Arice, Sir Rice

Just over a week into PES2019 and things are looking good – better than ever, in fact.

Is PES2019 the best PES of the PS4 generation? Ridiculously early to say so, but it feels so. If Konami can find it in themselves not to mess it up, maybe, just maybe.

Visual Fatigue has turned out to be an actual thing, albeit not quite in the way we were expecting. I assumed it would result in dramatic collapses on the pitch and enforced substitutions (which would still be nice to see, by the way). However, it seems to function more as a general background effect that influences gameplay in the latter stages of matches, or in a cumulative fashion after many matches. I like this and want more of it.

Fouls, too, are a thing – only just a thing, for me, but I’ll take the few that are coming my way.

The AI constantly attacking down the wings and always seeking to put in low crosses… this is most definitely not a thing for me.

I can appreciate how peculiar, and perhaps annoying, that will sound to those whose matches feature more low crosses than a midget Golgotha, but what can I do. I simply don’t see the already-notorious low crosses in my matches.There above is the star of PES2019 so far for me. J RICE, Esq.

He is still very much the scampering workhorse that we’ve seen over the past few years, and he now comes equipped with the most delicious new skill seen in PES for many a year: the Rising Shot. I haven’t liked a PES skill more since Middle Shooting was a thing.

Rice’s Rising Shot is a thing of beauty. The Rising Shot in general is a thing of beauty.

He must be on the candidates’ list for entry to the Master League Default Hall of Fame by now? Along with the likes of Ruskin and Vornander and Irjescu and Castolo and the rest of them. (Not the likes of Espimas and Ximelez, though. Never saw the point of them two.)

I keep blazing away with Rice from distance – and missing. For now. One day I am going to score the eternal goal that I keep trying to score. I know it.

Here’s Rice scoring my best long-range goal so far – a 25-yard ‘rising daisycutter’:

The tail-end of the first transfer window saw some activity taking place. I spotted this geezer in the Free Agents list, and had to try him out:

Veldwijk was one of my heroes of PES2018, maybe the only hero. Proper Master League heroes haven’t come along very often in recent years, so it’s best to treasure them.

I can’t think of a single instance, though, where they transfer from one edition of the game to the next.

And after 10 matches and no goals, it seem that the Curse Of The Previous PES Hero has struck again. I have decided not to persevere with Veldwijk. Time for new heroes. I placed him on the transfer list – and took the first offer that came in.

I picked up a fee of £3.6m for this Free Agent signing, which means I’m £3.6m in profit.

Back to my current favourite subject, J RICE.

I’ve tweaked my 4-2-2-2 formation to accommodate Rice. Here it is mid-game:

This formation is now a 4-1-1-2-2. Really it’s a 4-1-3-2, but I like the novelty of saying there’s a 1-1 buffer between defence and midfield, so that’s how I think of it.

This is the formation that Rice flourishes in. He has to play as a CMF in the upper half of the centre circle as we look at it.

He’s wasted as DMF. Too deep for too much of the time to affect the attack.

Playing as CMF in either of the two wide positions, while possible, isn’t optimal either. Rice needs to be involved. He needs to have easy access to the full length and width of the pitch. That’s his game.

nuPES tradition dictates that after a few more gushing posts like this one, and maybe one more goal, I’ll almost never mention him again. Until Season 4 or so, when I’ll finally sell him, and muse ‘whatever happened to Rice?’ We’ll see.

Three talking points now, with three 20-second clips to illustrate them.

First, I do have a wonky AI issue. I might not be seeing Low Crosses, but I am seeing another worrying thing that has got attention in the general PESverse chatter about PES2019.

It’s when the AI works a good position in front of goal, but elects to pass to another player instead. Could this be part of the same underlying code that produces the Low Cross phenomenon?

The AI player who finally receives the ball is pretty much in on goal – he can either take a shot there and then, or take a decent touch and then have a shot. We’ve seen the AI do either one of those things a thousand times or more. But the AI player chooses to square the ball instead, and they lose the ball. I see this roughly once or twice per average session. Not often enough to be game-breaking by any means, but often enough to be immersion-diluting.

Next, the great side of PES2019 – the modelling of real physics and real player capabilities:

What happens there is that I try to take a quick shot with Rice from silly distance, encouraged by his wonderful Rising Shot mechanic (one day, I am going to get a Bobby Charlton howitzer with Rice, I just know it). But here his body shape is all wrong, the ball is under him, and he fluffs it, the ball trickling embarrassingly wide along the ground. #itwouldhaveworkedinPES2018

Finally, an example of how Visual Fatigue actually works. Here my Redmond is almost out on his feet, with just a nubbin of stamina left, and he misplays a simple through-ball into touch. Keep watching for the header chance that resulted from the same passage of play.

Visual Fatigue in action there, followed a few moments later by a cross to the Default new boy, MIHAILOV. I loved the way he peeled off the last defender for the nod into the net. I’ve found Mihailov a better player than his partner, not-Coutinho, whatever he’s called now. Goios. Him.

In the celebration cutscene I noticed a certain reselblance between Mihailov and an American character actor by the name of Richard Kind, whom I know as Cousin Andy from Curb Your Enthusiasm. Look at this side-by-side comparison here:

Look at the nose. Just look.

Updated: 7th September 2018 — 11:15


  1. I had an instance yesterday where the cpu was clean through on goal by about 5 yards, slowed down and cut back to pass! I’ve seen it far too often. It’s lazy coding for sure. Did they not test the game outside of online or PvP?

  2. n-G: That’s a pretty, pretty, pretty good likeness there.

    So it seems that right now PES 2019 is a far better game than any of us expected it to be with only a the attacking AI going all Konami.

    I’m yet to manage a proper multi-match session with my ML. I’m really hoping it’ll happen this weekend.

  3. NG – For your Veldwijk read My Abel Hernandez – 1 Goal in 10.
    I am getting roasted in basically every match now. Might need to reintegrate Rice into the team. Only AI issue I have with their attacks is the 18-yard rasper into the top corner. At least half their goals are coming from some form of passing move leading them to shooting from the d of the penalty box.

    Is it possible the AI is finding the best form of attack for each of our individual setups on a simple algorithm and then doubling down on it? I know when an AI team starts with the red marker for higher defensive line that I’m in for a lesson.

  4. I’m seeing the ai scoring 80-90% of chances. It seems it’s coded to only shoot when there’s a very high chance of success which may explain some odd behaviours. I’m frequently having twice or three times the number of shots and losing.

    I’ll shortly be finishing season 1, currently in 17th place after being 9th when I switched up to superstar. It’s rock hard, hoping to strengthen considerably in the summer window.

  5. More low crosses than a midget Golgotha? That’s made my day 🙂

  6. NG – Are you still on Pro or TP now?

    That was a delicious daisy cutter from rice, I do like a good ground level screamer.
    I actually noticed that the advanced shooting way of aiming low shots, pull back the LS to either corner (NW & SW when playing left to right) also works in basic shooting, so I switched back to basic as headers were a bit wonky with Advanced.

    I’ve also seen a few instances where the CPU will pass instead of shoot, mainly on Pro though, on TP I’ve found them pretty lethal.

    Rice with one of those rising shots 😉

    Well worth a listen, could not have worded it any different myself.

  7. Lloyd – (reply to your comment on previous post)

    Lloyd’s video of an in-match injury – not forced to make the substitution, I note, but I think this is the closest to the old routine that nuPES is ever likely to approach:

    Your PA0 passing game looks awesome by the way. I played a couple of matches with it back on Day 1 and I’m thinking of switching to it at some stage. We PA1 users shouldn’t forget that PA0 is there, just waiting to be conquered. Legend/PA0/Defaults for maximum Purity.

  8. Lloyd – Millwall? Dont you usually play as Liverpool?
    Also as a manual passer, do player stats affect manual passes in any way?

  9. Shed – although I have had all this week off work and still have days… I just don’t seem to get time to devote a proper massive chunk of time to anything. And I haven’t really done anything else.

    Re. the attacking AI, not only do I not (currently) have a Low Cross problem, but – this is hugely controversial and provocative – I don’t have a problem with it at all. The only niggle I have ever seen is the passing-away when in on goal thing, and that’s probably 1 match in 7 or so that it occurs.

    prsgame – it is possible that AI programming at Konami has got that advanced, but I doubt it. Here’s how I defend against the AI in midfield, when I sense an attack. I use secondary pressure to harry the ball carrier and use my controlled player to cover the passing lane to the wing. They don’t get through, and play gravitates to the middle. Last night I deliberately didn’t do this for a whole half, expecting a tsunami of wingwalking and Low Crosses. And… nothing. Not a sight of it. Strange as the proverbial, this.

  10. Cook – I’m relieved to hear Superstar is rock-hard, but TP is still giving me lots to chew on. Still seeing a wide variety of goals too, including a fair few volleys and half-volleys like Lloyd’s above.

    Paul – I want one of those rising shots from Rice. Will have to listen to that TTB vid later. It’s the most recent addition to my hundreds-long Watch Later list. What’s his gist?

  11. NG – i think that if I had any subs left I would have been forced to,as happened in the demo.

    Paul – got sacked by Liverpool at Xmas lol. Survived by the skin of my teeth on the last day by beating Birmingham 2-1.

    I do think stats matter a bit as loanee Shelvey can really ping a long ball better than anyone in my team.

  12. I’m going to start a new fresh ML as a test and see if its a random dice roll as to how the AI plays.

    That TTB video is basically a rant, or rather plea towards Konami to save Master League. He bemoans MyClub, and explains why ML is broken and what needs to happen for Konami to fix it, as quite a well known ‘community figure’ its nice to hear that others think and feel exactly the way we do about the game.

  13. Couple of off topic bits…

    New series starting on Netflix end of this month NG, called ‘Maniac’ which may be up your street, all about perception and the human brain.

    and Championship Manager 01/02 considered to be the best CM game ever, is available for legal, free download from Eidos.

  14. Paul – you must have missed the times CM0102 and that free download have been mentioned on the blog. It first popped up about 4 years ago. I’ve got a CM0102 save going using a 2015 patch from somewhere. It’s remarkable though playing the 01/02 footballing world from back then – it really was another world. It’s worth getting fully set up and having a game going in WINE on the Mac – I can’t remember the installation process now, but it was very straightforward, no headaches, and no crashes. Great game, largely because of the balance between simplicity and depth. You can blast through half a season in an hour, or dawdle and get obsessive. Same as it ever was, but somehow better.

    Just had a peek at Maniac, it does look like my kind of thing.

    And I just watched the TTB video – of course he’s right, teams shipping out all their players is essentially mode suicide. I’m scared to look at the teams in my ML world now.

  15. Had a look at lunch and the game was still £50 pre-owned. Plenty of copies available but I think not for a series that has evolved very little. Games are a rip off now.

  16. Darryl – Don’t be paying GAME prices. £33 last time I checked on one of the online retailers.

  17. I too am loving my grindingly hard ml, probably because I haven’t had one for a few years, I’ve usually scored a lot more by now and worried how it bodes for seasons 2/3 (and it never ended well).

    Rice just doesn’t so much for me. Yes he has a good shot but so does sahoune. Castledine is more of a key force in my largely default side, so much so I rejected bids for both him and arcas. I have two solid centre halfs but everyone else is a low level free or youth teamer- the aim being to have a big kitty for end of season one – if the chairman sacks me or there’s some stupid konami accountancy shuffle that sees that sum plummet I’ll be furious.

    Was speaking at an academic sport conference today – first speaker (all were PhD students) had played in the women’s cup final, second had been in real madrids academy, third had been in football league…I felt like standing up and saying ‘my names turf and I’ve won more than all of you on master league’. Bloody ‘real life’ successes.

  18. Tommy – Good point but no it will still annoy me.

  19. Darryl – I remember your PES trajectories of the past few years and my hunch is that it would be a bad idea for you at this stage. Not when so much is still to be decided. How will the current enthusiasm survive contact with Team Spirit growing and better players arriving? What will Konami do, patch-wise? You tend to jump on just as those factors come into play and dilute the starting enthusiasm. You’re a jinx on it Darryl! Wait for a month at least.

    Uncle Turf – would Castledine be a candidate for the ML Default All-stars? On his showing in PES2016 I’d say yes, but since he went white he’s been poor for me. Rice on the other hand has consistency, and this year, that shot.

  20. NG – oh dear then as the misses has just ordered it me, so that decision has been taken out of my hands. If it all goes tits up I am to blame.

  21. Darryl – welcome

    NG – put one just over the bar with Rice from 35 yards earlier. Was halfway up in anticipation.

  22. First win in 6. For the first time I can remember bringing in players with an average of 70 hasn’t really worked. I’m going to have to ship them out again. Glad there’s no FFP in PES yet

  23. In keeping with the theme, here’s another Rice cracker. Not very far out but the bar and in makes it worthy in my opinion.

    I got to the end of the first season and something wierd happened but no spoilers.

  24. Rice is the new irjescu for me. Amazing shot but of limited value in other regards. Solid in my poor team but likely to go once I get better players in. Castledine is statistically head and shoulders above and does contribute in various ways yet isn’t quite in that X factor bracket, there’s nothing that stands out other than he’s better. He’s the last default to sell, but sell I will.

  25. That rising shot thing feels *filthy* good doesn’t it? Also, I love pc modding. Just came accross an option file containing all teams except the Asian ones which I can’t be bothered with. Within a day champions league and euro league along with super cup will be fully licensed and I even came across Dutch commentary. 9 extra official stadiums to be downloaded as well. Tomorrow I will be up and fully running with my master league. Love this stuff.

  26. Sacked. In January. Lost my last 6 games.
    Deleted the ML save file off the PS4. Going to wait a week and get more licensed teams in then start a new fresh ML.
    My last 4 matches were horrible. Pure OP TP crap, with the low cross at its worst.

  27. Paul – that doesn’t sound too good. Perhaps restart should take place on professional and take it from there?

  28. Sorry, if I’ve already posted this comment – I can’t remember if I have but did message Paul about it on Twitter:

    I was thinking last night “how often do I actually use any of the tackle buttons” because I noticed I hadn’t for a while. Turns out it is practically none. The next three games I looked. I’d made 0 tackles three games on the trot, but between 10-20 interceptions. I defend through positioning and running.

    I recommend for those struggling with defending. I’m on Top Player playing a La Liga with Bilbao and have conceded 3rd fewest in league after Madrid and Atleti

  29. Waiting for Amazon delivery. The misses is out till about 3 pm, so a few hours on the game would have been nice.

  30. Darryl – I’ve just had a Santa Amazon delivery, so he shouldn’t be too far away…

    Paul – you are/were on Classic mode, yes? That’s very interesting if so. I think we can guess what Cook’s end-of-season surprise was now.

    #1 – just for you, this one, and anyone else interested in Fallout4. As well as playing PES, I have been using my time off work to keep the Fallout4 flame alive – I think I’ll be playing this game for years to come. The content just keep growing.

    Anyway I’m at the stage now where I get a sense about certain things. One mission yesterday, I was traipsing from A to B, when my route took me past a pool that had a submerged vehicle’s fin sticking out of it. I thought ‘Wonder what’s down there. I’ll investigate when I get time’. Then I thought, hell no, I’ll investigate now:

    That’s only the 3rd ‘one of those’ that I’ve come across in the game so far, and I found it myself, so I was pleased.

    The equipped handgun is a heavily modded favourite that I use when travelling just for the occasional mole rat and bug that comes my way.

  31. No I was on challenge mode.
    Will restart on classic mode. Professional is too easy so will have to be TP again.

  32. Paul – oh, it’s just you seemed surprised to have been sacked. No surprise at all on Challenge of course. You did well to last that long really.

    Why not Professional on PA0? I had an interesting match on PA0 last night. Really feels good, and of course the exhilaration of actually putting moves together with it is ten times the joy. Very tempted to convert now, but I’m still feeling my way in this PES and don’t want to affect my settling-in. PA1 for me for now.

  33. NG – What have you had delivered?

    Fallout 4 is one of my favourite games of all time. I spent most of my time in the building side of things like construction of power lines etc. Have fond memories of storming the castle. A game with something different for everybody’s tastes.

  34. NG – I instantly knew from that fallout description what you were referring to and the video confirmed out. Moments like that are what make Bethesda games imo. Fallout4 is a great game to play “on the side” and as Darryl said has something for everyone. You can play it for hours on end, following the main quests or you can just screw around, build stuff, kill a few raiders.. It’s great and oozes atmosphere.

    Let me mention this one more time, though : try out survival one time, just once. It will be even better. Suddenly many things you take for granted become important. Food, water, ammo, cover from enemy fire, sleep, proper weapon and armor management, building settlements everywhere as checkpoints to survive and not just for show, the list goes on.

  35. I wish I could get past the beginning on fallout, too downbeat. Been playing more of no mans sky and I’m not sure the new inclusions change the game that much. Yes you can build stuff and there’s a bit more interaction but it’s still ultimately the same repetitive tasks and samey lifeforms. Learning alien words for example is endlessly boring.

  36. Driver 19 stops away……

  37. Darryl – just a new kettle, basic model, nothing exciting. Although these days I’m disappointed it’s not a ‘smart kettle’ that I can connect to the router and control with a phone app. Get it done, someone.

    19 stops away might as well be 19 days away. I follow my deliveries on the little map thing, and somehow they seem to spend way longer outside other people’s houses than they ever do outside mine. The other week I got the notification on my phone that a delivery was nearly with me. So I call up the map and watch the van literally going all round the houses, dropping off in all the neighbouring streets, then drive off a few miles, piss about a bit more over there, then apparently come to a halt in a field for half an hour (I know, lunchtime), and then finally show up at mine about 6 hours after I was notified he was nearly with me. God it’s hard being a citizen of an affluent liberal democracy in the 21st century.

    #1 – well I’ve paused NMS (for the 5th time) on account of Fallout4. Don’t want to lose the time or attention. I love the idea of Survival but I know how much it would slow my progress, which is already slow enough as it is.

    Uncle Turf – the game itself isn’t a downbeat atmosphere (I don’t think even the opening is, with its faux-1950s All-American chintz). What kept me from getting into Fallout4 for the longest time was the comic flourishes that the world is draped with. It’s the cheesiness of Lost In Space (the 1960s original) crossed with the visual aesthetic of Mad Max. It’s a light-hearted take on a parallel world’s post-apocalyptic state. It’s hardly The Road: The Game (now that would be a properly bleak game). As a certified sci-fi snob, Fallout4 always seemed too cartoony and comical for me to take seriously. But it’s the kind of sci-fi I loved as a kid (a bit like NMS’s Dan Dare-style sci-fi), so it’s finally won me over. I’ve been looking for Robert Sheckley paperbacks on Ebay again.

  38. p.s. on the topic of following the progress of Amazon delivery drivers on GPS: it fascinates me how much time they spend apparently stationary in industrial estates.

  39. Your wife is murdered and your child stolen? It makes taggart look positively sunny. I have a lot of cexvouchers and NMS is going too so perhaps it’s worth another look but I’ll have to forget that opening. It’s like the Isabelle rolaine story in skyrim. Now there’s f’kin tragic!

  40. Uncle Turf – somehow that reminds me of the first episode of Futurama. Fry is awoken from his 1000-year cryogenic sleep. The news is broken to him. He says ‘so you mean everyone I ever knew has been dead for a thousand years?’ Pause a beat. Fry raises his hands in the air: ‘Whoo-hooo!’

    p.s. I’ve got all the Fallout4 DLC (some great deal on PSN a year or more ago) and much of that is overtly comicbook-sci-fi-like, possibly tipping the balance away from The Road towards Logan’s Run with laughs.

  41. It wasn’t a sacking, more subtle. I’ve already said too much.

    I couldn’t play Last of Us due to it being too depressing despite generally liking post apocalyptic fiction. I recently read The End of the World Running Club which is bleak, not quite The Road bleak though.

    I’m off on holidays for two weeks, going to miss PES but I’ll keep up to date here. It’s a valuable service you’re providing NG.

  42. Cook – I strangely bounced off The End of the World Running Club – got to where it was the morning after and the neighbours were fighting with them over water, and I suddenly couldn’t take it seriously. I say this to everyone that the topic comes up with, but The Road pretty much spoiled me for post-apocalyptic fiction. The only other one in the genre that I’ve enjoyed since was Last Light by Alex Scarrow. My current go-to sci-fi sub-genre is post-human Singularity stuff. Greg Egan, Charlie Stross, and the peerless Vernor Vinge (his Across Realtime duology is nearly as good as his ongoing Zones of Thought series).

    Have a good holiday and I can’t wait to find out what’s at the end of my season. Despite all the Fallout4 and Amazon talk, PES2019 is still going great for me. No problems at all. No low crosses. Nothing is gonna go wrong from here!

  43. Goods arrived. To be fair I had an update to say he was on my street and one stop away. I looked out of my window and there he was delivering to an old lady accross the road. She took an age to sign for it. Then he went back to pick up my parcel and watched him walk to my door.

  44. Darryl – I used to lurk by the door until they rang the doorbell, then wait a few seconds as if I’m coming from elsewhere in the house, and open up and act as if I was all surprised to see them. Nowadays I open the door as they’re walking down the path, and nod and smile ‘reassuringly’.

  45. Paul – Gutting! Happened to me last year, but after a whole season!

  46. Has to be an AI fouls record.
    7 albeit in Second city Derby.

    There were probably 4 more that red played advantage.

  47. What’s with all this name revealing stuff nowadays?! This suggestion that there are people with other identities that mean completely different things to other people is slightly disturbing. Were I to ever encounter one of you ‘out there’ I’d hope the classic English tilt of the head in acknowledgement along with a knowing wink would suffice.

    I traded NMS, along with a wiiu game, so now stand at 57 quid credit with the sticky floored game returnee shop. Fallout 4 was 6quid so I took a punt I could laugh through that awful beginning to get to whatever you all see. Not sure what the rest will go on, I would have said far cry but Paul gave it a bit of a kicking difficulty wise and I worry it’s more of the same old.

  48. Uncle Turf – I once bought a near-mint condition Magic Trackpad from my local CeX and asked to inspect it up close first. No doubt as the result of long experience, two members of staff came out from behind the counter and stood between me and the exit while I pretended to give the item an expert examination. Couldn’t tell it was used, so I bought it.

    The Fallout 4 laughs start when your character makes it back to the house he ran out of, and the mirth doesn’t let up from then on. I find myself playing it as you play Skyrim, though, I.e. mostly ignoring the main quest line and amusing myself.

  49. The Master League Default Hall of Fame you say not-Greg?

    Mine would be:
    GK – Melikov, veteran keeper who kept going all the way through my 2017 default challenge, lifted the French Ligue 1 trophy
    LB – Eddington, the original and best diminutive tenacious Scot with infinite stamina
    CB – Jaric, sublime left foot and a calming influence at CB or DMF
    CB – Vorlander, those headers from PS3 corners, often my top scorer….
    RB – Valery, although Giorza clearly has much better stats I’ve always found him a bit bland while Valery had such a reassuring presence when under siege
    LMF – Ximelez, even in the years when the defaults were really poor, Ximelez could always put his foot on the ball and beat a man with technique
    DMF – Cellini, captain and classiest of the original defaults
    CMF – Sir Rice, perhaps a bit premature as he has only produced for me so far in 2017, but enough to put him ahead of the likes of Harty, Irjescu, Dodo, Coynborough etc
    AMF – Castledine, scored the winner in a Champions League final, not many defaults have done that, exquisite left foot
    AMF – Ettori, very underappreciated, stood out in 2012 which was a tough year, great control, touch, teamwork
    CF – Jarvis, best default striker bar none after a couple of seasons, deadly with half a chance

    subs – Kelsen, Stromer, El Moubarki, Espinas, Arcas, Hamsun

  50. abbeyhill – no Castello (as in, Castello)? Eddington over Ruskin? Irjescu would be my DMF – the most Mathieu-like Default DMF ever. Your list is too skewed to the recent games. Rice would have to sit on the candidates’ list for a number more years before making the list.

Comments are closed.