The ghost of Christmas FIFA

This is the state of my Master League club, after 4.5 seasons, heading into Christmas 2017:

Second from bottom. 4 wins from 29 matches, which is shockingly bad, possibly the worst form I’ve shown in any Master League for many a year. I just cannot seem to crack this Superstar AI. Which is no bad thing.

I’ve moved down to Top Player difficulty since the above screenshot was taken, and notched up a win and draw that have already moved me in the right direction. I don’t believe I will be relegated – I just won’t let it happen. I’ll drop down to Regular if I have to. Really. Master League no longer feels worth the effort of another season in D2.

I’ve had most of this week off work, and with it the chance to play PES2018 every day quite intensively.

At least two sessions per day, consisting of at least 4 matches each, and one or two late late night ones extending to 7 or 8 matches.

I’ve blitzed through mid-season of my Season 5 and am already almost at the end of February.

I’m in a peculiar place with PES2018. Too many matches feel exactly the same as each other. I don’t like it very much at the moment – but then I haven’t liked any PES all that much since PES2015.

PES2016 saw the series take an overt step away from its serious, simulation-oriented roots, and embrace the casual, ‘fun’ arcade approach that we still see today.

Right at this moment, I wouldn’t say PES2018 was even as good as PES2017, but it’s clearly better than PES2016 – and it’s clearly a good football game.

It’s not a proper PES game, though, and that is what really counts. We haven’t had a genuine PES since… since when? I’d say PES2014, and that took a few attempts. If I’m being generous, PES2015. Other views are available. It’s arguable that PES2012 was the last ‘pure’ PES game.

We’ve had a series of decent PES-flavoured FIFA-wannabe knockoffs since that time, but we have not had a good PES game.

PES since PES2014/15-ish has been Konami’s idea of what a FIFA game should be like. The laser-guided, ruler-straight backheels. The utterly wretched player individuality. The relentless spin-cycle churn.

I know that a great many lurkers and occasional commenters may be disgruntled by my ‘negativity’. Well, if you can tell any real difference between most of your players, Imma real happy for you.

Yesterday I went into town and picked up a pre-owned copy of FIFA17. (‘You criticise PES for being like FIFA, but then you go and get FIFA! Whyyyyy!’ If I’m going to play FIFA, I’d actually prefer to just play FIFA. That’s my answer.)

A special mid-winter’s day thumbshot, there. The game cost me £4.99, preowned, from GAME. It was the first time I’ve been inside a bricks-and-mortar game shop in a few years. I didn’t even know there was a still a branch of GAME in Coventry until I walked past it by accident a few weeks ago.

I waited in the queue, which was as long as you would expect it to be, a few days before Festivus – and painfully interacted with a nose-ringed young man at the counter. He called me ‘dude’ twice and tried to sell me ‘disc insurance’ for an extra 50p, at which I politely refrained from laughing out loud.

And here we are.

For the next ‘however long it is’, I’ll be playing FIFA17. I played the demo of this game over a year ago and really didn’t rate it. So this might just be one-post wonder. Might be a week, two weeks.

No FIFA that’s ever shown up at this point of my footy game year has ever really lasted long, that’s for sure.

How long will this one last?

Traditionally on PES Chronicles, FIFA has acted like a springboard back to PES. There’s been nothing like a spell on FIFA to restore flickering faith in PES.

Sorry, FIFA lovers, but that’s just how it’s gone, over the years.

  1. I get jaded with PES, for whatever reason.
  2. I play FIFA.
  3. I love FIFA.
  4. I get jaded with FIFA – usually very quickly – for whatever reason.
  5. I return to PES with renewed perspective and appreciation, and stick with it for most of the remainder of the footy game year.
  6. Rinse and repeat.

We shall see!

No post on Tuesday, remember. My first formal FIFA17 post will be next Friday at the usual time. I will remain active in comments on this post and providing updates on how things are going.

At the time of writing I’ve played the first couple of Exhibitions… and was not overly impressed. Fast and frantic, all the players just bundles of pixels that can all do pretty much the same thing… It seems to play just like PES2018 – which is more an indictment of the direction Konami is going than it is on FIFA.

Updated: 22nd December 2017 — 11:59


  1. I was hoping the InMortal exe file was going to work, thanks for the feedback #1.

    Nevermind though because I’m really enjoying PES 2008. The difficulty on Professional is incredible with the defaults, so frustratingly hard. A few weeks of Dead Cells has really whetted my appetite for AI punishment and I’ve found it in PES, perfect. I have got to the end of the season 1, signed a few better players, Claus Jensen is the standout but without much dent on results. Season 2 opened up with a 5-0 thrashing from Hammerby who finished bottom of D2 last season. I had to sell Jaric to break even on the final negotiation week, this is PES the way it was meant to be.

    I hadn’t even considered the other PS2 PES either. PES 2014 *the last ever PS2 game* looks very good from the few videos on Youtube.

  2. Cook – I couldn’t resist grabbing PES2014 for PS2 and loading it up in PCSX2. As you say, a significant game not just because of its place in the PESverse, but its status as the last ever PS2 game. Anyway, the game is in the same ‘family’ of PES as all the other PS2 PES games (so it would be called PES13 by the PES7-style reckoning). Felt superb. As you say, ‘PES the way it was meant to be’. I wouldn’t go game-hopping now you’ve settled in on PES7 though, that would undo the point of cherishing all these lost PES games.

    Hope you’re enjoying the soundtrack! I certainly am. This one still amazes me that somebody listened to it and thought it was perfect for a PES game.

  3. Wonderful song. The GF is Russian, this is the only one she tolerates. Must be an east of the meridian thing.

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