The Churning of the Screw

I finally picked up Peter Crouch from my Youths, after resolving a knotty salary problem. I had 50 million in the transfer funds, but a negative salary budget. As others have remarked, it’s a shame you can’t divert money from one pot into the other as you can in FIFA. Although I think I prefer it this way. It brings some old-school difficulty and proper consideration to Master League. The dear old mode has been dumbed down so much in recent years. So I was glad of the salary budget problem.

I got rid of a few high-salary players. It’s a sign of the times that I can’t recall their names, apart from one (see below). The salary squeeze was eased enough for me to be able to sign Crouch.

Crouch was a hero of PES2015, and is already showing his worth three editions later. Those long, spindly legs seem to get on the end of speculative balls that other strikers just can’t reach. Still only a Youth and still only 16, but I have high hopes for this incarnation of football’s national treasure.

Whilst browsing in the Youths and in the wider transfer market, I’ve come across quite a few instances of this:

Ugh. I’m assuming that last week’s Superpatch removed a few players for whatever reason.

But why do it this way? Why not just remove them completely? Why leave a ‘Player Removed’ ghost of their former presence? This is horrible to see and about as counter-immersive as it gets. Shades of PES3’s ‘Oranges009’. (In PES3 there was a problem with Dutch licenses which meant all their players were called ‘Oranges123’ etc.)

Thanks to regular commenter Paul for my all-new Season 4 kits. I was wowed by the Away kit at first sight, but after seeing the Gazza-era Lazio-style Home kit too, I have gone with the whole package, including the GK outfit. We are the only Sky Blues. Nobody else is.

I had a decent January transfer window, in which the following event just had to happen:

Veldwijk is gone. The hero of Seasons 2 and 3 faded badly towards the end of my promotion year, and did nothing this season in the Premier League. Even the in-game text says he’s past his best and should be moved on. So off he’s gone. How eerily reminiscent of last year’s F FRIDAY trajectory. Friday ended up returning multiple times, as he was a youngster, but I believe this is the last we will see of the 30-something Veldwijk. Unless I’m still playing when he Regens. That is entirely possible, despite all my moaning about the game.

I brought in a few bench-fillers and rejigged my formation to place Emre Can at the centre of everything. Baker and Can take turns being excellent.

I think I’ve discovered a way to mitigate the ‘churn’ effect and force PES2018 to behave more like a proper PES game than it often wants to.

Away to Man City yesterday, I feared a 4-0 thumping or similar. That’s what’s been happening every time I’ve played a big team this season so far. I have stuck with Superstar difficulty, by the way. It’s brutal.

Against Man City I put the ATT/DEF level down to level 2 (TWO) and left it there for the whole match. I literally did not touch that dial, no matter what.

I was happy to see my team sitting deep and not committing so many men forward. I had to play my part and be disciplined with player switching and not using secondary pressure much, or at all. PES2018’s ‘churn’ – that incessant attack/counter-attack rhythm – was effectively nullified.

The match ended 0-0, a superb result for me. I restricted Man City to something like 5 shots on goal, only 2 of them on-target. I even had a couple of chances to nick the win.

Normally I’d have gone up to level 4 (FOUR) on ATT/DEF immediately after kick-off and stayed there for most of the match – and then this fixture would have played out like the proverbial nuPES basketball-hockey game, with scoring chances for Man City in the high teens.

Instead the match was slower and more methodical, with purple patches of action in proper proportion. This is my preferred recipe for PES gaming.

I carried the Level 2 philosophy into my next match, at home to Leicester. Because we were at home and because it was Leicester I adjusted the ATT/DEF level dynamically according to the match scenario, but still favoured Level 2 for 70% of the time. Won it 1-0.

In the next match, away to Liverpool, it all went a bit wrong when I conceded early after losing concentration. I went chasing the match using high ATT/DEF levels, and took a proper Superstar thrashing, 3-0.

These matches were among the best I’ve played on PES2018. It was only one session, but we will see.

Here is the current table, in the first week of February of Season 4:

Comfortable lower-mid-table mediocrity. No danger of relegation, which I’m pleased about after playing 80% of the season on the almost impossible Superstar level.

Updated: 24th November 2017 — 11:32


  1. I am finally over PES 2017. Was a fun ride, but the scripting in the end broke me. Will skip this year’s PES, and wait for it on the Nintendo Switch.

    In the meantime – does anyone know where one can (legally) procure a PC copy of PES 6? I have it on Xbox 360, and it is glorious, but would like to update the squads. On that note: Are there updated option files?

  2. Uncle Turf – well you fluked that one, I’ve done the same on a few Metal Gear boss fights over the years – one of the MGS1 ones, memorably (helicopter on the rooftop). The Quiet fight cost me several deaths and about an hour and a half’s work. It’s a shame for you in a way as the Quiet fight reminiscent of the best boss fight in all MGS history IMO, versus The End (his name) in MGS3, and I doubt you’ll ever get to play that one.

    Mr Noodles – PES6 for PC is available from all well-known retail outlets online. Just found it on Amazon straightaway for £1.86. NB: the PC version is not the same as the 360 version. Totally different game. The PC version is the same as the PS2 one. The 360 version was a one-off standalone. I’m thinking of putting this PES6 version thing in a permanent sidebar FAQ. Every time the topic comes up….

    I know for sure that PES6 on PC is religiously updated every year with new Option Files, as I installed one last year and it is amazing. The Solly Patch I think it’s called – that’s the one you’re after. This one. (You’re on your own with the Captcha hell and installation, there.) PES6 is the most beloved edition of the Golden Age series, of course, so it gets all the love and attention. Check PES Gaming’s OF sub-forum for more simple updates where it’s just a case of dropping a single file into the Konami folder in Documents.

  3. Yes, that chimes with the review I read where the guy said you can drop the supplies on her but that would be to miss an epic struggle of cat and mouse, etc etc. That’s why I mentioned it as I got so little from it. A similar one in the missions was the ‘kill the 3 commanders’ one – I just lobbed some hand grenades in and it was all over, cue huge pounds bonus but completely empty feeling. The 90 minute base reccy and non-lethal assault stuff is what makes it.

    Paul – I find myself laughing out loud at some of your comments over on Linkedin, you keep calling out the self promoting arses on there, recruitment agencies are the funniest.

  4. While uploading to my PES United twitter account, I stumbled back across this goal that made me happy! I’m 6 seasons ahead of where I appear to be on Twitter (season 2).

    “It’s like watching Brazil!” (Was on SS, btw)

  5. Jay, very nice although the CPU had a couple of good opportunities to intercept. I prefer a long distance whack into the corner. Have you won all the trophies on SS now? Is a move to Legendary on the cards?

    NG – I’m interested to see how you get on with Crouch. I’ve played against him a couple of times without too much trouble. I have Defoe in my team so could recreate the devastating Portsmouth front line for a new generation. Defoe has a cracking shot on him, scored a lovely long ranger at the weekend. I’ve changed game speed to -1. It made a world of difference to the churning feeling in my last session.

  6. Turf – I consider it realistic trolling 😉
    There are so many people that post things disguised as ‘business ofientated’ or motivational or whatever when in fact they are just pumping themselves outright then get all defensive when you point it out.

    Keeps me amused most days. Started season 6 in the prem on superstar. Really enjoying the challenge so far. It’s tough.

  7. Cook – I’m finding this PES a real challenge. If I win the FA Cup and EL this season, I would’ve win the lot on SS, but none of them more than once. I won’t win PL this season and didn’t last season, but the one before. I want to win the PL again and ideally the treble on SS first. Will break tradition to win the EL after the CL on ML. Don’t think I have before. I don’t score enough with consistency so draws do me in over the course of a season.

  8. Don’t know if this is news to anyone, but if you win the Club World Cup the following season you play a World All Stars team in the “World Selection Challenge Cup.”

  9. Jay – The challenge on SS is good this year. I’ve won the PL, Cup and EL but only ever one trophy per season. I’m finding the CL very tough, I’ve got no further than the quarter final so far. I’m playing without any house rules though so have a good team, probably the strongest team I’ve ever built on a PES with 3 players in the 90s OPR and the rest mid to high 80s. I tried Legendary briefly pre-patch but it was too solid, not having the ball for 70% of the game isn’t much fun.

  10. Finding superstar irritating and not much fun truth be told. Top player too easy, superstar a ridiculous grind which removes all vestiges of player individuality. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

  11. Jay – nice goal, but I’d have preferred you to take one of the many chances you had to shoooooooot!! You know my thoughts on team goals.

  12. Jesus Christ that’s Superstar level? So long PES, it was nice meeting you.

    Meanwhile in my PES2011 PSP ML – can’t buy or sell players, a 30-team roster of rejects from other sides – I had predicted to finish 9 out of 12, worst-case scenario, ended up winning the 2nd division. Things started out poorly but a single adjustment to my formation made all the difference: instead of keeping my 4-4-2 with a DM, a CM and two side midfielders, I replaced the RM by another CM so I played two thirds of the season in a kind of a asymmetric 4-4-2 diamond, which is similar to a 4-3-3 when in possession but we defend in a 4-4-2.
    Now for the 2nd season we’re in a 18-team league comprised of teams like Olympiakos, Shakhtar, Zenit…let’s see if the 4-4-2 diamond holds up against these guys, it will be a bit harder than beating the likes of Rosenborg (the other promoted team), AIK, Cluj…

    So if we ever win the Champions League in this adventure, these would be our heroes:

    Hartock – picked from Lyon
    Ottl – Bayern
    Da Costa – West Ham
    Chara – Udinese
    Manu Torres – Malaga
    Plessis – Liverpool
    V. Sánchez – Espanyol
    Spearing – Liverpool
    El Zhar – Liverpool
    Alibec – Internazionale
    Volpato – Livorno

    The oldest here is Ottl, 26. I’d say we have about 8 years left until we peak as a team, and given I was expecting to spend at least 2 seasons in the 2nd division, we’re moving fast.

  13. It was Top Player actually, my apologies.

    Very much agree Cook. I’ve just had to put the controller down and I won’t be playing PES for a while now. Last minute of the game, I’m winning to qualify for EL final. I make a safe pass back to my keeper who inexplicably leaves it, I can’t do anything to control him, and it rolls into the net to take oppo through on away goals. I’m livid.

  14. Paul – absolutely, there’s so much of this ‘I’m told my weakness is I care too much..’ and ‘helping clients is my reason for living’ dog shit, the ego they have in putting it out in public is outrageous. Long may you continue!

    Had a shufty round Game the other day and didn’t see a lot to interest me, it was all Star Wars. After snake I think it may be back to the patched no man’s sky.

  15. Turf-the new assassins creed is excellent. Great story. Open world and the level of detail put into ancient Egypt is stunning. A bit mgsv lite on the stealth side but worth a go. Beware the hippos!

  16. Cheers Werd, I tried the first assassins creed game (the advert to massive attack’s teardrop sold it to me) and liked the action but was bored stupid by the cutscenes and over egged story – why not just make him an assassin? I picked up one of the later ones a year or two ago and was really disappointed by the AI. It’s burned for me now. I think I’m really not that fussed about stories in games, I’ve not played a single tape in mgs or read any of the who is what, I’m simply interested in being my own guy.

    Btw I never watch the programme but is this year’s list of sports personality contenders the weakest ever? What a clearly shit year for British sport.

  17. Werd – I looked at the Ligue 2 kits, some crackers in there. The detail is superb although I think Nimes are making some sort of protest.

  18. Cheers Turf ! 😉

    In a really good place with PES18 right now, the patch has definitely saved this game.
    I’ve had another penalty, thats 3 so far, and also had a player go down in a match and subsequently be out injured for 6 weeks.

    My First season, in the Prem, on Superstar is extremely enjoyable.
    I’m currently 6th, in a Europa league place and 5pts off top, after 10 games.
    I’ve beaten Liverpool 1-0, Last seasons Champions Chelsea, in a thrilling match 3-2, Newcastle 2-0, and dicked the hammers 3-0 (who doesn’t), also bagged wins against Newcastle, Wolves and Middlesborough, the only team that have handed my ass to me are current league leaders Arsenal, 4-0.

    SS is a real challenge, finally teams feel different, Arsenal pass the socks off you and Alexis Sanchez is deadly, Spurs Harass you and attack quickly, Liverpool play superb attacking football but you can get behind their defense easily, Stoke are physical, each match is feeling different and you have to concentrate the full 90 mins on SS, track those runs, win the midfield battles, if you don’t, the CPU will punish you.

    Made a few pre-season signings who have all gelled well and have a fair few players now who feel as individual as any player I’ve ever had in any PES, and scored a few beauts too.

    Happy days right now.

  19. Paul – after all your, ah, vicissitudes with the game, it’s good to hear you’ve got to where you are now – and coping better with SS than I am. My players are pretty average, though, I have come to see. PES2018 really is all about discipline in defense, and taking the couple of opportunities you make yourself. With all this positivity said, it’s not the kind of football game I think should have the PES label on it. There were a couple of 100mph backheels in Jay’s team goal that thoroughly depressed me. I am enjoying PES2018 and will indeed ‘complete’ it, but it’s my last console year on nuPES.

    werd/Uncle Turf – I hear there’s a mode in the new Ass Creed where you can just wander the world looking around at it without having to play the game at all. I’m surprised nobody has made such a ‘game’ as a standalone yet. Or maybe they have and we’re in it. cf. Nick Bostrom.

  20. It has taken longer than any other PES game to ‘click’ for me, and if we haqven’t have had the patch, I doubt I’d still be playing PES 18, and there’s still an abundance of things that annoy me/disappoint me/wish were different, such as the churn games, backheels etc, but taking the ‘its what we’ve been given’ approach, I’m just getting on with it, and enjoying it at present.

    The main downside is inconsistency, against Spurs I had 6 fouls, hit the crossbar with a Free kick, they had 3 fouls and scored there winner with a Dier free kick, 4 bookings for me, 5 for them, was a real tactical battle, other matches in comparison, fly by and I have to purposely foul a player to get a sub on, usually around the 80th min mark, if only this was further balanced out it would make PES 18 so much more PES-like.

    My attempt to get PES 18 running on a PC VM on the mac has come to a halt, way way too much hassle.

  21. Paul – those matches like the Spurs one you describe are right up there with the best I have ever played on any PES. What a bloody shame they can’t be the norm. I get them maybe 1 match in 15.

    On the flipside, I’d say the churning matches have also become quite rare for me – about 1 in 7, so still too frequent to be ignored, but not unbearable. This is partly down to my new tactical approach. I start every match on 2-bar ATT/DEF now, and construct my approach properly, rather than treating the game like a coin-op (which the last few years of PES have encouraged).

    Most matches now occupy a point somewhere between those two poles. The thing that will never stop frustrating me is that there’s no reason PES2018 can’t play like your Spurs game all the time. ‘Oh, but then that would get boring’ is the obvious counter-argument that I can hear the forums chanting like a voice in my head. But no, it wouldn’t. That was how PES used to play most of the time. That was what made PES, PES. PES5, PES2008(PS2/PSP), PES2010, PES2011, PES2012, even the benighted PES2014 (eventually) – all of these could be fast and furious too, but all of these inclined more towards the deep end of the pool, as is only right and proper in PES.

    I am happy and proud to be a PES fanatic, and to be unable to handwave away the signs of its dilution. There’ll be no Reformation here. No compromise. Come the spring, or whenever PES2018 gives up the ghost, I will turn my face against nuPES. I will abide it no more.

    With all that said, I am still having good sessions on PES2018.

  22. Cook – Orleans third is on par with Hulls tiger kit!

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