The Magic Clamp

The general, overall positive feel of PES2018 that I mentioned last time is continuing. I’m still playing very conservatively, setting up not to concede, and not committing too many players to attack while it’s 0-0 or even 1-0.

It’s an approach that works wonders in terms of slowing the game right down and making it more thoughtful. But I have to remember to stick with it. The last few years have ingrained certain bad habits in my PES-playing ways.

Example: next time you have a corner kick, but lose the ball, and the AI starts to pass upfield towards your goal – what is your instinctive response?

I would lay money that 99.99% of nuPES players instantly squeeze R1+X in an attempt to bear down on the AI immediately. Lots of sliding tackles too.

That’s not all. R1+X is for when you want to take it easy. 98% of the 99.99% will press R1+X+Square. And a good proportion of those players will have the nuPES presence of mind to go all-out with R1+X+double-tap-Square, which brings two secondary pressurers into the fray, as well as the X-man, all sprinting of course.

I still do this, and so do you, and don’t pretend otherwise. Sure, we like to pretend that we’re all about closing up space and covering the passing lanes and going with runners and all the rest of it. And yes, we do do those things (we really have to, against this AI), but just as often, perhaps more often, the Pavlovian response to a developing AI attack is to go all sprint-clampy on its ass, and hope the game wins the ball back for us on its own.

R1+X+Square (double- or single-pressed) works enough of the time that it’s still worth doing it. Another entry on the List of Things That Need To Be Got Rid Of To Make PES A Great Singleplayer Game Again. The online players would howl if they lost their precious sprint-clamp. But we’re never getting PES back from their sweaty clutches, so we can fantasise in peace.

I had the weekend off work, and time to spare on testing out a game mode that I haven’t looked at for several editions. I tried out PES2018’s version of Become A Legend. A mode that I like in principle, but which has a Massive Big Problem that has never been fixed, and which means I can never play it.

I set up my player as an AMF, not bothering with his appearance, as I knew I wouldn’t be playing for long if the Massive Big Problem hadn’t been fixed.

I chose Skybet Division 2 as my starting league – and was astonished to see myself picked up by Coventry City.

The first match was good and I played the whole 90 minutes, having started on Professional to ease myself in. I have always appreciated the gameplay of these modes. I have the required patience to play my position.

I got a goal in game number 2, which I again played all of.

And then came game 3 – my last in the Become A Legend mode for another year at least. The mode’s Massive Big Problem has not been addressed in PES2018.

I was subbed off at around 60 minutes. In BaL, this means having to sit and watch the AI playing with itself for the rest of the match. You can’t skip to the end of the match. Talk about a turd in the punchbowl. You can speed up the action to x2 speed, but it doesn’t ease the frustration of not playing.

After watching the Benny Hill CPU vs CPU action for a minute, I quit the mode with the same feeling of wasted potential that it has given me since its first appearance (in PES2009?).

As I remarked back in 2011:

cannot stand the enforced watching of the AI vs AI matches during periods when my player is either on the bench from the start or substituted partway through. I’m quite bad at the solo player type of football game. Bad enough for me to be a fringe player for just long enough for this to be a serious impediment to my enjoyment of BaL. Watching the AI play with itself uses up precious gaming time that I can’t afford to waste.

PES2018’s BaL Mode is unfortunately unchanged in this regard, and I have no idea why this condition persists. ‘Skip to end of match’ (or ‘Skip to being brought on’ for the ones where you start as a sub) should be easy additions. They should be no-brainers.

Updated: 27th November 2017 — 14:00


  1. I too unlocked Legendary difficulty, nice to know its there for the future, but won’t be touching it anytime soon.

    Never been a fan of BaL mode, or ‘that’ camera angle, however, The Journey mode in FIFA with its superb story line plots was pretty damn good.

    I can honestly say I’ve never used the R1+X+[] method, probably because I know dragging players out of position is a cardinal sin in this PES edition.
    My success so far, has come from exactly what you described, patient play, keep my positioning, don’t race in and let the COM 1-2 around you, back off, jockey, force the COM to make a decision.

    I think this is why I’m now seeing a lot more variation in matches and teams styles, because the subliminal will to want to play tactically, is often still beaten by the muscle-memory of Sprint clamping, engrained over the years of PES play, and as a result, you are constantly pulling players out of position, and the COM teams will just pounce on the space, by playing 1-2’s and lofted through balls, if you continually rush in, the COM will continually use these methods, and as a result every team ends up playing identically.

    Sitting back, maintaining formation, jockeying players and forcing the COM to find other ways to attack brings out the individuality in teams, Stoke will look for long balls and crosses, Arsenal pass it around sidewards, backwards etc, Chelsea dribble at you with Hazard and Willian, its so much better.

  2. Paul – Would you mind if we linked, or whatever it is called, on LinkedIn? Your comments sound like a laugh.

  3. Werd – I’m winning loads now, by strangely not using the tactics d pad button. Thrashed St Etienne in the cup twice(2 legs in france) and top of the table.
    Konami still have not fixed the promotion in ligue 2, should be 3 or play offs not the unfair 2!

  4. Cheers Paul. I may or may not have sent you a request. Loving the messages to the BBC interiors vlogger.

  5. Got ya ya Chris, you can send me a £70 Tiffany’s Thank you card if you like 😉

  6. Would a ring pull do? To everyone else, I can assure you that is not a euphemism.

  7. Fnar Fnar. Only if its Red Chris-massy !!! 😉

    Werd – good to see you lurking buddy, wondered if you’d fallen into an industrial sized pot of Pasta and drowned!!

  8. Werd – I’ve stopped using the advanced tactics with a positive outcome too. Since headed goals from crosses have been toned down the Centering Targets isn’t as useful. What ML set up are you using now?

    NG – BaL offline schmoffline, where’s the micro transaction value in that. How does FIFA handle this? I assume they have a skip function.

    Regarding the pressuring, my front two are free to chase around as much as they want but the rest of the team need to form two lines of four in my half as quickly as possible. I’m finding defending a lot easier with the top players (I am the Japan Manager for a point of reference). A high ball winning stat is good for just stepping in to stop the whirlwind 1-2s by the CPU.

  9. Me too Cook, I have all advanced tactics turned off, and only turn them on when necessary.
    I have a Deep defensive line, for when the COM has fast players and is using the over the top balls alot, Gegenpress which is used sparingly to harass and press the COM, good for winning the ball high up the pitch but overused can leave space in behind your midfield, and only one attack tactic setup – False No.9.
    If i’m struggling to score or the COM is man marking my forward I’ll switch this on, so the CF drops deeper and the midfielders run into the space ahead of him.

    FIFA’s Journey mode equivalent of BaL is story driven, so if you start as sub, you have to then choose an action or comment, which then determines when/if you get brought on, the game skips to the point where you do come on, similarly if you come off, you can choose to disappear down the tunnel, shun the post match press interview, cheer on your replacement etc, and you don’t have to watch the remainder of the match.
    There is no ‘dead time’ wasted by sitting dormantly watching the COM play the game.

  10. I like the sound of The Journey, it’s what I always wanted in a football game. Does it have many RPG elements i.e. do actions effect outcomes?

    Thinking about offline micro transactions. I wonder if NG would pay Konami for a higher average fouls per game? Or for more individuality? You could unlock better referees/players by giving Konami your hard earned £s.

  11. I don’t think I’ve played a Become A Legend type mode on a footy game since LiberoGrande back on the PS1. Doesn’t really appeal.

    I played a few games last night and they were all disappointingly frantic with barely any free kicks. I had one in shooting range in the six games I played.

    This dodgy session (no slipped to third in Div 2 after 15 games) may be partly down to what you describe above, n-G. Too much R1-ing and not enough patience to slow down the play. I hadn’t played for a while, so that’s my excuse.,

    On the subject of tackling, I tend to hold R2 a lot rather than R1 and X – although I do that sometimes too. I might be imagining it, but R2 seems to be effective when defending the AI head-on.

  12. Cook – Last year The Journey was very linear, but this year there are supposed to be alternate outcomes that are in some part determined by your actions. Disclaimer – haven’t played it yet, waiting for Father Christmas.

  13. Shed – R2 is definitely not imagination. It’s been the defensive shepherding mechanic (when facing an attacker) in PES since PES3. You might recall original (ex-)commenter Chris once acclaiming the advent of R2 shepherding circa PES2012, only to be told it’d been in every PES game he’d played almost since the dawn of the PS2.

    As for the churn, put that ATT/DEF level down to 2/5 and leave it there for at least 1 whole match, and the anti-churn rhythm will automatically impose itself. It does work.

    Cook/Paul – I’ve always liked the look of FIFA’s The Journey, but remain indifferent to the game it comes as part of. I don’t remember much about FIFA’s Be A Pro, nor what happened when being subbed or waiting to come as sub.

    As for PES’s BaL, I do like the camera angle and I do like the solo-player idea. But that whole watching CPU-vs-CPU bullshit is unacceptable and it vastly overshadows all the goodness. I remember my PES2011 BaL seasons very well. I think I managed 2 complete seasons, but the CPU-vs-CPU crap never stopped. All it took were a couple of misplaced passes, or just low stamina, and off you came. I remember once patiently waiting to come on as a sub, then my team had a sending-off and I was myself subbed. So I played about 30 seconds of a 10-minute match, and had to watch the rest. I think that one finished the mode for me back then. Somebody tell me if Konami ever get this right.

  14. Paul – p.s. for you the full sprint clamp would be R1+X+Circle. The fact you have swapped those buttons around means it’s not easy for you to clamp those buttons together. You’d have to physically lift your right hand off the controller and sort of rotate your thumb to another position, then put your hand back when done. The rest of us have only to move our thumb to exert X+Square pressure, and of course the modern footy gamer’s forefinger rarely leaves R1 alone.

  15. That may well be why I have never used it then NG.
    I also gave your level 2 att/def method a try, and tbh didn’t really notice any difference at all other than that my players didn’t get forward as readily on the counter. Matches still seemed to fly by with little or no stoppages in a majority of games, the Spurs style match being a one every 6-8 matches occurrence.
    I will continue testing it out though, as it may just be the focus and concentration I needed to make sure I didn’t concede foggied the effect of level 2 att/defense anti-churn.

    Still haven’t taken the wrapper off FIFA 18.

  16. Chris99 – just don’t read his comment about “bodily hair”…it’ll be a worm in your head for days.

  17. Shiny baubles Turf 😉

    Anyone in the know about PC’s …..
    Think this is worth a punt?

    Its a Dell/Alienware gaming PC in console form, but by using the video below you can install Windows 10 on it and run it as a dedicated gaming small form factor pc.

    Seemed decent for the price ?

  18. Cook – Ligue 2 with Homebrew defaults. USL Dunkerquiose (I have a soft for them as they have never been in the top flight, came close a few times and then disappeared into the 3rd tier in the 90’s) Edited over Pabrowstein as they have a suitable badge.

    Paul – yes 2 funerals in close succession will not deter me!

  19. Paul – both of Mrs Werds Grans. One was expected, one not.

  20. Paul – I’ve looked at that Alienware hybrid machine before, but was put off by it being a dedicated Steam machine, and it being hackable to install Windows 10 on it is even less of an attractive reason. If I’m going to get a gaming PC, I’m going to get a gaming PC. It’s a decent price though.

    werd – I would rather do anything than go to funerals. The whole feeling in the run-up to them, and then the day itself.

  21. NG. The steam part of it is irrelevant. It is a small form factor gaming pc first and a steam Machine second. Once the HD is repartitioned and windows installed, it’ Is in every sense just a compact entry level gaming pc. But fine for running PES.
    ANd that’s all I’d play on it. I don’t want a gaming pc. Just a PES pc.

  22. holy crap, just looked at that linked in profile paul. How in the hell do you handle a ps4 controller with crushing it???

  23. Paul – I’d say 2GB for a graphics card is on the light side nowadays but I think you can run pes 2018 fine with it. anything else or semi-contemporary, not so much.

    Edit – scratch that, the i3 processor might be a bit light as well methinks.

  24. Paul – as #1 says, the specs are a bit behind the curve too. It’ll run PES2018 excellently well – but how about PES2020? PES2022? Not to mention wherever FIFA goes next, or whatever else comes along in the meantime. I did look at it a while back, about a year ago I think, and it gave me the impression of being an abandoned line from Alienware. I do want to get a gaming PC if I’m going to shift to that platform for PES, as only a gaming PC would have the future-proofing required (the specs it comes with and expandability etc). I’ve been looking at gaming desktops in the £700-£1000 range on Amazon. Last time I had a desktop PC was 2005 or so, and that was a bugger to run, I had the case open nearly every week fiddling with fans and RAM etc, so I’m really looking for

      a gaming desktop PC (no monitor or keybopard required – I have lots)
      Great specs out of the box – 16GB RAM, upper-middle range processor, minimum 4GB VRAM etc
      SSD required – 256GB is OK
      Around £700-£1100 tops.

    I’ve seen plenty around the £1600 mark, but that’s more than I want to spend. (I’d only spend that much on a Mac, personally. That kind of outlay demands that it has a longer lifespan than a few years. The fact I’m typing this on a 2009 iMac that still runs like iButter says why.)

    And no – I don’t want to get a high-spec Mac and bootcamp it.

    I’m still looking. I’ll probably end up going with one of those build-your-own PC services, but they’re surprisingly non-cheap once the SSD and RAM start flying in. It’s a while until next summer when all this nuPES shit will hit the fan.

  25. I was massively struggling on ss until I decided to go down to -2 speed on 15 min halves. Wow, this really opened the game up and I’m having the best sessions do far with the game. I think, in part, this reduced panicky speed clamping and suchlike but has also given the game a much more considered pace which superstar had jiggered completely for me.

  26. Chris99 – I’m hurt and upset that you didn’t want to link me too. Well next time you need an unemployed student to talk to a meeting about recycling bottles at a football match don’t come crying to me….

    Leroygetz – that’s one of those fake profile pictures, like the Russian girl who rely lovz you emails. The real Paul mirrors his I.T profession – thin, pale, needs to wear a cap to shield his eyes from the sun…

    I think I need a rest from mgs. I was asked in the playground by a man why I was standing as far back from the entrance as possible (I usually stand halfway). I said it was in case I need to snipe the other parents, then had that ‘oops did I actually say that’ feeling.

  27. Yeah you’re right. No point buying a make-do pc
    Machine if it will be defunct next year.
    Will get xmas and the gaming room at home out of the way then look At a decent spec gaming pc.

    Haha Leroy. I eat my spinach. 😉
    Always rely on turf to take the piss. 🙂

  28. not-Greg – how about that gaming desktop Paul linked to a few posts ago?

    upgrading the specs with a GTX 1060 6GB graphics card, 16GB DRAM and a 240GB SSD fully hits your requirements and comes in at £772

  29. I think I’d feel safe if Paul cuddled me.

  30. Awww Jay.

    In a purple patch right now, the good results keep coming, I sneaked a quick match in before work this morning and beat Utd at Old Trafford 1-0 and largely dominated the match, in 4th place now, Champions League in first premier league season, on Superstar? Surely not.

  31. Paul – what’s your team like now? Average OPR, TS etc? Mine is still very lowly, probably no more than 75 OPR average, but with a TS of 94 per match. Doesn’t seem to translate to the kinds of results you’re getting though.

    abbeyhill – thanks for the reminder, it’s always an option of course and that build-you-own menu is surprisingly low-cost. The others I’ve looked at would all be above a 1000 for the specs chosen.

  32. NG – I’ll do a screenie of my squad and stats later when I’m home but my highest rated player is Lobato at 87, but he rarely ever starts, for such a high rated player, he does surprisingly little and his stamina is awful.
    I’d say at a guess, my team avg rating is around 78 OPR.
    My TS is between 84-90 depending on who plays.

    Playing a 4-4-2 setup as shown below.

    I’ve found dribbling by laying off sprint, and using stabs of the R1 button to dash past players much more effective, also with use of R2 for precise touch control to jink past players, also picked up all 3 penalties using this type of dribble method.

    I’ve scored a few classic counter goals recently where I’ve picked the ball up in my own half and dribbled and scored with the same player using the stab and dash dribble style.

    Also finding that when shooting, instead of pulling the LS down or up to the corners all the way, aiming just off centre in each direction (ie pushing the stick just a tad to the top left) results in much more accurate shots.
    I imagine the aiming reticule is like the penalties, the further you push the LS the farther off target the reticule moves, but more sensitive.

  33. Anyone in the know, give this a run over ?

    CiT Prism Gaming Case – White [RGB]
    AMD FX-8300 3.3GHz (4.2 Turbo) Eight Core Processor
    Stock Cooler
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Graphics Card
    Gigabyte Ultra-Durable GA-78LMT-USB3 Motherboard
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 (2 x 8GB) Memory
    1TB Seagate FireCuda Solid State Hybrid Drive – 5x faster than HDD
    500W Power Supply
    300Mbps USB WIFI Adaptor
    Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit

  34. Paul – I’ve selected an almost identical build on that site, except with an SSD, 690 total. I’ve saved the selection to think about it. I’m always nervous about cooling with desktop PC after a bad experience with my last one, so I was tempted to cough up for the extra cooling. But that’s my only doubt. I’ll probably end up getting mine!

  35. gaming rigs looking good guys, not much to fault in that spec

  36. Best of luck too Werd, beyond the grandparent stage myself but can’t imagine how grim it will be when it’s the next generation.

    Little fella has been off ill today, puked into a bucket in the night and it’s been the longest day of the year. I’ve sat through five episodes of skylanders on Netflix and he’s now resurrected the game. It’s not that bad actually, not a patch on Lego games but way better than the Disney series and you can pick those figures up for pennies now. I was looking at the vastly reduced Lego dimensions game/packs for Christmas but I’ve been advised they can be ridiculously short and don’t feature the real voices for the adult friendly ones like the A Team. Any of the dads played any?

  37. NG – I didn’t see a full on SSD available on the spec I chose. It was a SSD hybrid drive which apparently is 5 x faster than a regular HDD but not quite a full solid state disc.

    My only concern is if it’s worth over 600 quid to play PES.
    Because that’s the only reason I’m tempted. To play a full modded pc vsrsion.

  38. Turf-mini werd 1 wont puke In the loo so does it In the bath! It’s a swine to mop up.

  39. abbeyhill – after a bad unexpectedly-overheating-and-restarting problem with my last desktop PC, I’m aware that cooling is often the Achilles’ heel of these things, but I’m more than happy with the rest of the specs.

    Paul – I have other games I want to explore on a proper gaming machine such as XCOM2, Civilization, etc., both of which are more demanding than you might think. I’ve only ever known them on low-medium specs at best. And it’d be worth it for modded PC PES on its own, for me.

    re. the missing SSD, you must have been looking at the same menu as me, and the SSD option is on the left of the row where you picked the hybrid drive. I went with a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. I’ll boot the OS and run all the principal games/apps from SSD, and the HDD will be for storage.

    I still haven’t pulled the trigger on this, but I think I’m going to. I spent enough time with that overheating PC in 2005-ish to have had the case off enough times to be confident in installing my own cooling if need be.

  40. I recently bought a gaming laptop to have something to play Cities Skylines on but I already need to upgrade the RAM due to the number of mods required to make the game work. My first SSD though, what a revelation.

    I finished another season of PES today. I lost the CL final but won the league on goal difference. I want to win the CL before moving on. I think I’m onto season 8 and still being challenged by the ai, this PES keeps surprising in a good way.

  41. not-Greg – I’m a more recent convert to PC gaming but get the impression that overheating is less of an issue these days, e.g. my laptop has a 1060 graphics chip but it never goes beyond mid 70s degrees centigrade so a 1050 ti in a big box should be fine. Might be worth doing a bit more research into that AMD cpu though, don’t know much about its performance and temperature etc

    Got a penalty in pes2011 3ds last night as Boanerm surged into the box, unfortunately didn’t realise that it had the ‘new’ 2011 penalty system rather than the old fashioned six direction one and blazed it miles wide. Rock hard game, finished season bottom of D2

  42. NG, for the sake of an extra 30 quid or so might be worth it just to get a decent cooling system fitted with it. Peace of mind.

    Was a victim of the PES session-to-session-variance last night, coming off the back of 4 wins and 2 draws in my previous session, last night I lost 2 and drew 3. scoring only 2 goals in the process, slipped down to 8th.
    Maybe that ‘Newly promoted team enjoying a surge up the table’ effect in pixel form, now its xmas, I’m following real life trend and slipping down.

  43. Cook – SSD is such a paradigm-shift in computing that there can be no going back, ever. The old spinning-disc HDD is the source of heat and mechanical wear and tear – in our consoles too. The PS5 and others are bound to have SSD.

    Paul/abbeyhill – I’ve held off ordering mine as I want to wait until I can set it all up. The shift to PC for PES is happening. It’s a semi-gamble as I’m not aware of any suitable mods (like Jenkey’s fabulous PES2013 effort), but I’m confident they must be out there or incoming. I’ve got a week off in mid-December and will order the PC a few days before then. £690 for those specs is staggering. It’ll be my first AMD processor. I’ll take the chance on the cooling, as an extra fan is only £4 and I know how to fit them after my saga with the last desktop.

    PES2018 will continue on the PS4 on the blog, and I’ll spend a few months acclimatising, getting a proper controller set up (Windows Xbox360 isn’t going to cut it), sorting out recording software etc. And settling on a mod. Then maybe start up a new era around February time. Looking forward to this.

  44. NG – I’ll use you as a guinea pig then, will see how it handles for you before investing.
    There are a ton of mods out for PES 18 on PC, maybe not a fouls slider mod, but adboards, graphic updates. UI’s, scoreboard overlays, option files with kits, tweaks, tactics, etc.
    Lots to play around with.

    Also over on evo-web is a Neesa camera mod tool where you can adjust the height, Zoom, pan, sweep etc of any camera til your hearts content.

    That video i posted previously almost makes it look a different game.

    I’d recommend Movavi ScreenCapture for recording windows based games.

  45. Paul – happy to be guinea-pigged, it’s been nearly 4 years since I had any new kit to play with, and I’ve never had a proper gaming-level PC. The Alienware laptop in 2011 didn’t count, as it barely ran the games of the time and was soon outdated.

    My transformation from console pleb to a member of the glorious PC master race won’t start until middle of December, and will be a gradual process. And there’ll need to be meaningful PES mods for it to be a total PES platform conversion. I.e. stadia and ad-boards and the like are nice, but not enough on their own. I want deep-rooted gameplay changes, the kind that give a classic encounter in nearly every match.

  46. Paul – indeed, as #1 reported to us last year as well, there is a puzzling lack of gameplay mods in the world of PC PES. What could it mean? That the old guard really have either moved on, or surrendered, and the kingdom belongs to the fast-and-fun merchants forever?

    I’m looking forward to more than just PES on the new machine, so this is near no-brainer buy for me. If I was only thinking about PES, I’d be unlikely to take the plunge, as I have doubts that the PES-playing modders have anything like the same outlook on the series as me.

  47. Any chance you could put out a nerd alert before a run of posts like that last lot? I felt life draining from me as I read your solid state ram chip drive nonsense…

    I may have found my Christmas period go to game. Wanting a break from the mgs fest (I’ve now fultoned 400 soldiers such is the side questery and exploring I’ve done) I stuck on a title I’ve played before, a game called pes 2015. Game two season three ligue un with lorient has been a long time coming such are the obvious flaws – a ridiculously overpowered squad so soon, a lack of individuality with those stars, a game that compensates for this lack of flair with enhanced AI muscle, few fouls, etc etc – but…but it played well, I won and I liked the ease of dipping in. I can imagine playing on while listening to the Christmas hit parade or whatever gets broadcast nowadays.

    I do also fancy a madden campaign but the games can be best part of an hour with no way to wrap it up if needs must.

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