Happy New Year’s Pro Resolution FIFA Soccer Sensible Eleven!

Just over a week ago, in the midst of one of my frequent bouts of loathing for the latest FIFA imitator to bear the name of PES, I picked up a second-hand copy of FIFA17.

PES2018 has increasingly come to seem like nothing more/less than a PES-flavoured version of FIFA. My thinking was: well, if I have to play a version of FIFA, why not just play FIFA?

I have since played FIFA17, off and on, over the past week or so. I’m about a quarter of the way through a season in Career Mode.

Much of my reaction to the game has been documented in my comments on the previous post, but here are the highlights – in list form, in keeping with this time of year:

  1. FIFA17 is a professionally-produced package that meets my expectations for the content of a football game in 2017.
  2. Career Mode has many surprising and welcome customisation options. I was able to move Coventry City into the Championship, and play with them from there. What a fillip this was! I knew I wanted to start in the Championship, but wasn’t relishing starting with ‘Birmingham City’ or whatever they’re supposed to be called.
  3. I was profoundly shaken by the gameplay. Not because it’s bad. It’s not – it’s very good. FIFA gameplay has been consistently playable and interesting on various levels ever since FIFA08 on the PS3, which I strongly championed at the time, all those years ago. What shook me was just how similar FIFA17 feels to the current family of PES games. The same lighter-than-air feeling. The same urgent, insistent, back-and-forth rhythms. The same feeling that almost any player on the pitch could be on the ball and it’d make no real difference. This is the major eye-opener for me of the FIFA17 experiment. PES has moved more towards FIFA than FIFA ever moved towards PES. I suppose when you set out to make a football game for online multiplayer, something like FIFA/PES as they both are today is just where everything has to end up.
  4. Career Mode deserves an accolade all on its own. Hell, it deserves a game all of its own. It is exactly what Master League should have evolved into from PES2010-PES2011 onward. Those two PES games contained the seed for what Master League should have become. Why was this seed plucked from the ground and tossed away? You tell me. I couldn’t possibly even hazard a guess… (Imagine here one of those cough-cough aside things, and ONLINE MULTIPLAYER writ large.)
  5. FIFA17 is not a better game on the pitch than PES2018. There. I have said it. PES2018 is better than FIFA17. PES is still better than FIFA to play, for me anyway. The pitch really is PES’s. Still. Even now. But not by much.
  6. Critics of this judgement might point to lots of refinements in FIFA17’s gameplay engine that are roughshod or missing in PES2018. Shooting, for one. And admittedly, the shooting variety is wonderful in FIFA17. The goal replay at the end of this list satisfied me no end.
  7. Football games are more than just the sum of their parts. PES2018 is better than FIFA17 in my judgement – but they are so similar that the gap is not much at all, and that is the most shocking thing. PES2018 is only marginally the better of two almost equally good games.
  8. Neither game is anything special. In the year 2025, if man is still alive, nobody will be getting misty-eyed about either PES2018 or FIFA17 (or any other football game since 2014-ish). The experience just isn’t the same anymore. What am I saying? Am I saying that PES was better in the old days? Yes, I am saying that, because it objectively was so.
  9. I’m not sure how much longer my FIFA17 spell will continue. Traditionally I run back shrieking to PES after a week, and it’s been a week. I think I’ll give it a bit longer yet. I have had the distraction of Christmas, and continuing to play with the new PC I got a few weeks ago. One of my projects is installing all the old PES games onto it – and I mean all of them. This week I started on the PS2 versions, via emulator. The PS2 era of PES games were the best that PES ever was, and the best that PES likely ever will be.
  10. Can I award rough review-style scores for FIFA17 after one week? Not really, but I will anyway – I’ve still played it more than any reviewer probably ever did. Off the pitch: 9/10. On the pitch: 6/10. No, the fast-flowing-fun style of football gaming really isn’t to my taste. I can see good in it, but I am congenitally incapable of appreciating it for long. It will always be a lesser product to me. Always.
  11. For comparison, how about a review-style score for PES2018? This will anticipate my End of Year Review somewhat, but what the hell. It’s Christmas. Off the pitch, PES2018 gets: 1/10. On the pitch: 6.5/10. Master League is an abomination that’s running entirely on fumes and nostalgia. There are about a million AMF/SS/CF hybrid players in PES2018. They are all exactly the same as each other.
  12. The above scores, playful or not, indicate the lie of the land. FIFA17’s Career Mode is worth persevering with for at least half a full CM season, to see if the game overall ‘takes’.
  13. I’ve been installing all the PS2 PES games on a PC, and playing them upscaled to quasi-HD graphics, and the experience is just incredible. Off-the-scale excellence. Unbelievably high quality, proper footballing PES values. And yes, their Master Leagues were something of a cartoony joke, but look at the rock-solid 10/10 environment they existed around, and weep. Weep
  14. I have called nuPES (the current ‘family’ of PES games) a poor FIFA knock-off. Because that’s what it is.

Here’s a goal from FIFA17 that gave me pleasure:

So what’s the conclusion? Other than ‘the old days were great and everything now is rubbish’?

I will play on with FIFA17, but I will inevitably drift back to PES2018 sooner rather than later, I think, there to ‘complete’ my Master League.

Then I will count myself done with all modern football gaming.

I will dive without any apology whatsoever into the glorious past of Pro Evolution Soccer, where I will probably live for the rest of my natural life.

That whole dismal summertime preview/demo/release cycle can proceed without me. PES2019 can swivel. I’m not doing any of this shit again.

Updated: 28th December 2017 — 23:28


  1. It’s a sad state of affairs indeed. PES 18 is now on hold for me, too.

    Being a PC gamer i turned to Total War Warhammer 2, did the never before done thing of buying into a pre-alpha game called Phoenix Point (You’ll know it if you like X-COM). And finally i hang on to the hope that the child my wife is now bearing will one day witness the release of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord.

    And that’s about it. Will always be coming back here of course. I really like your Chronicles.

  2. Luis – I don’t feel sad about it as such, this is how football gaming is now, we extract what we can get from it and move on. And I’m still in the game 3 months after release. My ML will be played to some sort of conclusion. After that I’m so relieved to say I’m off the treadmill. My last sentence above says it all.

    I certainly have heard about Phoenix Point. I didn’t know there’s a paid Alpha. Playable?

  3. Still waiting on it, but on their site they promise a playable Alpha during the first quarter.


    If you go to the pre-order section, one of the available options (the “Popular” one) gives access to Alpha Q1 2018. I was lucky enough to buy a cheaper package with access but no extras for 40$ and a 10% discount. But that one appears to be gone now.

    As for PES, yes mine is still installed and i will probably be playing in between other things while i wait for the (hopefully) good stuff.

  4. You should try the ps2/psp old-gen pes after pes 6 (2008 until 2014)

  5. Really nice goal!

    I agree entirely with your post. Off the pitch, Fifa 17 is superb while PES is really bad. On the pitch, they are similar, with PES slightly better.

    People keep updating kits and rosters for older PES games, so there is no point in keep buying new games that are worse and worse in each new release (for us offline players anyway).

    By the way, if you remember me complaining some months ago about my striker being injured every time in Fifa 17, I have bad news for you: his name was Dan Agyei…

  6. if the future of the blog, and indeed our community here, is playing PC emulations of old PS2 PESs then I am entirely up for this

  7. Why PC emulations of PS2 PES? Why not just PC PES? Loads of patches were available back then using KitServer.

  8. Chris99 – only PES3-PES6 were the same on PC and PS2. I don’t think anybody’s planning to play any of those games emulated, principally because, as you say, there are perfectly decent PC versions of those titles that come with all the customisation options.

    Most PS2 PES games are NOT on PC. Only 4 titles out of 13 games released for the console: PES3, PES4, PES5, PES6. That’s it. All the others – PES1, PES2, and everything from PES2008 on – are not on PC. The PS3-era titles that did get on PC are of course different games. When we get to PES2008 (a.k.a. PES7), the series forked in two directions. From this point on, there is no more PS2=PC version. Instead, it’s the PS3=PC version on one side, and the PS2 version continuing alone until the last-ever PS2 game, PES2014. The PS2 PES and PS3=PC PES game(s) are completely different. From PES2009 on, hardly anyone played the PS2 PES games from what I can tell, leading to them being considered ‘lost’ PES games.

    I played quite a bit of PES2008(PS2) at the time of its release as PES2008(PS3) was such a let-down.

    tl;dr: there is no PC version of the PES2008(PS2) that Cook is currently playing on the PS2 emulator on his PC. The only way to play PES2008(PS2) is on a PS2 console or via emulation software on PC. (Or on a PSP, but you’re probably confused enough…)

    You really have been away from PES for a long time.

    abbeyhill – I don’t know about that, but it’s a possibility. I’ve nearly got all the lost PESes now. I briefly took a look at PES2011 just to see if the PS3 ML was in it, but sadly not.

  9. Ah I see. You have to remember I was only ever a PC PES player, so didn’t appreciate the PS2/3 fork.

  10. Abbeyhill – Nice sentiment but not for me. You see I have never associated the PC with gaming, aside from Football Management or Civilisation type games. For me I will always favour the consoles convince when it comes to football games. I would never wish to speak on NG’s behalf but the purpose of this blog has never been about people following him or leading some kind of cult.

  11. Lovely goal n-G. The game looks slower there. Are you using certain sliders?

    I agree in your early assessment of FIFA 17 although I fear Paul will be all over this when he returns

    The retro-PES idea sounds fun although I don’t plan to join the PC brigade. I might fire up PES 2011 on a the PS3 now and again but otherwise I’ll play cheap options on PS4 for my footy fix – FIFA 17 being exactly that.

  12. Darryl – Does that mean I should cancel the order for the nG t-shirts and the one way tickets to Guyana?

  13. Sorry to contradict Darryl but for most of us the sole purpose of this blog is to ascend in the afterglow of our NG once the rapture arrives….

    Happy belated etc everyone. Been knee deep in Lego avengers 2 so no adult gaming over the break. TBH reading comments I really don’t have much heart for even starting a pes ml now. If it wasn’t for Paul and feeling guilty I’d be tempted to trade my new copy and take the FIFA 17 plus change. Mention of missing players post patch was like pulling a plug on what remained of my enthusiasm.

    Abbeyhill – been putting in some serious Go time though. Lots of crisp winter walks with the small fella has seen us rack up a fair few of the new region – up to 225 now. I’ll not mention the series title as it only attracts ill informed comment from Lycra clad bronzers.

  14. Apologies Darryl but if you examine the site’s terms and conditions then it will become clear that you HAVE in fact joined some kind of cult. Furthermore, if you fail to install a PC emulation of PES2 forthwith then you will be ritually sacrificed

    Turf – like the thinking, presumably he will imagine we are talking about the mature, deep Japanese board game? We have been doing exactly the same over the holidays, with the number 23 bus route yielding plenty of new characters every day. The rest of my family are also addicted to the online trading card game, need to learn it myself immediately to keep up

    Now at the end of season 3 on PES2011 3DS ML. I have usually regarded myself as quite decent at PES, obviously not in the same league as Cook, Pete etc but can normally find a way to beat it eventually. However this 3DS version is killing me, 3 consecutive seasons adrift at the bottom of D2. The sad thing is that given that finances and the transfer market are quite generous my squad is now really good, but that has not stopped the thrashings. Defending is the issue – without an R2 button all you have is the left stick, slide tackle and the useless stand tackle button. Several times today the opposition striker has run in a straight line through my CB Sutto (Defence stat 91 FFS) while I’ve been holding down the tackle button before blasting it past the keeper again, really not sure what the game expects me to do to combat this. Needless to say I am enjoying it immensely!

  15. Darryl – I’m sorry to inform you that abbeyhill has it right, you have until sundown tomorrow to get set up with a PS2 PES of your choosing on a PC emulator. If you fail to do so, you will be pursued by my acolytes across the rooftops as the clocks chime in the New Year. What a niche independent film that would make.

    Shed – as of now I too am a year-behind footy gamer at least. More like several years behind. Still playing FIFA17 though. It’s a very good footy game and CM is brilliant…but will it last?

  16. Chris99 – all we need now is someone to pop up and say they had PES6 on the Xbox360 as if it’s the same game as the (unjustly IMO) revered PS2/PC version…

    abbeyhill – there are four shoulder buttons on the 3DS though – ? I know that on the PSP, with its single shoulder button on either side, L2/R2 functionality was replicated by means of a special button combo (Select + R/L buttons, I think), so maybe the 3DS version has inherited the same thing.

    Uncle Turf – I have no idea what Konami were doing, but yes, any player search in PES2018 now shows quite a few ‘Player Removed’ entries. I still think I’ll be back on the game before January is very old, though. It has many good features, but alas, we’re in a new era with new values.

  17. nG – At the risk of opening up an old debate my PC PES top 3 would be
    1) PES 3 (because you never forget your first love)
    2) PES 6 (like your first love but sexier)
    3) PES 2012 (more mature, but with a bit of a patch up still capable of surprising you)

  18. I think you have restored your PES credentials there Chris99, great calls. Mine would be almost identical: PES3, PES2012, PES5

    Out of interest, your FIFA top 3? I would go for FIFA12, FIFA15, FIFA09, although 14 was also really good and I still have not played 16&17 which many people rate

    not-Greg – it’s only the new 3DS which has 4 shoulder buttons, sadly PES was made for the older version. The instruction manual suggests double tapping R to get an R2 effect but I am not convinced. Still, it is a tremendous game, packed full of individuality, fouls and drama. And the keepers are really great. Usually ‘great keepers’ in football gaming parlance means they are flawless but these ones are complete mavericks, sometimes pulling off incredible saves, sometimes messing up horribly and sometimes redeeming themselves with the ball almost over the line, each keeper is different

  19. My PC top 3 would be

    1) PES5. When this game came out, I thought, hey, this is pretty good.
    2) PES5. An improvement in every way on all the PES games that came before it and after it.
    3) PES5. To be honest I didn’t think the lads in Tokyo could do it again, but hats off to them, this one was a winner too.

    abbeyhill – to get some R2 shielding going it’s worth a try surely – quick double-tap of R just ‘feels’ right.

  20. Last man standing in Fleetwood here. I am refusing to dust down the laptop and have said my goodbyes to family and am waiting for the men in masks to come.

    But just for the record I have never played any football game on a PC.

  21. Well I can back you up on that Darryl. Aside from the very football game based championship manager/football manager I’ve only ever played one football game on pc – actua soccer. It was so bad that the genre started and ended that day. I simply don’t like using pcs for anything other than point and click sandbox games, it feels completely wrong to have an action game running, even if you link it to a big screen, buy a controller, etc etc. Partly it’s my own failings with the technology – the reassuring ‘disc in, game on, nothing else to think about’ – but also it just doesn’t sit well, like watching films on a phone.

    I think for four quid though I’m going to get FIFA 17. I didn’t make enough of 15 after a great 14 experience, I could never settle on it, but if pes 2018 is only going to upset me then it’s a cheap option by the time the Super Bowl has finished and madden is out of season. Lego avengers 2 is just awesome if you like that stuff.

    Abbeyhill – we’ve never online traded with those codes you get in the packs but while in Waterstones yesterday a young shopkeep made conversation and told the small fella that he ran child friendly card battle sessions on Saturdays, rules explained, help afforded, no losses from deck allowed, etc. I think we will be attending to get into that option. Of course this news will likely send our dear Kim il-sung spinning – games, for children, in bookshops…but I suspect bookshops were already dead to him as centres of culture and browsing amidst the whiff of costas and celebrity autobiographies.

  22. Turf – same with me for all the reasons you state as it just doesn’t seem right to me. Right you go outside first and I will provide you with cover.

  23. Darryl/Uncle Turf – the watching films on the phone analogy is a good one. Games just don’t feel like the right kind of media for PCs. Except… those big-bearded strategy games, the Civilizations and XCOMs. They’re pure PC games – and while playable on consoles, they don’t feel quite right there either.

    So it comes down to genre of game and how we like to play them. Having always played football games on a console, and always played laying down on a bed, I would need either to adapt to playing them sitting up at a desk, or get a reclining chair/camp bed of some kind set up next to the computer desk, or indeed set the computer up next to my bed… Or just go on playing football games on a console as God intended. It’s all still up in the air.

    FIFA17 is well worth 4 quid. I’d have been happy to pay 20 quid for it actually, but for 4 quid it’d be rude not to get it. I’ve had a good week and a bit on it now. No, it’s not a PES-beater for gameplay. It’s even lighter than nuPES. There are times when FIFA17 gameplay is so lightweight and frothy that it makes PES2018 seem like I, Claudius. But CM is comfortably an ML-beater.

  24. Talking of how we play games I have always been a sit on the chair in front of the telly person. I did have a brief flirtation of sitting on the floor with PES 2017 as the Dynamic Wide camera seemed better at a lower angle. For my latest PES 2015 adventure I have once more taken to sitting on the floor. On the whole 2015 looks just as good as the latest game graphics wise. It is just a few of the grounds that let it down that don’t look as neat as the others. I have never liked playing at the Konami stadium on PES games since 2014.

  25. Darryl i always sit on the floor. Nowadays I need a cushion tho. Abbey-mario odyssey is class. Just had a 3 hour sesh while mini werd2 played with his paw patrol figures.

  26. At the risk of opening old wounds….did we solve the stickgate issue? I’m just hitting my full capacity with all these Lego games and short of deleting the likes of skyrim it’s time to shunt them onto USB. I don’t have anything at the moment that would take more than one game which is a pain. Do you use multiple 32Gb sticks or have some invested in one of those monsters (genuine) and is the dodgy Chinese stuff working?

    I’m a lean back in chair with feet outstretched guy.

  27. Uncle Turf — the alleged 2TB stick that I ordered out of curiosity turned out to be an 8GB stick, and no longer works even at that capacity. Steer well clear — it’s a well-known scam on International websites and on domestic ones too (eBay and some on Amazon). Consider that a 2TB memory stick (necessarily big and bulky to fit the chips inside) is currently over £1000 to buy in the West, and consider the slim size and price of the ones being offered in the East, and draw your own conclusions. You can get legitimate 32Gb or 64GB USB sticks for relatively low prices, but you’re not going to fit much PS4 content on them at that size. Go for an old-fashioned external HDD. 500GB should do you. They’re reliable enough these days and will only set you back 30-40 quid.

    In general news I was back on PES2018 as of this morning. Predictably it feels very, very, very good after a spell on FIFA. Oh my dear Lord, though, Master League is so poor.

  28. Cheers NG – I wondered about hdd, works out much more cost effective than sticks. Think we should just let that episode slide into distant memory.

  29. NG – to be honest with you I would rather have a stripped down ML than the 2016-18 offerings. They were essentially Myclub hand-me-downs.

  30. Happy New Year and all that Jazz.
    Wont bother commenting on the FIFA 17 stuff, I enjoyed it immensely and thats all that matters to me, and looking forward to giving FIFA 18 a good 6 months, starting soon.
    I’ve been playing on with my PES18 ML, and nearing the end of Season 7, after moving down to TP, I’ve won around 85% of my matches, sitting 5th, so may play another season, in Europe, and on SS level, and see how it behaves. If it kicks up more bullshit, I’ll be all over FIFA 18 immediately.

    The wife bought me a spanking new space grey MacBook Pro with the glass Touch Bar (which is a thing of beauty and genius) for xmas, so not going to taint the amazing performance by messing about with any type of windows bootcamp or other, so if the blog shifts towards pc based playing of 10 year old eps games, then I will wish you fun and look in from afar.

    I do have the below to tinker with though:


    A quick summary,
    PES5: Absolute bare bones, and no ML mode, plus only a zoomed in camera angle so you can’t see hardly any players in order to build attacking moves, pretty unplayable.
    PES6: Feels and looks exactly like PES 5, has a slightly zoomed out camera, and a ML Mode
    PES 11: More camera angles,and a ML Mode, slight difference from PES 5 and 6
    PES12: graphically refined, better camera angles, ML Mode

    Based on that I’ll probably go with PES 12 for my retro PES fix.
    My only issues are that the PSP didn’t come with a memory card so currently can’t save any games, one is on order so should be here soon, and the PSP is very uncomfortable to hold and play PES with, not ergonomic at all, parts of the console dig into my hands, which annoys me, but will do me during lunch breaks for now.

  31. Paul – I remember the buildup to the PSP launch very well, and then the long wait for PES to appear on it… and then PES5 on PSP remains one of the biggest anti-climaxes of my gaming life. PES2008 is the best PES I played on PSP. Your hands will get used to it. Unless you’ve been Donald Trump all along?!

    My FIFA17/PES2018 drama isn’t even nearly over yet.

    The chance of the blog going over to PC emulated PES is only about 20%.

    The space grey MBP sounds divine. My last Mac was 3-4 years ago now, and still silver. I occasionally look at black Macbooks on eBay from 2008 or so.

    Darryl – a proper rigorous PES with proper rigorous PES values would carry any type of Master League, from a homebrew pen-and-paper one on up. Alas, when PES takes a turn for the FIFA, Master League needs to be a whole lot more than it is. Otherwise, why not just play FIFA? (Answer: because the gameplay is still x% better on PES. But that ‘x’ value is a whole lot lower than it ever was before.)

  32. NG, I may pick up 2008 on PSP, CEX have it in for 80p.

    a few ML goals I’ve bagged over the last 2 seasons.

  33. Thanks for the recommendation NG – got a toshiba 500gb drive and it was all done in 20 mins – ps4 for me, hdd for the Lego library.

    500gb…dear me, I remember clearly being on holiday in Devon when my dad read out the advert for the zx81. He must have missed the zx80 and we passed over its successor for the spectrum but that ‘1kb of memory’ remains a reference point.

  34. Paul – I would pick any other from 2011-14 over 2008, since there’s only one stadium in the game. Also, PES5/6/2008 on the PSP lags a lot in corner/free kicks, or whenever there are lots of players in a small area. I don’t know if you play BaL but there’s another feature you won’t get with 2008.

  35. Thanks Orlando.
    I’ll be going with PES 2012, my PSP memory card is due to arrive today so that will keep me going during lunch breaks.
    I’ve also got the PS4 working on the Vita and Macbook through remote play so can have a few games of PES 18 in bed too.

    Just seems no one is remotely interested in PES anymore, and its only just over 3 months / 12 weeks since release, never known it this bad.
    W E N B website/forums has been down for weeks before xmas, just tried it and still get the same SQL crash error, seems no one is interested in fixing it either.

    The only people that are interested are a handful of online myclub streamers.

  36. Paul — I believe WENB Forums go down most years around Xmas-New Year. It’s a cheap way of giving the moderators the time off. It’d be more straightforward just to put up a ‘Closed for Christmas’ notice, but that’s the way they choose to do it.

    I think people are more bothered about PES than ever. Those of us who revere PES are rather frantic about it and thinking about it a lot. No-fouls, low individuality, and sweet mother of God those atrocious backheels — Adam’s oft-repeated excuse of ‘some people like it like that’ has just got to go. Why do those people get to decide the fate of PES? It seems that they do, and it’s a disgrace.

    I’ll save it for Friday’s post, but when you see Hull string 5 or 6 backheel passes together in midfield, you know this isn’t PES. When an entire half of football can pass without a single stoppage in play, it’s not PES. But ‘some people like it like that’, so we’re not allowed to complain.

    I’ll put it out there now: anyone who can defend the backheels in PES2018 is not now and never has been a true PES fan.

  37. NG – well it looks unprofessional and sloppy, the site is barely moderated anyway.
    Must be me then that’s completely ambivolent about PES now, too many years of hype, false promises and never delivering, if PES 19 is astoundingly good, i’ll buy it, if its not, i wont, easy as that.

    Your comments above amuse me, as I spent a fair amount of time asking how anyone that considers themselves a true football fan, can enjoy, or even put up with, or commend the type of AI that allows weak teams and poor players to backheel 30 yards in laser guided fashion, play like Barcelona, when they are Burton, intricately lob pass, control and volley shots from 30 yards + repeatedly….. and I was told, by you most vocally, that you enjoy the challenge and this was the type of AI that we need in a football game.

  38. Paul — then we’ve been speaking at cross-purposes about the AI all this time. My regard for the PES2018 AI is all about the overall challenge it offers, the way it can fashion the types of goals it never was able to score in PES2016 and PES2017, and yes the way it shuts us out when trying to get past those damn catenaccio defences. In this aspect it is the AI we must have in a football game. Where it fails badly is in the no-fouling and the backheels, and yes, the fact that every team is pretty much the same. /Cut past you saying ‘but that’s pretty much the entire AI condemned right there!/ Not at all. You and I both have extracted much value and enjoyment from PES2018 — the no-fouling, low-individuality and goddamn backheels only assume monster proportions after several seasons of ML.

  39. you cannot seperate parts of the AI and classify them differently to make amends for them, thats ridiculous.
    The AI is absolutely how the COM makes decisions and chooses to play in order to attack and to defend, the identikit play styles, player movement in a fussbal table like fashion, the backheels, etc are all an intrinsic part of the AI, its how the COM plays, all encompassing, and my point was that so many aspects of it are unrealistic, broken, poorly implemented and repetitive that the overall AI is a shambles, and it is, 80% of the time.

  40. I certainly can separate parts of the game engine and assess them differently. No-fouls and the backheels, to take the two most prominent examples, are features of the game engine rather than elements programmed-in for the AI. This is why we’re talking at cross-purposes, with different takes on what the AI is. I enjoy much of the PES2012-style challenge that the PES2018 AI offers. It all goes to shit when we have no-fouls and 100mph ruler-straight backheels, on both sides, human and AI, so these aspects are not an AI problem per se, but a game engine one. It’s the same for the players who never play the AI. ‘Some players like it like that’ is the way Konami choose to parry any criticism. Yes, but they’re not PES players. They’re just gamers.

    PES2018 is the great watershed moment. The PES that showed me that PES is really in the past. PES2013 (or 14 or 15, depending on taste: most PES fans will be somewhere in the 3) was the last gasp of a great series.

    There’ll be no PES2019 round my gaff.

  41. This would appear to be the perfect point to say that I am off FIFA 17 and back playing the no-frills/fouls/penalties/injuries, back-heels galore (although I weirdly barely notice them) PES 2018 ML. There I said it.

  42. Not many backheels in PES2011 3DS, although Di Vaio did a brilliant (genuine) bicycle kick yesterday, the first time I have seen that animation. Still, season 4 finishes with WE United rock bottom of D2 once more. There must be some way of succeeding in this game and I am determined to find it!

  43. The game engine as you labelled it is just the framework within which the AI is coded.
    Ball Physics, Animations, The 3d environment, the player models, the container for the AI …… thats all the game engine.
    The way the COM teams behave, their positional play, the spaces they move in to, runs they make, the types of passes they choose, how aggressively they press, attack, and how they contain and defend is all the AI, the coded mechanics which stipulate how the teams behave, all AI – that all takes place by triggering the subsequent and appropriate animations which is the game engine.

    AI –> Decisions made —> Animations triggered –> Outcome

    Backheels, The positioning, and robot like strict lines of formation, the repetitive attacking sequences …… all driven by the AI code ….. which operates within the game engine, they are 2 distinct seperate entities.

    The core game engine is superb, it allows for some realistic and superb play, fluid animations and lifelike results, however the AI is so badly coded that 80% of the time, the outcome is an unrealistic, repetitive mess.

  44. Paul – you have a very broad definition of AI in gaming. Analogy from chess AI: the way the pieces move (e.g. bishops moving diagonally) is part of the ‘game engine’ of chess. Not the AI. What the AI does with the pieces is all that the AI is. So if a chess AI for whatever reason loved its bishops too much and started zooming them all over the board willy-nilly, we could still never say that ‘bishops moving diagonally’ is part of the AI. The AI’s overuse of bishops is. I like this analogy. I don’t think you will, as you do see the whole picture as the AI, which I don’t and never will.

    Similarly in PES, the backheels are not an element of AI per se, and I don’t agree that they could be considered so. They are instead part of the game engine. Overuse, yep, sloppy AI programming, but the fact they’re in the game in the first place is the key. This ain’t Pro Evo anymore. It’s something else – a PES-FIFA hybrid that doesn’t fully please either camp.

  45. You’ve dumbed down the analogy to support your argument.
    Actually having a fundamental knowledge of game design and how the game engine and AI is coded and how they interlink is where I’m coming from.

    Obviously we will not agree on this, the fundamental fact is whether backheels are deemed part of the AI or not, i slated this continuously and stated that how PES plays, was poor, and you and others said, it was the challenge we needed.

    We obviously have different expectations, on what we want from a football game, and how it should work.

    probably best to leave it there.

  46. Started my FIFA 18 career last night, and the first thing that hits you is the number of ways you can play FIFA without going online. Career mode as manager or player, The Journey, and FUT. The last one is interesting this year as they have added daily and weekly objectives to keep rewarding offline play. Maybe EA are considering a conversion rate to online, but either way it’s more offline options for me.

    Cardiff City in the Championship for anyone interested. Poor squad and not much money. I’ll be looking at free agents and loans for sure.

  47. Paul – a good analogy in any discussion clearly defines what one person is thinking so others can see if we’re talking at cross-purposes or not. I’m coming from a position of a solid layman’s overview of AI in general, only partly in game design admittedly (I’ve tended to read up on General AI). The things in an environment – such as a game – that the AI uses are not considered part of the AI as such. This is not dumbing down, it’s defining terms. Backheels are part of the game engine, like shot strength and so on. The frequency and context with which AI deploys backheels (and whether or not the AI gets secret bonuses on things like shot strength etc., as we all suspect) most certainly is part of the AI.

    I can see how you say ‘but that’s part of parcel of the AI’, as in I seem to be making a fussy technical distinction. That’s as much agreement on this as we’re ever going to have. But why does there have to be agreement at all? Disagreement is better! It’s not as if the future of PES is at stake. PES has no future as PES. It’s a hybrid multiplayer FIFA knock-off now. PES only has the past.

    The overall tenacity of the AI is what we needed (a turn of phrase that seems to have gloriously irked you; I imagine you mumbling it at odd moments, your fists clenching). You must remember how the AI collapsed after a few seasons in previous years, a few PESes excepted. I’d take a PES2018 or a PES2012 or a PES5 AI, complete with all the problems that each had, over any other football gaming AI that has ever existed.

  48. The frequency and context with which AI deploys backheels (and whether or not the AI gets secret bonuses on things like shot strength etc., as we all suspect) most certainly is part of the AI..


    A backheel is an animation in its purest form, that is absolutely part of the game engine.
    As you have said yourself above, the frequency and context with which the backheels are used by the COM, is driven by the AI, again as you agreed above.
    Therefore when every player regardless of stats, and ability, can perform a 30 yard backheel pass, with regularity, every game, multiple times per game, that is poor AI.
    Which was my point and what I was saying all along.

    Chris99 – I'd be interested to see how your Cardiff FIFA 18 career progresses, post some videos and updates, will wet the whistle until I start FIFA 18 in a few weeks.

  49. I would if I knew how to. All I do know is that progress will be slow as I only play when my wife is at work and the kids have gone to bed. Next installment will be Friday.

  50. Also very curious about your progress Chris99. Did you play fifa 17?

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