You can’t always Burchet what you want

I have abruptly abandoned my playing of PES5 — and my playing of one consistent daily football game. For now.

The demands of real life are too much. Nothing terrible, just work and life. Time is squeezed almost to nothing.

With PES5, a few factors have gone against it. I’ve been playing PES5 on and off for years, since 2009 in my main current save, so there’s nothing really new for me in the gameplay. PES5 is still, and always will be, the greatest football game ever made, by the by.

The fiddliness of playing a daily football game on the PC is simply proving too annoying. I am used to the comfort and convenience of the console experience. I am a happy and proud console peasant.

Much better for me to get my daily football game fix via console, and for that console to be the PS4.

Over the past few days I’ve enjoyed playing some PES2009 on the PS3, after a couple of regular commenters enthused about it at length. I’ve gone back to my old ML save on PES2017, and fooled around with Unassisted passing – there’s something that might be worth exploring in the future. PES2017 felt really good, overall, surprisingly.

I’ve also played a few matches in my old savegame on FIFA16.

My Coventry City team were riding high in the Championship playoffs the last time I saw them. I scored this goal with my young signing, Marcus Rashford:

Very satisfying. Curiously, in this little session of FIFA16, I had time to experience the two extremes of FIFA. During the first match: ‘This is amazing, this could be the greatest football game ever made!’ Then, literally two matches later: ‘I don’t want to play this any more right now’. Very curious.

So the flip-flop weeks are here to stay. Given the way life currently is, that’s how it’ll have to be.

Looking back, a flip-flop period is as much a staple feature of summertime on the blog as the thumbshot picture is of PES release day in the autumn.

Who knows what I’ll play next and what I’ll end up playing for the next few months? It’s quite liberating to have no plan.

Updated: 16th May 2017 — 09:46


  1. NG – yep there is nothing wrong with a bit of flip flopping. No targets or plans in your head. I used to see this as time wasted but on the contrary it is an important part of the gaming calender/ritual.

  2. 3 league games, 0-0 0-0 0-0. Beat Rochdale 1-0 in League Cup. Boom!!

  3. n-G – I have to admit, I’m surprised PES 5 didn’t stick with you for the summer but then there’s still more flipping and flopping to go before the new footy gaming year.

    That’s a belter of a FIFA 16 goal there. I’ve been playing a good few matches over the past week and not scored anything nearly as spectacular as that. I don’t think I would even had tried a shot from there – a sign perhaps that the old PES muscle memory if fading.

    While I’ve not scored many howitzers, I have found myself enjoying the scrappy goals. Bundling the ball in from a corner, a shinned volley and – like one last night – a rasping shot that the keeper got a hand to before it hit the post, bar and then in. I might just make a highlight reel of these.

  4. Darryl — I just had to clear the decks for other things, for the first real time since I started the blog. Sign of getting older.

    Shed — down to a combination of four factors. First and most importantly, PC-based gaming is still awkward enough to be awkward, for me, Second, I have indeed been playing a single PES5 ML save, on and off, for the past 8 years — no more than 2 or 3 matches every week or two weeks, but that’s enough for the gameplay not to seem fresh to me. Thirdly, the sheer drudgery of life with old-school ML Defaults was a genuine shock after all these years. Finally, fourthly, I really have got loads on in work and life at the moment, to the point where footy gaming actually must take a back seat for the foreseeable future.

    I’ll be flip-flopping on the convenient consoles for bite-sized chunks at a time. Still enough to keep the blog going, and as I said, it’s not as if this is unprecedented on the blog. I tend to flip-flop to some extent most years.

  5. Going back to MLs surely the gimmicky rot set in with the pert but frankly unnecessary assistant and those groundsmen with their Santa hats?

    Current,y reading Robert harris’s conclave I fired up ck2 again, dreaming of the papacy. Instead my starting character died, aged 54, with one measly county added to the family dynasty. My son, the character I now become (and I still can’t believe how cool that is in a game) is a meathead. Popular but thick. And his wife is a right dragon. I’m pinning my hopes on the next generation but I have an unpleasant half brother.

  6. Uncle Turf – CK2 is a game I own and have installed on all my main computers, but am scared of it. Not so much the game itself but the getting-to-know-you first hours bumbling through the interface. Ah, but I once feared Civilization in the same way…

    The rot set in with Master League from another angle – the conscious, design-level decision post-PES2011 to begin watering the mode down, with an eye on online interests. The Santa hats and the pert assistant were symptoms of that rotten decision, not causes.

  7. NG – I do find it all a bit odd. Up until 2009 you had a stripped down ML. Then they clearly inested sometime in building the mode for 2010, only to start stripping it back down every year since.

  8. So now we have had it officially confirmed that PES5 is dull, dated and simply incapable of standing up to intensive repeated play 12 years on it is time to choose a new blog favourite footy game.

    I nominate PES2012. Hurrah!

  9. Other than stripping out features, the worst thing Konami have done with ML is to make it so easy to sign top players, to keep them and to play with little to no regard for tactics to match different opponents. The lack of injuries and the effect of Team Spirit also means you rarely have the need/want to use squad players.

    For years now I have made up for this with house rules but I have so many running now it’s become rather ridiculous. Here’s what rules I currently have running in my house:

    1. Players on anything but a sideways arrow (can’t remember the colours now) are deemed injured and are therefore unavailable – even for the bench.
    2. Only players listed for loan/transfer can be signed.
    3. No youth team signings other than in an emergency and then I implement a further “no superstars” rule due to even 17-year-old known-players often being world beaters.
    4. Maximum 23 man squad. 25 for a season with European competition.
    5. Three strikes and you’re out rule on contract negotiations. I did this in PES 2017 and 16 as it seemed players who turned down renewed contracts would eventually sign regardless.
    6. Another new one for PES 2017 was a £2.5million wage cap this helped evolve my squad, keep Team Spirit in check and give a reason to sell players when an offer came in as there is no consequence for turning them down.

    I also tend to keep players (defaults particularly) even though I know there is better available. This isn’t a house rule as such but something I have often done to echo what we once used to have with PS2 PES. That said, the defaults are now way too good and way too young from the start for my liking.

    Looking at the above list really underlines how far I have had to go to enhance I game I still very much enjoy on the pitch. I’m playing FIFA 16 now and I think every single one of me PES house rules are addressed by the Career Mode coding itself; I can’t sign who I want; there are injuries; the youth players are nothing more than prospects; tactical changes are needed.

    It’s too easy to say that ML has been neglected in favour of online mode but then at the same time we are aware that Konami has perhaps lost it’s way with PES by following FIFA. But FIFA has a huge online aspect yet EA have and continue to enhance Career Mode.

    I’m not going all anti-PES having pretty much lorded up PES 2017. It’s about this time of year that I usually get sick of ML as a mode – no matter what PES I’m playing. Right now though I feel more willing to forgive FIFA’s issues on the pitch to enjoy its CM than play the slightly more solid and familiar PES and the fantasy rulebook I’ve had to create to cover up the puzzling omissions and changes to ML.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post. Back to work!

  10. Two weeks ago NG was the Homer Simpson with hair, we listened to his bright ideas and wondered who this young go getter was. With the collapse of pes5 he’s run out of the tonic and Abbeyhill has effectively called him the boob from sector 7G….

    Time for shed to come in with his idea for Tomacco.

    I second 2012.

  11. PES5 will never be surpassed! Never!

    Shed – that is indeed the core problem with ML since roughly PES2013 – giving the player the ability to get too far too fast. Old-school grind is no longer very palatable in 2017 – it has to be seen to be disbelieved after all these years. How did anybody ever play through those early seasons?! But they went too far the other way.

    It looks like I’ll be giving FIFA16 a fair old crack. So after all my ballyhoo over the last few months, all the ‘I’m not doing FIFA this year!’, I’m doing FIFA this year after all…

    Uncle Turf – I might get to PES2012 at some point. I must still have my old savegame on the PS3, and would love to play with Hagi again. As I recall, I’d just got him again as a Regen when I stopped playing.

    abbeyhill – PES5 will never be bettered!

  12. Into the playoffs in my first FIFA 16 season after being bottom after 15 games. Starting to get the hang of driving on the wrong side of the road.

  13. Tommy – cheers for that, I had no idea it was expected. A pre-teaser teaser, really, but still rather appetite-whetting. I’m looking forward to PSE2018, needless to say, after more or less making my peace with PES2017. I’ve been playing some of the latter over the past few days and it gets much more right than it did wrong.

  14. nG – I find it hard to believe 2018 will be anything more than 2017.5, despite them saying in the description, and I quote, “Featuring the biggest advances in the series for over a decade”. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised, but I’ll keep my expectations nice and low for now.

    Biggest improvement – picking the ball out of the net after scoring a goal when chasing the game is in there (it features twice in the teaser). That’s a start at least.

  15. Tommy – surely not even Konami would have the cheek to promise biggest advancements in over a decade and then not deliver something along that scale.

    Fouls need to be beefed up, and the telescopic slide tackle of the last 3 years needs to be completely got rid of or massively nerfed. It’s a huge online favourite, though, for obvious reasons, so it’ll probably be kept in. An average of two or three slide tackles per match should be effective, no more.

    p.s. I’ve been seeing players from both teams – mine and the AI – picking the ball out of the net when chasing a game for years now!

  16. Press Release

    nG – Without going into too much detail, as I’ll be here all day, but an improved transfer system in ML (mentioned in the press release) is a must for me. I hope it delivers.

    Ball out the net thing. Hmm, maybe I’m remembering it wrong. They still celebrate like they’ve won the World Cup when scoring a consolation goal 7-1 down though!

  17. PES 2012 was great with decent players who stopped the odd central shooting issue that game had with lesser players.

    I suspect the evolution in this year’s PES will be more faces, boots and balls than ever before. I can’t see there being any major changes to gameplay – not that many are needed I suppose. ML will have nothing new of substance.

  18. NG my PS2 came (luckily it was packaged well as the postman chucked it through an open window in the porch)

    No messing about, straight into ML with Inter.

    Firstly, I was delighted to be reminded that this was the first (and bizarrely ONLY to date, I think) edition that allows you to mix and match your kit, I.e wear home shirt, away shorts and away socks etc)

    The game…….well, I played my first 5 league games and the first leg of.the cup. 6, yes SIX goalless draws! Yet somehow they were fairly enjoyable matches. Not many chances for me or the opposition but still not terrible. Maybe it’s nostalgia.

    The most noticeable aspect is the 100mph gameplay! Made me feel sick! And I can’t find an option to change it. I assume once I get better players and am able to control games it will seem slower. Early days though and it’s pretty good. Will play to at least the transfer window tonight.

  19. As usual another pointless trailer that shows no game footage or screens. Both PES and FIFA do this every year, very annoying.

  20. Mike – All the best with the PS2 trip down memory lane. How are you setting it up as I often struggle to get PES looking anything but shoddy on modern TVs?

  21. Shed, shoddy indeed! We lost the remote for our tv months ago so I can’t change the settings! There’s a charity second hand place near us that always have TV’s in so will pick one up for a tenner or somat easy.

  22. If it’s a modernish TV you could try a phone app.

  23. Mike – if you’re playing PES5 on a modern TV in full wide-screen, it’ll make the speed seem crazy-fast. You need to adjust the aspect ratio to 4:3 to play PES5 at its proper speed. You don’t need the remote – all TVs come with an emergency panel of rarely-used buttons concealed somewhere on its casing. Good luck, I know you can do it…

  24. And here we go, pes 2018 already announced. Love the marketing speak, REAL touch etc
    As far as I’m concerned, just give us more fouls (by the way, from my pc modding stint I know that there are three referees in pes 2017 with varying levels of strictness – so it should be dead easy to at least give us a choice) and do SOMETHING about ML. That is all 2018 needs.

    Ooooh – just read pc version will be equal to next-gen versions… Looks like I’ve got a decision to make come September.

  25. NG I had a little google and found out how to change the aspect of my TV (it’s only got a few buttons,you have to hold volume up and down to open another menu) but the wife is being a dick anyway so once the kids are in bed I’m taking it upstairs and connecting it to the bed telly.

  26. I see nothing of any substance in the press release, just promises that it will be better. All depends on what they believe is better – more realistic haircuts and amusing wolfman costumes? I just don’t see them altering the fouls as they love the dribbling, tricks and stunning goals nowadays, grind just isn’t something they want to hear about. Konami’ football is a goalfest featuring an elite set of players – I honestly think they’d try and revamp the leagues into some sort of IPL franchise system if they could get away with it – a WWE raw vs smack down draft arrangement so you can have Messi turning out alongside ronaldo and all the others. Oh, hang on a minute, that’s my club. We will never know the numbers but I feel in a very small minority of ml players now, it barely merits a mention on certain twitter feeds, etc.

    Still if you all give it a positive response I won’t be able to resist.

  27. West Ham beaten 8-7 on penalties in the 3rd round of the League Cup. Boom!! League form…. the less said the better!!

  28. #1 – I was taken by surprise at the PC news as well. The PC players are understandably overjoyed. At this time I cannot be a PC player (as we have seen) but by September, who knows. Life might have settled down enough for me to finally make the switch. If the tentative rumours of the PS5 coming out in 2018 prove true I’ll be disappointed personally as the PS4 has only just got going. And that might be a good time to make the switch to a non-console gaming platform.

    Uncle Turf – well, the Konami PR main man is making a huge noise about PES2018 being some big revolution, new everything, and it’s difficult to see how he could say all that without it being eventually borne out (and he’ll have seen/played it by now of course). I predict fouls will still be the same, but the slide-tackle of the last few years will be massively nerfed, or preferably gone.

    I can’t wait to read all the reports form the early testers of how their endless multiplayer games went!

    The last time there was a much-trumpeted overhaul we got PES2014, for good and ill. Poor at launch (so poor that relatively few PES fans ever really played it), but great by April of the following year, which was far, far too late.

  29. NG – with PS5 I have seen this coming for a while. It won’t be long before we get new consoles each year. But who would pay around the £400 mark each year you may ask. The same daft sods who pay for the latest I Phone, which is no different than the last one.

  30. He could easily say all that – he’s the man who wouldn’t acknowledge what a crock 2014 was on release. Sadly even the demo won’t confirm anything, although I’m sure it will look stunning. It’s simply got to get harder for me, winning trebles in season four with a squad chock full of superstars just ain’t what I want, regardless of griezzman’s hair.

    By I don’t half feel the naysayer raining on everyone’s anticipation. Still if that’s my role…

  31. Darryl – with the PS4 Plus and the Scorpio project on Xbox1, we effectively already have new consoles right now. PS5 in 2018 is probably not going to happen, but the fact it’s a semi-serious rumour (and that it almost certainly will happen in 2019) is indicating where things are heading.

    Uncle Turf – I don’t feel rained-on. We’re all hardened to the annual process now. This is a new note from Adam though. His usual scale of effusion is a Grade B, this is a Grade A and surely must signify the kind of radical change he promises. But we remember PES2014 at launch.

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