Month: April 2019

The view from my Torquay hotel bedroom window

The short version:

  • After my ‘final session’ on PES2019 I immediately went through to the following transfer season.
  • I was curious to see the outcome if I sold some of the high-earning players that I’d spent so many seasons with.
  • Out went the likes of Giorza, Benat, Aduriz, and many others. Freeing up tens of millions in salary budget. Why had I spent all those seasons with them!
  • I nosed around and picked up several young-but-decent Regens – Modric and Xavi and Vardy in their early 20s, and Draxler at 19.
  • Jarvis has Regenned at 16. I picked him up, too.
  • Picked up a few Youths, Naldo and Petr Cech among them.
  • Played a few matches. OH IT WAS GOOD.
  • Was instantly certain that PES2019 is back on.
  • So this must be the fastest turnaround in my PES Chronicles history of flipping back to PES.
  • Literally no time at all between ‘I’m stopping PES’ and ‘I’m back on PES’.
  • I could now feasibly play PES2019 potentially until the night before PES2020.
  • Best PES ever. 39/10.
  • Bonus points to you if you get the meaning of the post title.
  • Season 14 is now well underway.
  • The injection of new talent has massively affected the team. We’re second from bottom. 2 defeats in the Champions League.
  • It is glorious. It’s exactly like the PES2012 reverse-switcheroo all over again, only this one was instantaneous.
  • I’m predicting 20 seasons of PES2019.
  • And I might write all my posts in bullet point format from now on.
  • Captan Castledine will lift a trophy before he retires.

Shoot out of luck

Season 13 has ended, and with it this phase of PES2019. I don’t currently plan to return to the game at all this year – but history shows it isn’t wise for me to say ‘never’. Even by the time this post is published, I might be knee-deep into Season 14, with a clutch of new players and renewed zest for another fight. I don’t think that’ll happen… But I’ve passed many happy hours with PES2019, and that has to count for something.

I started this season – Season 13 – with a Community Shield win. It was my only trophy win of the whole of PES2019.

I ended the season competing in the Champions league final, having failed to make any great challenge in the Premier League.

I’ll get the domestic side out of the way with first. The final table:A creditable top-4 finish, viewed from one angle. From another angle, this has to go down as a poor domestic performance. Having scored the second-most goals, I can’t help wondering what might have been. A bit more of a defensive backbone might have made it a different story.

I’m not too downhearted, though. My 13 seasons of PES2019 have shown me that there isn’t a great deal the human player can do to stop this AI scoring when it wants to score.

nuPES games are configured to provide excitement and interest first and foremost. Focus group testing probably shows that the average player of today hasn’t the attention span for anything else. I work with teenagers who cannot seem to pay attention to anything substantive for more than 20 seconds. These are the target market. I’m not.

With about 6 matches remaining I had no chance of the title. But I still had a chance of proper silverware in PES2019. The Champions League!

Here I am breezing past Manchester City in the Quarter Final:And I put paid to Nantes in the semi – with slightly less comfort, but it was still never in doubt:How my players celebrated. The season rolled to its close, and I got to the day of the Champions League final full of confidence. I’ve got here before and blown it. Second time lucky?

As much as PES2019 is capable of setting a mood and giving it an atmospheric big build-up, it did, although it’s clear that losing the Champions League license was as savage a blow to the PES series as any it’s ever suffered.Great to see my avatar interact with all these players whom I’ve got to know so well, prior to what is their last ever match. (Probably.) Captain Castledine is just visible at the back, talking to Forlan. He’ll be 33 soon, and this might be his last chance to hold aloft an actual trophy.

The game started well and I took the lead – and tell you what, below is a massively abbreviated highlights reel of the entire thing. Just the goals, and the finale, which was quite memorable:

Ouch. I should explain why I didn’t dive my keeper for a few of the Juve penalties: Over the last few weeks I’ve conceded a few pens, and seen the AI put them down the middle nearly every time, so I thought I was being clever here. For the decisive Juve penalty of course I did dive, and they of course sent it down the middle.Me neither, mate. Me neither.

I really thought this trophy was the one. It had seemed predestined.

Tempted to reload? Never! Actually, that’s not true, of course I was tempted to reload – I’m often tempted, in fact – but I never do reload, because I wouldn’t feel that whatever result I ended up with would be ‘real’. It would be a cheat result. Master League is all about the journey, the highs, the lows. I don’t play Master League to win things (which is fortunate, considering).Having four players in the Team of the Season reflected well on the kind of season it was overall. A thoroughly enjoyable one full of great goals (of which more below).

A fitting farewell to the strongest PES since PES2012, for me. I know, I know, you probably think if dogshit was mass-produced it would look like PES2019, etc., I know. Worst PES ever! so many would say. The PES forums, what’s left of them, have been savage about the game this past month. But I cheerfully disagree.

And so I depart from the best PES and the most engrossing Master League since PES2012. As I assembled this post and the two videos it contains, I confess that I asked myself more than once: why exactly am I letting it go now, with so much left to do?

The following video encapsulates so much of what has made PES2019 great for me. The fun, the frolics, the drama, the quirks, the bizarre, the wonderful… I’ll stop now lest this brings me to tears. Here’s a 38-yard Mascherano long-range that the keeper ‘edges’ into the net. And an interesting moment when the AI sends its keeper up to take a free kick and I get the ball back with the keeper still stranded. There’s even an R2 curler in here, for old time’s sake.

(I took a bit of a gamble including those two licensed tracks – so evocative of PES. Hopefully YouTube will restrict itself to showing the odd advert, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the vid. If it gets blocked, I have another version with generic music that I’ll slot into place.)

So I bid farewell to PES2019, with some feelings of regret about the lack of a proper trophy, but a sense of great fulfilment.

The way the finances were set up meant I had to hold onto players long after I might have otherwise got rid of them. So I had to squeeze every ounce of performance out of every player, which deepened my awareness and understanding of their individual quirks in a very satisfying, old-school PES way… Which is what those of us who still haunt the precincts of PES are looking for. I found it.

What a hit, what a hit!

My most recent session saw me handing a proper thumping to one of the trickiest AI teams to play against. Lowly Huddersfield have Regen Samuel Eto’o up front, and he is always a handful. I kept him quiet in this one using the trusty technique of ‘secondary pressure while tracking his runs’. And we ran out 6-1 winners, with Aduriz getting a hat-trick. Their goal was scripted, scripted, I’m telling ya.

In the same session, I also scored what might well be my Goal of PES2019. I stated in Friday’s post that I was saving all my great and good goals for a special End Of PES2019 compilation at the end of this week.

This goal is too special to bury in a compilation. It has to be shown off on its own. I’ve been trying to score this kind of goal from the start, and finally did score it. Here it is – the goal comes seconds after kick-off:

Not quite postage-stamp, but still a true laces-hit long-ranger, one of my very few scored in PES2019. I’m giving it a solid 9/10 in the Gallery of Long-Rangers. Testament to the great truth that if you keep buying tickets, sooner or later you will win the raffle.

I have indeed scored quite a few goals from distance in PES2019, compared to previous nuPES editions – but most have been R2 curlers, and most of them came in the first few months, before Konami nerfed them almost to oblivion.

When this ‘true’ long-ranger went in… longtime readers can well imagine just how pleased I was. It was the kind of moment that I play PES for.

Results have been good, but from 13 points behind with 5 matches remaining, I’m not catching Chelsea now. I’ll do well to finish in the top 4. The table:

A slight tweak to my formation has helped improve results. I’ve made more of a connection between back and front by pulling the two wide AMFs back to the halfway line, and made one a CMF and the other an RMF.

I’ve used two specialist players for the roles.

Benat (the scorer of the 35-yarder) takes the CMF role on the left.

The RMF is a Loanee, G Acosta, who has a great turn of pace and a wicked crossing foot that’s almost Beckhamesque in the execution.

The goals have flowed and with them the enjoyment. Classic PES was never noticeably frustrating when it limited the player’s scoring rates, which it blatantly did and still does under certain circumstances. (If you doubt this, consider the last time you had a winning run of X matches in Master League, and how that winning run of X matches came to an end. No, you were never going to score in that match, were you?)

NuPES certainly is a frustrating affair when its internal flag is set to ‘inhibit human player goal-scoring’. It’s always nice to be out of that zone.

I’m in the Champions League semi-final. I head for my final session on PES2019 (ahem, probably) with a good feeling about the game, and no regret for the hundreds of hours I’ve spent on it again this year. Friday will be the finale.

Final week of the PES2019 season

My last season of PES2019 Master League moves into its final third.

I’ve now played 27 league matches. There are 11 league matches remaining. I’m in the Champions League Quarter Finals.

Assuming I get all the way to the CL final (a big ask on current form, as will be seen), that means there are a maximum of 16 (SIXTEEN) matches remaining in my PES2019 career as a whole.

By this time next week it will all be done and dusted.

The current table:17 points behind the leaders, with 11 matches left. Not even the most generous Master League table scripting will bring me the title now. Maybe if I won literally every single match of the remaining 11, there might be a chance. Even if that were possible for me (and it’s not), PES has never ‘allowed’ such unlikely runs anyway.

I felt the last shades of the title slipping away from me in the very first match of my most recent session. Man Utd are unpredictable in PES2019. They’re either annoyingly troublesome, or disturbingly easy to brush aside. (Punchline not required.)

I had 20 shots, 11 of them on-target, in a game I absolutely dominated. I have had 4-0 wins that were not as comfortable as this match was. Man Utd had 3 shots, 1 on target. The final result? 0-0.I must admit, I was sorely tempted to replay this match. I’m always tempted at least once every year, and this was the match I was tempted by in PES2019. It seemed so outrageous that I could have so many clearcut chances but either hit the post/bar (three times) or see the keepers pull off miracle saves – or see my uber-strikers mysteriously drag shots wide for no reason.

I’d finished the previous session with 4 straight wins. The scripting fairy really came to town for this one. Oh yes, I bet I could have won it at least once, if I’d replayed the fixture several times. Maybe I’d have won it on the very next attempt, who knows.

Either way it’s a moot issue as I only ever move forward with my Master League progression. I never stay in place to fool around with settings/patches/versions/whatever. I never go backward,. So I had to take the monstrously unfair outcome to this match and move on.

A couple of matches later I met one of the other teams around me at the top of the table, Man City, and there were no complaints about this result. I was well beaten at home, 1-4, a particularly bad result given that I had scored first.And so to next week. I’ve a busy weekend coming up, so Monday will be when I resume the struggle, and it’s likely that I will finish PES2019 midweek. Tuesday’s post will be a scene-setter for next Friday’s finale.

I’m also saving up my notable goals from this second half of the final season, for a farewell highlights reel next week. I’ve scored a few nice goals of al varieties and it should be good.