Wacko Macco

After a couple of recent dud sessions on PES5, I decided to roll back to my post-season 1 save, reduce the difficulty by a couple of notches, and resume from there.

Fortunately my save was from the very last week before Season 2 began, so I only lost the three matches of Season 2 that I’d played on 6*.

All transfer activity was still intact. I still have Park Chu Young. I am still without the now-sold Espimas.

I went from 6* difficulty down to 4* difficulty. It was a narrow thing choosing between 4* and 3*. 4* just took it thanks to my last small vestige of chest-beating false macho football gaming pride. The kind of pride that saw me start PES5 on the ultra-max difficulty, despite knowing that I like my football gaming difficulty to scale up with me as my Master League team scales up.

I think I had this prejudice because PES5 is ‘only’ a PS2 game, isn’t it? Because its players move around at a fair old rate of knots compared to our latter-day PES games. I thought I should I be able to ping-ping-ping the passes together and smack balls into nets almost at will.

How naive and forgetful of me. Of course PES5 is nothing like that, and if you pick it up again in 2017 expecting to coast to victory, you will come a cropper. As I have.

PES5 is still the greatest football game ever made because its various systems remain the most tightly designed, intricately-interlocked systems ever crafted for a football game.

Principal among these systems is the punishing physical collision modelling and the penalising thereof.

Fouls, in our fancy modern-speak. Good old-fashioned honest fouls.

There are tons of them. The average amount of AI fouls against me is around 9 per match. Per match.

I get an average of 4 free kick opportunities within shooting range every match.

Fouls in football games keep the player honest. Fouls remind the player who needs to be reminded (and that’s all of us, let’s not kid ourselves here) that keeping R1 pressed almost all the time is not conducive to good football gaming. Laying off R1 is the hardest lesson to re-learn, going back.

Perpetual sprinting is a disease in football gaming. PES5 is the cure. You can still do it, of course, and sometimes you can get away with it, but most often you’ll be losing the ball and conceding fouls, over and over and over again. They really don’t make football games like this any longer.

My move down to 4* has brought about one of the outcomes I was hoping for. Promotion seems to be on the cards for Season 2:Too soon? If this was my main PES game of the year, yes, of course it’d be too soon. But I’m only planning for a few months at most here

Not many goals around. The Goals Conceded column is particularly concerning. The AI continues to disappoint as an attacking force. It only seems to grow teeth when it’s losing.

I’m not scoring many either. Castolo is spectacularly poor. He has done sweet FA since netting the first goal on Season one opening day.

Sentiment aside, these Defaults are the worst players you will ever play a sequence of matches with in any football game.

Forget your misty-eyed recollections of ‘dear old Ruskin’ and the like. Jaric and Macco in particular seem nothing like the not-bad-really players I remember from long ago.

In my last session before writing this post, I got to mid season of Season 2, and am ready for some new players.

Updated: 12th May 2017 — 10:01


  1. n-G – I think I used to start ML around the four star level on PS2 PES so I don’t blame you for dropping down. I suppose the theory is that after all these years and hundreds of virtual footy matches we should all be better players by now. Clearly not. PES 5 is of course a very different kind of footy game.

    I have to say that experiencing that old favourite through your renewed playing of it is enough for me. I’m the first to admit that I sometimes feel the urge to jump games if I see someone having a positive experience on a PES of FIFA.

    I’m really enjoying your blogs, vids, seeing some old players and that old ML layout but I certainly feel no urge to play it. Maybe the odd game in the shed but I’ve done that on and off for a while.

    For me it’s all about FIFA 16. I’m really rather stunned at how much I’m enjoying it. Little things like injuries, form, training, scouting for players and tactical changes continue to make me realise how much I’ve missed them in recent PES.

    The mix of results is hugely varied too. Last night I had a thrilling 3-2 away at Charlton, a drab 0-0, a battling 1-0 win and a 2-0 loss. This is on Pro. My plan is to maybe knock it up to World Class if and when I get promoted but the one lingering doubt about this and every FIFA I’ve played is how it will hold up on higher difficulties.

    This time though I feel I’m actually getting FIFA. I’m playing it less and less like PES and it’s making player individuality much more apparent.

  2. Shed – I still have a nice digital copy of FIFA16 on my PS4 of course, and PES5 is still not a done deal despite the upswing in fortunes following the drop to 4*. I’m not liking being stuck playing on PC, nor the grindiness of life with the Defaults. Like yourself I’ve been playing PES5 on and off for years so the gameplay isn’t fresh to me (although still great). If things don’t pick up I’m not too proud to put my flip flops on for the summer and head for something else.

  3. Well I for one am not letting you off the hook you never consider yourself being on. It’s a flop, a u-turn, a soft on crime approach, from the man who once gave us the fake news of not playing pes (remember that comeback video!). I’m beginning to suspect Paul’s absence is due to his sacking as a commenter, was he investigating the scandal of NG’s easy level treble?

    I will accept that old school pes was many times harder with players many times poorer than recent years. I’m getting battered but will tough it out.

  4. stopped reading at ‘reduced the difficulty a couple of notches’

  5. NG – I am getting about 8-10 fouls per match from the CPU on 2009 and it is wonderful. You can hardly use the slide tackle, which means you have to defend with skill and nouse. I am starting to wonder if I could go back to the modern 0 fouls model as it is shite.

  6. I sense a flop coming. Or a flip…

  7. Darryl – I’ve always been a wide man, or a custom wide in more recent times but I’ve just switched to vertical wide as I was finding it difficult to gauge angles and space in 2009, especially with shots allowed to fly horribly wide and high unlike the laser guided efforts we have now. Loving it, seems to give me a more detailed picture.

  8. Abbeyhill – 18 games, no goals from open play. Hardcore.

  9. Turf – sounds excellent, I wonder if there is some way to get PES2009 running on my PC….

  10. abbeyhill – the PC version of PES2009 and all the superpatches are available from the usual places…

    #1/Uncle Turf – I think I do rather fancy putting on my flip-flops in due course, after business is concluded with PES5. I’ve decided I’m not thrilled about the grind, so I’m probably going to pull a ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’ and switch to my mature Season 6 (or 7) PES5 ML squad, which sees me already in D1 and established. I can do a season of that, I think. And then I’ll move onto the mighty PES2009. Or FIFA16. Or back to PES2017 with ‘Lloyd Settings’ (Unassisted Passing/Assisted Shooting). Let me at those random games!

  11. not-Greg – yes I guessed so, but am a bit out of touch these days with ‘the usual places’ and which ones are safe to use. Will have a cautious investigation tomorrow night

  12. Moving to the vertical view brings back memories of iss and the first fifas I played. I still can’t get away with a broadcast, up close type view – anything could be happening ten yards away from the player – but the way the vertical camera opens up the screen and gives you greater insight into the runs and space really works. Apart from the absence of any goals of course. If I could trigger player runs I’d be back on wide but I remember having to play 2014 pre- final patch in a different camera to resolve some of the many clunky issues.

    NG – 18 games, 1 penalty in the gs scored column, 1 signing, a 17 yo keeper. You flop if you want to, the turf is not for flopping.

  13. Turf – I did have a go on Vertical Wide and it is really good. Just struggled with the defending on that camera, so went back to Long camera angle. I am finding a lot of shots going high or wide. It is another feather press of the shooting trigger game. I am in season 2 and desperate for any points I can get to make some signings. So I am grinding out 0-0 draws or sneaking a win if I am lucky.

  14. Oh it’s inevitable NG. I think you should avoid the grind at this stage and go for more short-term gratification. I think I’m just going to do one season of fifa 17. Then perhaps pes2011. Or continue my pes 2017 save and continue the stories of sneijder and Ibrahimovic. Perhaps with a little national team management on the side…

  15. Second win – beat the top team benfica 1-0. A penalty….

    Still that’s three penalties in 20 games (I missed one in a defeat), and a handful of red cards. Proper rules.

  16. Game 21, minanda curler to the top corner. Vertical gave me a great view of it as it floated towards the net. The hardest ever start to an ml.

  17. wow turf – you’re getting through season one fast, no? I don’t remember 2009 being such a hard game…I might have to take a look. Flips-flop-mode firmly on now.

  18. Uncle Turf – doesn’t Vertical Camera switch in one half so you’re attacking ‘downscreen’? I never stuck with it for that reason and never found a ‘true’ ISS-style vertical cam until PES2017. I recall playing a few seasons of BaL in that year and of course seeing my goals flying in with the BaL camera (a vertical cam with tweaks) was sublime.
    #1 – I will feature PES5 on the blog for another few weeks yet. I’ll switch to my established PES5 ML save for a bit, then I fancy a summer of lounging in the flip-flops. I’ve actually got a lot going on now that I haven’t talked about on the blog that’s taking up so much free time, so it’s better this way.

  19. NG – same for me. Time is limited as it is. Fifa remains a curious one for me. It ticks a lot of boxes : a lot of injuries, good management options and deep career mode, excellent commentary, all the licenses.. But still. I cannot play for more than two games per session. Theres just not enough “pes” in there. I just don’t know how to play the bloody game. I’m getting better though.. Almost to halfway point of the first season.

  20. #1 – One way to get Fifa to feel more like PES is to change to the Dynamic Camera but then Zoom it out 0 and Height 0. Suddenly it is a totally different game and is more solid and robust like PES. Give it a go as I am curious to how you find it.

  21. NG – the vertical camera starts behind and above the goal so your players are effectively kicking off ‘uphill’ – like watching Wimbledon felt when I was young. At times it moves across the screen so you get an angle, for example when you are attacking up a wing, but it is always you kicking up the hill, you never kick down.

    I might switch back to wide when my players are better but I’ve never had such a nice view of long range shooting, you really see why and how the ball moves. I suspect the camera itself alters the game as you can be a bit more accurate in placement.

    #1 – only 12 teams in d2 for 2009, just got 3 games to go now. I haven’t lost by any sort of crushing score, it tends to be 2-0,1-0 or 0-0. Rosenberg remain worse than me, it’s just the scoring I’ve struggled with but now I’m on vertical they are starting to find the target. Ordaz is really poor.

    As someone who ditched sky sports a few years ago I’m always delighted when it looks like the last match of the season will be devoid of interest. If hull lose tomorrow they’re going to have to spin ‘the race for fourth’ for every last drop.

  22. Darryl – once again you’re reading my mind. I tried that when I first started out with fifa 17, thought to myself, “this feels good” and then switched back to a wider view because the zoom still made the view feel too cramped. But – good shout regardless – I’m putting it back on that and will be having a go for more than half a match with it. On camera settings from farther off the game just feels so “iffy”, with no “snap” to the movements of the players.

  23. How long can I resist playing what is clearly the greatest dark horse football game ever, PES2009! # well there was Kennedy, there was King #

  24. Ooo I forgot all about that song, how could I’ve forgotten! 2009 wasn’t that awesome in my memory because i built it up in my mind before release as the ultimate football game. Surely after the disastrous 2008 Konami would right all wrongs? Not so much… Pes is still not at the level I wanted 2009 to be. So it hasn’t really gotten a fair shake from me… Yet. Hmmm

  25. NG – great soundtrack.

  26. Sorry, it does nothing for me that song. Un point.

    I’ve switched back to wide to play my friendlies as I’ve signed half a dozen players – falcao for money and the others as frees. I need 68 points to survive a game over.

  27. Funny, just noticed the pes 2017 demo on my hard drive. Had a quick go and it’s strange how it behaves differently from the full game. Just in the little things but there is a difference. For instance you can give extra sideways curl on crosses. Not a big deal but funny how this is still the case each year.

  28. Just bought a PS2 slimline and PES 5 off ebay. Gonna be living away from my family at my mum’s for about 6 weeks due to work so it should keep me in good company!

  29. Mike – it’ll be interesting to see what you make of the gameplay and the old-school ML. Don’t be discouraged by me pulling a ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’ and switching to my mature PES5 ML save for a week or so, before moving on. I’ve been playing PES5 frequently for many years and the Default grind is actually unwelcome. I’m also incredibly busy in ‘real life’ and can’t be arsed with the Default grind, frankly. I’ll burble on about this some more in Tuesday’s post. For now, enjoy PES5, still the greatest football game ever made, pound for pound. And enjoy the PS2!

  30. Wow, closest away game for Newcastle next season will be Burnley!

    I had a mad close season buying 9 players. 8 of them were other teams cast offs so all I had to do was release my dross. I’m left with 22 in the squad and 66 points. I’ve got to win matches to avoid a season two game over. Papa Diop will be my key player I feel. A big presence in that congested midfield.

  31. Time has a huge factor on how I regard a game now compared to back when I had a lot of it…time that is.

    I don’t think PES 5 would last long with me now if it was a released today with such an unforgiving learning curve. It’s worth persevering with of course and that makes the reward of any kind of ML success all the more sweet but you need a long sessions and deep reserves of resolve to get there.

    And that’s why I perhaps am finding myself in such a sweet spot with Fifa 16. It’s not easy – even on Pro – but it’s the perfect mix of challenge and regular ward to keep it interesting and allow me to go to bed at a reasonable time with a win.

    I’m at an interesting point with the game now. Edging towards the end of January I’m loving the depth of the recruitment side of the game. It really is joyously hard to get players in that are better than I have and that I can afford. Colchester do not have deep pockets.

    On the pitch, I now find myself fourth in the Championship having just scrapped to a 0-0 away at Sunderland. Promotion is a real possibility. I also beat Premier League Villa in the cup at home last night. I put the jitters on their manager (Tim Sherwood) pre-match and the result was a niggly match with lots of fouls that ended 3-0 to Colchester.

    Next up it’s Chelsea at home in the cup. This is going to be the big test to see how the game serves up what should be an obvious gulf in class on Pro level. If I struggle – and I should – then I’ll probably stick with Pro even if I get promoted. If it doesn’t feel like the grind it should be, I’ll stick to my plan to jump to World Class in the top division when I eventually get there.

  32. Turf, what a signing big Papa Bouba was in Pes gone by! In fact Fulham always had good players in the game in those days, Malbranque, Legwinski, Collins John, Marlet, that american guy…….good times

  33. Uncle Turf – very late last night I put PES2009 in the PS3 for a spin. That Vertical camera is just as I remembered it – far too mobile and swingy for my liking. It is the BaL camera, which was good for controlling a single player. But the wonderful static (i.e. non-swinging) Vertical camera of ISS days has never been properly reproduced in any football game since those days, astonishingly. PES2017 got quite close, but even that one indulged in too much vertigo-inducing swooshing and lurching.

    I played two matches, both Exhibitions, not bad. No Option File or ML savegame to dip into, as I played PES2009 on my old phat PS3, which died a death in the year of PES2010.

  34. Shed – time is the hugest factor for me at the moment. I just haven’t got the time, or frankly the patience, to go in for the big technicolour ML experience with PES5. It does look as if I have one ML in me per PES-year, and it’s already been done.

    My flip-flop batteries are charged to the full, though, and I will have to drop in on my FIFA16 save at some point…

  35. Have to say, I’m thoroughly enjoying FIFA 16, now things are starting to click.

  36. Yes, that camera can be a little like being on the deck of a cross channel ferry at times. I’m on traditional wide now as I have greater control through better players. Still think season two is going to be a hard slog, didn’t score a single goal in post season friendlies.

  37. So I fired up FIFA 15 today and chose Wimbledon. First friendly and a penalty. Boom!! Spent at least an hour conducting transfer business. All manual except shooting.

  38. NG – been doing a bit of flip flopping as well the last few days and have gone on to PES 2010. Game noticeably much easier and pick up and playable than 2009. Reminds me a bit of 2015 but with fouls. Was this when the game first started to sell its soul though?

  39. Darryl – PES6 was when PES started selling its soul/compromising traditional PES values in pursuit of FIFA (delete as applicable). PES6, and the start of the fouls-lite ‘flow-friendly’ ethos that has bedevilled the series ever since. PES6, the darling of the PESocracy, and the game that effectively conceded the whole field to FIFA.

    Re. PES2010, it was great, the second-best PS3 PES after PES2012 IMO. (PES2014, as ever, occupies a niche and eco-system all of its own. PES2014, a PES game that fell through a wormhole from outside time and space, from an alternate universe.)

  40. NG – It also has (2010) the best ML/Career Mode of any of the games. The interface is still ahead of anything we have today as everything is brilliantly mapped out.

  41. Darryl – in PES2010 and PES2011, ML reached a height of sophistication and depth that it never has since. Why, when ML was as close to perfection as it could probably get in 2010/2011. Then watered down and watered down, year on year.

  42. not-Greg – agreed, although I still have a soft spot for PES2012’s ML. Dealing with the eccentric chairman and trying to get a competitive squad together before being sacked made the first 1-2 seasons much more tense and exciting than the usual bottom of the table slog.

  43. abbeyhill – PES2012 was overall the better on-pitch game, and for that reason just takes the pennant on PS3 IMO. But whoever decided to degrade Master League after PES2011 – damn them. Damn them all to hell.

  44. Well the big test of a FIFA 16 cup game (my Championship Colchester vs Premier League Chelsea at home) finished in a weirdly satisfying 2-0 defeat.

    I set my side up more defensively than normal and had a few chances but lost to a stunning free kick and a killer goal on the break in the last 10mins. The most impressive thing about the match was that Chelsea played a team made up almost entirely of reserves. I’m not sure how clever a piece of coding this is but coming from PES ML, I was very impressed.

    The match also gave yet more indication that FIFA 16 is going to have legs – although I had already played four seasons of ML before this return to the game. Pro seems to be my level right now – especially with no superstars amongst my team. I’ll probably still try World Class in the Premier League. I might even get there this season currently 4th and 4 points behind the top two at the start of February.

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