The A.I. That We Fleed

A few days off work meant a lot of rapid progress in my Master League on PES2019. The above is the exact moment I got Castledine straight-red-carded in a calamitous defeat.

I’ve had a couple of proper ‘9/10 enjoyment’ sessions on the game. As I type up this post on this fine Friday morning, I’m aware that it’s FIFA19’s official release day. For many diehard PES fans of long-standing, the PES2019 AI experience is unacceptable, and they are quite rightly seizing on the appearance of what sounds like the most promising FIFA for years.

I’m enjoying PES2019, on the whole. I get no AI fouls, and I’m still sure that long-rangers have generally been nerfed in a way I profoundly disapprove of. But overall? It’s good for me.

Season 2 is 15 matches old at the time of writing. That means I’m almost exactly one-third of the way through it.

This is the current table:

Much better than this stage in season 1. My goal is to finish in the top half of the table at the very least.

Those 3 wins were welcome, but there should have been more.

And 6 draws is frustrating. I’m constantly fiddling about with formations trying to turn all the draws into wins and the defeats into draws. Here is the latest 4-1-3-2 (promptly abandoned):

After seeming so great initially, Rice has declined more or less to averageness. That Rising Shot of his continues to be an enigma. Such an intoxicating new skill, in a series that used to be justly famous for its satisfying long-range shooting. But no Riceing Shot has yet to lead to an actual goal.

SPEAKING OF LONG-RANGE SHOOTING – as detailed in comments on the previous post, I did finally get my long-sought-after PES2019 long-ranger.

Here it is again for those who have not seen it:

Some say these types of goals from that sort of distance are fairly common in PES2019. They’re rare enough for me. This was my first after a hundred attempts. And I haven’t had one since, despite many more attempts.

I did, though, score this R2 curler from about 30 yards with Lincoln – yes the keeper flubs it in, but I’ll take it:

Not quite another long-ranger – a few things count against it, not least the R2-use. A classic PES long-ranger should be a laces-driven cannonball. And then there’s that keeper flap.

It’s the first thing of note that Lincoln has actually done. He’s still ripe for transfer come January, though.

In general, though, I now play a touch more conservatively in attack. Instead of always blazing away from distance, I try to work more optimum opportunities. Goals have picked up slightly, and I am proportionally higher up the table because of it.

Defending can still be a nightmare. The PES2019 AI, for all its many faults, can find fiendish ways to grab a goal when it puts its virtual mind to it. At least 4 of my 6 draws could and should have been wins for me, but I have this habit of succumbing to 90th minute equalisers.

Better players will help. I’m looking forward to the mid-season transfer window with a hunger for new players that I haven’t ever really experienced in nuPES Master League.

I need another top striker to play up front with Necid. After a promising opening few matches, Dentinho has wilted into anonymity, for the most part.

My semi-House Rule is ‘show me individuality or I will show you the door’. Dentinho has done enough, though, to earn a stay of execution until at least the end of the season.

And so have most of my other players. Even the weirdly forgettable starting Default Karlsen has sprung from the bench a couple of times to perform supersub heroics. I find Karlsen plays best as an SS directly behind Necid.

I’m a big fan of Visual Fatigue. We’re so accustomed to playing with our fingers curled lovingly around the R1 button, we don’t realise we’re doing it.

Visual Fatigue punishes R1-use in the late-game. Making the right substitute at the right time is now deeply meaningful, rather than something worth doing just for the sake of it. Fingers crossed that this isn’t patched out.

Updated: 28th September 2018 — 12:01


  1. Cook – I’ve adjusted your image link for you. The new plugin I installed will only display the image if the link ends in .jpg or .png or .gif or the like. On Imgur, you get that version of their link by right-clicking the image directly.

  2. Yes you can Jay, it’s like NG said though, you play vs cpu on increasing difficulty levels, no league table or otherwise competition.

    Afraid I feel it’s bust this year though. They handed out so many coins, points and freebies in the first week that you could have three squads of well known players immediately. You can’t put them all together at once because of the team spirit hit but you just haven’t got the thrill of spending hard earned points to get a star player as they drop all the time.

  3. Uncle Turf – but to an ML veteran, or to anyone deliberately setting out to play with lower-ranked players in a lesser squad, star players won’t be relevant pro or contra. You don’t have to play with the star player that the game more or less gives you. In the course of events you get a ton of middle-ranked and lower-ranked players, and you can always get them deliberately by using the freebie rubbish Agents on purpose to fill out an Irregulars squad, and play with them. My Irregulars in PES2018 were one of the highlights of that game, almost equal to ML. I know that’s what Konami have evilly intended all along, and I’m rewarding them, but the die was cast a long time ago.

  4. nG – Thanks for sorting the picture out. I managed to win my final 4 without conceding, some positive scripting for sure. Huddersfield bottled it and then lost in the play-off semi final as is the way.

    Onto the Premier League but that’s enough PES for today.

  5. Cook – well done, and am I right in thinking this is a much-delayed promotion for you by usual standards? You’re usually a first-season man as I remember.

  6. You see challenge and a purpose in it where I don’t NG. If you don’t attempt to assemble the best squad possible then it would be excessive house rules for me, and I’ve never liked house rules. The lack of an offline competition is what scuppers it, simply ascending the difficulty is just a bit hollow.

    Anyhow, after a brief return I’m definitely off till anything happens. It’s 2014 all over again. No football for me for the next few weeks.

  7. Btw I’m anticipating that not only did Paul purposely miss that marvellous test series against India this summer but he is also avoiding the Ryder cup….sport at its finest.

  8. Whilst the premise of MyClub is sound and I enjoyed my few weeks on it last year, the over arching objective of the masses that play it is win at all costs, which doesn’t lend itself to enjoyable football being played.

    The lengths that people go to, to ensure a win on a video game is unbelievable. Lag cheating, purposely using 3rd party external devices to affect the quality of connection in order to ‘win’ a game that’s never finished, the rage quitters and more commonly the ‘white ball benchers’ …. all just reeks of way more hassle than it’s worth.

    Yes you can play MyClub offline in limited options, but with the way any offline play currently is, it’s just not worth it.

    Congrats cook – keep us posted on how prem teams play compared to championship teams.

  9. Turf – I have respect for golf in being a sport that requires skill and patience, and a lot of money, to be good at, and I enjoy golf games both on my phone and used to love tiger woods on PS3, but would never watch a live golf event, definitely on par with cricket in terms of boredom factor.

  10. Golf was at its very best in gaming with the Wii……

  11. As a live sport cricket leaves golf trailing in its wake. The only mainstream sport I can think of as tedious as golf is formula one (I refuse to call it F1). Plus golf has the horrible conitation of being something many work colleagues have taken up in an attempt to brown nose middle management.

  12. nG – nuPES has generally been 1st season promotion, the exception being PES 2018 which was 2nd season. Konami have turned the difficulty dial right up to 11 this year. I’ve had a no free transfers house rule but in hindsight it probably wasn’t necessary and it was only the addition of 5 loans with >80 OVR stats that gave me the edge otherwise it would’ve been another season in Div 2. I think the budget constraint has made the biggest positive difference to ML this year.

  13. Uncle Turf – can I interest you in a story about when I bought a Wii console with a copy of Tiger Woods, anticipating lots of happy living room swing-action? What Happened Next Will Shock You!

    What swing and motion control? It worked as advertised maybe 20% of the time. The rest of the time, a mighty thwack would result in my on-screen golfer perhaps twitching a bit. I don’t want to discuss all the advice I took online and in real-life from other Wii owners about the positioning of the sensor bar and calibration of the controllers etc. The upshot of it all was that the TV advert picture of faultless golfing was a fantasy. About a year after I got rid of it I heard Nintendo upgraded the firmware and improved things, but that bird had flown. I really don’t want to talk about it now. Fuck the Wii.

    The Wii can just go and swivel on its own useless nunchuk thing. Worst console ever. I’d take a ZX80 over the Wii anyday. Hell, a Binatone Pong box. A bucket and spade. A ball and a stick.

    The Wii is Poo. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.


  14. I have to confess when reading NG’s posts about Myclub earlier this year I just didn’t get the point but the more you play it and manage the squads, the more it all makes sense. I have started to improve on-line and have won 4 of my last 6 games. Thanks to faigue being so prominent it forces players to play properly. In terms of quality of games it leaves the offline behind. Yesterday I played it on and off all day, which I doubt I would have been able to do with ML as it is tedious. I had a fantastic 0-0 game on-line yesterday, which had varying changes in momentum.

    I did notice the other day if you get a black ball player they don’t fit tactically with other none black ball players as my team spirit went to 9. So you have to keep them set aside in another squad for future use. It is a collector’s dream. You have to tip your hat to Konami’s strategy by making off-line so poor that people end up going to Myclub earlier. I thought I would never do so…..

    As for the Ryder Cup I can’t stand all the fist pumping and players holding thier hands to thier ears and doing the shussing motion to the crowd.

  15. Haha NG and his Wii story always amuses me.
    However. If you get a copy of PES13 on the Wii and play with a classic controller, it’s like a more modern day better graphics version of PES 5. True story.

    Darryl – back on PES 18 I played some MyClub and became addicted to the online divisions, seeing how high I could climb in the month or so left that I had of playing the game.
    Climbed from div 12 to div 5 in 3 weeks with a team
    Of relative unknowns. Mostly bronze and silver ball players. Some white. Developing a level 0 52 Ovr rated Rhiannon Brewster into a goal machine was particularly enjoyable.
    So MyClub has its place, it’s just limited offline and hampered by fucktards online.

  16. I noticed someone in the forums had pointed out that the October AI fix will be through a data pack and not a patch. This means tweeks will be made to team tactics. Makes a big difference as you would need to restart then for this to be active.

  17. Darryl – I think that data pack thing is forum confusion based on nothing. One poster, speculating, says something off-handedly ,and a few pages later it’s a known fact. Even if there is a Konami source somewhere saying ‘as part of the data pack at the end of October’ or similar, that’s just a form of words. Data packs and patches have arrived together before. Addressing the AI strikers’ running-away-from-goal tendency would need a fundamental change to individual AI player behaviour, a full patch, which would be universal across existing savegames.

    Re. myClub, trying to convey just what the multiple squads angle (just that angle, the wonderful flexibility to play with lesser players, nothing else) is all about has quietly been one of my most frustrating undertakings on the blog. I don’t get why people don’t seem to get it.

  18. Paul – is tomorrow still the big kickoff for the FIFAFX blog? Are you going to have a set time of publication?

  19. NG – yes. Aiming to start career mode proper later this afternoon. Will collect some Content and aim to get the post up by latest 2pm tomorrow afternoon.

  20. I’m thinking LCS syndrome is prone to some kind of random seed if you will, at the risk of sounding too forum-y / conspiratory. I’ve got two saves that more or less ran parallel before I seemingly settled on Arsenal. Almost all cpu attacking AI I’m seeing is LCS. Only when I stop it do they resort to other means, sometimes. Liverpool save – no LCS whatsoever, quite varied AI attacks. I have the same players, same formation, same tactics. Exactly the same. Playing the same teams as well. Only difference is that one team is called Arsenal and the other Liverpool, and they play at different stadiums. Fascinating though I’m not going to continue this experiment. Liverpool save it is.

  21. NG – Yes I think that has been the case as when you read the official communication it is part of a data pack:-

    “AI behaviour/style of play – Irregularities identified and fix to come with next Data Pack (late Oct)

    Online performance – Currently investigating and will provide an update soon.

    We apologise for the above inconveniences and thank you for your continued support/feedback”

    I suppose it is a sign of the times as people are quick to jump on these things.

  22. Talking about FIFA it plays a decent game but it is a little too easy to pull of the spectacular. I think I’ll run both games this year.

  23. NG – I get it, I just still think it’s a bit dull. No proper competitions. Poor mans Match Day!

  24. PRS – Didn’t Ronaldo do that in real life recently though 😉

    Had some extra time so first FIFAFX blog post written, will be up live on at 10am Monday Morning.

  25. One match but two significant PES moments over the weekend.

    The first was picking up a near mint condition copy of PES 5 in a charity shop, complete with a perfect instruction booklet and even the flyer advertising the very same PES 5 piggyback guide I took delivery of last week.

    The second was my last match of season 2 of my PES 5 ML, the Div 2 cup final vs Birmingham City. An Agahowa header from a corner was enough to win me my first piece of silverware on this return to the game, sparking the kind of celebrations not seen in PES for many a year. Remember trophy presentations?

  26. Congrats Shed, Trophy celebrations/presentations …… *sighs whimsically*

  27. Shed – double stiffage for you sir with a booklet and guide 🙂

    Moved house over the weekend, boxes everywhere…but TV, HD Box, Blu ray and PS4 are already plugged in. Dont know whether to continue my Bielefeld ML or wait until the “patch”.

    Paul – Loftus Road looks great!

  28. Werd – Bluray? Seriously? I thought you’d still be on Betamax 😉

    I’d wait until the patch mate, nothing like the crashing down excitement of starting a ML once the mundane AI rot kicks in.

    Yeah its nice to have a few of the proper Championship teams stadiums in FIFA. No City Ground though.

  29. Double stiffage?! Oo-er. There’s liking manuals, then there’s *really* liking manuals…whatever floats your boat I guess.

  30. Shed – that’s a point, are trophy presentations back in PES2019? Cook yesterday posted a pic of players celebrating, but I think that was a 2nd place finish. I’d bet it’s the same ‘blank trophy space team picture’ type of celebration.

    Paul – I see your first full post is now up at

    I see there’s no link from PESFX itself…?

  31. NG – Yep, we’re live! No link from PESFX as its a separate game, but may put one on later.

    Also you can use the proper domain address

  32. Paul – nice start. I like Bojan. Hopefully he isn’t injury prone! Or should I rather he is for the realism!

  33. Paul – commented, and I was first (I didn’t say ‘first!’). Check your mod queue. I think there’ll be a few in there today.

    I’ll add the blog link as a separate link on the front page when I’m back on my main computer. Currently on the iPad.

    FIFA19 looks weirdly better in your clips than it did when I was looking at random clips on YouTube over the weekend.

  34. Paul – Just paid my first visit to FIFA FX and left a little comment.

    n-G – Do you really need to ask? Of course there’s no trophy presentations in PES 2019. It’ll be the same as the last few years, not that I’ve been in a position to check of course. I don’t know why Konami just doesn’t make a new version of these generic trophy presentations in PES 5. They’re great.

    With the Div 2 Cup now secured, I’m going to go all out for promotion in this next curtailed Div 2 season. I really should go up this time, having only missed out by a point last time. I’m experimenting with a more attacking approach in pre-season as it the lack of goals scored was my downfall last campaign.

    As for PES 2019, I plan to have the odd game but otherwise I think I’m going to wait for this patch in the hope this very mysterious AI is sorted out. Surely it has to be a patch though as a change in stats wouldn’t take a month to implement would it?

  35. Thanks NG & Shed – have changed the blog settings now so comments don’t need to be moderated or approved before posting, unless they contain multiple links.

    I think the broadcast cam (set to 14 zoom and 0 height) and slow game play helps FIFA look better than all those generic speedy flat clips on Youtube.

    I haven’t even touched sliders yet, not felt a need to.

  36. Close to starting a 2019 ML now. Both creators of the two leagues I need to start have both said they are done, or nearly done. Despite the A.I. issues with the current game, and the fact I’m quite satisfied with my 2018 ML for the time being, I’m still excited to get a 2019 ML underway. Especially with the promise of a fix a few weeks away.

  37. Tommy – Let’s just hope that you don’t need to restart a ML for the AI fix changes to take effect. Wouldn’t rule it out knowing Konami.

    NG – in case you facncied a change any time.

    Kit Image:

  38. Shed – I’m partly envious about you and your new fancy, PES5. Not only are you clearly having a classic ML experience and loving it, but you’re accessorising into the bargain! Glossy books, mint-condition new copies of the game…

    Re. PES2019, I continue to love it and be strangely unaffected by Ai woes. Paul will forgive me for sure for saying that after seeing FIFA19 in motion over the weekend, I’m happier than ever with PES2019. Which must sound damn strange to all those affected by AI woes. You saw my ‘all AI attacks’ vid a few weeks ago. That continues to be the predominant experience for me. As #1’s comment yesterday speculated, a possible random seed is behind all the different experiences. Something must be.

    Paul – many thanks and that kit is going straight into my game. Classic white swoopy stripes!

    Been AFK all day and just now adding the link to your blog – what’s the official title, ‘FIFAFX’ on its own or the full ‘FIFAFX Career Mode Chronicles’?

  39. Tommy – shouldn’t be a problem after the patch. There’s never yet been a PES patch that isn’t fully savegame compatible. I’m going all the way back to PES2008 on PS3 here, across 11 editions now. I remember this, as you would expect for a one-ML player like me. Even the hugely transformative patches that they were giving PES2014 all through that year were all savegame compatible.

    The only reason this speculation exists is because of the way Konami announced the patch coming, with a DLC. The bogus chain of reasoning then went:

    1) Uh, so the patch is part of the DLC?
    [not what Konami announced, but we won’t let that stop us]
    2) If the patch is part of the DLC, it means the AI patch is really just a load of changes to Team Styles!
    3) Which means the patch won’t be savegame-compatible!!!

    I know, I know, I’ll look like a tit if points 1-3 above turn out to be the case, but as I said above, in 11 patchable-by-Internet editions of the series, Konami have yet to push out a patch that isn’t savegame-compatible.

  40. NG – A little play on the classic brown kit with white sweeping stripes.
    Also, whilst I am very much enjoying FIFA, it’s early days yet, and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone that is enjoying PES, if you don’t suffer the LCS issues, then there is a superb core game there to enjoy, even if the ML mode itself is very bare bones.
    If I could pick up FIFA’s presentation, stadiums and Career mode and place it on top of PES game play, I would any day.

    Surely not even Konami would release a game play AI fix that wouldn’t be save-compatible. It’s forum confusion as you said.

    Besides, tweaking the AI play styles would not fix the issue, as I have tried everything to no avail down that route. Still baffling how it affects some drastically and others not at all, I wish I could hand you my 6 + fouls per match too NG, you’d be happy as a pig in shit with PES 19 if I could.

    As for the FIFAFX title – maybe FIFAFX Chronicles ? whatever is easiest, appreciated. Have put a link to here on FIFAFX too.

  41. Paul – the kits and customisation options on the PES side are a powerful draw for you. Not being naughty here, but I think there’s a good chance you’ll be back on PES2019 a month from now.

    Re. blog naming, I’ve added it under FIFAFX Chronicles which fits better than the longer Career Mode version (you’ll eventually play Ultimate Team and other modes, I hope). I don’t own the Chronicles tag so it’s no problem – Midnite Kid has a ‘myClub Chronicles’ thing going on PES Universe, but not updated much. There’s The Martian Chronicles. And of course we’re all still getting over the untimely cancellation of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

  42. I’ll admit it is NG, I love creating, and graphics and design, this is a major plus point for PES, it does grate on me that we have to play FIFA season in and season out with the same kits, but ultimately, there’s no point having beautiful kits and spending hours creating them if there’s nothing to use them on, and currently, PES is broken for me, so not so much of a draw.

    I did say I was parking PES, not abandoning it, I spent 45 mins going through pre-season two before I saved, identifying transfers etc. So will definitely revisit PES 19 once the fabled patch arrives, until then, and beyond hopefully, FIFA is a very acceptable backup.

  43. Paul – “If I could pick up FIFA’s presentation, stadiums and Career mode and place it on top of PES game play, I would any day.” This is exactly where I end up after a few days on any FIFA I have ever played and this is why I too suspect you’ll be back on PES sooner rather than later.

    n-G – PES 5 looks and feels so basic now that every time I fire up my PS2, it takes me a few moments to stop missing the fancy graphics of a nuPES or FIFA. But then you get going with a match and it’s engrossing. PES 5 is going to be chugging along in the shed but I will return to PES 2019.

  44. Shed – I may return to PES when the Patch hits, if its fixes AI, but there’s enough in FIFA to keep me occupied if not, or even as an aside.

    NG – Away Kit, should you want it.

  45. Shed (and others) – I think “getting on” with fifa is very much dependent on how much one is willing to persevere with it and accept that it is “not pes”. I’ve had a VERY hard time with that in the past and until fifa 17 and 18 only managed to do it with fifa09 and fifa 15. They were very enjoyable games and at least equal to their pes counterparts. Still though I must admit, pes always draws me back in. Almost inevitable. Guess most of us are pes fanboys at heart.

  46. Paul – sterling work, many thanks again. One of the first PS3 FIFAs actually did allow creation of custom teams and custom kits, which I recall very well because a random one-off commenter berated me here for creating a Default XI and embarking on an ML in FIFA. I think it was FIFA10, and as I recall it was very difficult to get the custom kits feature working because it was all done on a website that was extremely wonky.

    #1 – this is the first year where I can clearly see what people mean when they say FIFA’s animations look unnatural to them. But my perceptions have been conditioned by PES over a long time now.

  47. So I had my first long ML session today. Was at Soft Cell’s last ever gig last night and am playing football tonight, so did not fancy an early shift today so took it off and played PES.

    My current record in the league is W5, D4, L6. I’m somewhere round midtable and six points off of sixth, though very early days for talk of a Season 1 (ONE) promotion. I’ve 4 (FOUR) incoming transfers lined up for the window: one goalkeeper, two centre-backs and I believe the fourth is a CM/DM.

    I beat Cardiff and then Fulham in the FA Cup, which I much would’ve preferred to have the wins in the League. I have Spurs in the next round.

    Enjoying it very much.

  48. Werd – wait, play fallout, skyrim, minecraft, the time will pass. That’s what I’m doing. Imagine the chaos if the update is substantial and it hits NGs campaign mid season. What if he suddenly gets a stumble animation when closing in on a treble?

  49. Jay – just had a session myself and the game continues to more than hold up. PES2019, currently the best PES for me since PES2013. Crazy.

    Uncle Turf – I was just thinking that too. My copy of the game is clearly some sort of Willy Wonka gold ticket chocolate bar deal. Imagine if the patch (which I don’t need) does ‘something’ to my game, but fixes everyone else’s…

  50. Palace suffering from LCS in the game this evening.

    I was tempted by FIFA over the weekend, all the positive talk by the old gaurd on the forums had me well and truly convinced but then decided to have another game of PES which I really enjoyed so I’ll wait for now. I’m a few games into the Premier League and so far so good, there’s not been a massive difficulty spike so may venture up to Legend if it carries on this way.

    Edit: also spent some time sorting some mods out, Premier League presentation stuff, corner flags, scoreboard, referee kits, balls. There’s some talented people out there doing excellent work.

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