The thriller from Panilla against the Villa

At the risk of making the blog look like one of those Face-posting frenzies that the PES forums are so fond of – who is this player?

Yesterday I was capturing a replay for today (yes, I scored a goal and bestirred myself to record it). Whilst flicking through the players I saw this face, and thought a mini-quiz would be amusing.

So who is the gentleman pictured above? How well do we really know our PES, and the faces of some of the most familiar players in PES?

Answer is at the bottom of the post.

Another few matches, and it’s safe to say PES2011 is here to stay. I’ve passed the halfway point of Season 2, stocked up with a few more players, and let a few go. Bye-bye Ordaz and Gutierrez. In comes Oscar from the Youths. And Pinilla up front for a bargain £750k. Aduriz drops to the bench, having been so poor that I can no longer continue with him spearheading the attack.

Pinilla made his debut in a top-of-the-table 6-pointer against newly-relegated Aston Villa, who are top of the table by a long way.

Straightaway he felt different from Aduriz – better, stronger, faster, and with an actual booming shot on him, rather than the weak pat-a-ball shot that Aduriz more often brought to the table. Individuality in old-school PES often manifests itself in the form of players not being able to do things. It’s a core value of Pro Evolution Soccer. Sometimes, your players suck balls rather than kick them. Do we think this core PES value will ever make a proper comeback in Online Panini Simulator PES? Nope. Not ever gonna happen.

The game was a tepid goalless affair, with Pinilla getting in a few encouraging shots, and then it happened – a fine debut goal, which actually motivated me to get the phone out and record the replay for uploading.

No, not an especially noteworthy goal. A decent goal, yes, but only really a memorable goal because of the overall context: 1) me going for promotion in my second season, 2) the opponent being one of my promotion rivals, and 3) Pinilla very satisfyingly scoring on his debut.

Guess what happened from Villa’s kickoff. No, it wasn’t a literal straight-from-kickoff goal. but almost as good as. The AI suddenly woke up. The PES2011 AI is only really aggressive when it’s behind.

I resisted a couple of waves of seemingly unstoppable AI attacks, until Villa forced their equaliser from a corner that I was oddly unable to clear, despite having several chances to do so.

Ah, PES never changes in some ways.

The match ended 1-1, and it felt more like 2 points dropped than 1 secured.

I remain in the top 6, within easy touching distance of the promotion places. I would be in those promotion places right now but for that equaliser. I felt properly grumpy about it all day.

This is how I know PES2011 is here for keeps. When I pay this amount of attention to the table and feel this sore about it, it’s serious.

Now here’s the answer to the question at the start of the post:

The mystery man is RUSKIN, of course.

My sole remaining Default, and a true stalwart not just of PES2011, but of PES. We should have seen the end coming when they retired him and his mostly-useless colleagues.

Updated: 8th May 2018 — 11:24


  1. Probably as a MyClub evangelist. streaming your black ball sessions.

  2. abbeyhill – but my posts since the switch show I’m enjoying retro PES more than I expected to. The practical side of reverting to an older console aside, it’s been pretty much an emphatic win for truPES. The only chance that PES2019 has of seeing the inside of my PS4 is if it meets the 3-fouls-per-match criterion specified above.

  3. Paul – but they’re stopping black ball sessions! The maniacs! They blew it up! Damn them. Damn them all to hell… (for abbeyhill)

  4. nG – Looking forward to the thumb shot on 30th August 🙂

  5. The PR from Konami is just plain lazy as well. Take a look at the reveal from May 2017 last year:-

    “Elsewhere, PES League integration and the addictive Master League mode has been improved, featuring pre-season tournaments, an improved transfer system and pre-match interviews and locker room scenes”

    They have litterary copied it word for word from last year. How can anyone fall for this shit anymore? At least with Fifa the blurb basically says nothing new but at least they try to rehash it.

  6. Darryl, and parts of that PR was lies too. pre-season tournaments weren’t available unless you won the league. improved transfer system was actually broken, and pre match interviews and locker room cutscenes were literally just a small 300px x 300px still image in top right corner of the ML main hub screen.

    Sums Konami’s focus up really…..
    Some guy on Twitter tweeted Adam and said ‘Why are there hardly any changes to Master League ? you promised us it would be improved’ and Adam replied in a mocking manner telling him to go look on the PES 19 website, meaning the blurb that Darryl just mentioned, same as last year!!

    All hope is lost.

  7. Paul – Komani PR (Adam) would argue that all the elements promised were in PES 2018 as indeed they were in the insultingly shoddy way we experienced them.

    A couple more cutscenes/pics and a new font on the transfer negotiations screen would similarly see Konami live up to the blurb it has flopped out this week for PES 2019.

  8. Well at least it’s clear that the direction that Konami’s heading is no mystery anymore. Shite club for the win. Meanwhile I have stopped football gaming altogether for the time being. Fifa is throwing some very basic and irritating table scripting my way. As soon as I approach or get the top spot I’m nerfed. Both games show very basic layers of difficulty. Pes does it with the tiki taka nonsense and lethality in front of goal. Fifa reduces me to being a spectator with nothing much happening on the pitch. Just endless interceptions, lazy passing, players being barged off the ball with hardly any contact and these weird tempo changes which makes it looks like players are on a string. It makes for a very fiddly and iffy experience and I’ve lost all interest. Picked up farcry 4 where I left some years ago. Still a quality game, lends itself to being played casually which suits me fine at the moment.

  9. Chris99 – if I see proof of an average 3 AI fouls per match across 10 single-player matches between now and the end of August, the thumbshot will happen – on August 28th, of course, for all the Simply Games preorderers out there. I’ve literally just now this moment realised that I have not yet put my next-PES order in, and that I never will. This does make me wistful for an annual routine that is no more, but not sad. I have more than enough PES to keep me warm.

  10. Shed – well Their arguments would be incorrect, as the elements promised in PES 18 were not implemented correctly so were actually breaks to existing features.

    #1 – I’m not footy gaming currently either, playing Uncharted 4 as I’m halfway through and never finished it.
    I forgot how enjoyable it was, pick up and play, carry on the story, some mindless shooting action, mixed with a bit of stealth, some puzzles, and simplistic but fun in its execution, just what I wanted.

  11. Paul – az good a game as any to decouple from football gaming for a couple months. Pretty refreshing playing “normal” games right? Forgot how solid farcry 4 was as well. Been reading books as well. Solid tip for the Sci-fi fans among us: Dark Matter. Real page turner.

  12. #1 – I read that Blake Crouch book after seeing Wayward Pines, expecting more strangeness and was not disappointed. A great many-worlds/parallel lives thriller. For a more sedate, mind-bending take on the theme (sort of…): The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (Claire North).

    Best sci-fi novel I have ever read: A Fire Upon The Deep (Vernor Vinge). Space opera that you could stand a stick up in.

    Paul – how poignant, somehow, that there was a 1.2GB PES2018 patch today and the forums are barely talking about it. Those that are are saying that this time, definitely, for real, ball physics have definitely, really been tweaked. Definitely and for real.

  13. NG – I read that the patch only contained flags for some national teams or some such? Don’t know why that would amount to such a large patch but someone had a look into the files themselves over at evoweb if I’m not mistaken.

    Also – good tips on the books, will be having a look. Just to get a bit of an idea… The second book you mentioned ; comparable to the Dune series in scope / level of detail / storytelling or not at all?

  14. Didn’t even know there was a PES 18 patch, haven’t turned the PS4 on for a few days, can’t imagine its anything worthwhile though, Konami didn’t bother with any meaningful patches during the first 6 months of PES 18’s life, they aren’t going to be refining ball physics and the likes when they have a brand new game coming out in 3 months.

    A quick read of twitter has me in stitches, all the fanboys that criticise people for being overly negative about the reveal, but ironically over-gush about how the corner flag flutters and the lighting, and jack themselves off over a laminated copy of the visible fatigue system, the hyperbole must be some kind of blinkered infection.

  15. #1 – Survival!, Im not Abbeyhill 🙂
    I’m still on Fallout 4. Last night I discovered a junk yard fought an epic battle with high level mutants. When the dust settled I read the diary of a father who explained to his 5 + 7 year kids where the vault was if things kicked off. I found said vault in a upturned rail car.
    Inside 2 adult skeletons on a mattress embracing, a 10 mm pistol and at the back of the vault 2 shallow graves with a teddy and a baseball glove placed on top.
    I exited the vault and was greeted by the most fantastic rays of sunlight I’ve seen in a game. Its not very often a game gets to me but that was an experience.

  16. #1 – we might mean different things by Space opera, but I’d say yes, level of detail, depth of universe, ideas conveyed… The Zones of Thought series (of which Fire Upon The Deep is the first) has it all in bucketloads.

    Paul – version 1.07 of PES2018 definitely, really changes ball physics. Definitely and really. Really.

    EDIT: oh, and I see that the AI is more aggressive on Superstar now, after the patch. As ever, the placebo patchnotes are growing.

  17. Of course, recoding and re-animating the physics engine and changing code and testing to increase aggression from COM teams makes so much sense when you have a new title out in a few months, Konami, always supporting the user base, evolution indeed.

    I reckon most of these people are paid plants of Konami who’s job it is to continually praise and hype the game and paint the product in glowing light.
    They’ll be the ones who playtest the game against each other in fun, free flowing, non-stop matches come June/July.

  18. …and then seem comically taken aback when anybody asks them about single-player, as if the notion of playing a football game against AI is completely bizarre to them. Every year it’s the same. They think they’re doing us a favour by squeezing in a token single-player match at the end of the session, and this is the best that the core playmode of a computer game gets. This is the landscape where PES now exists.

  19. The biggest poke in the eyes with a diarrhoea dripping stick was that Bhatti, a confessed ML fanatic, who earlier stated that improving ML was going to be a high priority within his new role, seemed comically taken aback and astounded when someone questioned the ML ‘changes’ mentioned during the reveal, and then pointed them back to the website as if to say ‘look, there’s the changes to ML for 2019, what are you on about?!’

    MyClub gets a complete reinvention, whilst ML gets the same rehashed changes as last year, and nothing else, that’s the space PES is in now, if there was ever a clearer indication of Konami’s focus & priority, then this was it.

    I know we have known this for some time, but it still grates.

    Was watching Matt10L’s stream of PES 5 on youtube – was surprised how off and unnatural and unrealistic the PES 5 player movement and animations were, really horrible, like prancing chickens that go from a slow walk to Usain bolt speeds within a nanosecond, sharp, directional running paths, the ball bobbling everywhere and looking like it was being dragged through quicksand attached to a 300lb steel chain …..

  20. Paul – something happened to your last paragraph. All the letters and words seem to have been replaced with weird alien hieroglyphs. Sorry, but I just can’t read it.

    On a totally unrelated note, a football game is played, not watched. How it is while being played is how it is.

  21. Managed some shed time with PS2 PES 2011. Played a couple more friendlies and the group stage of a World Cup in my ongoing effort to earn enough PES Shop points to unlock what I need for a ML.

    Having played a few matches and got into some tactical tinkering, I have these observations:

    1. I had forgotten just how much tactics and formations matter in truPES. Playing as England, I had lost three friendlies in a row on Top Player but a change of set up made all the difference. The sad thing is I almost couldn’t be bothered at first, due to nuPES making such adjustments almost pointless.

    2. We have been totally and utterly robbed of player individuality in recent years. PS2 PES 2011 has this in bucket loads and it more than makes up for what it obviously lacks in graphics compared to nuPES. I’m already feeling the difference between Rooney and Heskey, Gerrard and Lampard, Terry and Upson and adjusting my approach to attacking and defending accordingly.

    3. PS2 PES 2011 mirrors it’s PS3 counterpart in terms of fouls. I’m averaging around three fouls per match in my favour. It’s nowhere near PES 5 levels – no game ever will be again.

    4. The shooting, passing and speed in this game is excellent. It’s all so well designed and contextual.

    5. Graphics aside, the match atmosphere in truPES is quite something. Rain adds that certain something to a match and the stadia feel different despite the basic crowd etc.

    6. THIS is the AI we need. Every team I’ve played so far has attacked and defended intelligently with even low ranked teams posing a real threat on the break. And this is with me playing as England. I’m bracing myself for a long, hard slog wth the defaults once I kick off a ML.

  22. Shed – totally agree. PES (and FIFA) have been made over in terms of online experiences first, single-player a long way second. The older games were the other way round, and they show it. It’s heartbreaking to see the individuality in the older PES games and compare it to now. I couldn’t say I’ve experienced individuality in any football game since PES2014. PES2015 had a nice helping of it (Crouch, Castolis etc), but even then it was on its way out. FIFA15 ditto. The developers have hit on the golden formula that keeps their revenues and bonuses inflated to where they need to be, and good luck to them. I’ve accepted and moved on. It’s fascinating watching the same process happening every summer now with the football games. It’s suddenly creepily obvious that summertime PES PR is largely a single-player disinformation campaign, intended to trick us once more, and it works, so why not.

  23. I knew you’d take offence at that paragraph NG, and yes, whilst its important in how the game feels whilst playing, it still has to look as good as it plays, having played PES 5 many times and always liking it, I was just miffed to step back and see how awful it actually looks nowadays.

    Shed – Looking forward to a game of PES 2011 on PS2.
    The Slim PS2 console, and the PS2 copy of PES11 and the memory card are all due to be delivered today.

  24. Paul – it’s like saying you watched Citizen Kane the other day and were disappointed/surprised to see all the characters wearing old clothes and driving around in old cars, and that it was in black and white! (Not a huge Citizen Kane fan myself, just picking it as an example.)

    Whenever I take PES5 out for a spin I’m always struck by its old-fashionedness in numerous ways (ditto PES2011 on PS3 as well), but never fail to be impressed how it hangs together and makes sense as a football game in a way few others do.

    For all the liquid animations and polygons and lighting and whatnot that the PS4 era in particular has brought us, what are we left with. The Fast and the Furious films are good films, but they’re not Citizen Kane. nuPES (and FIFA) are a decent set of footy games, no question about that, but they’re nothing like the princely estate of Golden and Silver Age PES. And PES5 is right there at the front of the pack, bearing the standard.

  25. I should probably expand on this, as all I meant was I was surprised to actually notice how aged PES 5 looks, nowadays, even back in the day of PES 5 those animations would not have looked realistic as human beings have never ran like that, let alone trained professional footballers, the physics, the animations and the way players show unnatural movements and speed variations is what I meant.

    You are quite right in that it was never that noticeable as the quality of the gameplay more than made up for it and you are so engrossed in the game that the aesthetics shortcomings didn’t show to any degree that actually mattered.

    The difference as again you rightly said between just watching the game be played and actually playing it.

    PES 5 is still the benchmark, undoubtedly, I was merely commenting on how ‘off’ it looks as a bystander in this day and age.

  26. Paul – I’m sorry, it’s too late now for me to recall the Terminators (plural).

    The PC version of PES5 is the only one I’ve played in recent years and the graphics and animations there are perfectly fine. If you ever do get set up on a PC with PCSX2, the graphical upscaling makes all the PS2 ISOs look like PS3.5-level graphics.

  27. One mitigating factor back in the day for pes5, in terms of aesthetics was of course also its counterpart in fifa which looked and moved decidedly worse.

  28. #1 – no mitigating factors should be introduced into the equation for PES5. Any perception of fault is a mistaken perception, because PES5 is its own self-contained cosmos and creates its own values.

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