You wait ages for one penalty…

Whew. Season 6 has ended with high drama. Of course it ended with drama. How many ML seasons have you played where things sort of dribbled out to mid-table mediocrity? Of course there are some nothing-y seasons, but not many. Master League is purposefully designed to bring about dramatic outcomes.

With 9 matches to go I was 5 points off the playoffs, and was just one of 12 teams in contention. I knew that if I put together A Run of Results, I would find myself in the playoffs.5 wins and a draw in May. I was very proud of those three clean sheets at the top, but I wouldn’t say the matches were the most enjoyable. The AI goes absolutely crazy at times. Focusing hard enough to keep those clean sheets was very stressful.

This run of results left me needing to win my last two matches to be certain of a playoff spot. I duly won my penultimate match – but lost my final match, which meant I was sweating at the final whistle.

Last season, in a similar position, the other results went against me.

This time, results went my way.

The final table:By the skin of my teeth. I did well to finish 6th for a team that lost 17 matches and conceded 70 goals. #MLtableScriptingFTW

I came up against Leeds in the semi-final. I started nervously, but got a massive slice of luck with an R2 curler. I haven’t had an R2 curler for so long (nerfed in the October patch) that I have almost stopped trying them. I try maybe one every two matches, on average. None go even close anymore. Keeper saves, or it flies wide.

This one hit the post, cannoned out, hit the diving GK’s back, hit the underside of the bar, and dropped in (it’s on the mini-clip below). I went on to win that leg of the semi 2-0, which meant the semi-final was won for all intents and purposes. The return leg was of course tougher, but I won it 3-2.Norwich in the playoff final at a weirdly-lit Wembley. The pitch seemed too bright,. Maybe it was my telly.

I was nervous. This was my first playoff final in PES2019 – I didn’t get past the semi-final stage when I was last here, four seasons ago. To have 46 matches depend on the outcome of this single match felt like a lot of pressure.

The AI was souped up to the gills. For most of the first half I struggled to get across the halfway line into Norwich’s half.

0-0 all the way to the end, and I began to get really stressed. It was getting to the point where I knew if I conceded, that might be it.

Extra time.

In the 1st half of extra time, I slid in on a running attacker and brought him down in the box. Penalty to Norwich, which they duly dispatched. 0-1. Disaster.

I was going to lose. I was going to spend at least one more season in the Championship. I’ve enjoyed these 6 seasons, but now I really feel I could do with a change of scenery,

Should I reload, or something?

No! No reloading. Never. If science fiction has taught me anything, it’s that the integrity of the timeline must be respected. Bad Things happen to those who meddle.

I played on, and the minutes dribbled away, and it looked hopeless. I wasn’t creating anything. Then I played a ‘PES2012 turn and shoot’ ball into Mario Gomez on the edge of the box with his back to goal and a defender on him. I forced a turn – Gomez is not the most nimble of strikers – forced some space, and took a snapshot. GOAL. 1-1.

With every player on both sides seemingly shattered and dead on their feet, it looked to be heading to penalties – until…

Above is a 1 minute 44 seconds vid that shows two key moments from my playoffs. First comes that flukey in-off-the-keeper R2 curler that kickstarted my semi-final. Robben is the striker of the ball, but the game rightly registers it as an own-goal by the keeper.

Second is the key moment from extra time in the final. The scores are locked at 1-1 and with a single swing of his boot, Castledine got us promotion. No aiming reticule was used. I remembered how to take them this time.

How wonderfully ironic that the goal that sent me up to the Premier League should be a penalty – but was it even a penalty?

No human ref would ever have given that as inside the area.

When it happened, I was too confused about what was happening to capture a slow, side-on replay of the incident. Getting a penalty in PES is a matter of staring and wondering what the hell is going on, then taking the resulting penalty in a daze, wondering if you’re dreaming it.

One angle in the auto-replay shows the Norwich defender’s knee seemingly just about making contact with the back of Jarvis’s calf a few pixels inside the box. Look at the area just above the ‘2’ visible on the Norwich player’s shorts – it’s the point of contact, and it’s probably around 4 pixels inside the box.

A human ref would have given a free kick just outside the box and everyone would have accepted it. But for a computer it doesn’t matter that 99.99% of the event clearly happens just outside the box. The contact might be 0.01% of the event, but it is the crucial factor, and it’s inside the box, and that’s what makes it a penalty.

Needless to say, I am delighted to be promoted on the basis of a dodgy penalty decision. Add in that freak R2 curler own goal, and I am happy as Larry with the outcome to Season 6.The playoff final was one tough match. I know I’ve said that several times already, but it really was. The final stats indicate the truth of this. It’s very rare I get out-shot, out-passed, out-crossed, and out-intercepted.And so to the next season.

Updated: 7th December 2018 — 10:32

61 Comments

  1. Be interested to hear your thoughts on FIFA #1 – I’m into my 4th season and still loving it as much, if not more than the first season, especially with thew latest OS Sports sliders in use which really does enhance the game even more.

    7 official stadiums in the Championship and every single Premier League stadium licensed and in-tact, on broadcast cam, makes each match day seem different.

    New post is up on FIFA FX.

  2. #1 – on PC being able to tinker with PES/FIFA/any game to make it exactly to your liking, works for and against you. Super Slider Syndrome. For the restless gamer types such as yourself you might always be chasing the greener grass on the other side. But then look at Darryl, possibly the epitome of the restless gamer, forging ahead on his umpteenth FIFA season.

    Uncle Turf – sounds like you need to cast off the training wheels and head on up to the highest difficulty level…

    Paul – I might be going soft in my old age but after a few long sessions since PES2019’s last patch, I sense differences for the better, and love the game more than before too! Great year for the genre, this.

  3. NG – Good to hear, what have they changed, that you can palpibally see and feel in-game then ?

  4. Paul – just one thing that I would swear on, the famed ‘looseness’ that drives me mad to see described (because the describer never describes it). Basically that Sensible Soccer-style feel where the ball can escape you if you’re not careful. Not so much while dribbling, but more while receiving passes, and is contextual and stats based and so on – a tired player receiving a pass with too much pace on it will lose it; another player won’t – and not excessive. Not something I saw much in the game before this week, when I’ve seen it a lot to the point where it’s something to consider whilst playing – after about 15 matches now (3 sessions) I’d say it’s a definite. I’ve seen no other changes.

  5. NG – Always a good thing, and one of the things i like about FIFA so much, especially with using the OS sliders, is that feeling of unpredictability, a tired, out of form or lesser player, not being able to control the ball as pinpoint precisely every time, passes going astray, crosses, shots etc.

    PES always had that robotic feel of every player being able to pass and control like Maradona, if they have tweaked that then all for the good.

  6. Paul – it bumps the foul count up a bit too, for both sides, as there’s more loose balls to try and nick, for both sides, but catch a player instead. Still I’ll get an odd match with 0 or 1 fouls, but they are increasingly rare.

    I can imagine why they’ve done it – for the sake of online, of course, where a looser pass/dribble mechanic promotes ‘turnovers’ [retch]. They of course would never do anything directly to please single-players.

  7. Well if a side-consequence of them pleasing the online crowd, also benefits offline players, then its a bonus.

    The amount of exciting passages of play I experience in FIFA whereby a promising attack breaks down with a misplaced pass, or poor touch, then there’s a counter, and same for the COm, really adds to the variation of matches, as big, and better teams and players don’t do it as much so you really have to focus and concentrate on keeping possession yourself, whereas weaker teams will do it more, opening up more opportunities against them, which is of course realistic, and why each team and match plays differently.

    If Konami have finally cottoned on that matches should not be robotic ultra precise affairs then hallejullah.

  8. nG – I haven’t been paying the closest attention lately, so this patch has more-or-less passed me by. I know the game updated, but I took no notice. But I have noticed a slight “looseness” as you put it, that has lead to some more natural 50/50 situations, and a couple of unique goals. One, which I will add to the next compilation, sees the a loose pass played forward at a diagonal that you wouldn’t have seen anywhere before the patch, before my AMF rushing through hammers it into the ground and scores.

  9. Tommy – I enjoy jeering the post-patch hysteria and will continue to do so, but a change as obvious as the looser balls, ahem, I can’t ignore for the sake of my own anti-placebo agenda. I’ve enjoyed the matches more with that extra few % of unpredictability involved. And it is just a few % difference.

  10. Paul ‘- first impressions are that I quite like it. THe passing feels heavier and very PES-like which is an important improvement for me in comparison to last year as I thought it was lacking there before. Shooting is excellent – even better than last year – and I like the randomness and anything-can-happen vibe in matches which you have described often. Graphically a bit underwhelming, surprisingly – i thought FIFA18 looked better than pes but not this year. Presentation and commentary – TOP notch, I love it. I will be coming back to this , definitely. But not yet, too invested in my PES ML and gameplay is taking a turn for the better again after adjusting difficulty levels.

    NG – I’m getting a bit more stable in my restlessness if that makes sense. Tinkering is always a danger for me though. Not feeling any FIFA pangs as of yet and am too involved in ML to let it go now. Enjoying matches again (cautiously though) so am in a good place with PES. for now. Difficulty levels make a world of difference this year.

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