Month: January 2019

What would Jarvis do?

Wait, what? The week or two that just whooshed by was January? My next post will be in February? And then pretty soon the clocks will go forward and the PES2020 fanfare will start up?

At least this year there is no way that anybody should believe a single word of anything said by anyone – not by Konami, not by any preview tester –  not by anyone – about PES2020.

I currently finish a typical session of PES2019 with an average of 0.5 AI-committed fouls per match. That’s 1 every 2 matches. When the PES2019 demo came out last August, I was getting more like 3-to-5 AI-committed fouls per 5-minute match (per FIVE-minute match!).

I’m very salty about the way the game has been changed.

So this is why nothing at all that is said about PES2020 this spring or summer can ever be believed. Even if summertime PES2020 looks and plays like PES5 and Far Cry had a baby, it will, by the time Christmas rolls around, be just another nuPES clone.

I’m really annoyed about it.

I’ve played some more matches in my PES2019 Master League. Away matches have been a pain lately. They all seem to start the same way. I’m not allowed to touch the ball until it’s been in the back of my net first.

This sounds like I’m a lot more pissed off with PES2019 than I am. It’s a good football game. It is. It’s still the best since PES2015 – and probably, yes, when all’s said and done, it’s the best since PES2013. It is.

The trouble is, 2 months ago it was a lot more than that. It was a very good PES game.

Now, it’s merely a good football game of the current era.

There is a world of difference between a good footy game and a good PES game. If you don’t know what that difference is, you’ve never really known PES.

The story of the season so far has been the exploits of Huddersfield Town. Far from emulating their real-life bottom-feeders, the version that exists in my ML has topped the table so far this season.

I met them in a real 6-pointer, and just about scraped a 1-0 victory, to become the first team to beat them this season. A few other great results gives me this table to look at and enjoy after 11 matches:It’s a peculiar table in more ways that one. Liverpool in the year 2027 are 4th from bottom with a 3-2-6 record.

One of those defeats was one of my best results for October. I hammered Liverpool 4-1 at Anfield in a match that Jarvis was playing in due to fatigue (it was a busy month), and he scored two lovely striker’s goals.

October was a month of great results, barring a cruel defeat at the hands of Rangers in the Europa League:A lot of information in that screenshot. Can you spot the most interesting?

For me it’s the performance of one R JARVIS, arguably the most stalwart of this year’s Defaults. (Rice probably is the MVP of this year’s bunch, but Jarvis comes close.)

Jarvis is 70OPR and average-statted across the board – except for Finishing. He doesn’t play much, but when he does, he always scores. ALWAYS. ‘Why not play him all the time, then?’ A good question, with a simple answer: because I don’t want to interfere with the magic. There is a spell at work with Jarvis’s goals. Every fool knows that when a genie appears from the bottle and grants you three wishes, you don’t wish for unlimited wishes. You use the three wishes that you do get, wisely.

And so Jarvis only plays – or comes on as sub – when the likes of Gomez and Forlan and Aduriz and Robben are unfit or exhausted. Jarvis features to some extent in roughly 1 match in 5 – and he always scores. ALWAYS.

The Team of the Month for October:It’s stories like the Jarvis story (and the Gomez story and the Rice story and the Castledine story and the Buonanotte story) that keeps Master League going now.

The quality of PES2019 gameplay has slipped to the 7-8/10 mark (9 on a good day), but Master League in general is still keeping its nose well above water.

The imperfect ten

Season 10 is well underway. That’s Season TEN.

PES2019’s Master League is the first to reach double figures for seasons since PES2015 – which made it to 14 seasons in the end. Will PES2019 equal or better that? It’s got a great chance of doing so, despite the game’s recent lurch toward the arcade side of things.

A big reason why PES2019 is showing longevity is the great start it had. I’m bedded down in the game and have a Master League that I want to see to a conclusion.

It took Konami 3 months or so to cave in to pressure and twiddle the knobs to make PES2019 faster and more flowing the way the majority of the online contingent likes it. PES2019 is now not much more than just another nuPES instalment. No fouls, poor player individuality, and much too frantic much too often. I sincerely hope whoever makes these decisions at PES Productions tragically falls into an industrial mincing machine.

I scratched together enough pennies to get 1 big new signing, and he was quite a doozy.

Step forward Javier Mascherano from the Free Agent list.

21 years old, he seems set to establish himself in PES2019’s twilight seasons. My search for a truly legendary DMF continues. A legendary DMF in a nuPES game is a contradiction in terms, because so much of legendary DMF status in any PES is the ability to pop goals in from long range, and nuPES is hostile to long-range goals. Gotta love that online balancing act.

Thanks to regular commenter Paul – currently of the FIFAFX parish – for these new Season 10 kits. Home on the left, modelled by R Jarvis (he still gets the odd game, and nearly always gets a goal, despite being a creaky 70OPR now). On the right is Mascherano celebrating a goal that someone else has scored, naturally. DMF goals in nuPES are… eh, I’ve already done this bit.

I’ve played 8 matches in the season so far. I’m not badly positioned for a title push, but I said the same this time last year and that didn’t turn out well.Look at that table closely. What’s unusual about it? That’s right – bloody Huddersfield in top position with the most peculiar record I’ve ever seen. 6 wins and 2 draws. 7 goals scored in 8 matches. 0 conceded.

I’ve checked their current roster and other than Regen Samuel Eto’o, they haven’t got anything special. Time will tell if this is just a strange fluctuation in the ether.The Europa League has got underway. I really do want to do well in this tournament. Nice to see Rangers in the group. Shame I won’t get to play them at Ibrox.

A little minute-long goals trilogy now, all on a theme: 3 goals scored in off the post. (All goals scored before I updated the kits for Season 10.)

First a lovely aerial through-ball from Mascherano for Castledine to hit on the half-volley. Then a breakaway move against Man Utd to seal a 2-0 win – Danny starting it off with a delicious outside-of-the-foot through-ball. And finally a nice 20-yarder from Buonanotte, with his native left foot. This youngster is 81OPR now and has forced himself into the first team. The new Shimizu? He’s got a chance.

Money for old Europa

Season 9 has ended – on a bit of a downer, seeing how I lost my last two matches to finish in 5th place. The final table:I had been coasting to 3rd place. 4th at worst! I was on course for a Champions League berth, until I wasn’t. I made the fatal mistake of taking the final two matches casually, and paid the price.

The most costly result was in the penultimate match, at home to Swansea – who were already relegated.

I was 2-1 up until the very last minute. I chose to start faffing around with the ball on the halfway line, delaying and delaying, looking for the perfect pass to open up their defence and get my 3rd goal. I should have focused on simply managing the game and securing the 2-1, which would have left me needing just a point from my last match to guarantee 4th place.

A Swansea player nipped in, nicked the ball, and they went off on one of those breakaways… Boom. 2-2. I kicked off and the final whistle went,

My final match was against Manchester City, at Manchester City. A win would still have got me 4th place. I lost 1-0 and had to settle for 5th and the Europa League next season.

Which isn’t entirely bad news for me. I’m going to relish taking part in the Europa League.

I’ve written many times here about how the Europa League (and all the various UEFA Cup stand-ins) tends not to feature much in Master League for me.

Usually there are just a few seasons – most often just one season; sometimes no seasons at all – when my team is in that betwixt-and-between phase.

Every time I’m in the Europa League in ML, it’s pretty much going to be the only season I’ll be in it.

I don’t recall ever winning this specific version of the competition since its inception in PES. That’ll be one of my major goals for the forthcoming Season 10. (Which is, incidentally, the first time I’ve reached double figures on seasons since PES2015.)

I have a special goal to show off before I finish today.

One of the signature goal types of recent PES editions has been the dipping volley from medium- or long-range. I don’t believe I’ve scored a proper one, which is surprising given my well-documented penchant for all things dipping-volley-from-range-related. It hasn’t been for lack of trying. The stars have just never aligned.

They have aligned now. This looks to me as if it’s about 25 yards. And the speed of the shot is remarkable.

A sumptuous, snapping, dipping volley from Giorza – with his wrong foot, yes, but I’ll take it.

And now onto Season 10 (TEN). I’ve hit another wages bill crunch. My contract renewals took me back into the red. I won’t be able to afford new players, so I will be fighting a league and Europa League campaign with a fairly light squad, numbers-wise. My youngsters are really going to have to step up. It’s going to be interesting.

I wonder if anyone will think of saying ‘PES2020 vision’ this summer?

I nearly scored the greatest goal of all time in a recent session – here is the replay:

My cleared corner leads to a tussle about 35 yards out. I get a toe in, and knock a loose ball towards my stalwart CB, Cesar Navas, who’s lurking on the halfway line. Why the hell not, I thought, and unleashed the kind of 60-yard attempt on goal that the word ‘speculative’ was invented to describe.

The ball flew goalward. It was heading for the top corner, but the AI GK saved, of course.

But…. if it had gone in the net, it would have been a great goal, one of my all-time best.

Somehow, I don’t think goals like that are ‘allowed’ in PES2019 anymore. A lot has changed in this game in the wake of recent patches.

It’s been 2 seasons since I scored a true long-ranger. It’s been about 5 (FIVE) seasons since I got one of the R2 curlers that decorated the opening seasons. It’s been many seasons since I gave a single thought of any kind to Visual Fatigue. My stamina-depleted players just play on now, as is traditional in nuPES. Most matches feature 0 (ZERO) AI fouls now. There’s the odd match with a couple of fouls, as per PES2018, but generally, nope. The sequence goes 0,0,1,0,0,2,0,0, etc.

I no longer get at least one free kick in shooting range per match. I’m lucky to get one per session.

The life and soul has progressively been patched out of this game, to the point now where it’s little more than just another nuPES instalment.

Why do they do this, time and again? Why, no matter what good things are in the game(s) in the first few weeks and months after release, are things progressively diluted to the point of this 1000mph, high-turnover, generic mush?

We all know the reason why, of course. My questions are entirely rhetorical. No need to answer.

The only real question might be: why can’t us single-players have our own separate game? Or separate settings? And let the drooling multitudes have ‘fun’ out-squeezing each other online?

I’ve been saying it for years, along with every other single-player football gamer, as we have watched in collective horror while everything that is great and valuable about PES is destroyed.

No matter what is shown to us of PES2020 in the rapidly-approaching summer; no matter what the early testers say; no matter what kind of old-school-friendly noises we hear from Konami PR; no matter what anyone, anywhere says – just a few weeks after release, the real project of turning PES2020 into the most multiplayer-friendly game it can be, will begin.

Anyway, to business – the table:31 matches played, 7 remaining. 11 points off the top, with a vastly inferior goal difference. I should make the Champions League from here, but the title seems out of reach.

Even the most generous ML table scripting would struggle to hand me the title with a straight face from here. (Although I bet if I now get 7 straight wins, I’d come close.)

My form isn’t that great. I have good months and bad months. February was an indifferent sort of month:Look at the goal-scoring. I got 10 goals in the month, and Gomez scored 8 of them. He really is as good as those figures suggest. One of my all-time top PES strikers.

Gomez is one of the reasons that PES2019 and Master League are still a going concern, despite the multiplayer madness that has claimed it. Nearly 10 seasons in, and it has enough of a hold on me that I want to see it through. It’s good for another 2-3 seasons, probably. But then I’ll walk away with a feeling of some relief, as I have done in every year of nuPES.