Squaring the Cercle

One of the items left on my summertime football gaming to-do list: move clubs in my long–running Master League save.

I loaded up my 15-season Coventry City save, simmed season 16 until I got a good few managerial offers, and moved to the lowliest club I could.

I did this a couple of years ago, in PES2017, and ended up playing two very nice seasons with St Etienne in the French league. This was my most memorable goal of that summer, from the then lesser-known Ziyech.

There are no memorable goals so far in this year’s experiment with moving clubs. The players are terrible and it’s a battle to eke out any kind of performance. I do well to craft a chance, never mind score.This year, I’ve gone to another team in green. Cercle Brugge in the Belgian Jupiler League (as it’s called in my Option File).

Cercle Brugge’s players and finances are not much better than the Master League Defaults.

And what a glorious game of football it leads to! Football gaming with lesser players is arguably the only way to have that classic PES experience in the modern day.

PES2019 still feels like a solid and satisfying football game to me. If a vote were taken, it’s likely that PES2019 would be condemned. But I play the game I play, not the game others do. To anticipate my End of Year Review somewhat, PES2019 is the best all-round PES since PES2012, arguably longer than that. The AI gets a lot of stick, but it gives me a great game – which, yes, doubtless says more about me and the type of player and person I am, than the AI.

As Charleroi’s silky midfield played yet another deadly through-ball – through the middle – for their strikers to out-muscle my defence and run onto, I had cause to give thanks for my Golden Copy of this game.

I ended up playing five matches, which is four more than I intended to play. The heaviness of the players and the solidity of the ball… The sheer clumsiness of the low-rated Bruggers… Wonderful stuff. The few goals I did manage to score were all punch-the-air moments.

And – fouls aplenty. When I play with low-rated players, I tend to hold onto the ball for longer, trying to work something, anything, and that invites more contacts from the opposition, which leads to more potential for fouls.

Here they are. The few decent-looking players (nearly all the over-70s) were my acquisitions in the January window, most of them Frees.

All this is giving me crazy ideas for how I might deal with ePISS 2020 Sexyball, when it arrives. A single House Rule of no more than 2 players rated over 79OPR, ever, should give me a magnificent experience. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I tend to abhor House Rules, though. I’ll see how the land lies when we get there.

With the ePISS demo landing next week –Tuesday? – it’s likely to be another week or two before I mention my Cercle Brugge team again, but I think I’ll get at least a half-season out of them. Hopefully some goals to show off too.

Updated: 26th July 2019 — 12:54


  1. wouldn’t agree with that Rhymes, the AI was inside the area and a low pass/cross was exactly the right choice, hardly spamming. It is when it relentlessly aims down the flank over and over again regardless of context I get annoyed. But in not-Greg’s videos there seems to be plenty of varied gameplay and attacks down the middle, even before his superior wing defence is required

  2. Tommy — there are huge passing and shooting errors in the eDemo – but even if they survive to the release version, how long before they’re massively watered down or removed entirely in the current climate? PES Productions are a bit like the Referees’ Association when a new rule is being mooted for the new season (or simply the actual enforcement of an existing rule, such as that amusingly quaint old rule about not being allowed to physically grab an opponent, in any way, ever). Lots of fine gestures pre-season and for the first few matches, but they always walk it back when the complaining starts.

    abbeyhill – the Year of Being Told About LCS has conditioned me to interpret any lateral pass in or around the penalty box as potentially being evidence of LCS, but if it’s not then I accept it. At least I hope you and others can appreciate what a strange year it’s been for me, listening to continual accounts of a strange game that I’ve never seen and have never played. Then it goes away, until somebody else mentions it (Dan in this case), and I blink in surprise again, as I’m told again that black is white and white is black. I’ve finally just got to say actually, no, and here’s the proof.

  3. NG – Yep, been on unassisted passing and assisted shooting since day one.

  4. I’d say that’s similar to LCS in the first cercle match (the finish across the goal to the corner from a low cross) but it’s not actual LCS. Actual LCS was time after time, and as Abbeyhill says when the sensible option would be a shot/different route to goal. Before the patch it would be that bad that the striker through on goal would knock it to the wing.

    What were those lines in the corner of the pitch in the Man U demo game? They looked ridiculous. The game itself looks identical to the last few years. If that’s what they consider progress then I’m reigning in my day one thoughts.

    Played my first game of France season 2 2017 last night and it was awful. Lightning no fouls nonsense at its worst.

  5. nG – Yes, you’re probably right. For a moment I thought, do I need manual this year after all? Is there enough there this time to not warrant it? No, it won’t be like this in September. Demo PES is usually the best version of PES we get, every year.

    The more I delve into the eSoccerEvo20 evoweb forum, the more the demo is starting to fall apart (I’m still only on page 153 out of 157, I can’t keep up with new pages being created).

  6. The issue with those vids posted NG is that you have the ‘LCS fix’ patch installed, and it was massively improved after the patch, so in no way is your video any kind of proof or base level of which to measure the LCS issue.

    Trust me, when I played PES 19 back last year, up until the patch was issued, LCS was a major thing, 8/10 attacks by the CPU would follow an identical path, ball down the wing, to the edge of the box/byline, hard low cross into 6 yard box, CF taps in, and it was almost impossible to defend because the AI was so poor and the logical awareness so poor that my defenders under COM control would leave the CF and other players in the box unmarked.

    This is fact. It happened 90% of the time, in every match, I have no reason to lie, if the game had been amazing id still be playing it, but the fact that LCS and other poor AI issues were a major thing caused me to ditch the game after just one month. Even PES 14 got 2 months.

    Ended up grabbing the ElectronicSuperKickBallOnline2020 demo last night as I had some free time and there was zero on TV, played about 15-20 matches.
    Quick observations:

    Good Points:

    – Looks really nice
    – Moves (animations) really nice
    – New camera angle when zoomed in to 8, height 4, angle 8 is superb
    – Lots of fouls*
    – New Physicality Model

    Bad Points:

    – Still glaring AI issues (awareness, space, lack of potency in attack)
    – PA1 feels too rigid
    – Fouls (will be patched out for release)
    – 2 min halves not long enough to judge any kind of product.

    Overall I enjoyed the games. Felt different enough to be a new game, if they can keep the fouls in, and tweak the AI, make the COM attack with more menace then it could well get more than a months play from me.

    Tested edit mode too, glad to see my tweaked PES20 kit template fits beautifully.

  7. Paul – I love that kit! A bit worrying about what I’m reading ( over at the forums as well) about ai. Looks like it’s shite once again and history tells us that if it’s shite now, then it’ll remain just that.
    Have yet to try the demo itself but I’m disappointed already that this hasn’t been addressed.

  8. Worse than LCS for me was the defending AI in 2019 – huge spaces through the middle of the pitch before a ridiculous sliding lunge just in shooting range.

    The AI no-one could ever need. 1/10

  9. NG – Even if I wanted to reinstall vanilla PES 2019, which I don’t, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I hard deleted the game from Steam, knowing full well that if I ever wanted to reinstall it, I would have to buy it a second time. And I have zero intention of ever buying the game again.

    I am glad that you have never experienced any of the LCS bull, but your lack of it in-game doesn’t automatically prove it doesn’t exist. Believe me, I’ve been playing PES since International Superstar Soccer in 2000. I’ve bought every game day one without fail, and played every iteration (except 2019) for at least 300 hours, if not much longer.

    What I’m referring to as ‘LCS’ isn’t a cluster of attacks by the opposition down the wings that results in a cross/low cross into the box. It is literally every attack going down the wings and 85 – 90% of them ending in a low cross. This happened in the Championship, the Premier League, the Champions League, without fail, every game for the full 90 minutes.

    It got to the point where I had to overload the wings with full backs and wingers to try to stop the opposition from attacking down them. And even then, they would play one-twos with the express intent of getting into a position on the wing to cross the ball. Even in situations where low crossing would result in a definite loss of possession, the AI would do everything imaginable to get to the wings.

    I’ve struggled through vanilla PES 2014, persevered with PES 2008 when it felt I was wading through treacle, stuck with PES 2011 far beyond what any person should, but nothing on this earth could make me slog through another game of PES 2019. It was, is, and will forever be (for me) the worst PES game of all time.

    There is nothing that comes even close in comparison.

  10. #1 – Cheers mate, a bespoke kit I designed for PESFX, its up there for download without any sponsor/badges on if you want a copy to use.

    Dan – its like you read my mind, absolutely echo every word you’ve said.

    I even made a video in a vein attempt to combat the constant overuse of the Low cross and wing play, but to no avail long term.

    Turf – that still happens in PES 19 to this very day!

    Look at this video i recorded in October – first passage of play shows a prime example of LCS, down the wing cross into the 6 hard box, completely unmarked CF, goal.

    Second passage shows the COM CF win possession in my final third, one on one with the keeper, and he stops and turns and runs AWAY from goal.

    Worst AI in any PES game ever.

  11. and Yet another clip from my game back in Sept of the LCS at work, and to add further insult to injury, the COM CF who smashed the ball home from 6 yards, unmarked was actually set in custom tactics to be ‘tight marked’ by my CB.

    More proof that 1. PES tactics do nothing 2. the awareness of the AI is appalling and 3. LCS was completely OP.

  12. One thing I will say about manual…

    And before I do, I’m not trying to be one of those “look and me on my high horse, looking down on all the passing assist pheasants” players. This is all new to me, and I’m simple giving my novice observations.

    Stats matter. I’ve read forum posts saying stats are worthless on manual, but they really seem to make a difference. You’re more dependent on individual skill as you spend more time dribbling, no ping pong passes anymore. And I will have a better chance of scoring with a good striker than a bad one.

  13. Dan — acknowledged, as Uncle Turf succinctly summarises, classic LCS was time after time. All I can say is, look at it from my POV. My entire experience of PES2019 is on show in the two LCS-free vids above and the LCS-free highlights vid further above. That is PES2019 for me. So I really cannot go along with any view of the game that contradicts my whole experience – same for you and others too, naturally.

    btw what on earth is a ‘hard delete’ on Steam?! I’ve never heard of it. Is it some sort of refund system? There’s shedloads of Steam games I’d love to ‘hard delete’ if so!

    If you just mean you deleted it from your computer(s), you didn’t lose your ownership of it by doing so, and you wouldn’t have to buy it again.

    Paul – you will have seen my ‘all CPU Attacks’ vid farther up this comment thread. That was before the LCS patch.

    It’s an astonishing fact that my experience of PES2019 has been LCS-free before and after all patches. There is the incontrovertible evidence, provided in abundance. I’ve got to say, I’ve still only ever seen selected clips of LCS in action, isolated instances. I do believe you and Dan and the population of the entire world about it, but it’d still be nice to see a full match with it going on in – but no, I wouldn’t bother further with it.

    Just bear in mind that my entire perception of PES2019 is through the lens of a game with NO LCS Tendency colouring my judgement at any stage.

    A great counter-example (where I had a thing with a PES and nobody else did) would be PES2011, and the stumble animation. You and others were baffled about that one, remember. Now imagine if I kept showing up in the midst of your enjoyment of PES2011, prodding you in the ribs, saying ‘but what about the damn stumble animation, eh, eh? PES2011 is ALL ABOUT THE STUMBLE ANIMATION!!!’ Er, actually, I think I did do that 🙂

    Oh, and

    Worst AI in any PES game ever.

    eFootball PES 2020: ‘Hold my pint…’

    #1 – It’s a nice irony of the present moment that I share the deep worry about the AI in eKick20. I played quite a few more matches last night and the AI was the worst I’ve ever seen in PES! As in, totally timid and unable to mount any sort of threat.

    Uncle Turf – that aspect of the AI in ’19 (the space thing and the vanilla turning-away thing and the rest) I did of course see. Reminded me of the PES2014 tomfoolery. But not even remotely game-breaking. If they were, they would have broken my game. QED.

    Tommy – I love eDemo when I have the ball, but the way the AI pisses about with such tameness reminds of me the unpleasant side of early PES2014.

  14. NG – There’s an option on Steam to permanently delete a game from your Steam library. To acquire it again, you will have to re-purchase it.

    And, no, you don’t get a refund by doing this.

    That should tell you how much I wanted rid of PES 2019 and everything to do with it. I literally removed it at a cost of £49.99 (what I paid on release) so I would never have to look at it in my library again.

  15. NG – points taken on board, was just providing evidence that for some of us, LCS and other issues were rife, much the same as you did with your vids showing it to be minimal.

    All the clips I showed were taken from live games, just had all the other irrelevant bits cut out such as me attacking, and thro ins and anything else that wasn’t relevant to showing the LCS issue, so a full unedited match wouldn’t make much difference, you’d just see lots of stuff you don’t need to.

    Take LCS out of the equation, pretend it never existed at all, theres still the turning away from goal, COM leaving acres of space in the middle of the pitch to just run through, that still happens to this very day, the poor positioning from the AI, the lack of all spatial and positional awareness, the lack of COM teams ability to adjust to your play style and provide variety in teams approach, the lack of utilising key players famous abilities, the fact that custom tactics/instructions just do nothing …..

    There’s so much about PES 19 that reeks ‘piss poor’ without LCS that I still stand by my verdict that its one of if not the worst PES game to date.

    And I do remember the PES11 stumble, and I experienced it too, but wasn’t as grating for me as it was you, the ‘elephant touch’ whereby if you tried controlling the ball near the touchline it would always result in a hefty clumsy touch and knocking the ball out of play, annoyed me far more.

  16. NG — I had nothing but stumbles in PES 2011, so you weren’t alone. The fact that I sunk 400 hours into that game with the stumbles says everything about how I feel about PES 2019, but I think we’ve beaten this equine enough.

  17. NG – If you really are interested in analysing the LCS and how prominent it was then take a look at this, a full unedited match, posted by TTB (The True Brits) back in October.

    Every single COM (Chelsea) attack is straight down the wing, to the corner, low cross into the box, looking for a tap in, EVERY single one.
    Absolutely no midfield play, Kante may has well not been on the pitch, every time Chelsea got the ball they fired it to the wing, and low crossed, even when it was nonsensical to low cross, or there were clear openings through the middle, it didnt matter, it went down the wing and low cross.

    This is what every single attack, in every single match in my game was like.
    Hence it lasting only a month.

  18. Ok, so been playing demo and I pretty much echo Paul’s comments. Only thing I would add is that it’s quite easy, but then again you do have to play as a top team, and I’m a bit worried how often my long rangers (and it’s easy enough on superstar that you can attempt quite a few in 2mins) went straight into the keepers hands – only for him to bounce it down to the floor and catch it.

    It’s the demo so it’s pointless over analysing it – it will change and if you’re an MLer you start off as much worse than the selection they give you.

    I was imagining how my 11 yo self would have found this – no doubt I’d have made a league on paper and played each exhibition match as part of that league, writing down a score and playing it to death. I expect more now.

  19. Just seen a clip from SuperOnlineElectronicPixelKickBall2020 where Lukaku was put clean through, he sprinted on to it, whilst his stamina was completely drained, and pulled up and started hobbling holding his hamstring, and had to go off.

    Expect this to be patched out, cant have injuries ruining online flow.

  20. Paul – I remember watching that video from TTB. It was what convinced me to try to find patches and alternatives to the LCS — and subsequently why I managed to eke out three ML seasons instead of just one or two — because he went on to patch his copy to a degree of playability.

    I never had any such luck on my end.

  21. Dan – fine if you are a PC gamer, I’m not, PS4, so by the time they had semi-patched it, I had lost all interest and patience and started a CM on FIFA 19, which lasted me 12 enjoyable seasons.

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