The Pest from the West

A few big matches against the big teams, with lots at stake, and results worked hard for, and I’m in a good place with PES2018 in its final season.

A match versus Liverpool, at Liverpool, saw me put into place my new ‘Arsenal rule’ for playing against big clubs in PES2018.

I know it’s more like the Myth of Arsenal these days, but if you let them have the ball in PES2018, they’ll keep it and you will make yourself unhappy while trying to get it back. So my ‘Arsenal rule’ is that I keep the ball. That’s it. Even if I’m not really doing anything with it. Squandering possession on daring raids and speculative through-balls and crosses is a no-no against the Arsenals of PES2018.

I observed the Arsenal rule against Liverpool in this match, and ran out an easy 4-1 winner, with a hat-trick from my Classic Ronaldo (the Brazilian one, who gloriously looks nothing like the original).

A few posts ago it looked like the title was way out of reach, but a few results for me means that the teams above me have slipped – of course they have – and now look at this table. I’m 7 points behind. With 10 matches to go I could easily overhaul the leaders. Will the game let me do it?

It might, you know. The situation is complicated by the fact that I’ve played the key 6-pointer against Man City, and it only ended 1-1, so there’s no opportunity for me to put a dent in their armour.

If I can keep my current form going, I stand a chance, that’s all I know.

And I am still in the FA Cup and of course the Champions League.  I’m in the semi-final of the FA Cup, Shakhtar Donetsk are first up in the knockout round of the Champions League. A very unlikely Treble might be on. I’ll be disappointed not to win something in my final season.

I’ve decided to do my End of Year Review of PES2018 immediately after I finish up Season 8. It makes sense, as there are no more Years for me in PES. August/September time will be just like any other time.

In my End of Year review of PES2018 I’ll be giving the game two separate scores. One score will consider the game as the generic, market-friendly, Western-facing, FIFA-style football game that it undoubtedly is, and it will be a pretty good score. The second score will consider it as a PES game, and will be a pretty low score. The second score will of course be PES2018’s real score, but I’m not churlish enough to deny that the first score still means something. Times change, and PES has changed with them. I’ve accepted it.

When will the end come? With 10 league matches remaining, and still being in two Cups, I’m thinking it’ll be closer to mid-March now.

Updated: 27th February 2018 — 11:17


  1. Good Luck NG, I hope you don’t even get half of the complete f*ckery I experienced in my run-in to the champions league quarters and FA Cup semi final.

    I honestly cant put into words how disgusted I am with what the game does, where suddenly every stat means nothing, and all the hard work you have put in is pre-decided before the game even begins, I was played, I wasn’t playing the game. The results were beyond my control, that’s not what I want from a football game.

    Will look forward to reading about your run-in and season climax, I thought I was on for a near guaranteed treble, maybe even quintuple, the game thought otherwise.

  2. Paul – now I’ll be on the lookout for it, and playing ‘Arsenal rules’ from the start in every match.

  3. I’ve played three games back now – a 3-2 loss to Leicester, a 0-0 with palace and a 3-2 win against dinamo zagreb. I’m mid table, mid Europa group, mid everything really. With a team of morata, bale, Kane, Barkley et al I can honestly say I have one individual, one player who genuinely acts differently (bale in particular is a crushing disappointment, he offers nothing over any generic wide player). That man is of course peter crouch. And that individuality is purely his height. I think it’s time for konami to just stop doing this, it’s truly sad to see how little variety there is now.

  4. I didn’t find keeping possession in an overly cautious way helped at all NG, because I was dominating the matches, creating 4 times as many chances, but my CF’s, who had scored 28 and 26 goals respectively suddenly couldn’t finish from 3 yards out, guaranteed goals were suddenly hitting the posts, shots from 6 yards were being saved in miraculous manner by the GK, absolute nailed on fouls were just let go, Lukaku was outmuscled in every match by much weaker players, my players passing we totally nerfed in the COM’s final third, 5 yard sideways passes going to the wrong player, or being cut out every time…

    It’s just a disgrace. I’m all for the latter stages of competitions being difficult and having an extra (false) layer of challenge associated with them, but not like this, bump the level up behind the scenes from TP to Superstar for Title run-ins, and Champs League KO stages, but just don’t completely cheat and take away the fate of the match from the player in such a crude and awful manner.
    Its literally undone the last 9 seasons of work for me, as I have now ditched the game without a proper finish.

  5. Paul: I know what you mean with that kind of cheating. PES 2016 has it too. As I called it in a post months ago, those are the Gandalf games, because the AI shouts at you: you shall not pass!!!!

    I wonder, what do you gentlemen do with old PES games? I mean nuPES games. Do you keep them or do you sell them once you are done with them?

  6. Nearing the end now NG. Would probably be best if you leave 2018, and with it NuPES on a high note so hope the Paul-style fuckery does not come to fruition.

    As for me the fuckery is well and truly present (not yet to the degree Paul describes though) and found myself wondering yesterday – after multiple very dubious matches that had me grinding my teeth in annoyance – how long I should allow for this to get to the “good part”. The answer is not one second longer : I’ve decided to suspend pes for now and start a fifa career mode. I’ve always wanted to give fifa a proper go – was close to it a few times recently – and now is as good a time as any. I will revisit pes later (with a slight sliver of hope that the pc side of things will provide me with a gameplay patch of some kind), but for now it’s a no-go area for me. The lack of care for single player really is very apparent, mostly and annoyingly so in the difficulty levels which are lazily designed to say the least.

  7. #1 – Its such a shame because despite all the flaws, I was was thoroughly enjoying PES 18 for the last 2 seasons, had built a real affinity with my team, and was looking forward to ending a turbulent PES year on a high with a few trophies and good memories, but the game just wouldn’t allow it, it imploded at the 12th hour.

    All the fuckery was bad enough, but once that league table thing happened, and it did happen i promise, not some wild over-exaggerated claim on my behalf, Man City were actually ‘gifted’ 5 pts out of nowhere to leapfrog me from 2nd (2pts behind) to 3 pts ahead of me, then subsequently did not lose a single game for the next 14 games, I knew that whatever I did was not going to change things, the destiny of my season wasn’t down to my ability with the game but just down to how much the game wanted to screw me over, at that point, I was done.

    I shall be starting a FIFA 18 career at the weekend. Think I’ll go with Newcastle, a big club who has seen better times, and try to restore some faith to the Geordie massive. Plus its a nice looking stadium to play in, because we actually have real stadiums in FIFA, not 60,000 capacity euro bowl dome number 64 for every team as in PES.

    I’ve got a few goals saved up so will get an end of season video out and that will be my line in the sand with PES as a series, I’m on NG’s boat now, PES19 will have to be something drastically different to make me consider a purchase.

  8. JS Hutt – I’m the proud owner of a physical copy of every ISS and PES game from ISS on PS1 through to PES2018 on the PS4. Anybody who doesn’t have ’em all is crazy.

    I was just thinking this morning about whether PES2016/17/18 really belong on the same shelf with the others. They don’t, of course. They’re a breed apart, and not in a good way. Still good games, but history took a left-turn roughly in the PES2015-16 zone. I’m thinking of separating them from the others. As there’ll be no PES2019 or after, with my amateur historian hat on I’ll consider PES to have lasted from ISS1 to PES2015.

    Uncle Turf – I remember getting Messi for the first time in any PES in PES6(360) and it was a wonder. Which is why I have to kill nuPES and have it no more in my life. The emptiness of your Bale in PES2018 is how I see pretty much 98% of all players in the new PES games. I have to go back to proper PES before the nuPES (low) standard becomes my norm, which it could do as they’re not bad games per se.

  9. #1/Paul – shame the scripting fairy got you both in similar ways there, and that you leave PES2018 on something of a sour note. I think I’ve got maybe 3 or 4 sessions left before the end and have my fingers crossed to leave on a good note. No PES2019 is a scary prospect. This annual routine has been part of my life since 2002, when I treated myself to a PS2 and caught up with ‘live’ releases, so to abandon a 16-year tradition is no small feat. But I’ve accepted the truth.

  10. It’s only tradition because you enjoyed it NG, if the product is no longer to your liking then that tradition obviously doesn’t have to continue.
    We will all miss the obligatory thumb shot though.

  11. Just read the linked article and it’s a very good analysis of the nitty-gritty of why players aren’t individuals in PES any more. It’s down to a hierarchy of gameplay decisions that prioritises balance (in the gameplay sense, not the skill sense). There are so many factors overriding stats, and smoothing all the players out to the same grey paste, that individuality now comes in flashes here and there, not in a continuing, purring sequence as of old.

  12. Paul – I absolutely believe you on that table cheating part. I’ve seem some outlandish shit last year similar to what you’re describing.

    Also NG / Paul – I’m not necessarily leaving the game on a sour note but rather sampling fifa before it gets to that. I’m 100 percent revisiting pes 18 sooner or later. I’m now in the “mildly annoyed” phase. If I would’ve abandoned the game in one of my “states” then it would have been a different story.

  13. #1 – You’ve done well then.
    I was at the end of season 9 so probably the build up of all the little niggles over so many seasons, then followed by a purple patch, only to have it come crashing down with the league table manipulation fiasco was the final straw.
    Whats the point in putting all those hrs into the game, building a squad, to challenge for titles when, you finally get to that point, 5 months of work, then the game handicaps you and cheats you out of what you have worked for?!
    There was no way I could carry on after that.

  14. Just experienced that Thundersnow that sounds epically Norse and doom-laden. It was really impressive! We’ve got about 20cm in parts so it’s a full house of no one leaving for anywhere today, I’m being forced to play minecraft instead of pressing on with the Albion.

  15. Paul – that 5 points thing is a strange one. When you look through the season results do they not now correlate with Man City’s points tally, or did the game change those too?

  16. We had a proper snowfall in mid-December here and that was enough for me this winter. The Midlands has dodged the bullet this time so far but I think there’s a proper dumping of snow coming tomorrow/Fri, and I could really do with it staying away.

  17. We’ve been having snow flurries here in Milton Keynes for the last 2 or 3 days on and off, a few heavy spells, then a spattering, ground is currently covered in it, probably 3 inches or so, and its still going.
    We rarely ever get any here because MK is in a kind of bowl so it usually just blows over.

    Abbeyhill – I just know 110% that I was 2pts ahead of City, I looked at the table specifically, then we won the next match and City drew, meaning I should have now been 4pts ahead of them, looked at the table right after the match and somehow they had suddenly gained 5pts and were now ahead of me.

    I haven’t gone back and tallied up ever result of theirs to make sure the sum of points equates to what it is saying, I should NOT be having to do that in a footy game.
    The fuckery and cheating/scripting is one thing, but when the league table gets fraudulently changed to handicap me, that the end point right there.

  18. Paul – maybe Man City had a few games in hand and squeezed them in midweek?

    A ‘red warning’ of snow in central Edinburgh and our office is being closed amid much drama-queenery. Still barely a centimetre lying on the pavement outside

  19. Abbeyhill, I did think that at first but doesn’t add up – 2 points behind me, we play the next match, they draw, I win, then immediately after that match they are ahead of me??? just a complete ballsup.
    Either a bug or the worst most in your face scripting ever seen.

    Just watched a video on youtube of a FIFA 18 Newcastle career match, vs Huddersfield, the proper Kirklees Stadium, proper adboards, several free kicks, a player limping off after pulling up with an ankle injury, 2 great goals, and Huddersfield (COM) throwing everything forward in the last mins to snatch a goal, and superb commentary …. really whetted my appetite now, the level of attention to detail will be overwhelming coming from a baron desert that is PES.

  20. Abbeyhill – that’s London-like behaviour. The only problem round here is that the council has put all its efforts into clearing the main roads and no one can get to them. If we were Scandinavian we’d have probably organised a collective shovel-in to clear it. We all just stuck the telly on instead.

  21. Still waiting for snow down here. Did anyone watch the FA Cup replay last night? There was a bloke in the crowd with no shirt on.

  22. Paul – looking forward to the same. Just played an exhibition snow match yesterday. Amazing atmosphere, loved it. Think I’m going with Brighton. Hull City were my first pick but I’m thinking it’ll be too much of a slog.

  23. A good run has seen my Cardiff team go top by a point with 7 games left (I think). A nice variety of goals including a nice one where the keeper came out to punch a cross only to be beaten to it in the air by my CAM.

  24. I wonder if there any social scientists anywhere specifically studying ‘snow hysteria of the 21st Century’. I remember the 1970s and 80s vividly, which of course featured winters like this one every year. I don’t recall people – the people around me, just regular, everyday people – being so convulsed by obsessive anxiety about snow and cold as they definitely are today. My office of mostly middle aged and older people all go apeshit-crazy at the rumour of snow, and become almost shaking and foaming at the mouth at the sign of the stuff. You can’t help but be affected yourself. It’s the madness of crowds. Everyone panics so you have to too. What’s the cause? Do we have more to lose these days, or is it more ubiquitous media enabling discussion of ‘what could happen’, causing hysteria??

    Managed to get a few matches in on PES2018 last night. Very near the end now! Maybe 3 more posts and I’ll be done.

  25. I don’t know the answer either but I think the media certainly stokes any initial concern – look at some of the ridiculous ‘even London was in the grip of winter’ reports featuring a bit of fog over the London eye and what looked like a dusting of icing sugar on the pavement. We now have better cars, mobile phones, a less remote geography and yet my dad would have thought nothing of firing up the Vauxhall viva in this and heading off to work. Footage of the 50s is even better – sheep farms under ten foot of snow and an outrageous stoicism. Perhaps it’s the dwindling memory of wartime and genuine environmental hardship?. I think one issue is the increase in traffic. Back then you probably had the road to yourself but a lot of folk this week seem to have been caught out because of someone up ahead running into problems.

    Saying that I’ve just cleared our path and it’s f’in freezing. No way I’m going anywhere.

  26. It can only be rolling news hand-in-hand with its evil twin, the Internet. It’s no wonder that whenever any country invades another these days (sadly not as common as it was), top of the invader’s capture list is all the media outlets, because it doesn’t matter how you try to duck and weave and evade the truth, media in every form is effectively mind control.

    ‘Back then’ we only had two or three half-hourly news bulletins per day across two channels. The news cycle only ever briefly touched on weather, and weather forecasts were in front of a cardboard display with stick-on symbols. Cut to today and there is ‘rolling news’ with exotic scary animations of weather fronts, etc. Rolling news makes weather a special thing when it never used to be. The last week at work has been a chorus of what different people have seen on different media sources. Thirty years ago ‘the beast from the east’ wouldn’t have had a news-friendly name, because there was no context in which it would have needed or acquired one, because weather was never a ‘special thing’. I’ve been hunting around for any studies of this, but there’s only the expected newspaper columnist-type ‘what is the world coming to!’ stuff, which is all part of the same phenomenon. The YouTube algorithm just showed me this from 8 years ago.

  27. Beast from the East or formerly known as winter. I totally agree with the comments about the media hysteria. I remember watching Sky News when there was the big panic regarding the hurricane hitting the Florida coast. I remember seeing a guy from Manchester being interviewed and him and some others from the UK had decided it would be a good idea to all go to a local community centre in the region to spend the night together holed up. When being interviewed he was a little disappointed and said he had witnessed windier days in Manchester. They cut away from him rather sharply. I think there has become a general dissatisfaction with our every day lives that people are kind of hoping for some kind of doomsday scenario and the scaremongering over the weather feeds into this.

  28. Darryl – I remember all the major UK networks parachuting their staff into Florida for that one, and the absurd sight of Tomasz Schafernaker with his sou’wester hood up, doing the TV correspondent’s ‘hurricane shout’ into his microphone on a street where it wasn’t raining and a few of the trees were gently waving in a steady breeze. That was literally the most action he saw.

    I think the Doomsday Effect of rolling news/Internet actually comes the other way. There’s no desire for Doomsday and so the manufactured ones of pampered civilisation are an entertainment. If we do live to see the collapse of this civilisation, which could happen at any time for multiple reasons, it’ll be at least interesting to see how people cope.


    Not specifically weather but it’s the same idea (I haven’t read it myself).

    My particular bugbear of the moment is the increasingly low rent magaziney Bbc website leading with stories claiming ‘the question that’s baffling the internet’ or ‘the thing that’s sent the internet into meltdown’.

    A. You don’t mean the internet, you mean the web.
    B. The internet doesn’t possess feelings of befuddlement, confusion or heat.
    C. A few thousand people with nothing better to do have swapped messages about whether a dress is blue or not. A crisis it does not make.

  30. Cut scene?! No one told me there’s a pre-Derby cut scene. I normally don’t enter them but West Brom must have had one against wolves pre-noted (I never quite understand the rivalries of the midlands – villa/Birmingham I get, forest/Derby? Who is Leicester then? Forest again? If West Brom v wolves is one who’s is Coventry? West Brom again?) anyway, up I pop going round the dressing room in a manner I’d never dream of, fist shaking and the like. It failed to ignite messrs bale and morata, same old deadwood.

  31. Uncle Turf – ah, the Glasgow University media group, I remember reading their stuff in the library in the 1980s, with Noam Chomsky and Neil Postman – the latter’s ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ is a good introduction to how news moulds perception and why it’s Evil.

    Coventry don’t have a true derby opponent. The Villa are meant to be such, but only in Coventry’s fans’ minds. If it’s only in the minds of one side’s fans, it’s not really a derby in my eyes. I don’t hold to the view that mere geographical nearness automatically constitutes a derby whether the teams/fans acknowledge it or not. There has to be a tradition and a fierce consciousness of rivalry in both sets of players and fans. So West Brom-Wolves is a real derby, as is Forest-Derby, despite them being unlikely on the face of it (why not Forest-Notts County? etc.). Leicester don’t really have a derby. I think they one-sidedly look at Derby as their derby, but Derby have Forest for their, uh, derby.

  32. Leicester vs East Midlands Airport?

  33. Worked from home yesterday due to the snow, and as is obligatory, got in a little ‘break’ which I used as an opportunity to get a Newcastle Utd FIFA 18 career started.
    In my first 2 games these happened:

    A nice goal from Shelvey, Who I made captain, then in the next match he goes down awkwardly on his knee, and has to go off, an IN GAME INJURY!!!!!!
    He’s out for 8 weeks – SQUAD MANAGEMENT NEEDED!!!

    These are the things I have been looking forward to……. actually having to manage a squad and everything that comes with it.
    Enjoying thoroughly so far, the AI is a ton better, and the atmosphere and presentation of matches, the real stadiums, the banners, the crowd, and the chants, real proper name specific chants, crowds whistling in the final minutes, COM teams throwing everything forward when losing in the final mins…. Joy!!

    I will say that PES18’s player models and animations are better though.

  34. Paul – it does look and feel the business doesn’t it. Using community sliders or out of the box?

  35. #1 – Out of the box for now, will take a look at sliders soon but wanted to sample the core game play so i have something to compare it too.

  36. Paul – looks great and you sound properly enthused – and that’s a great camera angle. I’m looking forward to getting back to some proper PES long-rangers in due course too! And with PES no longer an annual thing, I have all the time in the world to explore the world of footy gaming, so FIFAs 17 and 18 are probably going to get a spin one day. I’m primarily heading back to the world of PES though.

    Sliders are a slippery slope, though, I have always found. Once you start tinkering with them, it’s like a countdown clock is started, and every day eats away at your confidence and belief in the game as it is, and so you adjust the sliders a bit more and a bit more, and then the countdown hits zero and the joy of the game is gone. So I have always found, anyway, no matter how delighted with the slider adjustments I am at first.

  37. NG – just nice to play an ‘actual’ career mode, and have things to do, really like the interactive transfer negotiations with agents and players too.
    And the crowd atmosphere really makes a huge difference to the experience, you don’t realise how immersive it is coming from PES that has none, to a game that has it in abundance.

    I agree about the sliders, if i do try them,m I’ll take a pre-defined set, say Matt10’s, and use them, if I dont like them, I’ll switch back to default, I won’t be tinkering as being caught up in an endless loop cycle of slider tinkering and not actually playing the game and focusing would be as bad as not playing at all.

  38. That Shelvey face looks nice in a kind of Frankenstein’s assistant kind of way. I’ve always found the PES faces to be a bit waxworky since they moved to the Fox engine.

    Eight weeks is an unlucky injury period. I’ve had a three month layoff, but that was a training injury to a 50 something player whose was never going to get near the pitch. All my in game injuries have been two weeks max.

    This could be a good reason to dip into the transfer market.

  39. Chris99 – I had Shelvey as capt and at AMF role with Slimani and new signing Vardy up top, this injury happened in a pre-season tournament match (where you dont have to win the league to be able to participate) so has scuppered my plans for the first 8 matches of the season.
    Already in the transfer market to bring in a replacement, in the interim I’ve pushed Matt Ritchie forward into AMF and put Perez in at DMF.

    In negotiations with Chelsea for Drinkwater, but so far he’s being a dick regarding Image rights and appearance bonuses, already tried the hard stance approach with another CMF who’s agent stormed out of the meeting labeling it a waste of his time!

  40. Apropos of nothing:

    Is there any PES players out there – casual, advanced, streamers on YouTube – who still plays PES the old-fashioned way and only chooses Master League original lineup when playing a ML?

    I have looked far and wide for a channel that tries to play PES the way I like to see it played. I’ve only found one, who I subscribed to years ago, and theprospartangamer no longer uploads videos.

    I get that people like to play with their favourite club players, but for me there is no greater PES challenge than to take the dross and has-beens, to world beaters and ballon d’ors. But I feel like I’m a dying breed and I fear that the option to use default players will be the next thing to go in Konami’s annual screw-up of PES.

    I recently lost a chunk of my squad during the last Konami update and had them replaced by the infuriating ‘player removed’ bug. My Scunthorpe season might as well have been ruined. I have no desire to go back and try to salvage anything from that amazing ML. I could go back to an earlier save and go completely off-line, but I just couldn’t be bothered.

    So I turned Internet off and started a new ML yesterday (my third of PES 2018, which NEVER happens). I decided for the first time ever in my PES life to go with my team in real life, Man Utd. It would have been so easy to go club lineup and have Pogba and Rashford and Martial (et al.) but where would the challenge have been?

    Instead, I went original lineup. Superstar to start. And I lost my first seven games — to my delight. Nothing quite like Master League Original Lineup to get the blood pumping.

    The day it’s no longer an option is the day I quit PES.

  41. Dan – we all use the Original default lineups here.

  42. Re. the sliders, I just use the Operation Sports one and never touch them again. I like the increased passing error that results from it (on both sides). Scored my first long ranger as well! Felt very PES-like, ironically.

  43. Paul – At Cardiff I signed a Portuguese CAM called Costinha that I can recommend. He’s done me proud all season, but I understand that half the fun is sending out the scouts.

  44. Paul – No, mate, I’m not ranting at you guys but at the lack of original lineup in PES YouTube channels.

    I pretty much figured everyone here played original lineup.

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