Filthy casual console-playing assisted-passing peasants

PES2020 PC Demo, Me as Arsenal, and the CPU as River Plate. Top Player. I think this is actually an 8-minute match as I was messing about with the Sider time editor.

No great goals on show here, and the more I play this demo the more I do like it, but there’s a rule in PES Land: adepto coniuncta est quoque tertius ne demo.

Don’t get too attached to a demo.

The fouling model in this demo WILL NOT SURVIVE TO SEPTEMBER. This is simply how it is. In fact, part of me wonders if this demo is Konami’s get-out card. After this, they can ultimately do what they really want to do – remove fouls, barring a token one or two – and say that it’s what the userbase wants.

I played the first half with my customary settings of PA1 and Basic Shooting. But excitingly – for me at any rate – I switched to PA0 and Manual Shooting for the second half. I’ll refer to PA0 and Basic Shooting as ‘Manual’ for brevity’s sake from now on.

I’ve played a bit on Manual on PES2019 over the past week, but I’m still finding my feet and so there are a few misplaced passes – more than a few – but see the passage of play in particular between 5:00 and 6:00. It neatly encapsulates much of what makes Manual so entrancing.

It’s growing on me. I’ve flirted with Manual on and off since PES2013 – I recall quite a few people here all trying it at the same time, but ultimately heading back to PA1 because, well, that’s what makes footy gaming enjoyable.

Manual makes gameplay more realistic, in terms of looking for space, going easy on the Hollywood passes, taking players on, and making the most of opportunities. As in reality, things don’t work a lot more than they do. The question then, of course, is: is this kind of ‘Realistic’ what we really want?

In a movie, realism would see us following the characters through all the details of their mundane days, with excitement only happening occasionally. Manual in PES is sometimes like that. It takes the usual formula of a PES match – 70% action, say, with 30% legwork – and neatly inverts it. Sometimes. As that passage of play between 5 and 6 minutes shows, there is a smooth flow that can be achieved when you know what you’re doing, which is a place I sometimes think I might get to, but am clearly not at yet.

The next most interesting passage of play – the good and the bad of Manual – comes between 7:00 and 8:00. I’ve cued this up here:

You see me misplace a simple pass out of bounds. And then really get hold of the ball and play football. I think about but decline to play various risky passes (which would have been automatic no-brainer passes under PA1, done without even thinking), and finally I work the opportunity… I was especially pleased with the aerial pass at 7:21. You really have to mean such passes and crosses on Manual.

I work the chance, only to get excited and drag the shot pitifully wide. The ‘aiming lozenge’ really is the size of a tree trunk in the middle of the goal.

This is likely to be all just a silly season bit of fun. But I have completed Season 16 in my Cercle Brugge campaign using Manual settings. I have even gone all hardcore and turned off the passing meter HUD elements. So I might be donning the hair shirt and going all PES Fundamentalist here.

I’m still a member of the filthy casual assisted-passing peasant brigade, but I’m peeping over the wall into the silent Manual compound. What do they do all day in their white robes?!

Here’s a goal at the end of a 1-minute segment from a Cercle Brugge match on PES2019 (on Professional). First, for balance, a wayward shot indeed from me, and then a counter-attack from me (with the player HUD off, but the player nameplate shows the gold-coloured passing and shooting meter, lest there be any doubts). I was happy with this, a rare move on Manual indeed:

Updated: 2nd August 2019 — 11:46


  1. Welcome to big school.

  2. NG – Manual, it’s the future!!

  3. Tommy – I haven’t quite pulled on the tie and cap yet, though. I’m just trying on the blazer and looking in the mirror.

    Lloyd – I have manual shooting too, though… *sniffs*

    It sure does raise the PESness bar pretty high. No more moaning about arcadey handling or pace when there’s this to fall back on.

  4. n-G – I’ve often liked the idea of manual PES or FIFA but I never get round to giving it a proper go. As you and others have said, the risk of shooting unrealistically high and wide after carving out a chance puts me off as does the crossing.

    Manual could be the saving grace should we ever have to return to a nuPES I suppose.

  5. My only concern about manual is that you HAVE to learn it – those days, busy with job, other games to play and generally life I don’t think I got time for this learning. I just want to get back home, turn on my console and play, without too much of a hassle.

    But then i got those moments, when AI is actually too easy for me, especially in FIFA (in which I’m able to crush any opponent even on World Class/Legendary level and sliders on), that I want to try and learn this manual playing as it would be probably the only chance for a competitive game against AI. And realism at the same time.

    But again… I think I’m a bit lazy, that’s what it is. I just want to sit and play. Manual is demanding. Passes – I could possibly live somehow with it, but I just hate crosses and shooting on manual.

  6. NG – never really given manual shooting a good go. Been manual passing since 2012. Might be something to consider from the start of eNofoulsbutplentyofmisplacedpasses2020

  7. I take it we still consider advanced shooting for all of two seconds then choose normal? I’ve never got away with it, it’s simply too alien, but manual I’m not sure I’ve even tried. Think I’d do a reverse lloyd if I was and keep Pa1 passing.

    Paul – just mailed you on last one I had for you.

  8. Me too Abbes – no time to sit and learn a new control scheme, by the time I’d learn it, the game year would be over and ML as a result would never get going.

    Advanced shooting is good but last year was just too broken to be viable.
    First time shots, volleys and headers were a calamity using advanced, had to turn it off, although it does let you pick out the corners and pull off daisy cutters whenever you like.

  9. abbes – it is as you say, a learning curve and a major one awaits anybody who dabbles in the dark manual arts.

    For anyone interested in dabbling so during this summer silly season, when I think nearly all footy gamers have concluded major business and are in an experimental mood: you must give it 10 matches. That’s TEN whole matches, in any mode. In practice I think every footy gamer will ‘get it’ after one whole match, which is a lot more than we usually give it. Usually I’m switching back to Assisted after my first couple of badly-placed passes and/or hilariously missed shots, but this time, on my ‘spare’ ML that doesn’t really mean anything (yet), I stuck with it. I had one of the most interesting matches of PES just before I left for work today. With the curtains closed against the August sun it really was like playing a whole new PES. On Professional difficulty, I must stress. Professional! The AI kicked my backside. When you can give the ball away easily, it just does.

  10. NG – I think there’s a fine balance though with Manual between adding an extra difficulty level and just becoming unrealistic.

    If I have the ball with say David Silva, one of the best passers and most naturally, technically gifted players in the modern game, and a 10 yard diagonal pass is on, and I aim, and pass, and give the ball away because my manual aiming is not 100%, and the move breaks down then that’s not utilising David Silva and his superb passing stats in any way, and therefore unrealistic.

    How do stats work with manual? The better the passing stats and the players OVR, the bigger the successful passing lozenge is?
    Or does it not work like that? Coul I spray manual passes around with Smalling the same way I could with Messi?

  11. Paul – that’s one of the longest-running debates in football gaming. Ever since manual/semi-assisted first appeared (in FIFA09? it was definitely a FIFA, and I think it was 09), some have said ‘stats still matter’ and others have said not. I’ve always inclined to the latter view, but after the last few days, I can feel a passing and shooting difference across differently statted players. I need to put my former CCFC team with Modric and Xavi and co. through its paces to be sure though.

    Camera is a vital factor too. I switched the Angle to 0 and performed a lot better in today’s matches.

  12. NG – It would make sense that stats do matter with manual, otherwise whats the point in having a manual control system in a stats based game?!

    If stats had no effect on passing, shooting etc then in theory, there wouldn’t be any difference in playing with the defaults or playing with Liverpool, Or Barca, or Juventus. That wouldn’t make any sense.

    Camera definitely impacts, I felt it when playing FIFA in broadcast cam, even though I had adjusted to it, every now and then a simple pass would go astray because pointing the LS diagonally at 32 degrees to my winger, was in fact pointing 38 degrees to the opponent because of the isometric view.

  13. I couldn’t get on with Advanced shooting. It’s learning a whole new aiming scheme. At least manual is just normal shooting but with emphasis on accuracy and smaller shooting rectangle*

    *I was going to put lozenge, but this is incorrect, isn’t it? Lozenge is a rhombus or diamond shape. One for the boffins…

  14. Goals from back in January, got a lot to catch up on. Farewell to Rice.

  15. The only way manual could work for me if there was more passing error from the CPU as a result then as well. Otherwise it would seem unfair and frustrating to me. Well at least in the few games that I tried it. I’d be very careful in stringing two or three consecutive passed together, lose the ball and then the CPU would just ping pong all over the pitch. Not for me at the moment.

  16. #1 – you have to learn Manual on Professional or even Regular. You lose the ball a lot but so does the AI. My last match ended 49/51 possession with 98 completed passes by me and 88 by the CPU. It all works out well and the Professional AI gives you a really good game. Thumps me often.

  17. Sitting next to a lad this morning at kids tennis I saw he had a MacBook Air….surprised by the size, Ive obviously become use to my much bigger laptop screen. However, I loved the rest and was more than happy with both the version of excel and numbers. Thinking may go the route of the air but connecting it to a bigger screen. I believe something ridiculously termed ‘thunderbolt’ will do that for me. How much can I count on from the rest of you if I crowdfunding it…? (I’ve never quite got my head round all that bollocks, people getting thousands for stupid ideas for shops or donations towards replacing something that fell apart).

  18. What about a desktop Turf. I bought a refurbished Lenova running Windows 7 in November 2016 for less than 200 euro. (Think it has a 2.5 GH low-end CPU, 4 gb of RAM and a bog-standard 160 gb hard drive). Turned out to be an excellent buy. No overheating problems even this summer in Madrid with temperatures of over 40ºC. Fans purring like a Rolls Royce. Mind you, as a translator, my needs are fairly basic: Word, Adobe Reader and a fast internet connection, and I’m good to go. 24-inch screen and it’s an ideal setup if you’re working from home. If you’re on the move, then you’ll probably need a laptop but maybe your current laptop would suffice if you do most of your work from home.

  19. Uncle Turf — if you do go desktop, a £300 Mac Mini won’t do you any harm at all, as you get all the benefits of MacOS. Or on the PC side you can get ThinkStations (the Lenovo brand again, very good value) for cheaper. Having picked up quite a few refurbished items of various kinds in recent years, I’d say they’re worth the risk.

    The MacBook Air is connectable to everything. I think the newer models have fewer ports and need one extra dongle to make the screen connection, but the older ones are directly linkable.

  20. Thanks but I’m not going to go the desktop route. A few years back we made the conscious decision to get rid of all our desks at home so we could change room layouts etc and I like being able to float round the house depending on the weather, sunlight, tv schedule, etc. I wrote most of my thesis sitting on the settee but currently do the data stuff in a bedroom. By winter it’s likely I’ll be at the kitchen table.

    I popped into the Apple Store today and again was surprised at the MacBook Air, it’s not the featherlight trixtress I assumed it was. The MacBook Pro was positively weighty but even the air had some chunk to it. After speaking to one of the helpers or whatever they call them I narrowed it down to the air simply because I can’t think what I’d use the extra heft of the pro for. So it’s just a matter of looking for a refurb air. Or retreating to the safety blanket of a dell laptop or similar if my nerve fails. I’m sure this time is the right time to go everything Apple. We are buying mini turf a new iPad for his birthday as he’s started doing junior video editing and programming stuff and he can’t download some apps to his old mini pad so I’m seeing a vision of a completely joined up home group of stuff.

  21. Turf = Macbook Air’s have gotten a little weightier over the years due to the hardware upgrades and also feedback that the lightweightedness of it, made it feel like a non-premium product, so apple changed some of the chassis materials etc, which made it heavier.

    An MB Air will do you just fine for your basic needs, I do alot of Video editing, GFX design, etc on my MacBook pro and it runs like butter but doubt you’d need that much power.

    You can also run PSEmu on the MB Air,for playing retro ps1/ps2/ps3 games without issue, or just stream directly from the PS4 to the Macbook Air, and play PS4 games on it.

  22. Uncle Turf – I had an 11-inch MacBook Air in 2011 – just 2GB RAM and a 64GB SSD – that I moved on to a family member in 2016-ish. It still runs today as well as it did 8 years ago. If you’re not going to go new or Refurbished from Apple themselves (next best thing), I think a nice 2014/2015-era model would fit the bill. Just old enough to be cheap, and just new enough that you can run anything on them. I’ve just had a look around and they’re still pricey though.

    Another few Manual matches over the weekend and just now, and the novelty is wearing thing. Next up: Advanced Shooting!

  23. NG – I played about 30 matches yesterday on the demo, mixture of offline and online, once you aclimatised to the different way you need to play the game, the intricacies come to the fore and it really does open up to be quite a game.

    Its all about making the right decisions at the right time, facing the right direction when passing, using the right foot, having an appropriate body stance, gone are those blind, 180 degree cross field pixel perfect passes.

    Quite surprised Konami have taken this ultra realistic simulation route, considering we fully expect it to be dumbed down for release.

    Definitely needs a few tweaks, player switching, sometimes erratic passing even when playing a simple 5 yard pass, and fouls – imbalanced at present.

    Quite impressed though.

  24. Paul — I do share the enthusiasm but am very gloomy about the chances of the passing/shooting error making it to retail, or much past retail. Re. the fouls, I have yet to see one given that wasn’t due to me button-mashing. I say keep them, for what that’s worth, which is nothing, because there is no way they’ll keep them. What they’ve got to fix is the roughly 1:10 ratio of AI fouls:Human fouls. Again, they won’t. We’ll get a ‘1 AI foul per match’ PES again this year, I’d put money on it.

    Oh, and I have been experimenting with a reduced-HUD playing environment, including no power bar, and got this free kick that made me think of you. No, not because it’s your beloved Man Utd, but because the lack of visual assistance from a visual power bar makes the FK that little bit harder this way. Not that they were ever easy, of course. No, never…

    I’m pretty much going to be done with the demo from today. I have zero confidence that this represents the final game, so it’s best not to get too attached. I’ve played enough that I’ll know if they change it (they’ll change it).

  25. I too am done with the demo, but will return pre-release for comparison’s sake.

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