Business as usual

Good times in PES2018, eventually. I’ve calmed down and started focusing and playing. I’ve broadly compared PES2018 over the last few days to PES2012 and FIFA15 for different, wholly positive reasons. I think this game is going to be fine.

For that to be achieved, the AI will have to hold up in the long term. I’ve seen enough signs of the AI’s good play and outrageous unfairness to suggest that, yes, it will hold up, and then some.

No-fouls isn’t going away as THE issue of our time. The outrageousness of no-fouls is about what it represents, just as much as what it is. No-fouls represents the entrenchment of the series’ online-fun-first philosophy of recent years. For this reason alone, no-fouls is an absolute anathema to me and, I would make so bold as to affirm, to all serious single-player players of PES. Konami, we don’t want your stinking fun.

See the two adverts on the pitch behind the goal there? My constant thought: Get that shiteClub shit off my screen.

But the gameplay I’m experiencing now in PES2018 – that whole F-word question aside – is probably the best sustained gameplay since the fully-patched PES2014. Or, if you’re a true PES2014-phobe and don’t like anything being compared to that game, the best since the early seasons of PES2013. I’d even push it all the way back to PES2012 and say the quality is high enough to stand comparison there.

I’m still in Season 1 of my Master League, so view this praise accordingly. Let’s see how things are in Season 2. With 50-odd matches in total across all modes under my belt, though (far more than any reviewer would ever play), I believe I’ve taken the temperature of this PES.

Here’s my month of October in Season 1:

No goals. Proper canings from the AI. On Top Player – and then on Professional.

I have switched cameras. I’ve nearly always been a Wide man, but have hankered for a different camera for some time. A regular blog commenter, Darryl, posted a suggestion that I tried and liked. Here’s a vid where you see me switching to the camera at the start of a match, and amusingly, scoring almost immediately:

That’s a Customised Long camera, with the settings at 7, 0, 10. I have since tweaked the 7 to a 5 and feel settled on that slightly more zoomed-out view.

This lower, closer-in view discourages the ‘angry hornets’ style of play that any PES can easily decay into.

Next are two pleasing looped headed goals from the AI. I’m playing in my 3rd strip in this match, an all-brown custom kit that’s a tribute to Coventry City’s celebrated ‘excrement kit’ of the 1970s, as provided by another regular commenter, Paul, of PESFX.

The interesting thing here aren’t just the AI’s two looped headers, which helps to demonstrate how interesting the AI is this year, in my current view (other views are available).

For the AI’s first goal, right at the start of the clip I try a dumb, Hollywood pass (with Hettich) diagonally forward through midfield, that the AI cuts out very simply. The AI is a big topic out there at the moment. I wonder if there are PES players who expect to be able to make passes like that, and view the inability to as signs of ‘poor AI’ or whatever? In my view, we shouldn’t expect to be able by rights to make that pass at this stage with the Defaults. Trying it is a sign of (my) laziness.

Note what exactly happens for the AI’s second goal. I have good possession, and eventually circulate the ball to my DMF, Hettich, whom I then run into the box and almost get the ball to. The AI keeper hoofs a long ball to where Hettich would have been, had I not brought him forward. A CB is covering, but doesn’t win it, and the AI hoists an aerial pass to the wing (yes, I know, but currently don’t care much), and then the CB can’t get to the Millwall striker who nods in his second floated header in one match. A little 90-second encapsulation of why PES2018 is pretty good at the moment.

I’m not getting carried away yet. We have yet to see what damage Team Spirit will wreak on a fully mature Master League.

Here I think we might be OK. The difficulty levels have been rezoned this year. Professional is roughly equivalent to last year’s Top Payer. Superstar is like a Superstar+. I have heard so much about Legend being bad and monstrously unfair that I just know it’s going to be great for me.

Updated: 22nd September 2017 — 11:43

115 Comments

  1. My dad once delivered a colour telly to Brian coughs mam. My Cold has made gaming an no no. Watched a Vietnam dollars night instead. Very good.

  2. NG – thanks for the heads up on the analogue stick on advanced through balls.

    For those who sit deep and defensive to counteract aerial through ball by the AI. Hug the touchline plus setting both wingers (if you use them) as counter targets, really aids countering the AI.

  3. If you captured a moment in time, 31 years ago you would have seen me half rising to my feet as the ball shot accross the German goal and Gazza paused before sliding for the ball, only missing by inches. That was that famous moment in the Euro 96 semi final against Germany.

    31 years later….

    It is 12.45am and I am playing my 8th game of the night on this years Pro Evo. It is the 70th minute of my home game against Brighton. The score is 0-0 but the game has been full of chances in an end to end affair. Not an on-line frantic replica but more akin to a real old British cut and thrust game. I gather the ball in the centre of midfield about 40 yards out. I spot my winger in space on the right and play a beautiful long curling ball over the full back’s head. My winger traps the ball down on the touchline, stopping it going out of play. He then takes on the full back on the outside. I spot a gap as I see my lumbering forward Anichabie heading into the six yard box. I then drill a low cross in front of the goal. He can’t get there in time and desperately does a sliding lunge towards the ball, missing by inches. In that moment I am half of my seat, with my controller in the other hand. For a moment in time the world stopped.

    On-line gaming has just about stripped our off-line solo experience away, like a pack of hyenna’s devouring over a dead zebra. But they can’t take away these moments in time from us. So you can fuck off on-line gamers as this is war.

  4. Darryl, that’s brilliant stuff, I had a couple of point blank headers saved yesterday evening where I was already celebrating the goal. Moments like these are what football games are all about but I’d almost forgotten in recent years.

    My move up to Superstar has been OK so far, very enjoyable. I’m in the transfer window though and transfer offers for my top scorer and top assister are getting very close to the release clause value. The latest bid was only £50k under for my top scorer. I’ve tried renegotiating but can’t afford it so I’ve tried to line up a couple of replacements in case. Some of you will understand how the January window can destroy a promotion chasing team, I’m looking at you Matt Ritchie.

  5. The guy who always plays above his OVR for me is Coutinho. Even though he’s lost his beastliness from PES 2016, where he led my line for nine seasons and scored almost 400 goals, he’s still a consummate finisher. Good in the box, the air, got a powerful shot, and his positional awareness is fantastic.

    Last year, I think a lot of people sold him in their Master League to raise funds, but sentiment wouldn’t allow me to do it. He wasn’t as good as the year before, nor could I get him even close, but the guy still bagged 200 goals in his seven seasons. I sold him to Inter when they came in with a bid I simply couldn’t turn down for a 31-year-old.

    An honourable mention to Hettich, who isn’t the quickest or the best on the ball, but can boss a midfield with his strength, defence, and tenacity. Many times already in this campaign he’s come to the rescue with last-ditch tackles in midfield.

    But it’s the ones who used to be amazing and are now dross that really gets me. Big Nomatokhalis, the best goalie I’ve ever had, performed heroics for me in PES 2013. Niellendner, my first youth-team promotion in PES 2016, became the Pogba of my midfield, but is now a shadow of his former self. Aartmen, the guy who bombed down the wing in PES 2015 like Arjen Robben, now cannot muster up a glimpse of his promise of old.

    Agree wholeheartedly with Paul – PES is so much more than OVR.

  6. Dan. In PES 17 Arqas became my captain and team superstar. He and embolo almost singlehandedly powered me to 3 back to back trebles, but this year he is a shadow of that player. I will probably sell him
    When an offer comes In. No sentiments here, I like each ML story to be different and involve different players.

  7. Like Paul, I tend to get rid of players who played out a significant story in a previous ML. Arcas, Castledene and Coutinho were PES 2016 staples for me. All were sold straight away in PES 2017 and I only have Arcas in this ML because I needed a decent AMF. I’ll sell him at the end of this season one even though he’s been one of my better players.

    I also still have Rice and Heittich as my midfield duo and they really do form a nasty little duo in the middle. Rice scored my first proper long-ranger last night actually. I’ll try and post it up here later.

  8. Shed – Posted this yesterday but check the 2nd goal in, nice long ranger volley from Vrany !!!

  9. Darryl – Excellent, I love moments like that.

    Paul – my homebrew defaults change slightly each year. I have had Vander and Vanderberg and yours truly for the last 4. The stats face and hair are edited at random so each term they play a bit different. Tati is my new LW and has a cool celebration, he snogs the camera!. Feeling better reading and talking about PES 🙂

  10. Paul – That is a beauty. Those goals are even more satisfying when they’re scored by a default player.

  11. Paul – I’ve yet to get one like that second goal in ML. The one in Exhibition mode with Oxlade-Chamberlain on Day 1 – 2 weeks ago today now – remains my only long-ranger so far.

  12. Just realised Euro 96 was 21 years ago.

  13. Shed/NG – That goal was with Vrany, hes a lynchpin at the DMF role, i was suprised to see him pop up in such an advanced position.

    Had a meddle with Advanced shooting again for a few matches last night, hit the bar in every match, and lost 2-1 to table toppers Wolves, in a match where I had 10 shots on goal, and only 2 on target, so thats the end of advanced shooting for me.

    Also, in a very tight game against Hull City, I had 5 fouls, they had 4, it was a glorious game.

  14. Paul – Yep, I also had another go with Advanced shooting and dropped it again after three games. I’ll be sticking with basic shooting from now on. I just wish it was a little less basic.

  15. Shed,I think its the core shooting animations which need updating, as even on advanced, theres very little variation ion shot types.
    There needs to be more whipped/driven/looping/passed shot animations and types.

    you can pull back towards you down into a corner to aim low, but the power button works on the basis that the longer you hold shoot, the higher trajectory it goes/more velocity, meaning its nigh on impossible to hit a low daisy cutter from outside the box intentionally.

    a shot modifier button, like holding R1 when shooting or similar should allow for this.

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