Individuality check

Season 2 ends with my team finishing 12th. I nearly got a sniff of a playoff spot at one point, but fell away.

Look at how many games the top 6 teams lost and drew. There’s more than a whiff of league table scripting about those figures. Despite losing 20 (TWENTY) matches myself, I stayed mathematically within touching distance almost to the last few matches.

Next season, I anticipate being one of the challengers for promotion. How many games will the teams challenging around me lose and draw then? It’ll be interesting to see.

I only got one player into the Team of the Season – probably a fair outcome. Veldwijk finished top scorer for the Division with 23 goals.

 

A PES2018

PLAYER INDIVIDUALITY

RUN-DOWN

 

With Season 2 out of the way, I can turn to an examination of my complete 24-man squad from the point of view of that most nebulous of Pro Evo qualities: player individuality.

For so many years, this quality was perhaps the single greatest banner that we waved as PES fans.

Every player in PES – we boasted in any FIFA-lover’s direction – was a proper individual. Unlike those FIFA bundles of pixels with different names that all basically felt the same! No, sir!

In classic PES, big and clumsy players were big and clumsy. Little nippy players were little and nippy – and how rare they were compared to today! Even players who were superficially the same, were different from one another in an abundance of ways.

We had pages of stats and traits. The granularity of the stats was neither too much nor too little. Player stats were perfectly within the Goldilocks zone between simplicity and complexity. All fed into the heady brew of classic PES individuality.

It’s commonly supposed that player individuality has been watered down in PES in the current era. Today, considerations of online balancing are paramount. Humans expect on-screen players to respond instantly to their input. ‘Responsiveness’ is astonishingly held up as an unquestionable pro-word on the PES forums.

Is it true? Has individuality vanished from Pro Evolution Soccer? Was it ever really there? Was it only in our minds all along?

Having played this series for nigh on 20 years now, and having spent part of the summer just gone sampling the delights of PES5 (Best PES Ever; Best Football Game Ever; Best Video Game Ever) – I feel qualified to pass sober judgement.

I will rate all 24 of my current PES2018 Master League squad players out of 10, purely in terms of their individuality. This isn’t about how fast, how strong, how skilful they are, etc. It’s about how unique (or not) they feel. Speed, strength and skill do factor into individuality, but they don’t define it in-and-of-themselves. Individuality is more of a gestalt, emergent property of PES gaming.

5 is the median score. Players at 5 will possess a slight glimmer of a spark of individuality, but nothing like the individuality of old. ‘They’ll do’ would sum up the middling players in this scale of judgement.

Players above 5 possess some individuality – but how much, and how many PES2018 players will achieve it?

I’ll award any player who feels like a traditional PES individual a STAR MAN label.

Players who rate below 5 are almost certainly going to leave my club very soon unless something remarkable happens.

From the top:

T KRUL (GK): 7. Pulls off great saves at crucial times, and feels like as much of an individual GK as any I’ve had in many years. A good, solid start for the pro-individuality camp here.

AUGUSTIN (GK): 4. Youth promotee, has played maybe two matches, so there’s little to judge.

JESUS VALLEJO (CB): 7. Tough and violent, always picking up cards, a great all-rounder.

N SULE (CB): 6. Similar to Vallejo, but crucially enough of an individual to stand out when they play together, which they most commonly do.

F ERIKSON (CB): 4. Just another nuPES Default nobody, lacking all the charm and uniqueness of classic Defaults. He and others will be got rid of in the coming window.

S LEGOIDA (CB): 4. Ditto to the above. Absolutely nothing about either of these two players has ever stood out for me, in this edition of the game nor any other that they have appeared in. The days of a long-lasting Jaric/Vornander-style partnership are gone.

F GRILLO (CB): 5. Can play at LB and CB, but is mainly a CB. Has just enough of a glimmer of uniqueness to scrape a 5, but it’s close.

F SORIC (LB): 5. One of the better Defaults for me, again just enough to stand out without being special. Worth his 5, but I will still probably ditch him in the transfer window.

O ELABDELLAOUI (RB): 5. Purchased a few transfer windows ago, he is pretty much just a long name above a set of pixels. Just enough to stand out, though, and he is currently first-choice RB. I will keep him.

J LI (RB): 6. A modest 65OPR player who seems to play better than his stats, earning the 6 rating. Has poor pace, which perversely makes him stand out in a fast and furious virtual footballing world.

I HETTICH (DMF): 7. A favourite Default, who will be staying for the foreseeable future. I’ve described him as a Bargain Basement Irjescu, and that’s about the measure of it. Slightly disappointed in his lack of shooting prowess this year. Merits a 7 regardless.

L BAKER (CMF): 8. STAR MAN. This Youth promotee might be the player of the whole of PES2018. Great passing and decent shooting. Has quiet games, yes, but he’s still developing.

J SHELVEY (CMF): 4. Ugh. One of the great disappointments so far. Will hang onto him until mid-season just to make sure he’s a wash. Then he’s gone.

J PUNCHEON (CMF): 3. Definitely going to be moved on in the upcoming August transfer window. One of the most nothing-y players I have ever played with in any Master League – and I’ve played PES2016.

J RICE (CMF): 6. The old stalwart is still going strong. Not quite the character he was in PES2017 (he’d have got a solid 7/10 on the individuality front in that game), but still has enough of the whole ‘poor man’s Joey Barton’ air about him that makes this scrapper worth keeping.

E CANNING (CMF): 2. What is the point of this? Is ‘E CANNING’ a dictionary definition of ‘nothingness’?

J CORREA (AMF): 5. Sigh. A player who should be so much more than he is. Has all the stats needed to be a top, top PES player, and yes, he does handle well, is pacey, passes and shoots well – but he feels hollow. Another one of nuPES’s interminable utility players (plays at 3 or 4 positions) who is pretty much interchangeable with a thousand others.

E CASTLEDINE (AMF): 4. What a fall for the greatest player of PES2016.

XABI PRIETO (AMF): 6. Only just nudges out into above-average territory. Does a few good things occasionally. Could swap him with Correa and I would never notice the change.

W ROONEY (AMF): 3. Surprisingly tame. He’ll stay with me until mid-season, but the passion and power of real-life Rooney in his teenage years just isn’t here. His name might as well be Generic Youth Promotee #321.

RUBEN CASTRO (CF): 6. Just before I wrote this post, he scored an astounding goal at the start of Season 3 (see below), which has influenced my decision to give him a 6. Would’ve got a 5, or even a 4, otherwise. I am a stern judge and he’s got to shape up. At the moment, again, swap him with Correa and Prieto and no difference would be noticed.

B GUILLAUME (CF): 8 STAR MAN. One of my first proper signings, this big striker showed me the way to Veldwijk, and has served as a capable understudy ever since. He has a knack of always delivering. Handles like a true individual, and has the proper array of quirks, including weaknesses.

RICHARLISON (CF): 5. Would have been a 3 if he hadn’t got a few important goals recently. Will last to mid-season 3, and then may go. Again, another one of those poitnless multi-position utility players. Swap him with any of my other AMF/SS/CF types, and no difference would be noticed.

L VELDWIJK (CF): 8 STAR MAN. Plays like a cross between Peter Withe, Mark Hateley, and Schwarz, with a sprinkling of Vieri. I’ve brought in a star name for season 3, who cannot replace him.

Now we can add up all the ratings and divide the result by 24 to work out the overall Individuality Score for PES2018 at this juncture of my Master League. (I’ll do this again after 7 seasons, say, and see where we stand then.)

129/24 = 5.37.

I’ll be very generous and round that up to the halfway point, which means that PES2018, right now, has

an overall PES Individuality Score of

5.5/10

About right. Slightly above-average, but way, way below where PES needs to be on this front.

I invite all readers to submit their own current ML squads’ Individuality Checks in the comments. Whatever edition of the series you’re playing. It’d be useful to compare notes. The overall average for all 24 players (or however many in your squad) is a very useful yardstick.

For comparison, even the most non-individual old-school PES (PS2/PS3-eras) would’ve made it to 7/10 for Individuality. The Best PES Game Ever, of course, gets an automatic 10/10.

As for the other PS4 PES games, I imagine PES2015 would have got a dizzying 6.5 for Individuality. My Crouch and Castolis alone were easily 9/10 players apiece for Individuality, and there were plenty of 7s and 8s that year.

PES2016 would have struggled to 4/10. We really should have seen the writing on the wall with that game in that year. In fact, we did see it. But at the same time we didn’t want to see it – and so we didn’t see it.

PES2017 maybe was worth a 4.5/10.

So with PES2018 getting a Season Two individuality score of 5.5/10, things are on the way back up.

Who knows. If the patch succeeds in injecting the right kind of life into the right kinds of areas (i.e. the long, numbing stretches of time when nothing interrupts play, and all you do is squeeze buttons, and stare), PES2018 has a chance to become something more than what it currently is.

What is the quintessence of PES individuality? I think it could be summed up in a word: weaknesses. PES of old wasn’t afraid to provide us with players who were great in many areas, but had specific weaknesses in others. E.g. trapping the ball. Pretty much every player in PES2018 – lumbering CBs and those ten-a-penny CMF/AMF/SS/CF hybrids alike – can trap a ball like Maradona in his prime. It facilitates smooth, balanced, frustration-free online play, which is the point.

It has to be acknowledged that this is a debate that traditional PES single-players lost a very long time ago now. Today, the ideal imagined PES player is a 17-year-old kid who wants a perfect 1:1 correspondence between his controller input and the on-screen outcome, and as few interruptions as possible. PES is made for him first and foremost, and for ‘us’ second. The joke is that the 17-year-old kid is usually blissfully unaware that PES even exists.


Finally today, a sneak preview of Season 3 in the form of the best goal I’ve scored yet on PES2018 – a last-minute winner too:

Much like that AI defender, I was sure this was offside as it happened. It took a few seconds to sink in that I’d really just scored it.

Hettich with the Hoddle-like 30-yard pass. Ruben Castro with the sweetest volley ever. That kind of over-the-shoulder connection with a long lobbed pass used to be called a power volley in the nomenclature of PES. I distinctly recall scoring a similar one with Eusebio on PES4. Will I remember this one in 10-15 years’ time? I think I will, you know.

Updated: 3rd November 2017 — 11:16

58 Comments

  1. NG – wonderful post which just about sums things up. I wouldn’t even be as generous as you in saying that things may be on the up. You have to consider that you have been shipping out those that lacked individuality and kepping those that have. Had you not adopted this house rule then you would have a rating similar to 2016 and 2017. Give me a few weeks and I will give ratings on the Xbox 360 (PES 2016). It will give me a reason to stick with it.

  2. Darryl – good point, I am practising natural selection and getting my Individuality ratings high by weeding out the non-entities instead of sticking by them as I have in the past few years. It’ll be interesting to do this exercise again in 5 seasons or so time, and it’ll be interesting to see what effect on individuality the patch has, if any. I always feel that fouls introduce extra layers of individuality to PES. And that Malicia trait might actually start meaning something.

    Re. PES2016 on the 360, of course the PS3 era (as I think of it) was a Silver Age for the series, we can now see in retrospect. The current era is still very much its Bronze Age.

  3. Gotta love the porn music set to that goal!!!

  4. NO NO NO Euan Canning is not the dictionary definition of nothingness! Stick him at left back and you will see him as the reincarnation of Eddington and Ruskin – a tough tenacious little Scotsman who will keep nipping at the opposition’s heels all game, check his stamina rating

    (comments apply to PES2017’s Canning obviously)

  5. I see very little in 2015 either, possibly due to the ridiculously easy squad building. You no longer need to choose two or three carefully screened players to improve your default squad when the ballsed up system allows you to free transfer regen stars at the end of season one. Central defenders work on a revolving door – they are all mid-high 70s so when someone offers five million for one off he goes to be replaced by this year’s best regen. I think with strikers it’s possible to think they are different due to the more frequent memorable moments but realistically all I can see between my four is height, when they equalised pace they made the forward position hugely generic. It should be about the trade off between a crouch or an Owen, instead it’s a guy who can’t quite outrun the defender and can reach most headers.

    A great goal spoiled by the awful familiar line…

  6. Before giving my ratings, a few of my players, as will some of yours possibly, have been made by a person & loaded into the game by patch. For example, if you’ve downloaded the Bundesliga/Liga NOS/Liga MX from PESUni or PESWorld to replace the fake players/leagues. Can these be taken into account for individuality? “PES” didn’t make them; rather someone’s inputted their stats and made their face for the purpose of the patch. I’ll include them, but asterix them for ID purposes.

    GK – Braat – 81 – 8/10
    I imagine I’ll keep him until the end. French League seems to give good amount of individuality.

    GK – Sayouba – 76 – 3/10
    I’ll be getting rid providing I can find suitable replacement.

    CB – Tuanzebe – 81 – 5/10
    Still assessing, but has potential

    CB – B.Kamara – 81 – 5/10
    By all means does the job, nothing special though

    CB – N.Ramirez – 79 – 7/10
    Think there’s some individuality to be found in the South American leagues – obviously not the carbon copy fakes. Small for a CB but with 88 heading. Wears his socks stupidly low.

    CB – A. Diame – 78 – 7/10
    Another relatively short defender (180) but with incredible strength (96) and speed (81). Defensive stats are incredibly average but he’s dependable.

    ***CB – Jaric – 74 – 5/10***
    Included in the original defaults patch. I play him DM. Feels individual but sentimentality may be in play. Certainly not anonymous.

    ***CB – Libermann – 68 – 7/10***
    Bar heading, defensive prowess, ball winning and the two strength stats, everything is red. He’s useless, apart from tackling and heading. He’ll be outpaced, outwitted and outdone. But come near him and he’ll end you.

    LB – F.DiMarco – 78 – 6/10
    Doesn’t get much of a look-in due to Ruskin, but feels individual. Ex-Inter, a PES Partnwrship Team. Might be something to it. Also has “a face.”

    ***LB – Ruskin – 73 – 9/10 NINE!***
    Plays like a high 80. I love him. Lowest OVR in XI, but first name on teamsheet. He shouldn’t be able to do the things he does with his stats.

    RB – Passlack – 81 – 3/10
    Dortmund (partner) youth. Looks the part; plays terribly. 81 is a lie and he’s completely anonymous. I’ll give him half a season more. He’s only had half a season.

    ***RB – Giersen – 73 – 5/10***
    I know it’s him but nothing more.

    DM – Blin – 81 – 4/10
    Meh.

    DM – T.Fosu Mensah – 79 – 10/10
    Potentially my favourite ever PES player. All I want from a DM. Nobody else handles like him. Everything goes through him going forward. No one can go through him when he defends.

    DM – A.Cubas – 79 – 7/10
    Weighs 60kg, 163cm tall. Shouldn’t work but really does.

    DM – Hojbjerg – 79 – 2/10
    Really wanted him to do something as a Saints fan and NG describing him as anonymous last year. NG was right.

    CM – A.Maitland-Niles – 78 – 7/10
    NG’s pet hate: can play all down the right with same ability, and CM. Then secondarily able to play AM, DM and LM. Yet, he doesn’t feel like a generic jack of all trades. Much prefer him at RB.

    *** AM – Shimizu – 80 – 9/10 ***
    This may well be my longest running PES ML, purely to see what I can do with this little fella.

    AM – M.Pereira – 77 – 2/10
    Who?

    *** AM – R.Pizarro – 77 – 4/10 ***
    Can play everywhere apart from CB and CF. NG’s nightmare. I like him but no individuality.

    LWF – M.Simon – 80 – 4/10
    Good, and whilst his speed probably means he’s not ten a penny, he does feel replaceable.

    ***RWF – L.Bailey – 79 – 2/10***
    Haven’t used him much due to Shimmy, but doesn’t stand out in the slightest.

    CF – G.Koyalipou – 82 – 8/10
    Good blend of stats that mean his strengths are tamed by his weaknesses. A PES benchmark. Another one I am excited to see where he ends up, along with Shimmy.

    CF – Babacar – 77 – 6/10
    Lumbering striker with little passing ability, rendering him fairly useless in build up, but has that lanky PES magic.

    CF – Perica – 77 – 5/10
    Very similar to Babacar but even worse at passing.
    Individual purely due to PES lumbering tradition.

    CF – Haller – 77 – 3/10
    Meh.

    ***CF – Ordaz – 77 – 5/10***
    Been out on loan for last 18 months. Will replace Perica/Babacar as Target Man. Enough to feel individual but nothing special.

    ***CF – Hamsun – 72 – 7/10***
    True to his original incarnation.

    Average:

    5.55 including patch made players
    5.38 without.

  7. Will do my player stats over the weekend, interesting to see who everyone holds in high regard and if theres any crossover.
    Working from home today, waiting in for delivery of my iPhone X, had a few PES games, felt so bland and mehhh and just hard work.
    I’ve switched back to a slightly modded Wide Cam angle and put speed back to 0, fingers crossed.

  8. abbeyhill – this is the nature/nurture aspect to the individuality question in PES – how much is the quality of individuality innate in the game itself (nature), and how much is fuelled by our individual decisions and subsequent pathways through ML (nurture)? If Canning is objectively Ruskin-like then I would have discovered him to be so, but I didn’t, so nature is out of the window at once. On the other hand, had I embarked on a Default challenge-style of ML, I would bet that I would have discovered Ruskin-like traits in Canning, so nurture is definitely a huge factor. Both factors contribute to player individuality. What’s the split? 50/50? The suspicion is that in recent years, the nature side of the equation has been progressively pared back by the changes to the series’ outlook and focus, particularly with the ‘consolidation’ of so many previously separate stats under umbrella categories to meet the expectations of the market. TL;DR: fuck those online bastards.

    Jay – ah, how my doggedly pedantic heart wishes you’d obelixed them instead ;). That’s a great list, very interesting reading it. You have many more high-individuals than me with a couple of 10s, which made the final overall average seem low – but see how the low-rating individuals drag the whole thing down to their level.

    And I really don’t think it does matter that you have some custom players, as do I probably. What we’re assessing is the apparatus of the gameplay. It’s like playing on custom maps in an otherwise unmodded strategy game – it’s still the core game that produces the outcomes. Edited players still have to exist within the stats/traits dimensions provided by Konami, and the suspicion is that this has been simplified too much over recent years.

    Uncle Turf – some transfer market House Rules would shut the Regen revolving door, but of course the vanilla game is the one that must be assessed and ML just has not been right since PES2012.

  9. Paul – of course you’re getting an iPhone X. I would’ve been there too if I was still on iPhone. I’m firmly on the Android train now (and waiting patiently for the foldable-screen Galaxy X, rumoured for 2018) but will be interested to hear a thumbnail first impressions later if you get time. Foldable screens are coming in a year or two that will create another original-iPhone-like paradigm shift that will make even this look old-fashioned.

  10. NG, I forewent the iPhone 7,7S and 8 and waited specifically for the iPhone X.
    All reviews have been glowing praise so hoping to be similarly impressed. will get a thumbnail mini review up later.

  11. Oh btw I fired up mgs tpp for the first time (having owned it for some considerable time). What the exact f@@k? Is it fifteen minutes or so of drama interspersed with some crawling or does it go on much longer? I ask because I somehow died, despite seeing nothing I did wrong – there’s a helicopter and they appear outside the window then there was an odd button request – oh, dead… then I had to turn off as the little fella was back and I didn’t want him freaking out.

    Sometimes I really just want to play a far cry or a just cause rather than these long winded scenes. It’s what did for assassins creed for me. I will fire up mgs again but can you not just get on with it?

  12. Turf – the first bit is completely unrepresentative of the rest of the game, which is refreshingly free from long cut scenes and scripted action. Just get away from the window quickly when the helicopter appears

  13. Thank god for that, I enjoyed NGs videos and description so was desperately hoping it was not like that all the way through.

  14. My ratings.

    Donnarumma (GK) – 85 OPR = 7 – Great goalie, he has the ‘playmaker’ trait for some reason. The saviour between the posts. Good on 1-on-1 and crosses, low punt trajectory skill means he can be vital on the counter attack.

    Pepe Reina (GK) – 80 OPR = 5 – Bench warmer, second time at the club but still too early to tell whether he has anything different to add.

    Joao Miranda (CB) 80 OPR = 4 – Recently promoted from the youth team, feels like a generic PES CB so far.

    Upamecano (CB) 83 OPR = 5 – Short for a CB but is nippy with good jump stats, not much of an individual but better than some I’ve tried.

    Cahill (CB) 78 OPR = 4 – recent youth team promotion, he hasn’t played much so too early to say. Bench warming most of the time.

    Gnagnon (CB) 86 OPR = 8 – Another shorty but with a great ball winning stat, his quality definitely shines through and rarely gets beaten. I can tell when he’s not on the pitch.

    Jose Gaye (LB) 84 OPR = 6 – Standard quick full back but has a good shot on him, always on the edge of the box for corners. If not for the shooting the score would be lower.

    Ayovi (LB/RB) 86 OPR = 5 – Utility player who can play everywhere except CB and CF. Good at full back either side but not standing out from the other quick full backs I’ve had. Only half a season in though so still early to judge. All the big clubs keep putting in high offers.

    Calabria (RB) 83 OPR = 5 – I’ve had this guy since the first season but he’s not particularly impressive, solid Giorza style RB. I’m finding full backs a problem. I had Marcelo on loan in season 3 and he was great but otherwise, meh.

    Hendrix (DM) 85 OPR = 7 – Tall DM, team captain, corner taker and yellow card collector. The pivot of the team, can’t shoot unfortunately. His wages are eye watering now but integral part of the team. Bumps up TS when on the pitch.

    Bartual (CM) 88 OPR = 4 – Highly rated off the pitch but nothing special on it. If I could find something better he’d be off. As England Manager I’ve found Scholes and Ali to be more unique but neither are interested in coming to my club team. I’ve probably tried about 10 CMs so far at the club level and none have stood out from the crowd.

    Azcona (LM) 83 OPR = 6 – Near identikit AM type player but his crossing is superb so gets a 6.

    Ben Arfa (AM/RM/LM) = 4 – Still early days from the youths but he looks to be the typical AM template.

    Harit (CM) = 86 OPR – 6 – Good nippy midfielder, a bit lightweight but has a great pass and chips in with a few goals.

    Denilson (LM) = 87 OPR – 7 – Classic player. Amazing dribbling and crossing. I’ve had him about a season and he’s a great outlet to run it down the wing and whip in a cross. Lightweight so gets knocked off the ball but because of the high dribbling stats he frequently comes out the other side of the tackle with the ball. Poor stamina unfortunately.

    J Defoe (CF) = 78 OPR – 7 – Recently promoted from the youth team, plays just like the real life Defoe. Good off the last defender and a wicked shot. I have high hopes for him and picked him for England as back up to Owen. Very low centre of gravity means great turning and reaction times.

    Andre Silva (CF) = 80 OPR – 8 – Star player, good strength, good in the air, quick, amazing finisher, great movement. The perfect number 9.

    Kone (SS) = 77 OPR – 7 – Lower OPR rating but he’s a nuisance, the perfect player to chase down centre backs and great on the counter attack. His finishing is a bit rubbish and performs better at SS.

    Mpabbe (CF) = 87 OPR – 7 – Fairly unique compared to other forwards I’ve had but seems to perform below his stats and doesn’t score as many as he should. Very quick and great at intercepting passes from defenders but he’s not as special as I hoped.

    Recently departed:

    Bergkamp (SS/CF) = 83 OPR – 8 – Slow but pulled something special off each time he played. Left without even considering a new contract. I miss him.

    Average of = 5.9.

    My team OVR is high so I would expect to have some more stand out players. A few in the England team are special i.e. Kane, Scholes, Ali, Holgate, Dier. I think the players with real faces have more attention paid to them and the Classics are also pretty good this year.

  15. Ok. Took an iPhone X pic on my old iPhone 6s then did the backup and restore and erased old iPhone including the pic so no thumbnail but so far the iPhone X is a thing of beauty. The future here and now.

    Placing the iPhone next to my old iPhone on the desk prompted an auto transfer of data thing which did exactly that. Transferred all my data from the old iPhone to the ne iPhone X just by being placed next to it. Simply amazing.

  16. I’ve said it before and echo Cook’s thoughts: I don’t think it’s a direct correlation, but I think players with real faces are *more likely* to feel individual than otherwise.

    Cook – interesting that you mentioned Dier as feeling individual. NG had him last year; can’t wnwe his thoughts. He’s come up in my searching for a DM, to play back-up/rotation with Fosu-Mensah & Cubas, as Biln & Hojbjerg have underwhelmed.

  17. Well I think it’s fair to say I’ve never experienced anything like the opening hour of phantom pain. I’m not generally a fan of that whole max Payne type cutscene drama but it’s jaw dropping and insane.

  18. Uncle Turf – that opening hour of TPP is one of the most bizarre things in the whole of gaming. It’s not even a good tutorial for the game. The crawling bits are so super-slow that I think it has to be a typical whimsical Metal Gear in-joke. The series comments on itself and on gaming, as you’ll already know from MGS1’s celebrated Psychomantis controller-removing malarkey. I think the TPP intro was a kind of farewell salute from Kojima.

    Cook – very interesting as well, and again another average in the same zone as mine and Jay’s, despite both of you having many more players whom you rate higher as Individuals. What do we think this exercise would have resulted in had we done it for PS2/PS3-era PES? I’m pretty sure that my end-of-season-2 overall Individuality average would have been nudging 7 or 8/10. ML made you work for good players back then, and we had to squeeze every ounce of performance from the Defaults.

    Re. Dier, if I was doing this for him last year he’d have got a 6/10 individuality-wise, but a respectable 8/10 as a player.

  19. I’ve got my Goal of the Season up, if you’d like to vote. Not the most electrifying selection but it was the first season!

  20. NG – absolutely, everything from the legend of sleepy hollow does on rails shooter to slipknot tribute acts. I emerged with an A which meant virtually nothing given what you do.

  21. I just had a game with PES5 if not more free kicks! So many in both halves. I got one in shooting rang and put it straight into the top corner. Potentially the best goal I’ve ever scored.

    Unfortunately it was real life.

  22. same here Jay, a wonderfully horrible niggly game on a sloping pitch with countless fouls, a number of yellows (including a late challenge on me several seconds after I caught the ball), ending with a 4-2 away win against one of our arch rivals. Maybe real life football is better than PES after all!

    Let’s hear more about your goal, did you curl it over the wall or smash it with the laces keeper’s side?

  23. It’s the professional-level game that grinds my gears. Watching baseball’s World Series over the past few weeks, and always when watching any US sports, I’m mightily impressed by the officiating. There’s no such thing as a homeplate umpire deciding to ignore a clear strike, for example, simply because the pitcher’s already had too many strikes and/or the crowd won’t like it. Rules make sports what they are, and a professional sport with whimsical, context-based officiating is no sport at all. And to hell with these fireworks too.

  24. Abbey – I’m left-footed. The free-kick was on the right side a tad over 20 yards out. I’ve hit it with the inside of my boot, with a bit of curl and over mid power but nowhere near full. It’s gone postage stamp in the keeper’s top right. It was a surreal 10 seconds from putting the ball down to it ending up top corner. I just knew it was going in. I’ve been thinking about it all day. It was on Wandsworth Common – I live in Croydon – and the missus was in central London today until 1pm. With kick-off at 2pm I asked her to come and watch. She didn’t and that happened! I’ve told her about it repeatedly all day.

    Exactly like this.

    I scored it about 30 minutes in. We were still 1 up with 20 left. Our CB had been magnificent all game. Then he had two lots of 3 second madness moments and both times it was in our own box and they scored. It felt exactly like a PES game where the opposition were just going to score no matter what. He literally air-kicked a simple pass under no pressure. Striker nipped in and scored.

    What was yours like?

  25. For what it’s worth :
    https://www.konami.com/wepes/2018/eu/en/topic/datapack_2_pre

    So, patch coming this month, with mention of fouls being fixed. Still haven’t played a single master league game so will happily continue fallout 4 until the patch hits and all the good PC community patches are ready.

  26. Jay – nice! I like the way you describe it as ‘over mid power but nowhere near full’ so we can visualise it in terms of a PES free kick. Probably if your wife was there the match would have played out differently, butterfly wings effect and so on.

    I’m just a humble keeper, don’t get to take free kicks – the ‘same here’ referred to the very high number of fouls!

  27. Half of them were never fouls but hey ho! Just relieved they didn’t score from wrongly given events! The ref was the kind who barely left the centre circle.

  28. Was there some guy stood on the sideline with cataracts and the most shrieking boring voice ever yelling commentary and relating to things that weren’t even happening jay?

  29. No – I turned that off long ago. Last year I had the Spanish commentary on to assist me refamiliarising myself with the language. Should be emigrating to Ecuador Summer 2018

  30. Darryl – drop me an email

  31. Paul – OK, not sure if I still have it though.

  32. Paul – just had an idea. I will pretend I am sending you a kit request then you have my e-mail.

  33. Nice posts everyone! I have no time to play right now but I am still lurking around haha

  34. Good stuff Darryl. I’ll watch out for it

  35. I wonder if a PES 2013 individuality check might be of interest……on the tram to work I’ll try and remember my squad.

    GK – Krul. My first big signing of my latest ML. Has the feel of a big player. Has only conceded 8 goals in 31 league games. 8

    Nouhei. Up to 95 over, handles like a Rolls Royce. Hugely noticeable when he doesn’t play (which is rare) 8

    Hummels. Only been with me for about 10-15 games. Clunkier version of Nouhei but solid and steadfast and feels like a star. 7

    McGivern. Run of the mill LB, always seems slow despite his pace being up to 84. Tall and strong but doesn’t feel special at all after 4 seasons. 4

    Can’t remember my right back. Some championship level guy who I’ve had from the start. Feels very generic. 4

    Gibson. Doesn’t play anywhere near his developed stats. Absolute non entity of a player. Regen Karagounis plays unless blue arrowed. 3

    Rodwell. Tall and strong but again plays below his stats. Never done anything to catch the eye. 4

    Ramzi. Egyptian regent. Small and nippy…… perhaps a precursor to modern day PES. Yet another who performs below his stats. Average. 5.

    Philips. One of my favourite players, developed into a 94 over monster. Fast, powerful, great crosser. Missed when he doesn’t play. 7

    N Oliveira. Now this guy is over developed. He’s up to 93 and has a lot of stats in the orange 90’s. He’s tall, strong, fast, agile and has great finishing. Plays every game and couldn’t be changed with anyone. 8

    Outside of my first 11 I have

    Klaasen. I sold my then record signing GANSO (see below) and put Klaasen on the team. The Dane has excelled where the Brazilian struggled. Clever passes, quick turns and an eye for goal. It’s a shame he doesn’t have a proper face as I’ll be selling him on the summer. He’d become amazing over time and feels like a proper player. 7

    Ganso. Brazilian AMF brought on for big money, got a clever assist on his debut then did NOTHING. Has great shooting but I hit the woodwork with him about 5 times. He feels somewhat unique though as his slow movement is offset by his good shooting and passing. 6

    Karagounis. Little Greek regen is reborn with decent stats and as mentioned is preferred to Gibson already. Again he FEELS like a player, smooth, strong and graceful, turns well, picks a pass and arrives late around the box to get the odd goal. 7

  36. Mike…. Tram….. sounds very cosmopolitan.

    The Player development in PES13 was so boosted and quick, that after season 3 every player for me was pretty much the same, ultra skilled, agile, fast nimble players rated 90+
    I’d say PES13 was the weakest PES since PES 08 for player individuality.

    I’ll do my starting XI, and a few key subs:

    GK – Gertmonsen – 5
    First season for this new signing, hes a good keeper with some great shot stopping abilities, but too soon to tell if he’s any different from any other keeper in the game.

    RB – Opazo – 9
    Originally signed as a CB but played RB due to his flexible nature (NuPES NG gripe) he has cemented the RB position, and is ever-present.
    Speedy, great dribbling and a ferocious shot, currently my captain, he’s a terrier but with great attacking ability. very much in the Ashley Cole mould.

    CB – Nicoll – 7
    A good tall, strong CB who got in the team due to my other CB suffering poor form, and kept his place ever since, 2 seasons ago. Have a few other CB’s who can fill in comfortably but I notice when he’s missing.

    CB – Srdan Babic – 7.5
    Another tall, strong eastern european CB, very reliable on crosses and set pieces but sometimes gets done with the over the top through ball, regularly rotated with Phillipe Sampaio, but has any individual traits to make him stand out.

    LB – Victor Alvarez – 8
    Speedy, great dribbler, good crossing, plays the wing back role superbly and has been a rock at LB over last 3 seasons, now starting to be challenged by youth signee Gael Clichy.

    LM – Lennon – 6
    Early days for youth signee Aaron Lennon, fast, and surprisingly chips in with a few headers for a small player, still developing, regularly rotated with Ruben Pena.

    DMF – Diakite – 9
    Naby Keita / Paul Scholes / Stevie Gerrard. This type of player, tenacious, determined, a pest in midfield, first name on the team sheet.

    CMF – Romao – 6.5
    Good solid defensive minded midfielder, very Emre Can like but lacks a decent shot, plays the holding role superbly, suffers stamina issues.

    RMF – Rizzo – 5
    Sounding like something out of Grease, this spaniard has failed to nail down a place since signing 2 seasons ago, great promise, but rarely does anything of note. Can play all across the midfield, and as a wingback, so jack of all trades, master of none syndrome.

    SS – Saito – 9.5
    Very nipple little Jap, light on his feet, can play out wide or as a striker but does well in the secondary striker position where he can pick the ball up and dribble at defences, chips in with some great goals, reminiscent of my Villalba from PES 11.

    CF – G.Bou – 5.5
    One of those NuPES types, a forward with good strike abilities that blows hot and cold too often. One game he’s unplayable, the next, he’s missing.

    Subs:

    CF – Perreiro – 4
    Signed this portugese this season in January intending to form a partnership with Bou, almost a clone, plays the same way, shows great promise, but largely obscure. for £13mil his best days are hopefully to come.

    GK – Rubinho – 7
    34yr old shot stopper who doesnt play that often but when he does, seems to pull off worldie saves, has kept me in matches on many occasions, would be first choice if he was younger.

    DMF – Hettich – 6
    My Last remaining default player, solid, tenacious, dependable, trained as super-sub so brought on to make impact late in games, striking blonde hair, still young so possibly future captain.

    CF – Roberts – 5.5
    My real life PES Persona, created as a default, very strong, powerful, and fast, great finishing, but can’t header for sh*t.
    has the fighting spirit trait so likes to drop back, get the ball and build attacks, on the fringe due to other better players, possibly loaned out at end of season.

    Team Average = 6.7

    My average is slightly higher, but each player I do feel is quite distinct, I scoured stats in depth, making sure their play styles fitted and concentrated on key stats for each position, when recruiting so maybe this has something to do with it.

    There are another 6 or so subs I could have rated that would have brought the average down a bit, fringe players, and players who just haven’t done much so far.

  37. Mike & Paul – it’s got to be the full squad, and an average thereof, or it doesn’t count, sorry 🙂 I bet my First XI and favourite subs would be about 6.5 too. Your scores are indicative, though. We already knew this isn’t a great era for PES individuality.

  38. NG…

    *rest of the squad

    RB – Cerceri – 4
    Capable full back who has always done ok when poicked, but is very rare that he gets picked, just another PES player clone.

    CB – Phillipe Sampaio – 5
    Again, a capable defender, reliable fill-in for Nicoll or Babic, but not that distinguishable from any other CB in the game.

    SS – Lobato – 7
    Lobato is my highest rated player at 83, when playing with him can tell he possesses the tools to be an icon in the game, however, rarely ever does anything memorable, and always needs subbing around 70 mins.
    Given a 7 as he does feel totally different, albeit just a fringe player.

    LB – Clichy – 5
    Youth signee, 16yr old Gael Clichy, plays just like his real life counterpart, too soon and not enough matches yet to tell whether he will flourish or feel different or be just another ‘Youth Player X’

    LMF – Janso – 5.5
    Signed to use as a pacy winger, to deliver balls in to the box, but his play style didnt quite match my teams style so he’s been a slow burner, has potential, feels like a Jordan Ibe, needs more matches.

    RMF – Ruben Pena – 7
    versatile midfielder, can play across all 4 midfield positions, but is best on either wing, again stamina issues, but has been known to produce something magic when needed.

    So with those concluding the relatively small squad, the overall amended average is 6.1 – still fairly in line with other peoples.

  39. Paul – you haven’t shown your working-out 🙂

    You have got a relatively small squad, so that makes a difference too. It’s intriguing that your ratings are quite high considering that your experience with the game so far hasn’t been a net-positive one. if the super-patch manages to disrupt the trancelike continuous gameplay that tends to lead to the low-individuality feeling about nuPES, things could get interesting.

  40. NG – my working out?
    if you mean to get the average then obviously its the standard calculation for averages, add up all the individual ratings and divide by the number of players. in this case was 135 / 22

    The squad was 25 but trimmed it down, with no injuries and players usually maintaining form, there is little need to adjust lineups that often, so a squad of 26-30 players isn’t needed.
    Otherwise you a) chop and change for the sake of it and never settle on a consistent team, therefore TS takes longer to develop or b) just leave players sat there stagnating and their OVR decreases.

  41. Cosmopolitan? Maybe if it’s a tram in Vienna but he might well be in Blackpool….

    I had a sneaky look at madden 15 the other night and it brought home the appeal of American team building. The 49ers are one of the highest rated rosters yet only a couple of years later they are laughably poor. Unless you’re a fan of the browns or one or two other perennial losers you stand a chance of something that has virtually gone in football.

  42. Paul – it was a joke, with me as the fussy schoolteacher.

    Uncle Turf – hindsight now shows us that the heart and soul of Master League was always squad management. Enforced by the game itself, rather than from House Rules.

  43. USL Dunkerquoise

    Lucas- gk, balding with killer stats 6

    Fitzcaraldo – lb, youth becoming a rock in defence 7

    Melz – cb bit meh but always in the team 4

    Bos – CB gettign on a bit and his stats are decreasing 2

    Bacchus – RB (cool name) getting a lot of game time and his tackling has saved me many a time 6

    Jaksche – AMF great dreads, reminds me of Edgar Davids, fast and a tough tackler 7

    Van de Berg – cf always in my ML set up, a bit like Coutinhno default in 2016, always in the team 8

    Hartill – RWF My PES persona, long of hair, skinny of leg and fast as a cat. Great crossing and scores a fair wack, bit of a lightweight though 7

    Tati – LWF little portuguese dude, reminds me of Maradonna, chunky but loses the ball a fair bit. kisses the cam when he scores…bless 7

    Kewtitz – cf – trys his best and gets a run out now and then, scored the other night only 24 so there is time 4

    Santini – LWF – tall and fast, on par with Tati and plays as his sub most games, great crosser. 6

    Caron – AMF – solid and young Jaksche replacement? 5

    These are a mixture of homebrew other Lengerblitz and Pabrowiestein players, running style, hunching and celebrations have been edited giving the players more indivduality IMO. 4-3-3 Formation in Ligue 2

  44. I did wonder NG but precariously filled in the gaps any way 😉
    ML’s biggest lure has always been the squad management element. Cobbling a makeshift team together that’s just about good enough to scrape results, that meant making astute signings, hoping they stay fit, and are on form, win or draw a match and gate receipts are higher, meaning more funds to aid the building of a squad, cash deficit after paying out the wages and staff costs? You knew if you won 3 of your last 5 games that would generate enough revenue to keep you in the black, all added up to a more immersive and considered squad management element.

    Now, that’s all gone, no staff costs, no indication of gate receipts, no affect on results, no injuries, ready-make more than capable squad, millions in the bank inside 3 seasons….
    All this was probably done to align PES to the pick up and play, non-stop fun football ethos that Konami has taken.

  45. Urgh……sorry sir I’ll remedy it tonight.

  46. Paul — ran a preliminary test on the 2TB USB stick… it appears at this stage to be a hacked 1GB stick. (ONE GB.) The h2testw utility got to 1GB of data written/verified, and stopped. I tested some other sticks (couple of 8GB and a 64GB) and they checked out fine. I say ‘preliminary’ test as I want to run it again but Windows, in typical Windows fashion, won’t now mount the 2TB stick. I’m assuming this is a Windows tantrum-for-no-reason and that the test hasn’t knackered the stick. Anyway I’ll do another on my Mac later tonight by trying to copy a few large files, and see what happens. Just as I remain sceptical that this could be a 2TB stick, I’m sceptical that it could be just a 1GB stick either.

  47. My Shimizu has lost his nickname of The Asian Tiger, but fear not, for now he is called The Sunshine.

  48. That’s shocking NG. I’ve yet to test mine. Completely forgot about it. Worst case scenario it’s provided some banter on here and you hve a dual ended stick that would be perfect as a dedicated PS4 saves stick.

  49. Bloody hell, an hour and a half spent crawling on the desert floor only to have a curious guard virtually step on me. Mgs is the antidote to poor AI fps. When I think how I evaded capture in watchdogs by simply sitting down after I’d shot half the enemies.

  50. To give my completed squad individuality scores and overall average:

    Krul 8
    Nouhei 8
    Hummels 7
    McGivern 4
    Francomb 4
    Gibson 3
    Rodwell 4
    Ramzi 5
    Philips 7
    Klaasen 7
    N Oliveira 8
    Karagounis 7

    And the rest

    Erhan Sas : does well when used as a sub but nothing 100 other SS/Amf types couldn’t. 4

    Florenzi : Much of a muchness. Generic face, generic style. 3

    Mulgrew: Identical to McGivern. Tall, strong, clunky left back. 4

    Juanito: regen, played very little. Seems ok but any other regen CB woukd feel the same. 3

    Carroll: Regen GK. Played only twice. Felt more confident than my other regen GK (Marshall, 3) so 4.

    So……..93/18 giving me an average of 5.1 Not bad all things considered.

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