Frouch or Criday?

Closing in on the end of Season 1 with Saint Etienne. I think it’s my 12th season on PES2017 overall. Or the 11th. I will have to check. Whichever it is, this is the longest-lasting PES since PES2012. Not bad going.

With 32 league matches played and 6 remaining of the Ligue 1 season, I have finally, painfully, hauled myself out of the relegation spots – but not by much:

Results have picked up, but not enough that I can be certain of avoiding relegation.

At least I got one player into the February Team of the Month, for the first time at Saint Etienne:

Friday is great at the moment, almost as good as he was in my promotion season with Coventry City back in Season 2. He’s getting goals galore, and of course last week’s sumptuous long-ranger is still fresh in my memory. I can’t see me scoring a better goal on PES2017.

The quality of the matches are consistently among the best I have played on PES2017 as a whole. Having lesser players really makes the difference.

I am also playing New Zealand friendlies occasionally, and experiencing matches that are just as good. I’d lost every match with New Zealand until the most recent friendly, against the UAE, where I went 1-0 down after a brave, battling opening, and thought ‘here we go again’. Then I stormed back to win 3-1 with my star striker, C WOOD, getting two of them and performing like 1980s Mark Hateley on fizzy pop.

Back in Ligue 1, Friday and Crouch up front seem to have gelled. Crouch (good touch for a big man, of course) is a great link-up striker. In one match I came back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 – with Friday getting a hat-trick, all of them laid on by Crouch, who scored the odd one himself.

My Team Spirit is up to the 85-90 range, depending on who’s picked. This is offset by the bad players I have in my squad – so bad they’re good.

That New Zealand-UAE match was a great, great match – the kind of match that we often say to ourselves was one of the best games of computer-game football we have ever played. While I was playing it I wondered just what makes playing football games often so good, but watching other people play them usually such an empty, rather pointless experience.

If I had that New Zealand-UAE game to show here, or the one where Friday and Crouch linked up so well, I wouldn’t post them. Because why? Because the elements that go to make a great football game experience do not translate very well to third-party observation.

Which is my farty way of saying that when it comes to footy games, you just have to be there.

Just as nobody can taste your food for you, nobody can look at a football game you’ve played and see why you thought it was so ace. Something to bear in mind over the coming months when it seems we will be seeing a lot of PES2018.

Updated: 16th June 2017 — 12:15

43 Comments

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  1. n-G – I still maintain that Team Spirit has a lot to do with the over-powered feel to a ML team – more so than the ease of transfers. I’d happily see it scrapped.

    C. Wood being Chris Wood of Leeds of course. I remember seeing him play for Brighton in a loan spell here. He’s an old fashioned CF type who, as the pundits say, puts himself about.

    I haven’t had a chance to play much for a few days but I’m hoping Fathers Day will earn me enough plus-points for a daytime PES session – a rare thing for me. I’ve got half a dozen games of season seven I think it is. I’ve blown my chance of retaining the league title I think but hoping for a FA and Europa Cup double.

  2. Shed – C WOOD is as big-boned and elbowy in the game as in reality. A proper old-school CF. Having a great time in International management too.

    Re. Team Spirit, I just played a couple of back-to-back matches against top-of-the-table sides and they were pretty poor. A couple of those ultra-pacey, high-turnover matches with zero fouls. My first in this whole season. And they coincided with my TS topping 93. Guarantee these matches would have been better earlier in the season. TS is the new Heart – which I think actually worked better in PES2014 than we all think it did.

  3. Interesting contrast with a feature the guardian has been running this week on football gaming outfits fielding a grass based team and drawing bigger crowds than the professional equivalent (Charlton’s ground I believe). They also mentioned interviewing guardiola was easier than getting hold of Man City’s in house sponsored game guy. I struggled to get my head round it to be honest as I just don’t see what’s interesting about watching some bedroom gamer play FIFA wth the same old familiars, or a bunch of couch tatties indulge in a kick around. I’m clearly in the minority though, and I reckon you must be too NG. Today was non uniform day in the school – I counted one Newcastle strip, one goalie kit and the rest were either Madrid or Barcelona. They will be the ones clammering to be Ronaldo with the right hair gel. The future is myclub, online, YouTube, sponsored gamers playing as sponsored players (there’s a sci if story in there somewhere – when the avatar replaces the famous footballer and they despatch the human to the organ harvesting bank). What’s our back up plan when they turn off ml?

  4. Uncle Turf – it could be argued that they pulled the plug on Master League 5 years ago. The last ML that had a true classic feel as a mode in its own right was probably PES2012 – and even that was watered down from PES2011’s, but it still had transfer market difficulty and reasonable player development. I remember everyone struggling for money to spend all the time that year. Ever since, year on year, it’s been dumbed down as a mode, and anything I’ve got out of it has been from the matches, i.e. gameplay-side only. With the result that here I am, playing with House Rules.

    You should watch a film called Moon if you haven’t already.

  5. If we’re doing recommendations then I’m currently reading Snakewood, the debut novel by Adrian Selby.

  6. The time has come for me to let go – PlayStation 3 is now dismantled with a bag full of games waiting at the door. It will break my heart when “pes 2012” zaps up on the till as being worth 10 pence but I’ve just got too much stuff – or rather my house has been filled with too much stuff and I didn’t manage to persuade small fella to get rid of the skylanders. 3ds also out, never played.

    Happy to leave it as a great memory, returning would have only spoiled it as the last few years hopping around has shown.

  7. I really miss PES 2013. I’m not even sorry. Nothing else has come close. I loved the boots, I loved being able to get Juan Mata to 108 ovr. I loved wasting so much time editing. PES 2015 doesn’t give me 10% of the pleasure.

  8. They could learn a lot from 2013’s Master League. I remember moaning about it at the time, but players “having a mardy” when you turn down a few transfer bids would be brilliant. I once had to put up with Lewis McGugan on a permanent down arrow all season until I finally got rid of him.

  9. Haha! That’s amazing. I found some pictures on an old memory card that I’d taken of transfer dealings I had going on, Milan gave me (as Spurs) 67m for Aaron Lennon (he’d developed quite a bit) and I think Barca gave me 90m for Bale. I loved how you could boost specific areas of abilities.

  10. Chris99 – my recommednation to Uncle Turf was related to something he’d said. I looked up yours and it sounds superb. Problem is it has to fight with literally hundreds of other superb books series/films/TV shows/games for a small amount of attention.

    Uncle Turf – I was at work and couldn’t talk you down from that ledge. You will regret it, probably, although with us probably in the second half of this console generation now, maybe not too much.

  11. Mike/Tommy – PES2013 was a great PES, but the player growth was toxic, and in retrospect a major stage in the dismantling of Master League as we knew it.

  12. It’s not happened yet NG, as cex takes a good hour to test things I’m waiting till Monday when they won’t have such a big pile of stuff. However, I won’t be persuaded. Time was I bemoaned the lack of PS4 games but now it tends to be, old pes aside, the only console I turn on. The 3ds has simply lost out to the volume of reading I need to do and the now widespread free wifi for the iPad.

    How do I know I won’t be persuaded? As I’ve deleted everything from it. Every single goal I thought was a howitzer, howler or talking point.

    I’ve not seen moon, I’ve just looked up the plot and it’s not what I thought it was when it first came out – I had it pegged along the lines of the Martian. What I was thinking of with the organ bank comment was Gil the arm Hamilton. That snakewood looks very Abercrombie-esque. I’m struggling to look at the final book of mistborn, I have this real worry that the action will be replaced by endless discussion between characters about morality, life, etc etc.

  13. Turf – One of the quotes on the cover says “perfect for fans of Abercrombie”, and I’d say that’s fairly accurate. Another includes the word “grimdark” which is a new one on me that I haven’t been bothered to look up yet. Also got Jennifer Fallon’s Demon Child trilogy, but I may keep those as my holiday books.

    My lad has just started on the whole Skylanders thing, and a bit of online reading suggests you can use an old 3DS Skylanders game to reset preowned characters and crystals, so that may be worth a look before you go to cex.

  14. NG – I was a huge critic of the heart system in 2014 but also concede it worked much better in the final update of the game and did what it was originally meant to do. It is funny as the games were better in 2016 when TS was high but the opposite is true for 2017.

  15. The PS3 has gone. Taking advantage of the hot weather I went to the almost deserted metro centre and traded the lot. 60 odd quid for the machine plus controller, 17 quid for games, 60 odd quid for the ds. I immediately invested a lump into Lego city, fallout 4 and a game called pes 2016 euro edition. Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over knowing the result will never change? Still I end up making a pound or two every time I do this as I trade while everyone else is still playing. I did indeed get 10p for the legendary 2012. Time for someone else to discover it, all my eggs are now in the PS4 basket.

  16. Turf I’ve made the same trade in trip several times although I prefer Ebay. Can’t bear to sell ANY game for 10p. Sold my most recent PS3 in October as we were getting the PS4 for Christmas. The wife doesn’t know but I’m going to get another PS3 when I’ve a spare £50, probably 75% just to play PES 2013

  17. Uncle Turf – that’s like taking along a book series to the charity shop that you’ve only read 2/3rds of (because there’s no way you’ve played everything on PS3 that you might want to play). Also, the 2/3rds that you’ve already played (all the PS3 PESes) will surely need revisiting again at some point. The other day yuou asked when happens if/when Konami pull the plug on ML. The answer is: play the old games again. You’ve given up PES2012, and PES2014 – the thinking man’s PES – and PES2013, and PESes 2010 and 11. I could not do that. You will come to regret this, I am sure.

    Having said that, 60 quid for console plus controllers is superb. That trade-in price will drop rapidly the closer we get to PS5 or whatever other intermediary versions of the PS4/XB1 come out. I’m planning to keep my PS3 forever, though. Just as a serious book-lover couldn’t not have the Bible and Shakespeare (delete/fill in as applicable) on his shelf, I couldn’t not have a PS3 and all the PESes close at hand.

  18. All things being possible I would have all of my consoles across the years but the space I have available has shrunk over the years to a point where I now make a last stand, a rorke’s drift kind of digging in, at the door of the garage. First to go years ago was my subbuteo team collection (it is a very strange world that one, with as many fakes and arguments as the world of Rembrandt and Monet). Wii’s have come and gone, the xboxes have never established themselves, even my beloved GameCube had to be sacrificed. All in the name of children’s toys, sofas and sideboards.

    No, I haven’t played everything but that was part of the reason – fallout 3 was traded, never opened, so many others have passed through my hands with so few hours on the clock and it’s never going to improve, I just don’t have the time to play much other than a pes, skyrim and maybe one other. I don’t have a book shelf either, I get rid of everything I’ve read, I have never read anything twice (except dull academic papers I instantly forgot).

    Something weird though, despite having all my old 2016 edit data and a saved ml the new game said there was no data there. Could the euro version be seeing it as a different game?

  19. Ooh- won the fa cup in my first season witte liverpool! Had a great classic pes match in the final. Won all my matches on penalties after overtime which is amusing. Finished 13th in the league after jumping in mid season. Club ranking dropped from 16 to 70. Ouch. Interestingly, so did ajax my old club for no apparent reason. Dropped from number 1 to 4 after losing the cl final. Weird.

  20. Uncle Turf – I still cannot see Subbuteo mentioned without reliving the long years of childhood crusade spent trying to convince other children that Subbuteo was a turn-based game with a proper rulebook and everything, rather than the real-time flick-’em-up they all thought it was. A peculiar foreshadowing of the single-player/multiplayer scenario we have today in PES.

    Probably the greatest loss in getting rid of your PS3 will be being unable to play PES2014 again. That game is destined to be a PES legend.

    P.s the Euro 2016 game was indeed a separate creation.

    #1 – last time I checked on my old club in this ML world, CCFC were top of the Premier with 13 wins out of 13. I laid some serious groundwork there.

  21. Re Subbuteo, I think I may have mentioned before how I managed to devise a way of playing on my own rather than get frustrated at playing with school pals who were also into it. An early version of single player over multiplayer.

    Only time for two measly matches over the weeken: a 4-2 win in the league against Man City which should secure my runners up spot and a 1-0 second leg job on Napoli which takes me to a Europa final.

    I now have a seemingly straight forward double of finals (vs Watford in the FA Cup and some made up monstrosity in the Europa) to secure a rather novel cup double.

  22. Not-Greg – I’ve just found your wonderful blog, and hope you don’t mind me asking for your advice on which PES game to start with. Previously, I’ve never considered PES and have always been a FIFA man (forgive me!) but have been getting fed up with the lack of variety in goals and the online-focus these days. When I have dabbled in PES, I’ve found the variety of goal scoring to be one of its strongest aspects. So which game would you recommend I start off with, for a deep single player experience and some great gameplay? (I’m not fussed about graphics, so happy with anything.)

  23. Turf – Lego City might conceivably be ok but you won’t play Fallout 4 and pes2016 will still be awful, that is one of the worst trade-ins I have ever seen!

  24. I played full on, no concessions to house rules solo player . The only things I couldn’t do were due to an absence of hands. Fooling myself as to which side my striker was going to place penalties was particularly tricky but I used blu tak and two p coins to make a balance for the keeper to stretch at an angle. It was preferable to my lump footed brother trying to play and standing on all the team.

    Subbuteo collectors are fans of the game, they tend to collect either originals – the big chunky hand painted teams (the biggest forgeries), zombies from the 80s – the thin plastic straight up ones or newer types. It’s still kicking about but there’s loads of variations now as a result of them failing to maintain popularity. In fact I have some teams, goals and a ball ready just in case…

    That 2016/Euro difference is annoying but 2015 is proving really solid on no assist. The through ball control is creating really different matches, last night I managed 16 shots in a season 1 superstar fixture, usually such a grind. I lost 3-2.

  25. Abbeyhill – on the contrary I am really pleased with my credit. Lego city is very funny, fallout 4 might go the way of 3 but at least there’s time on my side and 2016 is simply to give me more than 1 pes option. Visually the leap from 2015 to 16 is astonishing when seen again but I suspect I will get more mileage from 2015, even though I will try a 2016 no assist as it’s only been the absence of difficulty that has put me off the last few years. Fouls or not if I win a treble in year 3 or 4 then I’ve lost interest.

    You sir are a Luddite. The future is one machine, capable of everything I need.

  26. Chris — thank you for your comment, and if you post again pick a unique tag to go with the ‘Chris’. We already have a commenter named Chris, and another Chris who took the name of Chris99.

    Your question is a fiendishly complex one to answer, as you don’t say what console(s) you are willing to play on, or indeed if you’re a PC gamer, which changes things again.

    Remember with PES fans, we’re constantly evoking the image and likeness of a game that hasn’t really existed in its purest form for a number of years — and Master League adds another layer of complexity to the answer.

    I’m going to keep it neat and simple and say PES2013 for the PS3, and if you’re on PS4/XB1, PES2017. Others may wish to answer and introduce all manner of ifs and buts. E.g. I think PES2011, PES2012, and PES2014 are all better PES games than PES2013, but PES2013 is the best introduction to the series as a whole out of all the games in recent years on PS3. Ditto PES2017 for PS4. Badly compromised in so many ways, but still a good representative of the series,

    There are all kinds of caveats, but I don’t want to frighten you off. The deeper layers of lore and gameplay and the manifold differences between editions and platforms can emerge after you’ve sampled the series.

    I’m also not aware of any serious PES fan who genuinely has an axe to grind with FIFA. The days of clear blue water between the two franchises are long gone, and much-missed. If you’re looking for the PES that most resembles FIFA, then it’s PES2016 without question. You’d have to go back to the PS2 for the PES-iest PES games, but they don’t translate that well to modern-day play.

  27. so Lego City Undercover is pretty good then Turf, presumably you’re playing it co-op with your son? Quite tempted to get it for the Switch as the idea of ‘GTA for kids’ sounds fun and a mobile co-op game would be fantastic for holidays etc

  28. Yes on both counts Abbeyhill. Early days but there’s definitely a nod and a wink to GTA and films of that sort of ilk, the old cop about to retire cliche and the eager to please youngster out of academy. It will live or die by the hub and free roam though and my only query is whether the unlocking of bog standard characters will last in the way that finding well known marvel, batman, Star Wars, etc ones does.

    I’d second that 2013 for PS3 chris (or sirhc or whatever you come up with that distinguishes you). You get to whack long range shots in with a decent challenge for the first four or five seasons and you’ll wonder why boots ever caused such a big deal. The others have a bit more in game baggage. I note you don’t say if you intend to play a master league/career type game though, which remains the best long term effort, despite NGs many repeated claims about BAL being fantastic….

  29. Turf – Were you a floor player rather than a dining room table boy?

  30. Both chris99 but the floor was preferred as the table was two inches too narrow so there was no throw in line. I only used it if my brother was wandering about. I recall the tragic events leading to the death of four members of the Peru national team.

  31. Uncle Turf – I have doubts that we will ever hear again from sihrc.

    Chris99 – I was a totally floor-based Subbuteo player. Peru: the most famous diagonal stripe on a shirt ever.

  32. Floor player here too but with the pitch mounted on a big bit of cork board. I would play from one side with the others lined with stands which my mum bought for me cheap at a boot sale. I even had a couple of desk lamps for flood lights. Weirdly, Brighton were the most successful team in the league. Funny that.

    My all conquering plastic Seagulls are now enjoying retirement on a dedicated footy shelf in the shed along with my copy of the first PES (International Superstar Soccer for PS1), a piece of goal net from the old Goldstone Ground and the Gary Lineker Mexico 86 bubble gum card I got for my birthday last year – he was the only “need” I had left when we collected them at school.

  33. nG – I was watching the Confederations Cup last night. A certain M. Mulligan was getting run ragged by the Germans.

  34. I’m going to shamelessly take the name I’ve been given!

    not-Greg – Thank you very much for the detailed response, and apologies for not including some extra information in my original post. I can play on any of PC/PS2/360/X1, so have a wide variety of options open to me. What I’m looking for, I suppose, is the PES that is most unlike FIFA. Something that is challenging on the higher difficulties, and remains challenging throughout a lengthy Master League save. Having browsed through your blog, I notice that you found PES2010 to be a fantastic ML year for you – do you think it would hold up today? If not, I suspect I will take your advice and begin with PES 2013.

    Uncle turf – Thanks for your response also – like many football gamers, long shots are my favourite type of goal to score so any game that can give me that but still with a decent challenge sounds very promising! As described above, definitely looking for Master League rather than anything else. I’ve been a Stevenage fan in real life and my yearly FIFA experience is of taking them to the top of the tree, but for a number of reasons the charm of this has worn off – no ability to edit anything, and a lack of difficulty after getting to the Premier League being the main ones.

  35. Shed – I don’t remember ever getting any kind of gameplay out of Subbuteo. For me it was just something I’d set up and then look at and think it’d be nice to play one day. My schoolfriends who’d come round would just flick the players for a minute and wreck everything and get bored of that and stop. I knew that Subbuteo was a turn-based game but it was like being architect David Vincent in The Invaders (a Quinn Martin Production). ‘Subbuteo is a turn-based game with a rulebook and everything’ was my ‘there are Invaders from space!’ Nobody would believe me.

    Tommy – I think ‘my’ Mulligan was N Mulligan – ? Can’t quite remember now.

  36. sirhc – PES2010 does stand up IMO, but wouldn’t be a great intro to the series nowadays. I’m a fellow long-shot aficionado and taking into account your wish for an experience unlike FIFA, I’d say if you’re going to go back that far, try PES2011 before PES2010.

    PES2013 is still the optimum recommendation though, ticking all the boxes.

  37. sirhc – I can also vouch for PES 2013 as the perfect PES-y PES to get going with. Only the rather out of control player development in later seasons put a downer on ML. The gameplay is certainly nothing like FIFA.

    I look forward to hearing how you get on. I still have a South American ML to go back to if I can smuggle the PS3 out of my son’s room.

    I’m also interested in your views as a FIFA veteran. I’m often tempted to try and get into a FIFA but, like others here, always get drawn back to PES eventually. I’ve not played FIFA 17 but I assume it still has the issues with team/player individuality and difficulty levels I have encountered in just about every FIFA I’ve played.

  38. Sirhc – my suggested name was purely due to a now quite long absent commenter called ‘werd’ not fooling anyone with his cryptic user name. Do we know if he’s ok and just having a break as he’d a bit of a run of crappy stuff to contend with?

    Again I’d echo that pre-2011 is going to be a big shock and 2013 is the one where the fun is at. Too much fun for some of us who get by on moaning and finding fault.

    I went on them there other forums the other day for a look at 2018 comments and strayed across an old post by ‘Paul’ on the no fouls issue. One or two positive reinforcements but dear me they don’t like someone suggesting the King has no clothes on do they. I can only hope our Paul responded to the flamers by despatching his laser sharks and mink-clad ninjas to pay them back.

    Shed – the beginning of the end of my subbutteo-ing came with the astropitch. It was just too damn perfect, it wasn’t proper subbuteo without that crease along the 35 yard mark where I’d folded it up. Looking at ebay now the market seems to have cooled somewhat since I was involved. A forum runner could easily snap up half a dozen pieces to try and right the wrong of a childhood…

  39. Turf – My older brother used to play on a spare blanket with chalk marks before getting a later edition that had a pitch.

    I also had the Peru team, but they were the taller remoulds. Not like the classic West Germany, Netherlands and Brazil teams that were also among the collection.

    Did anyone else repaint teams with Airfix paints?

  40. Chris99 – I used to paint crowd figures with Airfix paints as they were cheaper to buy “nude”. I found some in a box recently actually. My son now has a few sat along the top of his telly in his room.

    I also had an Everton player with a dodgy base that I tried to fix with Airfix glue. Unfortunately I used too much and the top of his base swelled up to the point the player looked like he was standing on a little hillock. This is turn made him heavier and rather lethal at long range shooting – a Colin Coynborough of Subbuteo if you like.

    He became Trevor Steven (and yes I used to number all my players with this little stickers) because he was Everton’s Coynborough of the time.

  41. I had one of them for Ipswich that I identified as Steve McCall, a real bruiser of overblown proportions. My West Ham team had a leaning player, perfect for diving headers and he became Stuart Pearson. I tended to have an odd mix of teams based on where I’d been with the family or where relatives happened to live. Often they would double or treble up as others e.g. Newcastle/Notts county/juventus. It was a nightmare if Liverpool drew Aberdeen in the inter-British cup. I’m not sure why but I had the Coventry Talbot kit and a rather nice Southampton effort. The appearance probably influenced my attempts on their behalf, a smartly turned out side had a much better chance of progressing.

    Just played a quick game of 2016 to see how it feels – dear oh dear, even by 2015 standards it’s possible to assault half a dozen players in a row without fear of punishment. Playing an exhibition game against the AI is just like a post pub two player effort. What a huge shame.

  42. I didn’t paint nude crowds, but I did paint on football shirts and bobble hats, and glue scarves between those with upraised Arms.

    I can also concur that the sliver of white plastic that their legs were moulded to used to come out of the base, and sometimes needed glueing back in.

  43. Unsure of the etiquette for posting a delayed reply, so I’ll put it here to be safe. Thanks all for the recommendation of PES 2013 – I’m currently half-way through my first ML season and enjoying it very much.

    Shed – Having only played FIFA (and near-enough only single-player) for about 15 years now, the main things that have frustrated me are, as you say, the difficulty and the individuality. Difficulty in particular was an issue for me in FIFA 17 – in consecutive seasons I was able to take Stevenage to the Premier League, and then win the top league in my first season there, on Legendary. I know a lot of people with similar experiences, and I’m certainly not a FIFA maestro. Also, I’d find that most games would end, say, 2-1 to me but with the opposition having only two shots. It was a very rare game that I had to defend any sustained pressure. Team individuality was supposed to be improved in 17, but the only difference I could tell was the GK on possession-based teams throwing the ball out, while the GK on other teams would kick the ball upfield as always. Player individuality was as poor as ever – I often find the Championship more testing than the PL.

    One thing that has improved over the years has been the variety of goals you can score. It’s still not perfect, but on the 360 by the end of each game-year you’d end up scoring in maybe 5 or 6 different ways, and would know when a shot was worth taking or not. I’m sure this will come eventually in PES, but for now it’s great to see the different types of goals I’ve been able to score.

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