Very close to the end of Season 2 in my PES2018 Master League. I hope to finish somewhere in upper-mid-table. I think if the season was about 6 matches longer, I’d have snuck into the playoff spots. But it isn’t and I won’t, so there’s another season in Division 2 in prospect. Another long slog, but I anticipate being promoted next season, so I find myself looking forward to the slog.
The current table:
One of the ongoing ML stories I’ve been monitoring is the performance of my mid-season signing, Richarlison.
In real-life, Richarlison is one of those enigmatic players who turns in a sensational performance once in a while, but then isn’t seen or heard from again for months at a time. He’s a Theo Walcott, in other words.
I got Richarlison in the January window, and he did nothing. Each time I picked him, or brought him on as a sub, he might as well have not been playing.
One of the hallmarks of Pro Evolution Soccer in the current console era has been the awful, stomach-churning way in which player individuality – for so long one of the mightiest sticks that we used to beat FIFA with – has been progressively pared back in the name of you-know-what. Online fun flowing responsive balancing blah blah blah bullshit.
In particular, I scorn the advent of the AMF/SS/CF hybrid players. Typical of nuPES, these players are emblematic of the un-PES turn that the series has taken in the PS4 era. There are so many of them, and they are so nearly all the same that they might as well just be called Player 312 and Player 313 etc., because their actual names mean almost nothing.
It’s quite depressing to click on a player in the squad selection and see at least three other positions light up. Yawn. A feature this common has very little value. Anyone remember Duffy from PS3-era PES? A right-back who could also play as a DMF/CMF. What a novelty he was. And then there were occasional Paul Warhurst-types of CBs who could also play at CF. Another novelty.
How many of those multi-position players were there in old-school PES? About 1 in 100? And how many are there now? 1 in 20? 1 in 10? Whatever the figure, there is no denying that multi-position players have rocketed in PES in recent years, and IMO it is not to the series’ benefit.
So I’ve been watching individuality in PES2018 with a very, very careful eye indeed. To the point that it is my one and only real House Rule: I am assembling a squad in which every player – every player – must manifest old-school PES individuality, or they will be moved on in the next suitable transfer window.
I’m giving each player at least half a season, or a full season if they show promise, to ‘prove’ themselves.
The great news is that individuality is still present in PES2018, in quite surprising ways too, but it really has to be burrowed for.
This Friday’s post will see me list my entire 24-man squad, and award each one a special Individuality rating out of 10. The ones who rate at 5 or above will stay. The ones who rate below 5 will go.
Richarlison’s head was well and truly on that chopping block. He was destined for a rating of about 2/10 (really, he was that poor). Until this one particular match. Before this match, I actually said to myself out loud ‘Last Chance Saloon, dude’. (I have started saying ‘dude’ in contexts like this, in lieu of having an actual motorbike-riding midlife crisis.)
What happened? Hat-trick happened.
I enjoyed each and every one of those goals, and the match as a whole, which was a 4-0 demolition job, a rarity for me in these still-tight opening seasons of Master League.
Richarlison’s individuality rating crept up to a 6/10 after this. It will go down below the 5 mark again if he returns to anonymity in what remains of the season.
Predictably, after an individual and team performance like the above, in the next match Richarlison was back to his customary ‘might as well not be on the pitch’ status.
This is something I have noted before in nuPES, and am convinced is a reality: any player who has an outstanding match will be nerfed for the following match or matches. There are plenty of instances of this nerf not happening, of course, but there are far many more instances of it happening for it to be anything other than a deliberate, programmed ‘balancing’ decision, in my opinion.
And as a team, we were also nerfed. Nobody was allowed to score. The opposition – a sturdy QPR outfit – beat me 1-0.