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

158 Comments

  1. NG – No idea why you thought that? I don’t want yours or anyone’s agreement, I don’t need it to know this is a big issue, myself and hundreds of others all see this repetitive AI play, you only have to look on twitter, or countless videos made about it on Youtube to know its a thing.

    And if it was the AI just ‘reacting’ to how you play, then why do they do it, regardless of team, regardless of how you play, what formation, what tactics etc? The response is the same, get it to the wing.
    And if its an AI reaction then why do they, when they have the ball in a good position to float a cross over, instead always choose to low cross it into a crowd of legs?
    Or why do they have thew ball in a position to drive into the box and shoot, or cross, but instead always doa shimmy, when no ones near them, then pound another low cross into a barrage of bodies? *The AI we certainly don’t need!!!

    I’m not after your agreement, its there. Plain for all to see, hundreds experience the same thing, some do not, its a strange situation.
    If anything it seems that you are hell bent on persisting that its in mine and others imagination and we are making a meal out of something that happens infrequently.

    That AI goal from the middle was one occurrence, out of a match of 10 or 12 chances, the other 11 were all wing, low cross, shot, so hardly stands up as an argument for the AI.

    The offline AI has just followed suit with the rest of ML – no effort made, bare bones, no commitment.

  2. Paul – I sensed from your comments over the weekend that things were heading this way, and that I was going to be busy typing here when the dam eventually burst – and of course Darryl got the game, so PES instantly has to go down the pan. I was just semi-humorously trying to signal that I’m not really up for a massive debate about is or isn’t. For me the low cross issue simply isn’t, and I can’t constructively add anything to it all from the POV of those for whom it is. AI attacks are varied for me and I don’t have an issue. I mentioned the AI fouls to show an example of something working the opposite way, where it isn’t for others and very much is for me. There’s no good explanation beyond individual playstyles, I think. The different outcomes wouldn’t be hardcoded into the game.

    Darryl – any chance you could send the game back? It would really help the world out. Cheers.

  3. I feel violated – I’ve been clicking into myclub every day just to pick up rewards then clicking out immediately, knowing it’s already too overpowered too quickly. Today I got an extra few thousand points, for apparently winning ‘cloud’ matches. Wtf? I looked them up and was outraged to see that my team had been played, AI controlled and all. I never stopped to think this might be how those games work but the thought of the AI clunking its way around my lovely boys, forcing them to do ridiculous moves and being hacked down by a sprint clamping onliner is too much to bear.

    I’m going to play ml season one to an end today, try and sign some players then start looking at the stats for season two, to see whether the foul count is as high as I feel and the wing play as low as it seems. Maybe I’m just not as attuned on both.

  4. Paul – It’s a shame to see you go all PES rage so early in the footy gaming year, especially as you seem impressed by other aspects of the game.

    I don’t know what the answer is but I definitely did have issues with the low crossing AI thing but now I don’t because it seems to have stopped doing it.

  5. Well I’ve just caught up on the FIFA19 news about EA no longer focused on Career Mode, then watched a FIFA19 demo gameplay video that might as well have been called PingPong19, and now I really am depressed. There’s a thread on EvoWeb devoted to retro PES. I predict nearly everyone reading this will be on older football games within 2 years, or not playing them at all. The wind is only blowing in one direction. It blows harder sometimes, and softer at other times, but it is always blowing.

    Except for the fouls issue, I’m still loving PES2019. I’ll record all the AI goals it scores in my session later and upload them for inspection. This is the kind of thing I don’t really like doing, as it seems to draw me into a debate about a video game that I don’t want to be in and shouldn’t be in. I play PES for the playing of PES, not to oversee debates about it. But it’s interesting from the perspective of perception and reality, which I am always interested in, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s what in my session later on.

  6. Still awaiting a more complete OF before starting my ML.

    Finished a La Liga last night. Played as Bilbao on Top Player; finishes fourth behind Madrid, Barca & Atleti, and lost to Madrid in Copa Del Rey Final. Played the 3-6-1 England are preloaded with, but with one DM and one CM in the middle. Worked very nicely and the LM/RM link up well with the AMs.

    Next up, the SPL with Aberdeen on Superstar. To the best of my abilities, I’m going to record my stats for tackles (I barely made any on Top Player) and Fouls (because it’s hot topic).

  7. NG – I thought the focus if this blog was to always comment on what you’re playing ?
    Just doing the same, Apologies if there has been any cross-communication over this, but I’m just commenting on what I am absolutely seeing, Others are seeing it too, so this isn’t a debate, its just fact, I totally get that you don’t see any of it, and that’s the frustrating thing, because its obviously intermittent depending on something, what I don’t know.

    For the record, I love the game the way it moves, flows, the pace, animations, realism, which is why this issue is even more frustrating for me, because I know there’s an amazing experience there to be had, If the AI was not so repetitive, then I would be gushing about the game play, off the pitch elements of course I think we can agree are a shambles, but the game play could be good enough to balance that out.

    Same issue with fouls NG, I get plenty in comparison to you, why is that?!?! I don’t know, fouls was a huge issue for you last year so would be understandable for you to be peeved that your not getting the same experience as others, same principle for me with the low crosses.

    It will either be learn to accept it, and nerf the CPU’s reliance upon it, or wait for a patch, which could be months, if at all, and I do think the game is worth persevering with, its certainly not worth returning like you sarcastically commented to Darryl, I enjoy most sessions, just get frustrated with the repetition.

    Like you always do, I’m just commenting on what I experience, not trying to change others views who don’t share the same experience or force my own upon anyone, just simply sharing my experience with the game, which matches others on here, and doesnt in almost equal measure it seems.

  8. Paul – I think there will be a patch, the question is when will it come and how far-reaching will it be. There was a November ghost patch for fouls last year that didn’t do anything. PES2014 wasn’t fully patched until the following April, remember.

    Context for my comment to Darryl – just before he ordered the game I was kidding him in comments about the way every PES of the past few years has instantly hit the skids as soon as he got it. You might recall a few years ago Darryl pointing out how some European politics things was connected to the England cricket team’s fortunes. Asking him now to return it was a continuation of that joke. No sarcasm there.

  9. I simply think that nuPES doesn’t stand up to this level of scrutiny. Back on PS2, PES would get better and better the more you played it and discovered its modes. Now the best it can do is provide a few fun games of footy in between sessions on a properly designed gamey-game.

    I have no faith whatsoever that Konami will patch out whatever is causing most to have low-crosses to bear but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we end up with PES 2018 levels of fouls and free kicks.

  10. My Mistake then, missed the back story.
    A patch to reduce the repetitive AI is much needed, for any longevity, for many users, If you don’t see the repetition, then you can happily carry on oblivious and hope it stays that way.

    I don’t plan to give up on PES 19 anytime soon, just find ways to enjoy the one element that’s annoying me more than it is others.

    There’s still a lot of good to be had from the game.

  11. What’s everyone’s views on this:

    If the sole focus of Konami is on MyClub, which most would agree it is, what’s the point of getting the licenses for the likes of SPL, Swiss, Denmark, Turkey and now even Thailand?! If the focus is on MyClub, 90% of MyClub players use the same 50 or so World Class players, so why the investment in time and money on creating all these players and teams that’ll NEVER be used online?

  12. Uncle Turf – amid all the excitement I forgot to say, yes, your myClub team will be playing matches in the cloud vs humans in your absence. They’re the matches I was on about so much in the summer, where I was the human playing against others’ cloud teams. It’s worth letting your team play without you (if there’s a choice) as it earns EXP and other rewards over time. Also, if you have multiple squads you can designate which one you want used for cloud matches, as a decent method of developing lower-rated players.

    I have set up my Irregulars but not done more than log in to get the free 10k GP in preparation for the future day when I start playing with them. Strange thing, but I don’t like the milky gold colour of the backdrop in myClub. It’s gruesome.

    Paul – on the topic of myClub, a few online matches against Sprinty McClampton and all his accursed brethren might refresh your view of the AI!

    And the re. the low cross question, I am interested, it’s just a bit awkward that I can’t join in. I will record all the AI goals it scores against me later, cut them together (with some of each one’s build-up play), and post them for scrutiny.

    Jay – I think the answer to your question is simply a PR one. The busyness around Thai leagues etc is to give the appearance of busyness and substance for those who like that kind of thing. There is a section of the footy game market that does want to see licenses and leagues etc, so the strategy would be – surmising here – ‘get something, get anything, because we can’t have nothing’.

    Shed – a patch to revert all the PES2019 advances – there are some – to standard nuPES levels would really test me, in many ways. nuPES gets all its energy from the memory of PES, and how much it can mimic PES. There are Star Trek fans who struggle with all the new series, and love only the original series with Kirk & Spock & co (or maybe Picard and Sisko, but no more). But they still watch all the new series and movies, even if they loathe some of them (the JJ Abrams movies are generally disliked/hated). They take what they can, while excoriating the remainder. That’s pretty much us with PES, isn’t it?,

  13. n-G – Yes, totally, or like me with Star Wars.

  14. Jay – That’s a good point. Be interesting to know how much it costs to lease some less popular leagues. Maybe they are markets where PES is doing well in?

  15. It’s a good question Jay, which I think NG’s half-humorous reply to is probably spot on.
    It does make you laugh though that they go on about having 9 new fully licensed leagues, they produce videos showing the star players from licensed teams in these leagues, yet they ballsup ML so much that all these teams sell half of their squads first opportunity, so 10 mins after starting a ML in a fully licensed league, the teams dont represent what they are supposed to any longer.

    NG – Look forward to seeing your videos, hopefully at a quality where we can see the actual ball this time, and I don’t doubt for one second that what you say you experience is true, mixed AI play, I’m just curious as to how it plays, thats all.

  16. Superstar doesn’t seem drastically different to Top Player after 6 games. The main change is it is harder to score, but that may well be because I am Aberdeen…..

  17. Extracted from the PC version by one of the modders:

    https://imgur.com/a/pGmzXp2

  18. And so season one ends…the starting team of ekramy (free gk) giorza, Diaz (free), evatt and pierie (both trades), aoyama (free), arcas, rice, castledine, bin adnan (youth) and asano (free) managed last, w3 d8 l27, gf17, ga85. Top scorer castledine with 6. Bench of 6 is all youth teamers.

    The 17 goals were boosted by two late matches that yielded 3 and 4 in games. This I believe was down to hitting 75 in team spirit as all of a sudden players made runs to space, passes found feet and generally I could create a lot more openings. Chairman confidence is zero, yet m at the helm for another year. 18m in funds, 1.8m wages.

  19. Sounds Brutal Turf, great job!
    Is this all on SS ?

  20. Excellent stuff Turf. Will need to sign some players when I kick off ML 2 tonight, as the defaults are clearly not going to cut it this year

  21. Yes, superstar, I haven’t won often enough to unlock legend…ary

    Briefly looked at start of new season and it’s encouraging. Lots of free agents but very few older players will come to me. All the regens will but they are quite low starting numbers, none of them are higher than castledine or arcas. The likes of glen johnson is currently lower than giorza, Beto in goal no better than what I have. Average wage around 300-450k before negotiation. Certainly no van persie or Rooney who were in the old boy’s match. So far it looks like I’ll have a fair few new players but it won’t be the star studded 11 of previous pes’s, more a mix of defaults and potentials with the odd over age established pro thrown in.

  22. That is highly encouraging. When was the last ML that was tough both on the pitch and in the transfer market – 2014, 2012?

  23. Watch that TS hit Turf – don’t forget to prioritise players who’s tactical familiarity matches whatever system you play, ie counter attack/all out defense/attack through middle etc.

    Your TS will not go down as much and will regenerate a lot quicker.

  24. Turf – If I remember correctly, regens are split, so some turn up the following January.

    I’ve been plotting my ML proper. The plan is to start with Red Star again in France, but I’m having second thoughts. Toying the the idea of replacing Rotherham with a created team and swapping out the squad for free agents with the same ovr, but a little younger to give me a chance on SS. I’ve already made a list, and it works!

  25. Right, so following on from my earlier pledge to record all the AI goals from my late afternoon session, I’ve actually come up with something much better. I did concede a couple of goals early on, but they were through the middle, and I realised this wasn’t going to demonstrate anything one way or the other.

    Since the Low Cross discussion is about the PES2019’s AI preference to endlessly gravitate toward the wing and put in endless low crosses, I recorded a full match instead. Last week I struggled to get a full match uploaded, and ended up reducing it in quality much too much, so what I’ve done this time is much better (and I encourage others to do the same):

    I’ve excerpted all the AI attacks only, and compiled them all into one vid. The fixture was Coventry vs Stoke. I defined an attack as any movement by the AI where it crossed the halfway line in possession. Turns out there were 17 (SEVENTEEN) such occasions in this 10-minute match, where I took an early lead and dominated possession, but lost 1-2.

    In this match, knowing that I was recording it and why I was recording it, I did not make any particular effort to keep my fullbacks back, and I did not play a deep defensive line (as will be seen) – thus giving the AI a pretty much blank canvas to show what it wants to do.

    The final file is 310MB in size and is uploading right now.. Should be up by 7.15ish. (I have a slow upload connection.)

    So. Top Player AI. 10-minute match. 17 attacks. How many Low Crosses?

    I will post it right here when it is done.

  26. Here it is:

      Every AI attack from the match is on show here. (An attack defined as: every time the AI crossed the halfway line with the ball and moved towards my goal.)
      I’m playing my SBs higher up than usual to show the wings, and a higher defensive line in general.
      In 17 attacks, I count 2 Low Crosses, one of which isn’t even from the wing.
      I see the same variety of attacks in this as in all my other matches.
      The AI dicking around when it’s in on goal is one of my main beefs with the AI. Noticeably, the AI often wants to drift towards the wings when confronted by the least obstacle – but then where are all the Low Crosses?!
      2 high crosses, one of which leads to the AI winner.
  27. Good to see that. The player passing to another instead of shooting is annoying.
    Your players are really busy – I felt sorry for them chasing after Stoke.

  28. nG – Encouraging to see a couple of high crosses, for sure! But cutting the ball back with their first touch when clear through on goal is another issue I’ve noticed too, which is a shame.

  29. Prsgame/Tommy – I had 60% possession and was never really in trouble apart from the two goals. Basically the whole of Stoke’s possession is compressed into the above couple of minutes, so it gives a false picture of the match as a whole. Those clips are all cut together to show one thing and one thing only – the typical pattern of AI attacks in a typical match of mine – and it does that very well. This is what I’ve been experiencing all along. I hope everyone who is suffering the Low Cross problem can see from the above video why I said that if I hadn’t heard so much about Low Crosses, I’d never have seen them as being a thing in my experience of PES2019.

    I think for sure, though, that awful ‘Passing when they should shoot’ problem has got to go. It’s bad enough seeing Stoke do it in the Championship. Imagine if it’s not fixed by the time we get to competing in Europe etc.

  30. Thanks for sharing nG!

    My main concern is the the mass transfer nonsense in ML. I’m nearly ready to start now the Bundesliga patch is out 🙂

    I’m enjoying SS – *might* start ML on Legend but most likely SS.

    Thinking of doing something similar to Tommy – creating a team of preexisting (free) players with equal or worse OVRs to the defaults, because for me – like with any player – Rice is essentially dead to me as it’s now well known he’s a marauding long ranger shooting midfielder, like Giorza was dead to me a few years back for his stand out performances!

    Meanwhile, here’s a nice FK I scored:

  31. nG – Was that on Professional? Wondering if the low cross/annyoning square ball thing is more of a TP/SS trait.

  32. NG – no one disbelieved you when you said you don’t see hardly any low balls. So your video doesn’t really change anything. Younsaid low balls weren’t an issue. We believe you. The video evidence albeit a small sample from one single match just confirms what you said you experience. Would you like
    Me to record a whole match in the same way and show you the complete opposite, every AI attack down the wing ? and low crosses? Happy to.

  33. Tommy – Top Player.

    Jay – that is a special free kick – around the wall and inside the post. Don’t recall seeing one of them before.

    As for Rice’s supposed long-range shooting… I’m still waiting for one. His daisycutter-style effort from 23 yards or so that I posted last week is still the only goal I’ve scored from outside the box. I’m getting a bit worried.

  34. To touch on what Jay mentioned, has anyone seen that kind of transfer nonsense (shipping out most of their players) in teams from leagues outside the Premier League?

  35. Paul – I was hoping the vid would act as a good-faith showing of why I really can’t join in the Low Cross chorus of disapproval (in the same way that you and others are). I can still condemn it and Konami for shoddiness, but it’s only abstract for me. The match is representative of all my matches. Please do likewise if you’ve got time, a typical match of yours (just the AI attacks of course; takes about 10 mins to cut one together) would be very instructive for me. You said a while ago it’s in 2 out of 3 of your matches so get a good representative one.

    If anybody wants to set up an ‘AI Passing To A Teammate And/Or Generally Dicking Around When It Should Really Just Shoot’ chorus of disapproval, I’m in.

  36. NG – just watched your vid in its entirety. You really don’t see a much repetition do you. Slightly envious.

    I will record a match and get it up late tonight. See what you think. .

  37. Paul – did you see how the AI kept playing diagonal balls forward to central areas from just in front of the halfway line? That’s very common for me.

    None of it makes any sense. Same game, same version, same Option File, same mode, same League. Shouldn’t be happening.

    It’s a mystery now and one that has to be solved. Let’s see your examples of the same and puzzle it over.

  38. Very baffling. There must be one key component of the ML setup that’s causing it to happen or not. Video coming in an hour.

  39. Just trying something out. May hve a development.

  40. So it seems 1.8m in wages doesn’t go very far. I kept the back four pretty much together, and the midfield of rice, arcas and castledine was not moving, mainly because there’s nothing better than cas or arc (I worry about rice’s lack of growth) and getting 7m for either wouldn’t change the wages much, even though I have every option set to increasing the revenue for wages. The dmf was old and went, to be replaced by my only good youth team regen – Darren fletcher. The front two were completely replaceable and were by Darryl Murphy (I love a big man) and some small quickie called Ruben Castro – see what I mean about it being a workmanlike batch of new talent. My team spirit remained at 74 given I still had 7 of the existing 11 in there and I promptly won my opener 2-0. Murphy in particular looks a great old fashioned master leaguer.

    NG – many many long range shots for me, not a single goal. Rice has a howitzer but they are usually caught, I never even get a rebound. Best I’ve managed was a free kick on edge of the box that I got him to just thump at goal – it went in off the post.

  41. Video uploading now. After much research and analysis I think I’ve cracked it. Altered tactics and team setup and have tested on 4 matches including top player and the CPU didn’t spam the wings half as much.

    Upped it to Top player and just had 2 beautiful matches. The less repetitive AI attacks makes so much more difference to the quality of the game.
    Just beat Sheffield Utd 2-1 on TP, they have the best defence in the league. Last 5 mins they battered me, attacking from the wings, through the middle, over the top. But I held on for the win.

    I will explain more when I post the video. 24 mins long so uploading now. Will post in the morning with an explanation but looking good.

  42. Paul – looking forward to seeing and hearing it. There must be something buried in a menu somewhere causing the differing experiences. There is no other real explanation.

    Uncle Turf – I predict another PES2014-style year of no long-rangers. Postage-stamp long-rangers haven’t really been a thing in nuPES. PES2016, yes, probably the best part of that one. PES2017 to an extent too. But the Konami preference is to nobble them for obvious reasons. Online.

  43. OK here it is.

    The video is in 3 sections.

    Section 1:
    I amend my team formation setup and tactics, by pushing the defensive line as far back as it will go, and pushing my fullbacks right out to the touchlines.
    Also move the LMF and RMF positions out to the touchlines, to give my team shape a lot more width.

    Next I change the tactics to play with the deepest possible defensive line, and compactness set at midway, then use the ‘Hug the touchline’ strategy.

    This effectively makes my team keep its width and the fullbacks and wide midfielders stay wide, as they always have a tendency to move infield usually.
    This negates the space out on the wings.

    Section 2:
    A clip of a game using the new tactics in Blimp mode so you can see the overall more wide shape of the team.

    Section 3:
    This is a full match, using the new tactics, I lost 3-2 but was a great game and whilst the COM team did attack down the wings, which is natural, it was nowhere near as much, resulted in a much better quality game.

    Summary:
    I believe the AI is coded to always play into areas where there is more space available, my fullbacks and wide midfielders tended to drift inside centrally when not on the ball, leaving big gaps down the wings for the AI to exploit.
    This is a common thing in all of PES, that players drift inside.
    By reducing the space available they now seem to look to attack other areas, have seen more play through the middle since using this tactic.

    They will attack the wings when possible, and there are still instances when they over use the low cross, even when it makes no sense to do so, and this needs patching still but I tested these tactics in 2 games on Professional, and 2 on Top Player, and its held up well, quality of matches have been superb.

    By using the ‘Hug the Touchline’ strategy to keep your players pinned out wide, you can also flick it off, to bring players infield more, and flick it back on when needed, so is quite flexible.

  44. Paul – Well done. This is surely a the antidote to the wing-spamming low-cross virus so many have been looking been looking for. I must have inadvertently hit on it too when I switched to 442 as I do recall setting my tactics to Hug the Touchline, thereby making the wings less of an option for the AI.

    I had a good couple of matches last night in which a combination of a rising TS (now at 60) and a change in the way I defend (More R2 and a lot less X) resulted in a 1-0 win against top-of-the-table Derby and a 1-1 vs Millwall which really should have been 1-0 to me.

  45. Great thanks Paul will give these a go tonight as my ML 2.0 is just as bad. Still a question mark over why not-Greg, Turf and others are not suffering the constant low ball spamming despite not, presumably, using such extreme tactics

  46. It’s definitely a strange one Abbeyhill. I was chatting over on evo-web and a few guys there said they don’t see low crosses, and others said it was rife with them.
    I can’t guarantee those tactics will work for everyone, they should in principal, and its still an issue but using those tactics its much less of an issue for me, to the point where I can just get on and enjoy the matches now, and accept there will still be a few instances of it.

    Ultra-Clinical finishing by the CPU on TP ……theres another subject !

  47. Shed – If you switch to Blimp camera and play normal tactics you will see your wide players do drift inside a lot, more than they should, so setting them to hug the touchline kind of resets their positions and keeps them there, if the wings are always occupied, the CPU has to find other routes, as soon as you pull inside, Bam, the CPU plays it into the wing space, its very over-reliant on using the wings, which needs patching.

  48. Paul – can’t get vid to work, either in-line or on YouTube itself – ? Might be just my internet, it is veeeery creaky and slow.

    Your description of the Low Cross countermeasures sounds logical. I haven’t got hug the touchline anywhere near my team – it’s a strategy I specifically dislike and won’t touch at all – so I don’t know what’s what really. Whatever the basic cause of Low Cross is, there’s clearly more than one way of countering it. I’ll include my Stoke AI Attacks vid in today’s post to keep the discussion live as this is one thing that could run and run. When I’m on the game tonight I’ll screenshot my under-the-hood tactical settings.

    Shed – I have spent so much time giving all my players a game that I have yet to play a match with TS above the low 60s. The thing is, if I could flip a switch to keep things that way, I would. We should be able to opt out of TS.

  49. Paul – good investigation there. Look forward to seeing how it develops over a few seasons. Hopefully I stick at it this year despite the lure of other games over Xmas

  50. n-G – I change my first XI a lot due to my no-downwards-arrows house rule but TS always comes to the fore in the end. I’ve never liked it and never will. I do wonder if TS was always a part ML and it’s only in the last few years its become a thing on screen.

    The only thing with setting tactics to play wide is that wing play is almost pointless this year as it’s so hard to get a decent header on goal. With this and the lack of long-rangers, it does feel like we’re being forced to play a certain way.

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