A tale of two Coventry Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I’ve won the League, but the Treble is gone. That’s my last chance of getting the Treble on PES2017 gone with it. More on how that happened in a moment.

The big one of the three – the League title – has looked inevitable for most of this season, and so it proved.

I won the league with several matches to spare, as the above picture indicates. And this one:

The table after 33 matches:

Mathematically out of sight. For anybody wondering where Liverpool are, they’re 3rd from bottom and in danger of relegation.

I’m loving this League title, not least because it does seem – with 5 fixtures remaining – as if I will also pull off an Invincibles season, which is no easy feat in any PES and almost constitutes a leg of a Treble in its own right.

Of course I’m tempting fate by being so confident. There are 5 fixtures remaining. We know PES better than that.

Anyway, the Treble came off the rails with elimination from the FA Cup in the semi-final against Chelsea. The match ended 0-0 after extra time. I lost 5-3 on penalties.

This was a terrible match.

Everything that is bad about the new-style of PES gameplay, was on show in this Cup semi.

1000mph load of shite – a frenzied, churning, midfield blizzard of slides and charges and barges and sprinting. The rhythm of this entire match was like a washing machine on its fastest spin cycle.

And guess how many fouls were on the board at the end of 120 minutes – 0 for either side.

I cannot recall a single redeeming passage of gameplay from this match. It was without question the worst single match of PES2017 I have played, and probably the worst single match I’ve ever played on any PES.

Remember when FIFA was rubbish – really rubbish – back in the PS1/PS2 days, and you’d play a few matches of it every year (while waiting for PES to appear), and feel overcome by an almost physical revulsion at the sheer terribleness of the gameplay? That’s how this match made me feel.

It’s not because I lost on penalties and the Treble evaporated before my eyes – that was deflating, I will admit.

The gameplay was objectively bad. There was no question of ‘just put your foot on the ball and slow things down’. Not when the AI blazes into you at 1000mph, and not a single foul is being called.

An awful, awful match, and sadly indicative of the way PES2017 tends to go after a certain time. Most PES2017 matches are somewhere on this spectrum, sadly.

Thankfully these extremely poor matches only come along once in a while – but too often for us old PESheads to feel comfortable that they come along at all. It’s a disgrace that this kind of gameplay can exist in a game with the name PES on it, a total disgrace. Year on year, single-player PES gameplay is being transformed into the image of online multi-player button-mashing. I disapprove of this.

If this is the direction that football gaming is going in – and I think it’s inarguable that it is – then I will want no part of it. If my imminent PES5 months go well, and if PES2018 is an iteration of this whole dismal no-fouls arcade-oriented PES2016/PES2017 thing, then I will have an interesting decision to make come September. We shall see.This time next week I will be playing PES5 as my regular football game. Every time I have that thought, I feel an almost indecent level of excitement. I don’t think I’m tempting fate by saying that not one single match on that game will ever end with the fouls count at 0-0. Not a single one. How peculiar does that sound? And doesn’t it indicate just where we’ve got to in the PES journey in 2017?

The Champions league is still very much ON. I was drawn against the above Generic FC team in the Quarters and blitzed them 8-2 on aggregate. Caen are the opponents in the semi, with either Bayern Munich or Roma in the final.

Here’s a short video of a few goals from my most recent matches. There’s a brief view of my post-match league title celebrations, including an obligatory shot of my in-game avatar David Pleating onto the pitch. Yes, David Pleat is a verb now.

A nice couple of goals from Aduriz in there. When I leave PES2017 behind, I’ll have a few lingering regrets. The game isn’t totally devoid of merit, and I whooped with joy at Aduriz’s acrobatic first goal as much as I have on any PES.

One regret will be missing out on the player development of Aduriz and Ibrahimovic and a few others. This was always one of the core satisfactions of Master League. I will regret not getting to see how their stories turned out.

This Tuesday’s post – the 18th of April 2017 – will be the last post for PES2017. For a PES to last until late April these days is pretty good going, whatever else might be said about it.

Updated: 14th April 2017 — 10:17


  1. NG – what a wonderful post. I sometimes question why when I am no longer gaming do I still follow the blog and this post is a reminder why. You have perfectly summed up the state of modern football games here and the PES series. I Shall be looking forward to your PES 5 adventures with a keen sense of excitement.I certainly am intrigued to see your honest assessment of how it fairs in relation to this new era of gaming. When you do I would also be interested in your thoughts on how it compares in terms of difficulty.

  2. Darryl – despite having almost zero time for other gaming nowadays, I still follow all the latest gaming news, spending ages reading up in particular on all the latest grand strategy games I’ll never, ever get around to playing. It’s very curious, I know.

    Looking forward to PES5, needless to say. Tuesday’s post will definitely be the end of PES2017. I might need to give myself some lead-in time to PES5 and skip next Friday’s post, as my time is very tight with work and life at the moment. I’ve been playing a few matches of PES5 every week for the past few weeks as a warming-up exercise and I believe it will last over the summer and who knows? Maybe after that too. Oh, and no PES5 match finishes with the fouls count at 0-0. Not one. I think 3-2 is the lowest I’ve had recently. It averages around 6-6. No football game should ever end with fouls at 0-0. It just should not be allowed to happen. You’d think the ‘loyal, hardcore’ playerbase would have been in open revolt by now, just as the Call of Duty crew would be if weapons-reloading was removed from that franchise, say, for the sake of ‘flow’ [*vomit*]. But look on the PES forums and see if you can find anyone who cares about low/no-fouls, despite it having such a calamitous effect on gameplay. Very, very peculiar.

  3. In season 6 and I’m finally seeing some injuries which is stretching my thin squad! It is weird how PES2017 blows hot and cold. I’ve had some great games recently but, of course, a fair amount of shit ones too. Just wish there was more consistency.

  4. Mr Sifter — and therein lies the problem. When PES2017 behaves well and reposnds as we expect a PES game to perform, i.e. featuring little if any of that demented million-miles-an-hour play we see far too often, it’s a great PES game. Sadly the proportion of great matches/average matches/utterly dismal matches is currently about 30/50/20 for me. Just enough on the great side to keep me going to this point, but really, the end is at hand and it’s the right time to finish it. That Chelsea cup tie was abysmal, the kind of dreadful match I would never have believed a PES game could serve up to us. Damn the ‘fun first’ brigade to hell. Damn them all to hell. (Are you reading this abbeyhill? Me recycling this memelike quote from Planet of the Apes means I’m secretly that Japan bloke!)

    At this moment I have 3 more matches of PES2017 to play and then I am done.

  5. Apologies if I’ve missed previous mention of this… What are you plans for pes5? Are you continuing your old/current save? Updating kits/leagues/teams/players?

    2017 ended up with a long old run, looking forward to reading your thoughts on pes5 once it becomes your single focus

  6. NG Commiserations on today’s events with your beloved sky blues.

    Where’s Peter Ndlovu when you need him?

    Stupid chicken dance…….

  7. Pete – I have mentioned my PES5 setup plans a few times in comments over the past month or two, but in my first PES5 post I’ll go over it all in digestible detail, and then post a prominent link back to that post in the sidebar. I anticipate it being a common enquiry from readers.

    I’ve also anticipated another common question that I think I will be asked a fair bit – I’ve decided not to assist with locating torrents or ISO files for PES5 and/or installing/patching the game, then getting it working with the various controllers etc. This might seem churlish but there is thought behind it. I’m looking forward to just playing and having a relaxing summer. Acting as PES5’s representative on Earth is a slippery slope I don’t want to head down, for practical time-saving reasons more than anti-piracy principles, to be honest.

    I’ll be playing the PC version of PES5 on a 2014 Toshiba Satellite laptop. It was mid-spec in 2014, lower-mid-spec nowadays – runs old-school PES like a charm, of course.

    Using an Xbox Controller for Windows (wired). I’m looking into a way to use a PS3 controller, which would be ideal for that old PS2-type feel. I know I could get a PS2 controller online and do some jiggery-pokery to get it running, but I’m not going to do that. The PS3 one will do me. I’m not reaching for full-immersion, nor acting as if it’s 2004-2005 all over again.

    I’ll be starting a new save-game, not continuing any from the past.

    Defaults, Master League, 6* difficulty from the outset. I have a basic Option File from season 2010-2011 that I grabbed back in that year and installed, and I will be playing with that. I know there are more recent/more sumptuous patches out there. I’m not bothered about them. I don’t care about rosters, never really have. The time has come to play some PES and not obsess over things that never used to matter, and gloriously will not matter once I’m up and running.

  8. Mike – the next logical thing for real-life CCFC is to drop out of the league altogether. I can see it happening.

  9. I used to be a rep for an I.T company who supplied a lot of much bigger organisations. I hated the job but it taught me a very valuable lesson – just because someone you meet might have ‘director’ or ‘head of’ after their name doesn’t mean they are any good. Coventry city’s board have proved this admirably. They even lost one of the best groundsmen in the country to Leicester.

    dont know just cause 2 NG but the feeling now is that just cause 3 is very samey. Massive amusement but effectively the same sort of mission over and over – I stand by my GTA meets far cry. The black to MGS’s white. You simply can’t stealth as when you enter a zone it kicks off whether you’ve been seen or not. I doubt it would trouble you for more than a few hours max.

  10. really interested in that PES 5 run NG. Should make for some very interesting reading now that we’re all more or less moving on from PES 17.

    As for FIFA I’m beginning to see some merit there. It seems to be a slow burner and misses some of the gameplay flash of PES but it’s growing on me. Individuality seems on par at least with PES as you clearly notice the difference between Llorente and Vardy upfront for example. After some faffing about with Arsenal and Swansea i’ve settled on Leicester on my team of choice for career mode. ON the verge of signing an aging sneijder and ancient totti…see what they bring in terms of individuality. have noticed some scripting but very subtle , nothing alarming yet. could last me to september this one…overall very nice as a total package.

  11. not-Greg – don’t worry about that Japan78 thing. You know, if I was running a blog I too would invent the occasional fictitious commenter for the sake of a bit of controversy or humour. In fact my doubts persist about some of the current contributors. Our hopes of seeing you and Paul blogging at the same time seem to have been scuppered by mysterious IT issues for now….

    No footy gaming for a bit as just back from two weeks in Italy – wife wanted our summer holiday at Easter for some reason this year. I did however finish Xenoblade Chronicles on 3DS at long last, over 140 hours in total but well worth it for an epic game. Nightmare final boss required levelling my party up to 86/87: healer Sharla, mage Melia and odd little creature Riki eventually finished him off

  12. Abbeyhill – you are not going to let that one go. NG is hardly going to make a big reveal on here and why would he. The big mistakes were Big Daddy unmasking Kendo Nagasaki or The Trotter’s finally becoming millionaires. Imagine Wile E. Coyote one day catching Road Runner as it would miss the whole point.

  13. You’re assuming abbeyhill is real, and not just an nG pseudonym.

  14. Chris – I had already considered that. I sometimes wonder if I am the only one that is real.

  15. Something odd just happened. My PES campaigns over the last 20 years have suddenly become so realistic that Brighton just got promoted to the Premier League for real! I can barely believe it.

    Terrible scripting though as other results clearly were made to go our way and this promotion just so happens to be exactly 20 years since we only just escaped relegation from the Football League. Ridiculous!

  16. Shed – I’ll look forward to seeing your defenders bear-hugging Premier League forwards next season and your forwards being bear-hugged by Premier League defenders, with maybe one token penalty awarded every now and then, depending on how the referee feels that day. Sorry but I’ve got one eye on the Boro-Arsenal match going on right now and it’s a complete joke what this alleged ‘sport’ has become. But yes, Smith must score, welcome back, lots of South Coast derbies etc…

    #1 – PES2017 was ‘the one’ at a very specific point of the ML story – early doors, after a season or two. It’s the sweet spot before players’ development goes off the scale and the crazy transfer system kicks in. Abbeyhill maintained that sweet spot for a while I think with his transfer policy.

  17. Sorry Darryl but that seems a very Eliza-like response.

  18. congrats on your team Shed, they have been excellent this season and should be well equipped for the top flight

    firing up PES2017 once more this evening, just realised that my previous session was the one where Ibrahimovic hit 10 in one match. But it remains a very good game. A 3-2 win against Rennes followed by an away match against Barcelona in Champions League knock out phase. Was slightly nervous about scripting here, given the extent to which the game seems to worship them and their stadium, although this was dissipated by the sight of Damien Delaney in central defence. Tough 1-1 draw, all to play for in second leg. Like you not-Greg season 10 will be the last one, although no clear plans for what’s next

  19. Hi NG,

    Looking forward to your posts on PES5.

    I’m reaching the end of season 3 of my AC Milan ML. Reached the D1 cup final and the CL final, both matches against Juventus. We’re also 6 points behind them in the league with 3 matches left.

    I managed to deny Juventus the triple by taking the D1 cup 1-0 in extra time with a Rui Costa penalty; the fouls count was 15-14 in my favour! Only a couple of offsides in there 🙂 The AI rested their stars Ibrahimovic, Del Piero and Nedved for most of the match, but they came on near the end of the 90 mins. More satisfying as I got the win over their full strength side.

  20. Chris – you mean from Frozen? If so don’t apologise. When the snobbery is put to one side it is a great film with a powerful message behind it.

  21. in the following match v Tours I was impressed that the AI spotted that my 3rd choice goalie 44 year old Melikov was given a game in the expectation of an easy win. One of their midfielders shot from literally 40 yards, he could only flap it onto the post leaving a tap-in, we eventually lost 3-0. Fortunately Rice smashed in two 25 yarders in 5 minutes next game to get our league campaign back on track. Amongst the starting 11 he now has the lowest OVR by some distance but is still the best at long range shooting

  22. Darryl – isn’t that Elsa? Only Eliza I can think of is Doolittle? But there is some nerdy computer sad git thing…

    Based on photographs and personal interactions (I’ll say no more) I’m willing to believe Paul and Darryl are real people, and I doubt NG would admit to that Grendel game, even as an alternative self. However, I’m highly dubious that anyone actually has a shed – garage or greenhouse maybe but I’m not buying the gaming summerhouse idea and Lloyd is clearly the player NG claims he’s not – trebles every year on professional. Werd is some putin inspired hack to send us all mad.

    Congrats to Brighton, easily the best team in the league this year, newcastles deficiencies never more evident now – there’s maybe 2 or 3 players capable of life in the premier league in the team. Everyone is predicting relegation without Rafa next year if they go up.

  23. Yes, isn’t Eliza one of those chatbot things? I too thought Chris99 was referring to Eliza Doolittle though, as if Darryl is a chirpy Cockney character ‘tryna make good’.

  24. Admit it Turf, you got the reference 🙂 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA

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