It wouldn’t be summer without a FIFA wobble

And… FIFA19 is continuing. Readers familiar with my summertime attempts to play FIFA who picked ‘less than 1 week’ in the sweep have lost their money.

Here is the current table in my Career Mode:That’s after 24 matches. Still just about in touch with the playoff places. I didn’t drop down to Professional difficulty in the end. FIFA19’s timid AI cannot threaten on anything lower than World Class.

The mid-season transfer window is just around the corner. I have NO incoming transfers lined up. In FIFA there’s a very strict scouting-and-negotiation mechanic that is considerably more advanced than Master League’s equivalent. In Master League, if I want to get a defender, say, I’ll pop the list open, pick one I like the look of (all stats immediately visible) and more often than not, finances willing, I’ll get him.

In FIFA19 it’s a huge faff just to see the stats and how much they’re getting paid a week. January 1st is about a week away in-game. I desperately need players better than the League 1 standard I currently have. And there are none lined up! I keep bungling the negotiations by offering too little (usually because I have no idea how much to offer, having done zero scouting beforehand).

I have the money. It’s a question of figuring out the Career Mode transfer mechanics. The largest component is simply patience. There are no quick signings, or so few that you can’t rely on them. It’s a bit of a shock after Master League’s straightforwardness in this regard – and I am loving it.

FIFA19’s weak spot is definitely the single-player AI. It really is too passive. It can come to life and terrorise you, in the way a certain ‘AI That We Need’ can in another game, but those periods of play are rare enough.

In other news… well, regular readers who picked 1-2 weeks in the ‘how long will he give FIFA this year’ sweep will be cheered up by this news:

I have taken the plunge with PES2019 on the PC. It dipped below £10 on the Steam key sites recently, and this weekend with a day off I just went ahead and got it.

Installing all the patches was a huge headache. Don’t worry, I got the latest PTE patch – picture just for illustration.

At this time of year many of the links haven’t been tended to for a while. Lots of dead ends were pursued. It took me most of a full day just to track down the files. Hours of clicking links, negotiating my way through captchas (does the square that shows the slightest edge of a traffic light casing count?), waiting for downloads, unpacking files, carefully lowering them into place… It’s not something I greatly appreciate, coming from the console side of things.

But in the end, it was worth it. I now have a fully functioning, fully patched PES2019 on PC, with the mods I want. Only two for now. Broadcast camera with no zoom, and a lovely game speed mod that makes it play at a wonderful pace.

Here is a short video showing the outcome. I haven’t installed any other mods as yet. The Broadcast camera mod comes in at around 1:00. The thumbnail shows it off well enough.

This is nice and all – but will I play it? What effect will this have on FIFA19? Time will tell. As of last night I was still on FIFA19 and not feeling any great urge to head back to PES either on console or PC. But it’s only been just over a week now.

Updated: 18th June 2019 — 10:56


  1. CRAPTCHAS, amirite?

  2. n-G – What you’re saying in a very I’ve-downloaded-this-and-am-trying-that kind of way is you’ve gone back to PES 2019. Paul is going to be all over this when he finds out.

  3. Tommy – I genuinely need to know: if the Captcha says ‘click all the squares with bicycles’ and one square has literally a few pixels of the edge of a bicycle handlebar in it, do I click it? Is the test that fine-grained? Sometimes I click such squares, sometimes I don’t, and you’d think this would scientifically tell me the answer, but results are not consistent enough.

    Shed – the PC is not and never has been my footy gaming platform of choice. I’ve enjoyed my time on it so far, but it’s really filling the ‘few matches of PES5’ space. Just as you in your shed, so with me in my preferred space – lolling on the bed, usually almost laying down. It’d be a huge transition for me to play an ML whilst sitting up in a computer chair at a computer desk in a separate room. I don’t think it can happen. No, for me the acid test will be whether or not I’m having sneaky sessions on the PS4 PES2019, and so far I’m not. FIFA19 really is a good game – shame about the passive AI and the fouls of course.

    12 weeks tomorrow, PES2020 will be in my hands, Simply Games willing.

  4. n-G – Midi-Shed is a devoted PC gamer now. I can see the appeal but the expense made my head spin. Still, it’s his post GCSEs treat and it means the PS4 is now all mine again.

    When the ‘AI That We Need’ was first established back in PES 2018, I remember saying how it would make it harder to go back and play classic PES or indeed to hop over to the other side and FIFA.

    While I’m loving PES5 all over again and can appreciate FIFA 19 and all it’s gloss, I still miss being pinned back by a rampant AI, even the often unfair one that belongs to nuPES.

  5. Paul would have a pc that boots up when it detects the sound of Gucci loafer on deep shagpile running at a ridiculously high speed with the quietest fan available (and additional cooling) disguised within a recess in the wall covered by reflective wallpaper. No-one would know how but he’d be playing the latest patched game on an imax screen by simply moving his hands in the air. Beds? Sheds? Are we Stone Age here?

    I added Spain and Italy to my new fm game (it really is a flaw that when sacked gillingham laughed off my application as I couldn’t go lower in the football pyramid – there should be a concession to not watching months of doing nothing scroll by, that level of realism is just silly) and hit the random button. Mallorca were too good, as were the next few options, before I got Hospitalet or some medical sounding club in the lower reaches of Spain. Decent players but not a pot to… tiny squad, it’s going to be hard to develop them without some investment or wheeler dealing. Reaching out to loans currently – Jordan Pickford is a mere 79k in sunderlands reserves but does he become the goalie we know? (And I think is horribly over rated).

  6. Shed – a good case could be made for the more variably aggressive AI seen in old PES and current FIFA, being the better one to play against. The AI That We Need is a one-note symphony, while the likes of PES5 and FIFA19 – two footy games at the opposite ends of the spectrum in so many ways (fouls for one) – have so much else going for them that the passive AI is less of a bother. I can see both cases, and like both styles in different ways.

    I’m on the PC right now as I type this and where I would normally have a couple of PES5 matches at this time on a Tuesday, I’m going to muck about with a few things on PES2019. I’ve got a turf mod to try out. I quite enjoy this sort of thing, but my 20-year habit is to play in completely different conditions and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If I were to start an ML on the PC it would proceed at the rate of 2-3 matches per week, and I couldn’t have that.

    Following on from my ’12 weeks tomorrow’ remark, I double-checked Simply Games and they’s saying the PES2020 release date is Tuesday 10th Sep. I’m sure that’s a mistake, seeing as it’s most likely the North American release date, and our release date will be the Friday as normal, i.e. 13th September. But just assuming this year they do release here on the Tuesday, and Simply Games dispatch two days early as is their practice – I could have it 12 weeks yesterday, or even on Saturday the 7th. So 11 and a half weeks away. And we haven’t even had summer yet. Life truly is short.

  7. In fairness PES5 was an exception even back then – PES3 and to an extent 6 could hand out some right thrashings at times

    Footage looks good nG, PES runs really well on PC this year even unpatched. A nice gaming laptop is the ultimate indulgence, you can play PES, or indeed anything, lolling on the bed, chilling out in a shed, wherever

  8. abbeyhill – PES5’s saving grace, on the passive AI front at least, is the fact it’s bloody hard to score at either end. It’s other saving grace is of course that it is still the greatest footy game ever made.

  9. abbeyhill – that’s it running at one of the middling graphics settings, mainly to be kind to the PC fans, but also it helps when running the screen recording software of course. I’m going to try it on maxed-out settings (2.5k-ish for me) next to see how my ‘this was upper-mid spec when I got it in 2017’ PC handles it. I will report back and post some 2.5K-ish footage here if my PC and the recording software can handle it.

    And I have to speak up in favour of the PES5 AI, which can also hand out a thrashing when called for – to me anyway. Regular 0-3 thumpings are still a thing in Season 7 (I think it is) of my long-running occasional Master League with a squad of big names. One of them the PES5 legend Kompany.

  10. 2560×1440 is the max resolution I can get on PC and I will upload a short taster later for the curious (old news to those already on PC but it’ll be of interest to us console peasants I think).

    And I was knocked out of my Bournemouth Champs League tryout by Barca, who indulged in some real ‘AI That We Need’ hijinks. I couldn’t get near them for large chunks of the match and did well to get a couple of goals myself. Curious choice by the patch maker(s) to replace ‘Shots’ with ‘Attempts’ I think.

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  11. Haha, good opening paragraph there Turf:).

    Re the video NG, would the way you defended from around 2.04 to when you conceded the corner be typical of the way you defend? You did a pretty good job but I was a bit surprised that your controlled player during that stretch was mainly covering the ball carrier. Because, in an attempt to mirror what I thought was “the NG style”, I’m bending over backwards trying to ensure that my controlled player is nowhere near the ball carrier until the ball is in and around my penalty area.

    Playing an Italian League campaign as Roma, I had a match against Lazio today…one of those dreaded rival games I was destined not to win, though I thought I’d sneaked a 1-1 draw by equalising late on, before they clinched it in injury time. And they kicked the living sh*te out of me, conceding 7 fouls (not including offsides), which I think is a CPU record in recent years for me.

  12. rhymes450 – that was me being lazy for a period of play that I knew I was recording. My usual defending style is secondary pressure on the ball carrier whilst trying to cover the likeliest pass with my controlled player. But I do mix it up. Currently trying to defend on FIFA the PES way and it’s frustrating. I just met Stoke all knocking it around with first-time passes like Barcelona. Quite draining trying to defend against that.

  13. I imagined that might be the case NG. I’m finding your defending style to be pretty effective, even though sometimes the multi-tasking becomes a bit too much for me in the more frantic passages of play. And knowing when to mix it up and intervene with the controlled player is a bit of an art too.

    11th in the league after 31 matches and facing Barca in the quarters of the European Club Championship (I think it’s called). Don’t really fancy my chances in that one. Hopefully, Barcelona will play like Stoke 🙂

  14. My Ashes adventure has reached a conculsion. With the series poised at 2-2 we entered the final test match. Having lost the last match I bounced back and bowled the Aussies out for 117. I then pressed home the advantage and scored 327 in my first innings. Next came the Aussies who batted with intent to score 398. This left me a banana skin winning total of 188. At one point Austraalia were 350-4 and I thougt I had blown it.

  15. Darryl – so is this you locked into something now or is that a let-down ending? I can’t ‘read’ cricket anecdotes, don’t know if they’re good or bad etc. I genuinely never watched any cricket or knew anyone who liked cricket until I was well into adulthood.

    rhymes450 – Paul always made a big fuss about Stoke playing like Barca in PES, but they bloody do in FIFA as well!

    And here is a 22-second clip of my PC PES2019 running at 2560×1440, the maximum settings for me. My PC coped and so did the recording software. I trimmed this 60 MB snippet out of a 1GB output file. I just haven’t got the upload bandwidth.

  16. That does sound really good Darryl, what an end to the series! So when you say reached a conclusion you mean you’ve knocked off the 188, or still to bat? I’ve never played a cricket game, apart from one I coded on the Oric back in the day, and this sounds intriguing. What was the difference between your bowling performance in the first and second innings, is it down to skill with the controls or much more to do with strategy such as field placing, bowler rotation etc?

    Impressed you got it running at 1440p nG, looks smooth. My PC always disappoints when I plug it into the TV and ramp up the resolution, given that it should be well capable of running PES at 4k

  17. Oh the joys of getting older as I awoke at 12.30am with my mobile phone at the side of me and had meant to inculde a video, hence the cut off ending. I won the game with 4 wickets to spare and here is the winning run. There is a strange moment where the Australian bowler doesn’t seem to realise and begins his bowling action.

    Abbeyhill – the conditions play a huge factor in the game and it was a gloomy overcast day when I won the toss, so put them in to bat as I knew it was going to clear up and be sunny for the rest of the test match.

  18. Now that is a trophy, Paul would be thrilled!

  19. He looks like he’s holding it half out of sight behind the hoarding thing there! what a weird trophy as well, like something from classic era PES… is that the Ashes trophy then? I thought the captain got given a replica urn of some kind?

  20. Popping in for my annual comment. Good to see the blog going as strong as ever and all the usual faces. This blog is over 10 years old now right?

    I picked up PES in a recent sale and I have to say I’m loving it. Definitely has an old school feel to it. Mostly been challenging myself online, mainly because it feels daunting to take up The Master League gauntlet late in the season. That and I have a stupid Xbox with it’s stupid third party content rules. Very satisfied with the gameplay so far though.

  21. NG/Abbeyhill – The trophy is wierd isn’t it. I think it is a large cardboard cut out of the urn, which is a very strange thing. But it doesn’t matter as it is easily the best cricket game I have played.

  22. That was a weird muted end to the ashes Darryl. Congratulations but that would niggle me, there should have been a huge cheer, a concern that people would jump the barriers (remember when cricket pitch invasions were the norm) and then the ridiculously small urn. That’s the whole point, the trophy is so out of proportion to the contest.

  23. n-G knocking FIFA and now Darryl with cricket game highlights, thank god Paul is on his hols.

    Darryl: I’m no cricket fan but as a game that looks quite fun. Not sure I could slog through a whole test like that which is kind of where the actual sport is now isn’t it?

    Had another few matches on FIFA 19 last night. I ramped things up to Legendary despite being very much a novice and enjoyed the AI a bit more. I’ve set up a quick solo league of random teams with me as Colchester United (my team in FIFA) and its proving to be a good place to practice without all the Career Mode tasks.I still struggle to score and the AI really should punish my mistakes more but it really is rather good.

    I had one remarkable game where, having lost or drawn to successive mediocre teams, I played Spain away (told you is was random). Much to my surprise, Colchester took the lead in the 7th minute with a lovely goal from my winger. I tried to hold on but Spain equalised early in the second half (the missus distracted me coming in from yoga as the PS4 is in the living room, not the shed) with a long range beauty. Both teams could have won it but I settled for the draw.

    Unlike the last, this FIFA 19 session didn’t leave me gagging for PES5 which must show for something.

  24. Grilled Seabass – hello again and yes, PES2019 is the best PES since ’12 for sure, for me. 12 weeks or so to PES2020 and I am looking forward to it. Already booked the time off. Got to get the summer out of the way with first.

    Shed – it’s a sign of how good FIFA is this year that I really am still playing it and not PES (on either PS4 or PC). I’ve ditched the Broadcast cam though and gone to Co-op in order to see as much of the pitch as possible. It’s a bit like a closer Blimp cam.

    Oh, and I have captured footage of Stoke playing rapid one-touch passes like Barcelona that I’ll post on Friday. Made me smile after all Paul’s shouting about the PES AI. I naively assumed the FIFA AI must do it differently, but of course it doesn’t and every lower-league lumper can be like a silky Iniesta on the ball.

  25. n-G – Look forward to that although I’ve already seen my fair share of lower league fodder playing like Barca. Spain played like Barca-plus.

    I’ve stuck with the broadcast cam as it seems to be the thing to do amongst those who know FIFA like we know PES. I might need reminding why broadcast cam is a thing though as it’s a bit weird to get your head around when building up attacks.

  26. Shed – Broadcast in FIFA19 is pleasing on the eye, especially when shooting, but it restricts my view of everyone ahead of me when moving forward, especially when emerging from defence. After giving the ball away too many times when passing ‘blind’ I switched to Co-op camera. What you lose in graphic sumptuousness you get back in terms of gameplay IMO. Every AI team in FIFA19 does the tika-taka thing. Every one. When they’re trailing they ramp it up a notch to super-tika-taka. Team styles my arse!

  27. NG I’ve played a fair bit of FIFA 19 and much prefer it to this year’s PES. I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this but if you can be bothered check out sofifa for any player you want to sign, literally just Google “Roy Wegerley sofifa” or whichever player it is you want to sign, the database gives you their potential growth, how much you’d need to pay them and how much the transfer fee should be. It’s not 100% accurate but it’s pretty good and stops you giving 50,000 to someone who only expects 10, or vice versa, offering (and pissing off) 10,000 to someone who wants 50.

  28. Mike — what a great football game it is indeed. I’m only amused by the likes of Stokealona and Real Wigan because Paul expended so much energy saying that isn’t a thing in the game. The top teams seem to take it up yet another level. I met Arsenal in the FA Cup last night, and they were like Barcelona on steroids, on steroids.

    And that’s a great tip, cheers, one to file away — but I don’t think I’ll use it as I would prefer to use the in-game mechanics. With time ticking away to September though I might have to take such shortcuts in order to experience the full FIFA19. E.g. I could, if I wanted to, take the bonus option for an imaginary Billionaire takeover of the club, and get access to massive funds. If the seasons go by with me stuck in place, and the summer gets old, I might do that. For now though I’m sticking to the out of the box game (slider adjustments excepted).

  29. NG Ahh yes the sliders, I never used them in PES but had to tinker on FIFA. I never played above professional when I had it, I will probably pick another copy up along with RDR2 this weekend and start again. Also I did use the takeover bonus once with Middlesbrough, had a nice 70m put in my transfer kitty. I’m not a fan of the training, I wish you could just set it and leave it rather than having to select again every week, plus you should definitely be able to train more than 5 players at a time.

  30. I particularly think this FIFA career player search mode simply sucks. I absolutely love its Youngsters system (they develop quickly and usually have a lot of identity), but not being able to search for stats in the in-game world is terrible. There are outside sites, like futwiz, that allow you to search all players for specific details, similar to what Mike has mentioned but less specific to a player alone.

  31. I really like the FIFA Co-op camera and it’d be nice to have a similar option in PES, where I’m using Blimp, the plain white ball, where possible, and a viewing distance that’s probably not the best for the eyes.

  32. Araraquara – Sorry but disagree with you on that one as that is what the Global Scouting Network is for and brings you back all the player stats, player wage and contract details. I have mentioned this before but is underused by folk and is a fantastic system once you get to grips with its potential.

  33. Unless this year was different though the free agents at the start of FIFA are appalling. Ridiculous Indian strikers, random Egyptian goalies, Bulgarian defenders – it’s really lazy that between 14 and 18 they didn’t update these at all, and so many of them think they’re worth 7 grand a week.

  34. Uncle Turf – I dabbled in a few Free Agents and they didn’t seem bad – so far – I’ll say more tomorrow.

    Araraquara – I’m sure you appreciate that FIFA’s transfer system is a game design thing rather than a bad design thing. We’re too used to the PES way really. In FIFA we’re supposed to use the scouting system,a nd if we try to not use it (raises hand), we’re meant to run into the problem I repeatedly have, of trying to sign players in the dark. That scouting system is robust and intended to be what it is, and works well. It’s the Football Manager one (with attributes off) in effect. I’d like to see that in PES.

  35. Despite bashing the game at every turn (tis the norm now, it’s just part of the process) but I have to agree ’19 is the best PES of the current gen. I mean, of course it is. There’s still always lots wrong with the game, but I can’t deny there’s always a step forward every year. I picked up PES 2015 the other day for 50p and it’s awful in comparison now.

    TechAdvisor are saying the game is out Sept 10th in the UK.

  36. Turf/NG – the free agents are exactly the same again this year. I agree it is shocking and for a company that puts a lot of effort into the whole package it does seem strange.

  37. I do like the FIFA transfer system, the big effort involved in scouting out potential targets then gradually narrowing them down and negotiating with the most promising ones means there is a sense of anticipation when one eventually arrives, which all helps with player individuality on the pitch

  38. Abbeyhill – Exactly as you say. First of all I scout for players I want in a specific role (Target Men etc.) Then I have a shortlist, which I narrow down again further based on my finances. By the time you get a player you do feel you know much more about them and makes it more immersive as there is a sense of anticipation when that player makes his first appearance.

  39. Tommy – the game has never been released on the Tuesday here in the EU, that has always been the rest of the world/NA. Waiting for clarification before deciding on the preorder location. If it is the Tuesday, not only would it be a first for us here in Blighty, but it would challenge Simply Games’ recent record of getting it to us 2 days early. I.e., when would they get their stock delivery? It would have to be on the preceding week’s Thursday or Friday. I can foresee some shenanigans here, with stock being delivered to them on the Monday, i.e. the day before, thus negating the main benefit of going with them. But I’d put a fiver on our release date being the usual Friday of that week.

    Darryl – exactly, that’s what I’m enjoying about FIFA’s transfers, and that’s just the game. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with it at all.

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