10 seasons of PES2017, you’ll forgive me for doubting it could be literally hundreds of times. That’d mean at least 200 times in your 8 seasons (400-ish matches), i.e. one every two matches. This was my first one, and it wasn’t the AI, it was me.

    Chris99/Uncle Turf – I share the impotent, gnashing rage, but what can be done in the face of such inscrutable Oriental whimsy?

  5. ok maybe not hundreds, overstated that, but dozens.

  6. Paul – literally, doz– OK 🙂 I wasn’t thrilled to see the scorpion kick pop up in my MLverse, just slightly peeved after predicting it’d be added in PES2018 to find it already in.

    The forums would say that the scorpion kick had been patched in, of course. The forums are amusing at the moment. Not one but two PS4 Pro-related patches in the past week have prompted an even more epic flurry of ‘there have been gameplay changes!’ hysteria than usual. Meanwhile I continue playing exactly the same game.

  7. I have been keeping an eye on the forums in the hope of some murmuring of PES 18 news, but alas, its full of the usual types, listing 150 reasons why PES is so crap, not one of them mentioning fouls once.

    I think to trigger the corpion kick animation a player would need a high shot/technique/agility stat and be in the right position to try it, which doesn’t happen very often at all, Ronaldo (the brazilian) was playing for Arsenal in my ML and was usually the culprit of attempting this.
    My player Embolo tried it too.

    There are a hoard of youtube videos showing people scoring with it also.

  8. Oh! Pat yourself on the back for the phrase “oriental whimsy”. That’s a peach. I can almost hear Frank Muir saying it on Call My Bluff (younger readers may need to head over to You Tube).

  9. Paul – no-fouls is mentioned from time to time on the forums, but it never sticks as a topic, and is often dismissed in an ‘oh not this again, we KNOW this, there’s NO need to talk about it’ sort of way.

    I can make a sound legal-style case for fouls being THE gameplay issue facing PES at this time in its history. To me it’s self-evident. We all deplore those passages of play when gameplay degenerates into constant, churning, scrambling after possession, with multiple ‘turnovers’, and little niggles going on that could and should be fouls – but aren’t.

    PES5 has its own melees of madness, from time to time, but they’re by no means common, as it will usually award a foul for either team as soon as it can do so. I played another PES5 tester yesterday in which the AI fouled me 11 times. In the first half.

    It’s this stricter kind of fouling climate that promotes good football gaming and good PES football gaming. You end up playing football instead of mashing the buttons (and spamming slide-tackle).

    So how is this not obviously evident to the current PES gaming player-base? (Or at least the forum-posting section of it.) Have their palates been so degraded by several years of no-fouls that they now see it as the new normal? It’s likely this is in fact the case. Even the most diehard (self-declared) PES fan on the forums seems to be an enthusiastic online player. Or they often hark back to the ‘fun with mates’ eras of their gaming lives. Perhaps most people do just want to sprint all over the pitch and have basketball-style ‘fun’ after all. These are the people whose voices are heard, anyway.

    Anyway, a referee strictness toggle switch or slider in PES2018 would solve this problem. It won’t happen though.

  10. Yeah, i dont see how its largely ignored by anyone that plays the game, if the basic fundamental rules of the sport aren’t adhered to, then its just a mess.

    I guess their argument would be ‘well you won a quadruple on superstar, you don’t need the penalties or free kicks’ ….. which i guess in a very diluted way, is true, but still, the rules are the rules, if im blatantly hacked in the box i should be awarded a penalty, regardless if I’m top of the league or already winning 5-0.

    I’ll be curious to see whether after a month of solid every day play on PES5 you still think its the best footy game ever, as it felt very rigid and dated to me this past weekend. Absolutely way ahead of its time, at the time, but in todays standards …. not so sure.

  11. Paul – I don’t see fouls in footy games as needing to be included for the sake of helping the human player in any way. That’s a bit of a tangent. They just make a football game a football game, instead of a football-themed button-mashing computer game. For me it’s straightforward to see that fouls have been removed for the sake of keeping the game flowing, and meeting the target audience’s expectations of what an online multiplayer experience should be like. All those midfield melees of mutual sprinting, scrambling, hacking, barging, and stumbling that are unpunctuated by any whistle, and make me grimace with pain at how shite it is, are actually ‘fun‘ to the Beavis and Butthead types who make up 90% of online players. That’s exactly the kind of football gaming they want.

    PES5 does not allow that sort of football gaming to develop, and that’s one of the principal reasons why it is the greatest football game ever made.

    And re. PES5 and what I actually find there, that’s one of the most interesting things about this venture. Just how will I fare, playing PES5 in 2017? Will I still think it’s the greatest football game ever made after a week, a month, several months? One thing’s for sure – if PES5 goes bad on me I won’t stubbornly stick with it just for the sake of not losing face. I’m not currently the kind of person who could afford to waste time on a football game I don’t actually want to play.

    But I have played enough PES5 recently to be 99.99% sure that it will more than withstand being my main football game in the year 2017. We will see. I’ll be honest about it every step of the way, that’s all I can say.

  12. Now there’s something you will never ever see PES attempt to lift from ‘real’ football – Newcastle’s farcical not retaken penalty. Mainly because they don’t believe in penalties. Or handballs. Or fouls outside the box. Or injuries. But those scorpion kicks happen every game that I see on match of the day…

    I’ve noticed what appeared to be a stamina driven effort to reduce sprint clamping seems to have gone by the by now. It was a bit overdone with the players blowing their ring by 30 mins but it seems to be one for the ‘seen once in a single PES’ collection.

  13. NG, if PES5 is greatest footy game of all time due to not allowing midfield melees of mutual sprinting, scrambling, hacking, barging, and stumbling that are unpunctuated by any whistle, then we could drop FIFA 17 into greatest game of all time contention.

    Its a shame you wont actually get to sample FIFA this year, as it plays beautifully, theres so much right with it, im seeing constant realism and variation in how every team plays, with every match.

  14. Paul – I cited that as one of the main reasons, not the reason. It’s an important contributory reason that has a knock-on effect on so much else (individuality comes to the fore in a proper fouling environment), but there isn’t and never could be one reason. Just as a rainbow is made up of many colours. Yes, PES5 is like a rainbow… (I’ll hold your sick-bags over the coming months.)

    Uncle Turf – any football game that properly represented stamina-drain through over-use of the sprint/pressure button(s), simply wouldn’t last in the online climate before being patched to meet expectations. Cf. FIFA16’s transition from Beta, to release, to post-patches.

    And real-life football’s officials are the worst in any professional sport, ever. The penalty fiasco at Newcastle is the very least of their sins. In last night’s MOTD there was a clear penalty for Arsenal at the end of their match when they were already 3-0 up. It was obvious to me, as it should be to any watcher of this ‘sport’, that the only reason the referee didn’t give it was that Arsenal were already 3-0 up. Is that kind of consideration of the current score in the rulebook? Nope.

    Then in Chelsea-Man City, when John Stones shanked his late chance over the bar, two other Man City players were being held in bearhugs by Chelsea defenders. Clear penalty, 100%. But no, because it was last-minute, because it would be horrifically difficult for the referee to give it, and because most of them aren’t given anyway (as ‘there would be too many given’, which takes a sport’s rulebook right through the Looking Glass), it wasn’t given. As you know, these are just two examples from legions of examples that could be brought before the court.

  15. NG – hold on, you actually watched some ‘real’ football ?!?!?!

  16. Paul – the five-minute highlights packages that are all you see on MOTD these days are more than enough to satisfy myself that the sport continues down its path away from actually being one. I also watch specifically to see all the incidents that enrage me, and wonder at the indifference of players, commentators, pundits and fans alike. Imagine snooker referees started ignoring those moments when snooker players foul the white with the tip of their cue, because the player had already had ‘too many’ decisions against him and would be angry. That would already be peculiar, would it not? Now imagine that everybody but you simply ignored it, and carried on watching snooker and enthusing about it as if this state of affairs was all right and snooker was still a credible sport. Just how weird, on a scale of 1 to 10, would that be?

    For snooker substitute your own examples. Line-calls in tennis would be a good one. The tennis line judges suddenly decide to let a few go, because ‘if they were all called, there’d be too many called’, etc.

  17. NG – you have no need to convince me, im totally with you on all this, the no fouls thing enrages me just as much as it does you.
    ignoring basic core rules of the sport you are trying to simulate in an attempt to ‘please the masses’ says several things:
    1) ‘The masses’ are all morons
    2) Konami are lazy
    3) Konami are incompetent
    4) PES shouldn’t be classified as a sports simulation, may as well be an action/adventure arcade game

  18. To be fair though Paul, konami is the little guy, without the resources of a big company to….oh, hang on, we’ve shot that particular elephant already

    The Italy England rugby match amused me because of the clear lack of understanding of the rules by international players and their moaning coach.

  19. I am LOVING 2015!!!! Using Real Sociedad. Every match is enjoyable! Some have very few fouls but it’s barely noticeable as the games are so engaging. I put all my transfer eggs in one basket and signed Paolo Dybala for about 6.5m, sold tons of players to raise funds. Have had to make do with a few plodders in midfield and defence.
    Gonna have to play around with my defense positioning, NG don’t know if this ever happened to you but I’m constantly having opposition strikers turn from back to front in an instant (much like pressing down and X in Resident Evil 4 to make Leon turn 180 degrees instantly) which completely bamboozles my centre backs, giving the attacker an unopposed run on goal.

    Dybala is a class apart though, he’s the leagues top scorer by some way (Spanish second division)

    The major downside is a certain stadium. Funnily enough I mentioned a stadium from an old Pes recently that had the pitch designed in tons of thin lines that made me feel sick. Well 2015 has it’s own version of that with a stadium that when playing in sunshine casts a horrible shadow with all sorts of gaps and lines in it across half the pitch. Again, nauseating.

  20. Uncle Turf – that rugby thing came to my attention and I was also astonished that the England lot seemed to think rules had been broken.

    Mike – PES2015 was a 9/10 PES game and the best we’ve had on PS4 yet, no question. Would you like to see a fast-paced compilation of my PES2015 goals set to the replay music from PES2 on a loop? Very well, here it is:

  21. Hmm fifa 17 now comes with a 64 percent discount for an Easter sale in the Dutch PS store.. Seriously tempted now. 24 euros…

  22. Haha, I enjoyed that immensely NG. Castolis is the man from the 2015 defaults isn’t he?? I notice that most of your goals are scored from positions I’d never even think about shooting from. Maybe I need to experiment more. I do have a long range volley saved that made me squeal (and doubtless would you too) but let’s be honest, no matter how many times you tell me how to, I’m never going to learn how to share.

  23. Mike – sorry dude, glad you are enjoying the game but barely noticing there are no fouls is pretty much exactly why PES games are shocking, you SHOULD be noticing fouls, they should be disrupting game play and should be totally evident, as thats how it is in real football.

    remember that old game from childhood days…. was it quickfire? with the paddles at each end protection a goal and shooting the ball bearing around a table, bouncing off sides and completely frenetic and manic and only stopping when a goal goes in? thats pretty much PES right now.

  24. Went ahead and bought FIFA. it plays a good solid game of football but I can never quite get over the floatiness of FIFA (compared to PES). so it will take some time to Un-PES myself. will reserve that for a later time and still gun for the treble with PES. As an overall package it is immediately evident though that FIFA is streets ahead – on the pitch not so much – yet, for me. it even has Dutch commentary which is pretty nice for me obviously. I like the challenges / goals the board sets before a career (had a quick look). You can also move teams around anyway you like as well which is a bit PES – like and quite surprising too. Plopped Ajax down in the premier league just for the hell of it, but if I want I could make like a hybrid Dutch – Belgian league located in England (or something along those lines). Could be pretty fun in a Werd-like way.

  25. #1 – at that price I’d have sprung for FIFA17 too… if this was one of those sorts of years for me. Thankfully it’s not.

    Paul – I of course agree, with one quibble: fouls never ‘disrupt’ a football game, they enhance it. Not even when PES5’s AI fouled me 11 (ELEVEN) times in the first half alone did I ever find it disruptive. The reason why no/low-fouls is so obnoxious in latter-day football games is that it enables the player to get away with squeezing buttons, sprinting, spam=sliding all over the place. In a proper football game with fouls given for that sort of thing, the player cannot do that sort of thing and is forced to play the game.

    Mike – Castolis is the PES2015 Castolo/Castledine/Cinalton/Castello-figure, yes. And re. the replays, I imagine you’re one of those many-many people with such a fixed idea of yourself as ‘not technical’ (it always seems to be that phrase too!) that it’s more a kind of limiting self-hypnosis than any measurement of your capabilities.

  26. NG – by disrupting i didnt mean your actual gaming experience, i meant when trying to play intricate strategic football, fouls by the com should disrupt your game plan, make it harder to boss midfield etc.

    #1 – completely disagree about FIFA’s floatyness. 100%
    In PES the collision detection and physicality is abysmal, players collide and bounce off eachother with polarising magnetic effects, its a shambles, theres no tactical element to it as it doesnt work properly.

    FIFA’s players feel solid, the collision detection is superb, fouls are given for shirt pulls, trailing legs, lunges, barges from behind, controlling target men such as Carrol or Lukaku feel totally different, you actually can shield the ball, use bodyweight and power past people, ride tackles etc.

    This is one of the single biggest positives for me playing FIFA after coming from PES, it opens the game up to whole new ways of playing. And IMO FIFA on-pitch play is far superior to PES, if you played a season in career mode, you’d see that every match is totally different, and every one feels like an occasion.

    The best way I can describe it, and this is coming from PES where most of the time i really enjoyed it, is that playing PES is like kicking a flat plastic ball around in an empty village hall, whereas FIFA feels like playing a cup final at a premiership ground. Night and day.

  27. Paul – How does Fifa 17 compare to 16 in your view? I’ve been playing 16 a fair bit this week and have got to the point where I recall why I stopped playing it: the passing does my head in.

    I’m on Pro level with no sliders (never doing those again!) and the effort it takes to pull off even a simple move up the pitch is rather frustrating. I like many aspects of the game but because I’m coming from PES, the general way of playing between penalty areas seems very odd indeed.

    Is Fifa 17 any different?

  28. Shed – FIFA 17 is much better, more refined, passes will bobble, bounce, and theres many ways to pass, a standard pass, a precision pass, a drivenm through ball, normal through ball, driven pass, it makes for so many ways to create an attack.

    Ad as every team plays realistically, every match is varied, so some defences will leave gaps, with real offensive fullbacks that get caught out of position, some will drop real deep and play defensively, not just every single team adopting a flat back 4 in a straight line all the time like PES.

  29. Tempted as it’s done to £20 on the PS store…

  30. Shed – I think you won’t regret it. it’s a solid game and the matchday presentation is amazing. well atleast in the premier league and bundesliga from what I’ve seen, other leagues are more generic presentation-wise. As i’ve said gameplay feels a bit floaty to me – but a (perhaps large) part of that is due to me being accustomed to PES. What I mean by floaty is that passing and shooting feals “meatier” in PES to me but I’ve found after some more playtime that this is also down to camera settings – I’ve never been able to find the sweet spot on FIFA but will give it a proper go after PES.

    Also, as Paul stated, the ball bounces around very realistically and passages of play are much more free-flowing than in PES, which is a good thing. not seeing any fouls yet though…just a few.

    Paul – are you on legacy or tactical defending> I never could get the hang of the latter…

  31. #1 – Im on tactical defending (i didnt even know you could change it)
    which is very diffiuclt as you cant just clampo a button and have your defender lock on to the forward, makes defending a real challenge, which i kind of like.

  32. Paul – you played FIFA15 on Legacy defending. I remember you changing it then. It’s probably time to get to grips with Tactical, though. The whole sprint-clampy approach to defending in football games has got to go.

    Chris99 – the philosophy of the modern football game is that the ball goes out of play as little as possible. That way all the fun is maximised. This is why there are no in-play injuries in PES anymore. The game must not be stopped. If they thought they could get away with getting rid of throw-ins and the like, I think they would do it.

    I’m still enjoying PES2017 for what it is, just as I extracted maximum value from ’16, and before it ’15. But PES since PES2014 is a much more arcade-oriented, multiplayer-focused shoot-and-sprint-’em-up than it should be, no question about that.

    Shed – the game really doesn’t want me to do an Invincibles season. I can feel it from the start in every single match.

    With the milder, lighter days here, the football gaming calculus changes, doesn’t it? Just as you start seeing MOTD editions with the pitches all brightly, strangely lit, spectators in t-shirts sucking ice lollies etc, the end of our seasons is nigh.

  33. Yes NG, but 16 and 17 I’m playing on tactical defending.

    My First FIFA 17 is coming to a climactic finish, Chelsea are top, with me second, Man Utd are trailing in 3rd by a good 9pts.
    Chelsea and us have been leapfrogging each other for the last 10 games, I have picked up one too many draws in the last 5 games and as a result am 5pts behind Chelsea now with 5 games to play, a very tense run in, which is palpable during each match.

    I did however beat Man utd on Pens at Wembley in the FA Cup semi final, so have the FA Cup final to look forward to, have already won the EFL cup so even if i finish 2nd in the league, a cup double and european cup qualification isn’t a bad season.

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