I have finished Season 1, not quite bottom of the table thanks to a late surge of form, but as near as dammit. I’d have been sacked if I’d stuck with Challenge Mode. I’d have been starting all over again, at least once. Challenge Mode seemed like a good idea, until it didn’t. Maybe next time, if there is a next time.
Look at my Goals Against column. The PES2018 AI is remarkable in at least that aspect.
Overall the quality of the matches has remarkably picked up. The tempo of matches reminds me most strongly of PES2014, which is always a good thing. Alas, the flow of events is unlike any football game in history, due to a certain lack of a certain fundamental element of football: fouls and free kicks. The typical AI fouls sequence per-match remains something like 0,0,0,1,0,0,1.
I cannot recall the last time I even had 2 fouls in a match. I wish I was exaggerating for rhetorical effect. PES2018 is the most cynical manifestation of contempt for the single-player in PES history.
‘But you’re still playing it!’ Yes, because I’m a twat, clearly. The more considered answer is that I’ve played the new PES at this time of year every year for almost two decades. Getting to know the new PES as the nights draw in is an integral feature of my life that I don’t want to give up. And here are Konami doing their very best to get rid of single-players. Terrible!
At the moment, I’m enjoying the general gameplay more than I’m not. I’m making a conscious effort to look at no-fouls through half-closed eyes. I’m being charitable towards the game, in other words. Because it’s PES.
A couple of interesting moments. Much talk has there been of the AI and the way it plays deadly, unstoppable through-balls over the top and through the middle (and round the sides, and from the back, and so on).
The through-balls are stoppable. We have just to stop squeezing buttons at the wrong time and defend better.
Here is a short clip that illustrates exactly what I mean – the key moment comes at 0:10:
At 0:10, you can almost see me preventing my full back, J LI (can’t think of a nickname, no matter how I try), charging at the ball and leaving the back door wide open for the through-ball. Instead, I stop him, and track the AI winger instead, and competently cut out the aerial through-ball that would have given the AI a one-on-one otherwise. PES2018 is full of moments like this, defensively.
‘Go with the runner’ is basic defensive protocol, but we rely on blindly squeezing buttons. We charge multiple players at the ball, leave gaps for the AI to exploit – and then blame the game. I suppose the last few PESes have got us accustomed to being able to squeeze buttons and get away with it. PES2018 is different, in this regard at least.
Here is a free kick that almost, almost, became a special moment indeed:
That free kick was the only AI foul in an entire session of 4 matches. The only one. What a waste of potential PES2018 could turn out to be if this situation is not reversed. (And why weren’t the summertime previewers screaming about this after their sessions, sounding the alarm? Oh, that’s right, because they only played each other.)
Finally today, a great sort-of-long-ranger from Rice. An R2 shot from outside the box, so not a classic laces long-ranger, but it’s all I’ve got so far, so I’ll take it:
Onto Season 2. A few new players. I’ll take a promotion this season.