A low cross to bear

Veldwijk finally netted his first goal for the club since his fairytale reappearance in PES2019.

I originally swooped for him in the Free Agents list, motivated by his impressive showing in PES2018 – another game, another PES cosmos completely – but he has so far been totally unimpressive this time around. When it comes to Master League players transferring from one edition to another, it really doesn’t work out.

I’m still selling Veldwijk in the January transfer window. There’s no way to cancel the deal even if I wanted to, and I don’t want to. His goal was just a straightforward sidefoot into the net after an AI keeper parry to the side (which they do too much, by the by).

Whilst poking around, I discovered this screen, which I don’t recall seeing in any previous PES. A handy all-in-one-place list of my current squad’s comings and goings. Yes, it is a shame about Harrington’s face.

This screen does only show the transfer activity of my current squad. It doesn’t show all the Defaults I released or sold before August ended. I can’t even remember their names.

I haven’t spoken about my keeper, MURIEL, or my left-back, SAAVEDRA, so far.

Both were Scout discoveries, and both have proved useful. Muriel in particular is a solid presence between the sticks.

That CB, CINEMRE, is a signing made after the window closed, and so won’t be joining until January, which I am almost upon in-game right now.

Results have been awful and I am bottom of the league.

The season is a complete washout in terms of getting promotion.

One of the debates surrounding PES2019 since its release – under two weeks ago – has been the behaviour of the AI.

Many PES players are satisfied with how the AI plays, up to a point. I am one of the satisfied (overall). I don’t perceive any of the repetitive play that many others see.

My only issue with the AI is the way it will frequently spurn a good opportunity to shoot or develop play for the sake of passing to a teammate.

The AI generally dicks around in front of goal too much.

I would hope and expect there is an AI patch in the works. The AI needs to be more clinical, and yes, it does need to shoot more from distance.

Another angle of the AI debate is its alleged liking for getting out wide and putting in Low Crosses. Repeatedly. Over and over and over again. All match.

Those who are suffering from this problem are really suffering from it, as the forums and the comments here have shown.

I’ve never seen this Low Cross behaviour from the AI, and to show this I decided to record an entire match.

Now there’s nothing duller than watching an entire PES match of somebody else playing when you’re only looking for particular instances of a certain thing. In this case, all we need to see are the AI attacks.

Here are the team sheets before the match:

And here is the 3m40s video – which only shows the 17 instances when Stoke mounted an attack:

I normally play with more conservative fullbacks, and a deeper defensive line. Here I deliberately played in such a way as to allow the AI to head out wide if it wanted to.

Of the 17 AI attacks on show, there is an overall preference for the wings, yes – but there’s just as much a tendency to work the ball back inside. And only two instances of the Low Cross. The AI’s winning goal came from a High Cross and a rare PES2019 (weak) header.

So why are the Low Cross people seeing Low Crosses so much? Investigations are ongoing.

A fair few things need fine-tuning with PES2019 out of the box, it seems.

I hated the couple of instances where the AI, clearly in on goal, chose not to shoot, and instead sort of tamely dribbled away to the side.

At the other end of the pitch, I have a mounting concern over the fate of long-range shooting this year. I’ve yet to score anything from 25+ yards.

My only goal from outside the box was a 22-ish yarder from Rice that was a low fizzing shot into the bottom corner.

I need to see a postage-stamp 30-yarder. I won’t feel comfortable until I’ve got a couple of them, in fact.

Rising Shot is a sumptuous new skill, certainly, but it needs to produce actual goals, or it’s just window-dressing.

Some matches I will blaze away with Rice and others, only to see the AI keeper either catch cleanly, or do that eye-rollingly predictable ‘parry to the side’ thing that keeps the ball in play and keeps things ‘exciting’. Great for online players, I suppose, who want that constant churning cycle of events.

The crazy thing is that, the above issues with AI and long-range shooting aside, this is still the strongest start to a new PES for many a year. General gameplay feels so deep and satisfying. The AI defences, at least, are proving hard to unpick.

As ever, the first season of a Master League with rubbish Defaults is a washout. And that feels pretty good.

Updated: 11th September 2018 — 11:48


  1. There’s the tag line for the poster…’thought this blog died years ago. Used to love it’. Forgive me getting down with the kids but lol.

    Couple of decent tight games last night but creating chances in the final third is so hard, especially as sending out to the wing and crossing for headers is pointless. Castledine and arcas are now 75overall but I think the tipping point is going to be getting 80+ players, they are still second to ricochets, 50/50s etc. Looking like the game will follow the usual rule of 3, this season shaping up for mid table up and down with hopefully a title shot next year.

  2. Life on Top Player is brutal and after 10 games I am rock bottom (W1/D1/L8). Sticking with it though.

    If anyone is having trouble scoring headers this year then give this camera setting a whirl. Customise the Long Camera to zoom 2, Height 9 and angle 10. Not only is the camera fantastic as it reminds me of the old TV camera on White Hart Lane with the lofted view, but I am now winning my share of headers. What this camera does is allow you to see more space in the box. There isn’t more space of course as we are back onto the perspective thing. You can though direct the cross better. I scored 2 from crosses last night as opposed to none before. But I also created many more chances.

    After hearing lots of critisism in various forms I just want to focus on a positive and that is player individuality. It is a long time since we have had it as strong as this. Gone is the feeling of playing with faceless clones. Already I know who is who as soon as they get the ball as they all have thier own unique traits. The question of course is will this last when I get better players?

    For now though I am feeling quite upbeat about the game, which I didn’t expect to feel a few months ago.

  3. Darryl – it feels refreshing to have player individuality back doesn’t it? It’s almost surreal to me that it’s actually there after pes 18 was so dross in this regard. It makes a massive difference to me.

  4. Didn’t play any PES last night, Thursday nights I’m always out visiting parents and sister, having dinner, catchup etc, but I did squeeze in 5 matches on the FIFA 19 demo, and loved them all.

    I’m going to do a fresh install of PES 19 on the spare PS4 up in the bedroom, vanilla, no Option file, start a test ML, play a few matches and see how the AI behaves.
    If its bareable then i will trash my install on the PS4Pro, start all over and hope for the same outcome.
    If however, its back to the repetitive, over spamming of low crosses and tap in shots, then I shall be trading the game in, after less than a month, for FIFA 19.

    PES 19 in its current state is totally unplayable for me.

    On a sidenote, FIFA’s new commentary team of Lee Dixon and Derek Rae is really refreshingly good, adds so much more to the game to hear well delivered, accurate and realistic commentary as you play.

    Also, playing as Real Madrid, I lunged for a loose ball with Isco, and pulled up, clutching his hamstring, sat on the pitch, signalled to the sidelines, the manager called a player off the subs bench and I was forced to make a sub, in game, due to an injury, in my 3rd match, yet to see any kind of injury since PES 2017.

  5. Paul – hopefully you get what you need from FIFA 19 as far as the AI goes but I can’t play a football game with no tackles. You just hold x to close in then circle to take ball on repeat.

    Can’t agree with the space on the pitch though. Having ran about one for 20 years they are big things.

  6. Just downloading the FIFA19 demo now out of curiosity.

  7. Darryl – agreed. I use a similar custom camera 0:10:10, love the perspective from above. Even with low crosses lessened the game is still killing me, 6 straight defeats last night, the AI has no shortage of other ways to score

    not-Greg – whether you set containment to wide or centre the little graphical depiction still shows your players scurrying out to the flanks, all very puzzling

    Prsgame – I suspect Paul also knows the size of a real life pitch having played at a high level!

  8. Pretty big, 110-120yds long and 70-80yds wide, funny that, having ran around White Hart Lane, Highbury, Manor Ground, Anfield, Vicarage Road, and other professional grounds numerous times, and played in quite a few matches, I’ve never seen professional teams leave massive open spaces all over the pitch like as is shown in PES in default cam view.

    Konami have got the scale of the pitch way off. Hence using the Custom 0,2,10 Camera, gives a more realistic view of the pitch, space is not as visible, you have to work the ball to create openings, rather than just triangle pass it into acres of wing space every time on default cam.

    PRS – just hold x to close in then circle to take ball on repeat ??
    You cant be talking about Fifa, as those arent the controls, unless you are using the old legacy defending method, the new method of tactical defending, that has been in place for several years, requires careful jockeying, pressing using square button or teammate pressing using R1, then well timed presses of square to initiate a standing tackle.

    What do we do to defend in PES? Hold X and the player automatically hones in on the player and takes the ball, no skill required.

    Also Konami insist on every single physical contact resulting in losing the ball, you have no jostling, no control over keeping hold of the ball, its just left to chance, at least in FIFA you can use L2 to shield and push the tackling player away.

  9. Paul – I think pes 19 is pretty much a lost cause for you now. The fifa – route seems to be the more sensible thing to do as pes will probably give you the same shite you’ve been handed up till now. I know that last year, in hindsight, I would have much preferred fifa to be my “main” footy game with pes playing second fiddle. Though an important thing to note is that pes 18 fell apart as quickly for me as pes 19 is falling apart for you now. Not yet the case for me now somehow.

  10. I was just messing. When I said run I mostly walked.
    Maybe PES gives me what I think football should be rather than what it is.
    Haven’t checked what setting I’m on in FIFA just the default so again my fault I’ll try later.

  11. Prsgame – yes, if you played FIFA in recent years and signed into your ID for the demo, it will probably have auto-installed your preferences, and if one of them was PES-style Legacy Defending, that’s what you got. Tactical Defending in FIFA is much trickier.

    Paul – you might as well just call it now and head FIFA’s way, then maybe circle back to PES in 2019 itself after a few rounds of patches.

    abbeyhill – as you know I have strong doubts that any of the tactical settings or sliders (bar the obvious ‘hug the touchline’-style ones) do anything at all. Compactness, for example, I think has zero gameplay impact. I’ve never even noticed a cosmetic impact. Ditto most of the rest of them.

  12. Paul – If you haven’t seen a pro team leave that much space watch Villa tomorrow. But in all seriousness I should look into the camera thing a bit more

  13. PRS – no worries, everyone has differing views on what they want in a football game, thats why no single game will ever please everyone.

    NG – PES 19 has so much potential, I’m not happy to just walk away from it, if I could only experience game play where not every single AI attack is identical, i could live with the rest, hence my will to persevere.

    I’ve spent the last 6 months upgrading and redesigning the website, making over 50 bespoke kits, and looking forward to playing PES 19 that I have invested too much to just ditch it, but I can’t play it long-term with the way it is.

    Good to have FIFA as a backup career if Konami do nothing though.

    Re the tactical options, I’m with NG, having done multiple tests of numerous settings in order to combat this AI crap, most of the tactical options do absolutely zero.
    See for yourself, set compactness, width, defensive line etc etc, then switch to Blimp mode to see the whole pitch and all players, and how they move and positions they take up.

    Now change the settings to the opposite and do the same…. you won’t see any difference at all.

  14. not-Greg – generally agree, but in this instance I am certain that my tactical settings have markedly changed gameplay for the better

  15. what have you done Abbey? and what have they changed?

  16. I once walked across white hart lane with a garden fork and a half time crowd showing no interest whatsoever in what I was up to. It’s a very strange noise out there, a sort of constant hum of consistent volume. I can’t imagine how incredible it must be to be a player the moment a minutes silence is ended and everyone lets loose.

    It’s completely different from the sound made from the crowd when walking onto the field with a shovel during a test match. The one I’d love to experience more than any other is the Welsh anthem during the six nations at the millennium. With or without gardening implement.

  17. Well it was inspired by your own tactical changes Paul, which do not seem to have achieved a lasting improvement in gameplay for you. But in my case I am seeing fewer low crosses, a bigger range of AI attacking play and generally more interesting and enjoyable games. Switched to a wide 442 with hug the touch line option sometimes on. Attacking tactics counter, long ball, wing play, maintain formation. Defending tactics all out defence, centre containment, conservative, defensive line 2 compactness 3

  18. Abbeyhill, in fairness I stoppd using those tactics, to try other things, maybe thats when the gameplay nosedived again.

    Maybe i should go back to those tactics and try again and see if it improves to a bareable level.
    Thanks for reminding me.

    Turf – you do make me chuckle!!!

  19. Altogether now Turf … Gwlad! Gwlad! Pleiddiol wyf i’m gwlad.

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