Bold, Persil Ordaz?

Season 1 has come to an end in my born-again adventures on PES5. So far, so good. A slog, as expected, but an enjoyable one.

If you’re just joining the story and you want to know what platform I’m playing on, or with what controller, or anything like that, here is a handy all-in-one FAQ post. If there’s something about my setup not covered there, feel free to ask about it in comments here and I will add it. The idea is that I’ll add bits and bobs to the FAQ, as needed, as I go along.

With just 8 teams in Master League Division 2, there were only 14 league fixtures. Something of a relief after the long, long seasons of recent nuPES years.

The final table:

Just 6 goals scored. Castolo and Ordaz finished as my joint-top scorers with… 2 goals each.

That’s par for the course in Season 1 of classic Master League. The players are poor, the matches are generally poor (it’s true, they are), and goals are at an absolute premium.

In fact, having played through this season over the past week-and-a-bit, I have to say I can understand why they changed Master League, even though I wish they hadn’t.

There is no way in 2017 that the average mid-to-late-teenaged gamer (gaming’s core demographic) is going to sit through even a few matches like the matches you get in Season 1 of a classic ML with the classic Defaults. Just not going to happen.

The general feel of this opening season in PES5 has been one of grinding through the matches. There are lots of differences in the general gameplay of PES5 as opposed to nowadays. The through-ball in PES5 feels ‘wrong’, now. It just isn’t the precise instrument we’ve got used to using over the past several editions in particular. Rather than the scalpel of PES2017, the through-ball in PES5 feels more like a blunt, rusty knife. Attempts at aerial through-balls in particular usually go way, way off. Happily, this seems to be strictly stats-related. Individuality is as strong as expected. Ruskin is Ruskin, rather than just a generic all-purpose side-back.

Also notable is the lack of control I have over the ball sometimes. The Defaults have a terrible first rouch, and a worse second and third ones. Again, this aspect of classic PES is not something that would find much favour in 2017. You can imagine the howling on the forums if a PES appeared in which almost every player didn’t have perfect first-touch trapping and control.

PES5 also has a number of mechanics tied to the R1 sprint button that would find disfavour today. First, and most obviously, stamina goes down and actually has an effect on the pitch — see this screenshot:

— which is from the middle of the second half in a typical match. My front players have spent so much time chasing the ball around that they’re all almost dead on their feet. Truly, these were the Golden Years.

Also, if you’re holding R1 and change direction when you receive the ball, there’s a ‘spring’ mechanic whereby the player will automatically knock the ball ahead two or three virtual yards and sprint after it. Unless you’re doing this deliberately, the chances are you will lose the ball.

A decade of online-oriented PES games have conditioned us to hold R1 more or less permanently. It takes time to get into a PES5 frame of mind, and lay off sprint.

My one new player, Mathieu, is still ordinary, for now. Not quite the PES superman yet. I have just started getting the ball to him in prime DMF long-ranger position — central, 35 yards out, in a bit of space — but so far every effort has whistled a long way wide or thumped into the keeper’s chest.

That’s Season 1 in this Master League, in this PES, though. Just one long war of attrition to get to the other side.

Post-season has already begun. In this ML you can line up your choice of pre-season matches and use them to earn Points for wins and goals, adding to the transfer kitty. Another mechanic that could do with a revival in some form, but I won’t go on.

Next time I will have redesigned my Home and Away kits, played most or all of my pre-season matches, and hopefully signed a player. Yes, that’s 1 player, singular. I can only sign one player. That’s all my transfer kitty will allow. He won’t even be a very good player. Just slightly better than what I have. Truly, 2004-2005 was another era.

Updated: 1st May 2017 — 18:34


  1. Reminiscing over the stamina dropping. Those were the days when you had to make three subs at 60 minutes every match.

  2. I still make three subs at 60 minutes every match, regardless of whether I need to or not, must be hard-coded into me from these early formative years.

    Now searching for a new game to play on my PS4 post-PES. A couple of hours on ‘walking simulator’ Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture last night, quite intriguing but obviously not much of a game. Last Guardian is well overdue a play

  3. I still do that as well. 60 minutes and it’s sub time.

  4. In every football game I play I also make all 3 subs at once, and it was PES5 that started me on the habit — not because of stamina issues, but because of PS2 loading time issues. It would take well over 30 seconds of black screen to load 1 sub, so I got into the habit of making all 3 subs at once, to get the loading screen over with.

  5. I’m more of a 70 minutes man myself. And I like to do two at once than another later. *snigger*

    That grind of early season PES 5 brings back memories. It’s a wonder why I stuck at it really, given that I don’t think I followed any online forums for tips, tricks or just to establish it wasn’t just me back then.

    Still have half a last season of PES 2017 to play but I’ve not managed to get on it for a week now. Hope to get a couple of matches in tonight.

  6. I was a sixty minute man as well.

  7. It’s all three at 60 or none at all for me. Usually it’s all of them in some vain hope the subs will gain a little experience boost, it’s rarely to try and change the game. In latter MLS you haven’t needed to worry you might have an injury and finish with ten.

  8. In recent editions, particularly the last two, I’ve often forgotten to make any subs at all, as there’s no real low stamina penalty. In PES2016 and 17 I frequently got to 80+ minutes before remembering to make subs, and then I wouldn’t bother some of the time. How times have changed. In PES5 – and in most PESes until they started shaping them to meet online expectations – a low stamina player crawls across the pitch and can barely do anything with the ball.

  9. That headline though…….mwah! Shane Richie in a pink glittery jacket banging on council estate doors.

  10. So I’ve played a few matches of 2009 now and it feels like 2008 was the old gen and this was the first game in a new era. Still not much by way of master league options – I really thought training was established by now – and the switch back to short leagues feels strange but the on field look is a huge advance and the sensation of playing is no longer the feeling of a kid in wellies kicking a lump of wet paper. An early worry is the lack of stoppages – no throw ins at all in my first game and only 1 foul. The defaults are way better too, I’ve even had the luxury of leaving out all the old guys in favour of usual never rans like el mabarki simply as he may develop. Probably just as well as the transfer system is bound to bollocks me.

  11. Uncle Turf – at the time of PES2008 I remember Seabass himself saying it wasn’t finished, wasn’t ready, and they were going to delay it, but they just couldn’t. Releasing unfinished games was a sign of things to come on net-connected consoles and in the PC gaming world, of course. Even so when they patched it up, PES2014-style, they never eliminated the unbalancing wonder-dribble. PES2008 was a bucket of ice-cold water that changed how we saw PES. We’d seen technical and gameplay issues with PES in previous editions, but nothing to the extent of PES2008’s graphical problems and the wonder-dribble. FIFA was made to look very, very good that year (FIFA08 was a quiet revolution in footy gaming that EA themselves never pursued). For the first time, we saw that PES could be drastically imperfect, even inferior, and that message sank in over the course of the year.

    PES2009 was the game PES2008 should have been. If they’d skipped PES2008 and not released a PS3 game until PES2009, we would never have experienced that shock, and our perceptions of PES might be very different now. Today there are younger gamers who have barely even heard of PES. It might be an exaggeration to blame that on the catastrophe of PES2008 on the PS3, but it’s not much of an exaggeration IMO.

    The bitterest irony of course was that PES2008 on PS2 – PES7 in every way that matters – was one of the greatest-ever editions of the series.

  12. For anyone who likes a wager, you can get odds around the 6/1 region for a victory for Le Pen in the French election. Her best chance is from a low turnout. There has been a reported protest and up to 14 million intending not voting. This could swing it her way as her chore support will vote.

  13. There’s a sub editors dream in there somewhere about Le Pen being mightier than something or other.

    Of course any headline that starts ‘Le Pen is’ has to make sure the spacing is correct.

    I can’t even decide who to vote for in Gateshead so I’ll pass on the French fascists. Not that it matters when our pigs bladder on a stick romps home.

  14. Paul – are you Forced Reps on the website that shall not be mentioned?

  15. Just searched “Pes 5” on YouTube and found a goals compilation from a guy who used Bayern Munich in I’m assuming Master League, about 70% of his goals were scored by…..

    Jeremy Mathieu!

  16. Mike – got a link to that video? (He said innocently.)

    And I’d welcome any goal-scorer now. Still early for Mathieu in mine. I don’t recall ever getting him in Season 1 before.

  17. Et voila!

    My technohex is broken! (If this works)

  18. 2009 going well – 6 games played, no goals scored. The defaults feel much better and yet space, creativity and chances are minimal. As per NGs 5 I suspect my budget may stretch to one player in January and normally I’d target a dmf but I’ve developed a respect for Dodo. Think it’s got to be a striker.

  19. So. Going further down the modding rabbit hole. This is great stuff. tons of content and commentary lines added already. not all of the highest quality but what can you do, it’s free. last thing to add is gameplay. sifting through some options, unfortunately did not find fouls yet, or well I did but one that added more fouls for ME the player – that’s the opposite of what I’m looking for. what one of the patches DID do was up the difficulty in a good way by giving the CPU way more aggressiveness and decisiveness in attack. I played a patch-less game : 0-0 halftime, Ajax versus Zwolle. Again with the patch: 0-3 down by half time. That was great – now I need fouls. I’ll find them!

    What’s funny is that the core files that affect gameplay are only around 13MB big but vary MASSIVELY from patch to patch. Sounds small to me.

  20. #1 – code that affects gameplay would only be very small as the only changes they make are to numbers. Changes in passing, shooting variables etc are accomplished just by changing a 4 to an 8, and so on. A file as small as a few kB could make huge changes. The big ‘patches’ we see on consoles and PC contain graphics.

    I had a feeling you’d struggle to find this fouls patch. It’s mysteriously not an issue for the wider PES-playing public, despite it being obvious that it’s the main factor promoting the awful button-mashing ‘continuous play’ ethos.

    Uncle Turf – how are you liking the giant arrow in transfers? I never minded it and never even registered it as something to mind, but many people – including commenters at the time – were very down on it as indicative of poor PES production values.

  21. Am I, like, the only one who preferred Pes 6 to Pes 5? I think that is still the game that swallowed most of my time of all the games I’ve ever played (which is a pretty extensive list, from Diablo and StarCraft to Tomb Raider et al). Actually picked it up second-hand again this week for a ridiculous price. This time on the Xbox360 (as opposed to PC). It is quite bare bones, though. Only player editing allowed. Will tackle it when Pes 2017 releases me.

    Speaking of: I am also giving the default team a first proper
    go (ever, in my PES career) in Pes 2017, inspired by this blog. Loving it, but man, it can be a grind. I am developing a fancrush on Castledine, and made some pretty good buys (of course, with a few flops).

  22. Giant arrow? Was that the swinging arrow that either went to yes/no?
    (success or failure) I HATED that, mostly because it was the hardest PES to actually sign players on if I remember correctly. And I didn’t like the stupid pictures of the players either.

  23. Mr Noodles – you’re definitely not the only one who preferred PES6. In a poll of old-school PES fans where we were only allowed to pick between 5 and 6, I think it’d be about a 70-30 split in favour of PES6. Just based on my impressions of the forums over the years.

    For me, PES6 was a great game – I’ve never denied that – but it signalled the beginning of the series’ decline IMO, and a turn away from sim values to arcade values. What do I mean by sim and arcade values? Simply, how rigorous the applied ruleset is. A ruleset that encourages ‘flow’ is more arcade. A ruleset that punishes button-mashing and aggressive behaviour is more sim. A great footy game is a good mix of the two. I.e. the moaning about fouls in PES5 was so loud that Konami pretty much started stripping them out of the series from PES6 onward, with the result we see today.

    Oh, and PES6 on Xbox360 is a different game from the one you played on PS2/PC. Totally different game with the same name. Also one of the best PES games ever – better than the PS2/PC version IMO.

  24. Mike – that’s the one. Given the other similar sins of PES that we mostly chortle and shake our heads affectionately about (bouncing coloured icons for players, Points in transfers, cheesey soundtracks, etc. etc.), I always thought the reaction against the giant arrow was disproportionate and strange.

  25. nG – I am very pleasantly surprised by how Pes 6 holds up today. It plays like a dream, really. A bit weird seeing players that can only run in, what, like 8 directions, but looking immensely forward to playing it post 2017.

    Also – this was really the start of my team’s (AC Milan) decline, and still featured my favourite Milanese of all time: Kaka and Maldini.

    But would really love to give the defaults a go!

    And yeah, it is wildly different. Feels like something else entirely.

  26. Random side note – one of the best players I ever bought in my whole PES career is Vandenborre. Belgian, can play nearly the entire backline and DMF, and grows into a beast. Pity he never reached the same heights in real life.

    Here, actually, is a very interesting interview with him:

  27. I remember you playing pes6 on XBOX360 NG. One I never got around to playing…maybe I should someday. Wasn’t that one also without all the editing bells and whistles?

    Re. the gameplay patches, that is proving a real slog. Mostly it’s down to the broken english all over the place. So for instance in the description you would find “more fouls” or “fouls” or “improved referee judgement” and so on. Without ACTUALLY describing what it does and here’s the kicker: it actually DECREASES the number of fouls (as if that were possible!) in a good number of cases. As you say – we’re in the minority here on the subject of fouls…nobody seems to care.

    But I’m getting there…about 4 or 5 more to test and then it’s onwards to ML. I’ve at least found 1 patch that makes the game markedly harder in a way that pleases me.

  28. Mr Noodles – It feels like something else because PES6 on Xbox360 is a totally different game from the one you used to play on PS2/PC. In the same way that PES2008 on PS2 and PS3 were totally different. For a great many PES fans, PES6 on Xbox360 is a distinct self-contained one-off PES game that they have never actually played but think they have, having only ever played PES6 on PS2/PC. It’s a different game.

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