You wait months for one free kick…

FIFA17 lasted about half a Career Mode season. I played across several sessions from just before Christmas, to the morning of New Year’s Eve. That night, after the bongs were done, of course I had to wait for the world to go quiet and go to sleep before I could. And I spent the first couple of hours of 2018 playing… PES2018.

With huge enjoyment. With relish. With… humility?

It really does take FIFA to show me that we still have something worthwhile in PES, on the pitch – albeit only relatively worthwhile.

No PES game since PES2012 IMO has really been great in the classic PES sense. (Most of us will pick different end-points. There would be strong arguments to support the likes of PES2011, PES2013, even PES2014 or PES2015 as being the Last Gasp of PES. PES2012 for me was the one that rung out the old and rang in the new. PES2014 is a tempting pick, but that game was an outlier for other reasons.)

But it’s not all doom and gloom! Here are some highlights from across those first few sessions after the turn of the New Year.

Highlights of the highlights: not one but TWO goals direct from free kicks in shooting range. They came in back-to-back sessions. These free kicks would be taken on the forums as convincing proof of secret unannounced patches etc, but of course they’re just a statistical cluster, and having scored the first I fancied my chances with the second. I have barely had any free kicks since, and certainly no goals from them.

Also watch out for a goal reminiscent of Gary Lineker’s second goal vs Poland in the 1986 World Cup.

PES2018 is not shit.

From now on I’ll play PES2018, without further interruptions, through to its conclusion. That likely means at least another couple of seasons of Master League. Then I’ll take the PES2018 disc out of the PS4, put it away in its box, and pretty much forget it ever existed. Just like its two predecessors.

The problem with FIFA17? There wasn’t really a problem. As ever with me and FIFA, it’s a question of timing. Picking up FIFA pre-Christmas, while I still have an active unfinished Master League going on, was bad timing.

There’s a strong chance of me returning to FIAF17 in the future. Note that I haven’t said ‘before the end of the footy game year’, i.e. before September-ish. For me there are no more ‘footy game years’! I won’t be part of PES2019 (or FIFA19).

PES2019 will doubtless offer more of the same that we’ve seen in the series on the PS4 so far (PES2015 honourably excepted).

I won’t be there to see it. No fouls, no individuality. Those goddamn 30-yard 100mph backheels – Exhibit #1 in the case against nuPES.

I can now get on with the rest of my Master League. One of the great reliefs of deciding not to bother with PES2019 is not having to endure any more of these shite Master Leagues. It’s because I love Master League so much that I don’t want any more to do with any new versions of it after PES2018.

Look at this utterly ridiculous financial situation:

Master League would be better off being scrapped before they really do drive it off a cliff. Maybe that’s their plan. Contrast Konami’s neglect of Master League with EA’s remarkable commitment to Career Mode and other offline modes (The Journey etc). Online multiplayer has effectively destroyed Pro Evolution Soccer. PES2018 is another stage in the series’ decline as a whole.

Who would have thought we’d end up today where we’ve ended up?

I said it wasn’t all doom and gloom, and it’s not. I’ve been playing PES2018 with solid enjoyment, and there’s more to come. No, it’s not the consistent glorious rapture of PESes past, but it’ll do.

Updated: 5th January 2018 — 10:10


  1. Turf – Do you mean a fielder’s helmet whilst being worn? If so I was aware of that being any different to it bouncing off a close fielder’s chest or shin pad, or the wicket keeper’s gloves. And to answer what will no doubt be Paul’s next question, yes I am discounting the ball getting stuck in the helmet’s grill.

  2. Yes, indeed, a ball rebounding off a fielders helmet can not be claimed as a fair catch, all other parts of the body are fine. And as Paul would no doubt like to remind us there is a 5 run penalty should the attempted steer down to third man/fine leg hit the abandoned helmet behind the stumps.

    No such thing as ‘too early in the game’ or ‘he has to apply common sense’ in cricket although the use of some of the technology is starting to look silly. Snicko is a farce.

  3. I’ve played in more than one game where the five run rule was also to be applied should the ball hit the slip fielders’ pint glasses.

    As Paul is no doubt about to point out, I believe the ball is dead if it bounces back and gets wedged in the batman’s pads.

  4. Wait a second guys, is there a way to do all of those things in older PES games? Now I understand why I am so bad at them…

    NG: did you ever play Fifa 15 on PC or PS4? I have been playing for a couple of days, 6 minutes matches, with fouls from AI in every single game. Not only that, I already had two penalty kicks and several yellow cards for the AI, including a red card. PES is still better, but this Fifa is surprisingly good. Maybe you can find a copy in the usual places for PC.

  5. JS Hutt – I certainly did play FIFA15 (on PS4) and covered it quite extensively on the blog, and constantly hark back to it as maybe the best FIFA for me since FIFA08, maybe the best FIFA full stop. Here’s my faux-review of FIFA15.

    Wait a second guys, is there a way to do all of those things in older PES games?

    All what things? If you’re following up on Paul’s list of R2 controls, there’s no official support for some of the effects he lists, but most are legitimate. First touch, close control, and defensive shielding all definitely work with R2, as does the most important one – finesse shooting. The effectiveness of R2 shooting varies from edition to edition, and even the button-press order. In PES2012 for example, you had to press R2 after the shoot button, which was a perversion of how it should be.

  6. NG: whops, I missed that part on your blog. After playing several seasons on Fifa 17 on Xbox one, I think 15 is better, even in my crappy laptop that only runs it in the lowest possible settings.

    About the controls, I will need to practice those. But I missed the days when controls were much easier. I still remember when my parents bought me my first console ever: nintendo NES. The directional pad and only 4 buttons: A, B, select, start.

  7. You are a funny pair Chris & Turf …… however as you probably guessed, your pisstaking doesn’t bother me as I have less than zero interest in Cricket or anything Cricket related, as you were.

    R2 controls are as legitimate and as fact in older PES games as the session to session swing is in any PES game.

  8. Chris99 – local rules Chris, same consideration can be given to trees within the boundary, etc, you won’t find them in the laws but agreement between captains and umpires makes them allowable.

    Paul would of course be quite right about the dead ball, but interestingly…if it was stuck in the keepers pads it could be claimed as a catch. One rule that was drummed into me during the umpire training course was you wait for the appeal before giving anyone out. Should they not request an owzat then you do not offer a decision. Usually immaterial when I was batting and a stump was lying flat on the ground.

    Is it possible that someone on here never got the hang of the bowling action and endured a miserable time at his Marlborough public school, hence the anti cricket feeling?

  9. Turf – Canterbury used to have a tree on the pitch I believe. I’ve been umpiring on a couple of occasions when a bowler has turned around and howled “why haven’t you given him out?”, to which my reply, as you pointed out, was “because you haven’t asked”.

    Notice despite his protestations Paul capitalised Cricket, such is his reverence for the game.

  10. I was actually pretty decent at Cricket when at school, a state secondary school, and was asked to play for the school Cricket team, but declined, as its so irritatingly boring, I chose to captain my school Football team and play for the basketball team instead, as well as the athletics team, where I went on to represent my County, finishing the 100m Sprints in only 2.2 secs slower than the current world record at the time, just under 12 secs.

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