Slow and steady wins the race

So I’ve only just made it to mid-season of Season 1.

Why so slow? Is that a reflection on the quality of PES2019?

No – this slow progress is not much slower than normal, for me. This tortoise-like progression is what makes it possible for me to play multiple seasons spanning many months.

A look at last year shows PES2018 arriving on 12th September. I started Master League on 15th September. I reached mid-season of Season 1 two weeks later, on 29th September.

This year I might have got a lot further a lot faster if I haven’t discovered that a little game called Fallout 4 has crept up on me and become quite the obsession.

There’s a very addictive building component to Fallout 4. It’s ‘Minecraft meets Mad Max’. And as a fan of the post-apocalypse, even the semi-comic one of the Fallout 4 world, I keep being brought up short by stark and haunting vistas.I’ve split my gaming time roughly 50-50 between Fallout 4 and PES2019 over the past two weeks since the latter’s launch. Maybe that’s helped to ease me through some of the early difficulties that so many others are experiencing.

I’ve got through to mid-season of my Master League completely untroubled by Low Crossing.

I don’t mean that I’m seeing it but managing to live with it.

It’s not that I’m seeing it a little bit but managing to enjoy the game anyway.

It’s that I’m not seeing it at all. I have to have the one or two isolated instances of Low Crossing pointed out to me. And of course, when they’re isolated, they’re just a normal part of the game.

I don’t know how, or why, Low Crossing doesn’t appear in my game. I even recorded an entire match, distilled it down to the AI attacks only, to show that it doesn’t occur in my game. It definitely doesn’t. How? Why?

But I’m not getting away scot-free. There’s something else that I don’t really see, that I would very much like to see: AI-committed fouls. I’m also not committing many fouls myself.

This is a bog-standard, typical post-match stats screen for me:

1 (ONE) AI foul on me. 0 (ZERO) fouls committed by me. And precious few tackles, which makes no sense when I play, and the AI plays, the most aggressive, barging, kung-fu-kicking football we can get away with – which is a lot.

PES2019 is just as sprint-clampy and slide-tackley as any other nuPES instalment. The demo seemed to herald another way of doing things, a deeper, more substantial single-player experience – but I should have known better. Normal business has been resumed.

I’m waiting to see how things pan out long-term on the AI fouls front. Maybe, hopefully, an influx of better players will change things, who knows?

Scoring 14 goals in 19 games and beng rock-bottom of Division 2 means that I can’t really expect anything much better than this:

The 428th-best team in the Master League world. Magnificent. I want to get above the total scum that is Deportivo Pasto. Those bastards need to be taught a lesson.

I can’t honestly see this year being too different from PES2018. The improvements that are undoubtedly there – Visual Fatigue seems to be a thing, currently – are just enough to be pleasing, but not enough to make PES2019 the dramatic leap forward that it initially seemed to be.

Now more than ever, there is a truth that must be acknowledged: PES exists entirely at the mercy of online multiplayer.

Online multiplayer is the invisible puppet-master that pulls all of football gaming’s strings, and nothing that could negatively impact the ‘flow’ of the online game will ever be allowed into PES again.

The nuPES story has always been one of extracting goodness from the games ‘in spite of’. In spite of this issue, or that issue, in spite of this and that misgiving – the game goes on, and it does!

By Tuesday’s post I will have sailed through mid-season, picked up some new players, and hopefully started to pick up results.

Updated: 14th September 2018 — 11:51


  1. Paul – I have found that to be true in recent years as there is difference in playing in liscenced leagues as there is much more variety in playing styles as the teams are all set up differently.

    Coming up to mid march and desperate to get to the end of the season as recent form indicates I could be more competitive and have form of a mid table side.

  2. This is the PES 2019 I am playing

    Some last day transfers are missing, but it is really awesome

  3. Sigh. After initially hoping I’d get my ML underway this weekend, it looks like I’m still a couple of weeks away. The Liga MX file I have has massively overrated the players, so I think I’ll hang on for Erzo’s at the end of the month. Worth the wait, I hope.

  4. Tommy – what have you got installed so far? I have solely what PESWorld has already released, so still 2(?) fake leagues to cover.

    I’ve ditched my league mode with Lyon for one with Schalke and changed my formation to 343 diamond-esq type one. I’ll upload pics, but having much more success with 5 wins from 5. It’s GK CB-CB-CB DM-CM-CM-AM LW-CF-RW

  5. Jay – Yes, all PES World at the moment. I have Liga MX too from @czhekoglz (C+D on PESGaming) but he must be a big Mexican league fan as all the teams are ridiculously overrated.

  6. NG. How did you move PES Utd into the Europe category to edit them. You can’t move teams from outside Europe in it seems ?

  7. Just checked that MX one out. All the teams seemed fair apart from 2 that were ridiculous! 4.5 stars each and both had attacks over 85! One had Ramiro Funes Mori (a striker) with 92 OVR!

    Can’t wait to start ML!

  8. Jay – that was the famous Ajax tactic in the 90s and I used that formation in the 2017 game with much success. I was tempted to use it again this year but wondered if it make my players tired.

  9. Here’s the formation I’ve been having success with on SS:

    (I tried inserting a pic but the comment wouldn’t submit so here’s my best description –

    (In attack)

    (In defence)

    The CMs stay in same position but change roles to DM, the LW and RW drop deeper into LM and RM.

    I have the support range with all but one bar on, the defensive line all but two, and for compactness I have three bars on.

    For advanced tactics, I have: tiki-taka, hug the touchline, counter target (CF), counter target (AM).

    I’ve played 5 won 5, F11 and against 2. Both 2 were in the same game and one was when my attacking level was on max and I was left with two CBs isolated! I haven’t seen anywhere near as many low crosses.

    Darryl – I’ll send the formation pics if you’d like; my comment wouldn’t submit with the links to them. The DM and Wingers are the ones I sub most often due to tiredness from 75 onwards.

    Edit: figured it out –

  10. Paul – quite right, PES United was the team I used for my first test-it-out ML. For my real ML I remember now running into the trouble of not being able to move PES United into Europe in Edit mode, and I went for some team in a weird league instead, and Edited them instead. I forget the team name now but I know I swapped them with Burton so I’ll work it out and post later. I take it you’re interested in the team’s preset tactics?

  11. sounds promising, Jay, or at least more promising than my hopelessly ineffective wingplay with the defaults. How have you scored most of your goals so far? Looks like it might be a through ball/turn and shoot sort of PES. Just kicking off my third ML this evening, have to say that it is a pretty excellent depiction of Liverpool’s front 3 in the first pre-season game, ripping Sochaux apart with a pace and directness that feels distinct from other teams

    JS Hutt – looks rather good, which PS2 version is that based on?

  12. Abbeyhill – as I’m yet to start ML I don’t benefit from the end of the month stats, so I get no prompting from that as to what the majority of my goals are.

    I’m still scoring headers, just nowhere near as many as I have in the last two PESes. 2017 in particular was a header fest for me. I scored 100+ with a single player in one season, Obbi Oulare, and is guess at least 60% were headers.

    My little corner routine probably has a 1 in 3 success rate but I wouldn’t say I have a way of scoring more prominent than others. Wing play was the core of my game past couple of seasons but this year really forces you to mix it up; I spend long spells playing from side to side, up and down, all in the opponent’s half, to create an opening.

    This new formation has definitely improved my game. It’s my longest unbeaten streak on SS. Obviously, it remains to be seen how I do once I start ML.

  13. Jay – thanks for that and interesting tactic set up. I am currently playing with a set up similar to what England played in the World Cup.

  14. Darryl – I was using the same/similar to what England were set up with by default too until my change. It did me just fine on Top Player and SS in SPL but had to shake it up to progress.

    Really wanna start my ML! Hoping transfer bug and last two league patches are out soon!

  15. Paul – I did use PES UNITED! Think I was remembering WE UNITED earlier, who can’t be moved to Europe. PES UNITED certainly can.

    I went into Edit mode and reset the name and badge just for this screenshot:

    ” alt=”” />

  16. 7 games left in season 1 and am fighting to avoid finishing bottom. The gap has been clawed back from 12 points to 6. You know what for all the games faults (there are a few) I am enjoying this ML. Also for some unknown reason I am starting to see more variety of goals from the CPU.

  17. I’m now into January season two and I’ve cashed in everything saleable to get van persie. Scoring is so difficult I had to take a chance. Arcas and castledine are still there but purely because their wages are not high. The budget setting doesn’t have much effect at all – 23m in transfers, 1M wages. I have 17 players, no wage higher than 450k. It’s a major squad limiter.

    I’m third from bottom, or 9th given it’s Scotland.

  18. Pierre Lucienbonnet, what a player!

  19. abbeyhill: it is based on PES 2014

  20. Thanks NG!! Didn’t need to go to that much trouble, but appreciated.
    Had an interesting weekend PES wise….

    Loaded up PES 19 on the spare PS4 up in the bedroom, completely vanilla, no OF’s or such, started a ML, with Rangers in the SPL, original club teams (proper players), Professional.
    Played the 3 ICC matches and whilst the LCS was still there, it was nowhere near as frequent, admittedly only had time to test these 3 games, but later on sunday, I wiped the main PS4Pro of all PES 19 related data, and deleted all images from within game, edit data, save data, system data etc, all wiped, so in effect it was back to starting vanilla state as if I had just put the disc in for the first time.

    I downloaded all of PESWorld’s kit and team packs, and systematically copied one league at a time onto USB and loaded that into the game, then competiton emblems etc.

    I played a handful of friendlies, in different stadiums, times of day, with varying teams of all levels, choosing teams that all had different formations and tactics, and definitely saw a much reduced use of the LCS by the AI.
    So then I started a Libertadores Cup Competition, playing as Cruzeiro, and what followed was a series of amazingly good quality, fun, enjoyable matches, whereby across the 6 group games, I must have seen the LCS attempted about 5 or 6 times in total. It was usually 8-10 times per match.

    I’m doubtful it was the PESUni OF that caused the tactical, therefore LCS over Spamming, as you use the same one NG, but it definitely wasn’t placebo, it was the first time for a while I’ve played PES 19 and greatly enjoyed it rather getting angry at the game, I’m wondering if its a Master League thing, with weaker teams, so will be starting a new, fresh ML tonight, and will gauge it from there, but so far, looking much more promising.

    A nice little solo goal scored in the Libertadores, been using it as a practice mechanic, and precise timing and presses of the sprint button, with direction, can see you pull off some nice slaloming dribbles, and that finish – advanced shooting.

  21. Managed to wrestle some PS4 time from midi-Shed over the weekend, almost enough to finish season one of my ML with Brighton on Top Player.

    I’m now just two games away from the end of the season and just two points away from achieving my own little mini-goal of finishing outside of the bottom three.

    As Jay mentioned, you really have to mix up your attacking play with headers being so useless in this game – with lesser players at least. I’ve had most success playing the ball up to a striker with his back to goal and working a one-two or a shot from there. I’ve also been giving the AI a taste of its own medicine with low crosses.

    Jarvis, the default striker who served me so well in PES 2018, is doing it again with 14 goals so far this season – a good few of them from low crosses. That said, I’ve not had any problems with the AI spamming low crosses.

  22. Paul – That’s a nice run and finish. It’s clear to me, having also played other modes, that the low crossing and nerfed headers are more of an issue in ML, especially playing as the defaults. I’m finding this is giving me extra incentive to ship out the deadwood and get some decent players in.

    I remember PES 2012 starting very much like this with central-shooting being almost a game breaker for me. Better players and increased Team Spirit (it may have been hidden then) meant I never even thought about it after a three season of building a team.

    With a couple of games to go, I’ve really enjoyed this first season. Scoring is still so much possible than it was in classic PES (I’ve recently been reminded how tough it was early on in PES 5 and PES 2013) without being too easy. I’ve also had two penalties, an injury (not in game) and I’ve scored from a free kick in this first season. If I had known that before PES 2019’s release, I wouldn’t have hesitated so long to order it.

    The downsides for me currently include the awful presentation, the annoying/lazy commentary (may turn this off soon), the transfer system (what overhaul?) and the way weather conditions are implemented… invisibly.

  23. Paul – sounds promising. What I have noticed is that the championship is somehow geared to faster play even though team tactics don’t necessarily differ that much from other leagues. I found play in ligue 2 in my test ML markedly slower and more measured.

  24. Shed / #1 – others have reported that a standard league mode is much less ‘scripty’ and LCS free than ML. Seems Konami dial up the turdometer for ML, they’ll try anything to ditch the mode won’t they!

    Seems a shame that the most fun part of a ML, the challenge with the defaults, is being dampened down so much.

    I’m tempted to find a team with low player stats and edit over them but use the original lineup when I start my new ML, kind of had enough of Arcas, Rice, Castledine etc.

    I played a match at the Stadio San Juanario Stadium in the Libertadores cup last night, it was a night match, but was sunny, which confused me, but over the course of the match the lighting changed to dusk, then dark, during which the floodlights came on, first example of the dynamic lighting system I’ve seen, looked really nice.

  25. As you know I dont use option files, just emblems this term.
    My first exhibition matches played great(20 or so)then my ML consisting of a pasted Bundesliga 1+2 on to the Prem/Champ resulted in a Low Cross fest. Six games in I was ready to quit. I switched on last night with the thought of chucking the whole thing when eveyrthing changed gameplay wise. 3 matches last night resulted in much lower LC shenanigans and a balanced enjoyable sesh. I havnt changed the tactic formation or anything else?! Mystery.

  26. seems the LCS is triggered by a ML Werd, every session plays differently on PES, we’ve known that from years of experiencing it, but to have free flowing attractive exhibition games, then start to see LCS when started a ML, seems that this may be a cause, it ramps everything up.

  27. Paul – after initially thinking I hadn’t used PES United, then discovering I had after all (and that it was WE United that were the unmovable ones), I wanted to show my working-out so to speak.

    I confess to being totally bewildered as to what you’re doing and not doing now, and how the game is or isn’t treating you, and whether or not ML is or is forging ahead. The LCS sufferers have my sympathy. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be jumping through a tenth of the hoops.

    And – League Mode. The great undiscovered country of PES.

    JS Hutt – I have PES2014 on emulator and also last year’s fanmade PES2018 and there is nothing wrong with playing them at all. It surely cannot be many more years before legacy PES is the only PES single-players may have.

    Shed – my Jarvis has been poor so far, as has my Arcas. In fact Arcas and Castledine between them are the least effective Arcas and Casteldine since Arcas and Castledine began. Both are in danger of being moved on in my mid-season, which I advanced a few weeks last night.

    Uncle Turf – I’ve got a wonderful Free Agents list with money being the only barrier to getting some top, top players. Might be time to revive a beloved old ML tradition for me: shaving the squad down to absolute bare minimum in order to afford the wages of one player.

  28. n-G – My Jarvis is a great goal poacher. Arcas is very effective just behind him as, with headers the way they are, I’ve benched the big beast of a CF I signed. That said, once a decent offer comes in for Jarvis and Arcas, they’re off as they’re both very much past-PES to me.

    Our opposing experience with the same default players and the league table you posted just shows how this year’s ML seems to differ wildly between us all. I wonder what variables are in play here. I’ve never believed that option files make any difference to gameplay, so I’m sure it’s not that.

  29. NG – understandable.
    In summary:

    I tried a fresh vanilla PES 19 on a spare PS4. It played better
    I then started again this time with PESWorld OF and played some offline cup games – It played better.
    Tonight I will restart my ML from scratch, and hope that it continues to play better, if not, I shall just persevere.

    Either way from tonight I shall be playing ML again in the normal way, and there will be no more tinkering.

    Shed – OF’s dont directly affect game play but some (PESUni included I believe) change team tactics/formations which could indirectly affect the way the AI responds and plays against you.

  30. nG – League mode has never been an unknown country for me! Always do a few before ML while waiting for a complete OF, but it predates that too.

    When I was a kid – I’m 24 – I didn’t get PES until Christmas and then I would get the game and a preloaded memory card with all the kits etc. Back then you had The PES Shop and the Trophy Cabinet.

    I would play all the leagues to win them all to fill up my cabinet and buy out the shop. Even now I can remember playing with Ronaldinho at Barca, Fred and Juninho at Lyon, Ljungberg and Pires at Arsenal, Luque at Ajax and Adriano at Inter.

    Child me would play the Swiss, Russian, Belgian, Danish et al leagues this year but I won’t have time with Mini-Jay arriving in January.

  31. Jay – I’ve got memory cards older than you!! Ah to be 24 again!.

  32. I dedicate this one to nG

    They’re possible, believe!

    Naldo has 95 kicking power, 66 finishing, and knuckle shot. Under COM Playing styles he has long ranger.

  33. Jay – very nice, and yes, encouraging too.

    A first-time strike, I see – the nuPES hallmark for long-rangers. Dating nuPES from the still-underrated PES2014, of course, where the solid few months I gave it showed me that the only way to score long-rangers was indeed with first-time strikes, of which this was the farthest-out and the best:

    Just when getting that clip, I noticed I played 11 (ELEVEN) seasons in PES2014, all told. nuPES has had its arthouse moments.

  34. NG – I’d be interested to know if being Motherwell has influenced my finance. In season one I sold off most of the rubbish, only recruited free agents and youth teamers, didn’t pay them any more than arcas et al, directed every income penny to wages and maintained a squad of the bare minimum to fill the bench. The most I ever had in the wage budget was 1.2m.

    In my youth team now is a top class defender, 700k wages. I can’t afford him, despite only having 17 players and no one on anything like that. I have recruited well known free agents but not what you’d call ml stars; Pepe Reina, Luke young, jedinak, Leon britton etc. Still in my team are giorza, arcas, castledine, and ricey when I need cover. There’s no point accepting the 10m bids for arcas as his wages are less than a reasonably competent midfielder. Van persie is everything in one basket, in a true master league scenario of years gone by id be running a huge risk of him being injured for 18 weeks.

  35. Uncle Turf – for all the reasons you mention, there’s no reason for me not to go for a Van Persie character of my own, or even two if I can really squeeze the wages. My Free Agents is a smorgasbord of faded names. Demba Ba is there (79OPR), still only 33, plenty good enough for the Championship in ML, and would totally sign for me if I had £1.4m in wages for him. There are various other names with half-a-mill wages who I could get. Still looking and deciding really.

  36. Arcas has been a key player for me. I have him sat as a SS behind either of my choice of two target men strikers. This spot is contested by Tom Elliott and a young 16 year old Peter Crouch. I know the youths are overpowered but I don’t do House Rules and I could not overlook this PES legend. He has started on a high with 8 goals from 9 games and is proving to be just as valuable to me as he was in the 2015 game.

  37. Headers or is he good with his feet for a big man?

  38. Peter crouch – I’m reading his book at the moment, it simply reinforces his status as a master league star for all the ages. By the way I don’t do sports people’s autobiographies as a rule, they are invariably awful imho – just thought I’d indulge in some snobbery with that point. Although if anyone has read a real stand out one then by all means correct me. Marcus trescothick, Gary nelson, a couple of NFL ones…any more?

    Darryl – arcas is my best player by six points overall and comfortably the glue that holds it all together. Unfortunately ‘it’ is third off bottom and still losing heavily so he might be sacrificed. I’d love to see how he turns out but outrageous new contract demands might spell the end.

  39. In terms of autobiographies, of the ones I’ve read, only Bergkamp’s and Ibrahimovic’s stand out, especially the latter. I’ve read many, though. Actually, Paul Lake – I’m Not Really Here – was insightful.

    There’s plenty of good biographies though: Jonathan Wilson’s Nobody Ever Says Thank You (Clough), David Peace’s Red or Dead (Shankly), John Keith’s Smile on me and Guide My Hand (Paisley), David Bolchover’s The Greatest Comeback Ever Told (Bela Guttman) and Andrew Downie’s Doctor Socrates.

  40. I’m scoring and getting headers on target but only when I manage to cut back onto the wingers other foot.
    Main problem with this is cutting back inside. The AI seems to cheaply dispossess me with Inspector Gadget like stretches.

  41. The AI possesses surgical accuracy slide tackles again this year, always slides in full pelt and takes the ball in one sweeping move, from all angles.

    I really enjoted Steven Gerrards autobiography, not just as a Liverpool fan, but to hear of some of the stuff that goes on in a professional footballer at the highest levels life.
    You assume its all roses and luxury, but there’s some dark stuff going on too.

    Non-Sports but ‘The Negotiator’ was a great holiday read, written by one of the FB’s chief hostage negotiators, he recounts situations he’s been in, the outcome, the art of mind games and how to persuade and manipulate people etc.

  42. Prsgame – auto-catchup (popularly mis-called ‘catchup bug’ (it’s not a bug)) is once again a huge feature of PES’s gameplay mechanics, after once again being said to have been removed this year (said by whom? said when?). An annual ritual, that one.

    Uncle Turf/Jay – not a fan of the football biog, but the football book, very much so. The Miracle of Castel di Sangro of course. Jonathan Wilson’s tactics book(s). The Mixer (specifically about English football’s various tactics, and not by Wilson) is still on my to-read pile of shame.

    Darryl – it’s a good thing that you and others have a good Arcas. Mine might as well be called Player8. He really is that meaningless. I think I’m going to do what I sort-of did last year: a semi-House Rule of having individual-feeling players only. They get half a season to convince me, then they’re gone. the aged Harry Kane was one such in PES2018. No more players like Lacazette in PES2018, who again was so utterly generic a striker that he might as well have been called Player14 etc.

  43. Jay – bit of both really as he has scored a few rare headers but his touch on the ball is sublime and have seen him score types of goals I haven’t seen anyone else score.

  44. nG – I very much like football books, too. The Miracle of Castel di Sangro is one of the only books I’ve ever read twice. A Season with Verona is good too, Inverting the Pyramid (anything Wilson tbh such as Behind the Curtain and The Outsider); Bamboo Goalposts was excellent; the one about football on Robben Island; I recommend them all. Maybe I’ll twke a picture, it’ll be easier!

  45. Jay – I looked at that MX file a little closer, and it’s a mess. Pretty sure the guy has just done it freehand, not referencing a FM stat converter or anything. I was thinking about adjusting the stats myself, but there’s dupes of in game players and everything. Avoiding, personally.

  46. Sounds interesting that Paul, that’s more the kind of thing I go for, especially on a journey. Once read val mcdermid’s forensics book cover to cover on a train.

    I’ve read zlatan and Paul lake, you’re right, the non-autobiography can be much more like it, although I struggled with things like the ball is round, just too big, and others I tend to get a bit bored with, especially country football histories and the more worthy David conn investigative type work. I’m not a climber but this game of ghosts was astonishing.

  47. Guys can I just ask what difficulty you’re all playing on? I’m on professional, almost at the January window and am top of the championship by 4 points from West Brom and have won my last 6. It already feels formulaic and predictable. I don’t WANT to be promoted in season 1.

    P.S I’ve tried about 10-15 long range blasters and every one is comfortably held by the keeper, so stupid.

  48. Superstar. I think Top Player is the most used here 🙂

  49. Mike – most commenters here are on Top Player. As you’ve discovered, Professional is unfortunately much too easy this year. It barely lasted a couple of days.

  50. Professional on Manual passing, whole different ball game

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