Rice to see you, to see you, Rice

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.

Updated: 6th October 2017 — 10:19


  1. Shed/Cook – if you go to transfer policy under player negotiations you can set to ‘refuse all’ – this simply means you will never get an offer for a player release fee or not. They should remove this as IRL we know that if a club saysa a player isn’t leaving, it means nothing, he will go eventually.

  2. I may try that Paul although I quite like the risk of losing a player I don’t want to. The release clause departure was announced by my assistant outside the negotiation screen. Something like ‘you may want to sit down for this news…’

    One other thing regarding release clauses that I think is true. A renegotiated contract won’t save the player because the new contract does not supercede the existing contract immediately but at the end of the contract term. I’m not 100% on that yet though. One of my players is valued £3m but has a release clause of £1m despite negotiating a new contract. The release clause business is still a bit murky.

  3. Cook – Another decent feature that hasn’t been thought through or implemented properly, some players have ridiculous release fees, MBappe is valued at 163 million yet his release fee is just 14 million.
    And Besides that, if a players release fee is met, it shouldn’t just tell you he’s gone, it should take you to the negotiations screen and gve you chance to counter it, like offering him a bonus, appearance fees, higher wages etc, then whether he stays or goes should take his affection level, charisma, and personality (all in players stats) into account.
    But no, Konami just do the absolute basics, and no more.

  4. Paul & Shed/Cook –

    I think TS is much better done this year too. I thought I’d experienced “the click,” where all would become easy after a prolonged spell of dominance. I then hit a rut and did poorly for a prolonged spell. You might say the game has flow and has time for ebb……

    On release clauses I came on here just to see if anyone had mentioned them to see they had. I renegotiated a bid I had received to take it above the release clause. they agreed yet it still allowed me to reject it?

  5. I have to say I am part way through season 3 and have not had a release clause triggered on me, nor have I triggered one. So as a result I have not really given them much thought.

  6. Jay – that’s another facet of Konami laziness. If you or a com team
    Bid above the release fee or renegotiate and it takes it above the release fee, it doesn’t recognise it’s been triggered, just treats it as any other bid. You have to literally and specifically choose ‘pay release fee’ when you want to trigger it.
    The way konami has implemented them, they are pretty much pointless.

    TS probably shouldn’t ever be 100. What team In world football all get in great and have absolute team harmony ? Probably none.
    At Barcelona, you can be arguably the best team On the planet, with the best individual Players, playing in the best stadium, in a beautiful warm
    Sunny city, earning ridiculous money, and still not be happy with your lot …… Neymar.

  7. Paul – I would rather play for Fleetwood any day.

  8. I played for Eastleigh…….I’d rather play for Barcelona!

  9. Morning All,

    I know this isn’t a normal sort of post for here but I trust all your judgements more than elsewhere. This is the first year I’ve properly given advanced shooting a run and there’s so much to like but I just cannot consistently keep my shots from outside the box (that I’m aiming for the top of the goal) from flying over the bar no matter how little I hold shoot and delicately move the stick. Any tips? I dont think I can go back to basic shooting but I’m missing my long range boomers!!


  10. Hey Keith. Advanced shooting is erratic. And doesn’t actually give you any more freedom over basic shooting.
    I tried it for half a season and he amount of shots that fly off in directions opposite to which you’ve aimed, or not the post or bar, dilute the experience.

    Basic shooting – you aim Where you wanna shoot, press for power and depending on player stats the shot goes on that direction.
    Advanced shooting, the aiming reticule is so narrow and sensitive it’s almost impossible to aim where you want to shoot and get it there. If you haven’t already, try turning on the shooting guide for advanced, you’ll then see how the aiming works.

  11. Paul – I liked the concept but the target didn’t always pop up for me, so like you found it to unreliable. Basic shooting is more than adequate this year for me, especially now you can hit low shots. Still a long way behind Fifa in this area I am afraid to say.

  12. Darryl – I agree mte I’m back on basic shooting and have been for ages now. I never used to use the advanced aiming reticule but for the ken match it was on before I turned it off, when you aimed your shot you could see the target area was huge, leaving way too much possibility for the shot to not go where you wanted, which was often the case.
    I think with a lot of practise you could obviously hone this aiming skill but the number of shots that hit the post on advanced was just too unrealistic.

    Fifa definitely has more shot variety than PES, I still haven’t unwrapped FIFA 18 so not sure what it’s like this year, but at least in FIFA you can still play a whipped pacy precision shot, whereas in PES it’s always floaty and slow.
    PES needs more bobblers, spin shots, dipping shots, swerve shots, every shot is pretty much laces through straight as an arrow.

    Out of curiosity, has anyone yet had a proper one on one with the keeper? Where they’ve been completely clear of the defense, and either rounded the keeper or slotted it Home ?
    All defences are so deep in PES 18 and because every com team is set to ‘all out defence’ they lack the box as soon as they lose possession, it’s virtually impossible to get clear and have a one on one chance.

  13. Cheers Paul/Darryl, I knew i’d get a sensible response.

    Paul – Yep, got the reticule and know where the corresponding directions aim the ball. The power you can get with low shots on advanced are brilliant but if you think that the long range problem doesn’t really disappear with practice then it may be back to the basic shooting of the last 20 years!

    Darryl – Sorry, must have missed this somehow. Is there a new low shooting mechanic on basic?

  14. Keith, pressing shoot then tapping shoot again immediately after (a double tap of sorts) will produce a low ‘daisy cutter’ shot.
    Every time I’ve tried it though the keeper has saved with ease.

  15. Keith – I’ve also tried Advanced shooting only to roll back to Basic. I seemed to get on better with it in the demo which suggests it works better with hight rated players. Basic shooting is a touch better this year but it still lacks variety unless it’s a strike of a loose ball.

    Paul – I’ve had a couple of one-on-ones with the keeper but never with the feeling of having enough time to try anything as fancy as skipping round the keeper. I don’t think I’ve even tried that since back in the PS2 PES games and the old square/circle fake shot.

    Amazed you’ve not tried FIFA yet Paul. It says something about this PES and your resolve.

  16. Having tried the FIFA18 demo now, its similarity to PES is startling. I’m sure extended play of the full game would tease out the differences, but the way the two games’ philosophies have converged to give us two almost identical games, handling-wise, is a testament to the power of market forces.

    Keith – I bounced off Advanced Shooting as well. Lots to enjoy in it, but its outcomes were just too eccentric for my taste. The sameness of Basic yields satisfaction for me. The boominess of long-range shooting is a requirement.

  17. Paul/Shed – coincidentally I was wondering the very same thing last night, when was the last time I’d been one on one with the keeper with time to choose whether to chip him, slot it home with a R2 shot or dribble past with pace or a shot feint. Maybe PES2013? Used to be such a fun part of the game

  18. I don’t own a Switch and nor am I likely to given the cost but I saw golf story last night on a mate’s and it seemed worth the entrance fee alone. Took me right back to the old days of Mario golf on the chunky calculator screen game boy.

    NG – you are beginning to position yourself as the Jeremy Corbyn of football gaming, the third option twixt two market economy obsessors. Sadly ‘oh…no-o-o-o-o-t Greg’ doesn’t really scan to Seven Nation army.

  19. Shed/Abbeyhill
    I’ve had a couple of goals whereby I’ve played a lobbed through ball over the top and my CF has run on to it with only the keeper to beat but its often just been a hurried smash shot or an attempted chip.

    I can’t recount one time so far where a through ball has split the defense and my CF has latched on to it and been able to run unchallenged in on goal and had time to choose how to finish it.
    It seems every COM defense just sits so deep that this would never be possible, on TP this is the pre-programmed method, deep defensive line, ball into midfield, chipped through ball down the wing or over the top, finish, goal. Very little variation.

    Countless times on FIFA 17 last year I would be winning, late on for the com to throw everything forward and attack me and leave big gaping holes, which I could counter and had numerous such one on one or even two or three on one chances, I even remember a couple in PES 17, nothing in PES 18, COM teams even when losing do not bomb forward, just sit deep.

  20. Turf – Seriously ? That Golf story looks damn awful.
    I really dont get modern day consoles going for that pixelised, chunky clunky retro, spectrum-esque era type look.
    Why make a console with good power and graphics only to make a dated old looking game on it!?

    It looked like a cross between Zelda and crazy golf, and I’d be surprised if that game sells many, Switch is aimed at the younger population, they wont want that type of game or those graphics.

  21. Uncle Turf – Stardew Valley with crazy golf??? The golf game doesn’t even look that good. Eh, just get Stardew Valley (PC or PS4) and save yourself 300 quid. You can play a decent knock-off of Galaxians in one of the bars in Stardew Valley.

    Re. one-on-ones in PES2018, I always find that the ball takes just enough time to come under enough control to take a shot, to let the defender just catch up. The so-called catch-up bug (itsnotabugitsnotabugitsnotabug) in operation, in a cunning way.

  22. Thanks again All – Back to Basics

    NG- Boominess indeed.

  23. I’ve had a few 1-on-1s when playing the more expansive CPU teams, breaking from an opposition corner or late on when they’re pushing forward. I’ve tried a couple of chips but messed them both up, there’s no way I’m good enough to dribble round the keeper.

    Golf Story looks the business, it’s a console seller!

  24. Paul – that’s because you have no soul. I have never heard you yearn for the golden age, those timeless afternoons as we ran through the cornfields in the sunshine playing Knightlore.

    I didn’t say it was innovative, graphically amazing, etc just that I would play it to death if it were mine. As I once did with Mario golf while sipping ginger beer on the back of the farmer’s tractor. Werd would understand.

    2015 – noticeable oomph about the French league surroundings – the crowd noise actually seems related to on field action. However, it’s going to be like shooting fish in a barrel. I’m not using the invince word owing to the AI keep ball and idiosyncratic penalty awards but if I don’t win the league at a canter I’ll be quitting in fury. French div 2 is poor and the team building way too easy. A big contrast from my eredivisie experience.

  25. Haha Turf – I have fond memories of playing the likes of Jet Set Willy on the Speccy, the Dizzy games on C64 or Golden Axe etc, or mario kart on the SNES, but I wouldn’t want to play such aged, basic, graphically inferior games nowadays when consoles and games have moved on so much and can deliver a much greater experience.

    The games of yesteryear were not better games at all, the memories of the time is what makes them seem better than they actually are.

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