What’s new – Superstar is a pussycat

I have made a swashbuckling run to the end of Season 4 – and played in nothing else than the FA Cup Final!

Versus one of the top teams of PES2020 so far – Liverpool!

On Superstar!

I moved back up to Superstar after last Thursday’s patch. The Cup Final should have been carnage. A week ago, I played Liverpool in the league, on Superstar, and it was carnage.

The patch last Thursday has changed Superstar in certain ways, not all of them good.

Here is the complete, full FA Cup Final, start to finish, for those who are interested. I know very few will watch this, but here it is for those who will.

I will give the result away below ‘the jump’ (remember a few years ago when it seemed everybody on every website was saying ‘after the jump’ and ‘hit the jump’? Why did they stop saying it? Let me know ‘after the jump’…)

It was an easy 3-0 win for me in the FA Cup Final. Albeit after extra time – but when you look at the chances I had in regular time, and the general pattern of play, you will see that today’s post title really is the case now. Yes, Superstar was monstrously unfair, but I was looking forward to mastering it. Now, I supposed Legend will have to do.

Invisible trophy time.If you only want to watch the three extra time goals, here they are cued up from the first goal onward – scored by that little magician, Jarvis, coming into his own again now that Superstar has been nerfed:

I was never under any pressure at any stage of this match. The last time I played against Liverpool was pre-patch. It was on Superstar and I got hammered 4-0 in a match where I was never comfortable, where I did well to make a couple of scrappy half-chances. What a difference a week or so – and a patch – makes.

At least Donald Pleasence will have a good Halloween for once.I might have adapted to Superstar, or the Patch might after all have ‘done something’, or we might have met in the middle. Who knows.

I am having a great time with the PC version of PES2020. This is my first year spent tinkering on the PC version from the start of the PES year. It is a football gamer’s sandbox of delight. Every day can bring something new if you want it. Corner flags not flappy enough for you? I bet there’s a mod for that. Aching to play a season with Ewood Park as your home stadium? It looks great. You can roll up your sleeves, grab the relevant tools, and brew your own mods if you like. I fancy making an OG Highfield Road at some point…

Yesterday I played the best PC gameplay mod yet, one that genuinely restores the error-and-fatigue-laden demo gameplay (sans fouls, of course; they still seem to be under Fort Knox-style lock and key). At some point today I will be testing a mod that purports to remove the AI’s lightning reflexes that stop you dribbling past it. Will it work as advertised? If so, will it break the game? Who knows! Such is the joy of the PC side of the fence.

But the PS4 is still my main scene of action. It’s not impossible that you might be seeing a whole new PC-based world on this blog before long… I’ve got a nice test ML going with the OG Defaults, with its own little collection of stories. Shimizu is as annoying as ever. Dodo is a majestic DMF. Ordaz is a wonderful Mark Hateley-esque header of the ball (I’ll post an example in comments later).

But the PS4 is where I’ve played 4 seasons. I am as invested in the individuals and in my team as much as I ever have been.

For example, I shouted out loud at this Lobato curler scored against Chelsea, away, to earn a 2-2 draw:

The final league table:Yes, that is a shocking goals-scored record. Maybe my worst season-long goal-scoring performance ever. But to finish 9th in my maiden Premier League season, with 80% of the matches on Superstar…

The Team of the Season only featured my GK:So where is PES2020(PS4) at right now? My feeling is that the October Patch has toned down the Superstar AI a bit too much, and that this was a mistake. If I could flip a switch and put the AI back to how it was this time last week, I would.

Season 5 – and the Europa League – is up next. Legend, here I come? I’ll start out on Superstar and see how it goes.

Updated: 29th October 2019 — 11:43


  1. Congratulations on the first of I would imagine many trophies. This could be the year of legend.

  2. Gary – I have to say that with my average team in my 1st top flight season, it felt a little cheap. But I’ll take it! Hoping now this doesn’t become a PES6-style 6-season Master League.

  3. That was a strange old game, with all the goals coming so late on after 90 mins of stalemate, where you were arguably were under the kosh for large parts, and to break the stalemate with a good old fashioned towering header!

    Liverpool finished with just a 70% pass completion rate, that’s ridiculous, and at times they did look very weak ad passive and gave you acres of space, seems the patch has really affected the difficulty level.

    Assume you are still on -1 speed as the game looked slow ?

    Nice Lobato curler too.
    I’ve been trying more long range shots recently, Castledine in that AMF hole role is perfect for it with his venomous left peg, but nope, no chance, I have hit several perfectly timed, placed and powered shots from 30 yards and the result is the same every single time – a salmon-esque flapping GK dive and save.

    You should try replicating this low level Bournemouth-Vitality-stadium-esque camera angle for your PC game:

  4. Really? Superstar is virtually unchanged for me. Perhaps there is more freedom in most matches but I’m still getting kicked to shit, punished by every free kick I don’t jump at and generally nerfed when I look like putting a run together.

    I’ll believe if you win the league but till then I’m not sure it won’t bite back.

  5. Paul – it was 2.30am last night and I was lazy with the sprinting and tackle spamming. It felt hectic rather than slow and I was too focused on Lobato. Still on -1. I never felt under pressure at all and note how passive Liverpool were from their kickoff after my opening goal. There’s even a loose ball in there that the AI visibly backed away from.

    Uncle Turf – I had as easy a last 10 matches on SS as I did last season on TP, and I did check to make sure I was on SS. I’d like it to be session variance.

  6. A few new kits added to the site:

    View post on imgur.com

  7. NG – I’ve just watched the entire match, and I’m starting to feel convinced that PES 2020 employs an adaptive difficulty system that isn’t really related to the quality of the opposition that you face. Instead, it operates in accordance with form, and the new ML “story” scenarios, and other things along those lines.

    I don’t think it’s as simple as the AI shuttling back and forth between Top Player, Superstar and Legend. I reckon they have a pretty comprehensive suite of variables to play with, and so – at any given moment – one man’s Top Player can be another man’s Superstar, and a derby match can deliver a Legend+ experience that you’re clearly designed to lose.

    This arbitrary type of tuning is exactly how you shouldn’t go about simulating a football league. It’s pure MyClub – bite-sized challenges or experiences that don’t relate to the team you play or their position in the division. Relegation-threatened Charlton can tear you apart with two 64-rated strikers who operate with inhuman speed and strength, while Liverpool roll over in a cup final.

    It’s wretched, and it’s going to drive me back over to FIFA when PES 2020 – at its best – is where I want to be.

  8. James – if you can give the PC version a try, do. I’m quite grudging about saying it but the whole pcmasterrace vibe is based on substance. Consoles give you what the developer wants you to have – in a Jamesian analogy, it’s a flat 1980s cassette player playing Dollar’s Greatest Hits on a loop. The PC platform via the modding scene gives you an entire recording studio with a bewildering multi-panel deck of dials and switches for you to mix your own music. The downer of this solution of course is that you end up playing your own individually-mixed version of the game. For there to be any commonality of experience with others, they have to have the exact same mods and settings. But with an eye on selfishly wanting the best possible PES experience, the PC platform, I grudgingly acknowledge, is the place to be.

    I’m soon going to post a 4-minute highlights vid of my PC gameplay mod testing yesterday. Mostly playing at Loftus Road, with a gameplay mod whose promises made me sceptical: the demo gameplay (minus the fouls, which are the Red October of nuPES; all the modders seem to be hunting them). Turns out though that it delivered on what it promised.

  9. NG – I play on all platforms, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you about all of the modding hoops I’ve jumped through to get the best out of a game on PC before. I try not to do that too often these days.

    If you’re active on the PES 2020 modding forums, you should pass on my observation/hunch that 2020 is actually classifying a lot of physical, player vs player transitions of the ball as interceptions – not tackles. The final tackles stat for matches is often completely at odds with what I’ve experienced on the pitch.

    I’m not sure that the PES devs are always actively disabling fouls; despite the “ball first” thing, PES *knows* when a foul is made. What they’re doing instead, I think, is denying them context through creative accounting.

  10. I’m two games from the end of season four and it’s season 3 mkII. I’m one point off the playoffs and it’s match each result time. I win, they do, I draw, etc etc. Even when I defend like buggery the AI is awarded a nonexistent free kick and of course I have no way of stopping it. That’s worth repeating – unless I’ve been allowed to time the jump exactly, every single free kick I’ve faced in the whole of pes2020 has gone in. Not one free kick has missed…that is as ridiculous as free kicks not being present for the common assaults.

    I’ve also never seen a red card.

    I still feel like I might be allowed into the playoffs and to sneak through the back door. However, I am also sure it will be way beyond my control.

  11. Turf – I’ve seen two reds so far. One for two ridiculous yellows for one of my players in a bullshit match. The other was a straight red (which I recorded out of sheer shock) in a Europa group stage match when the AI performed a fairly routine sliding takedown of my player as he broke into a sprint.

    On Superstar, the AI nerfs your wall jumps at will. It also gives itself fouls within 25 to 30 yards of your box all the time – and will even employ them to stop play when you have a promising break developing. When you’re facing certain match “templates”, it is the most blatantly unfair PES ever released.

  12. Uncle Turf – I’ve still not had a goal scored against me from any free kick, from any position or distance, on any difficulty level, in 4 full seasons of PES2020 Master League. The wall jump is 99.99% effective. The 0.01% is one single solitary isolated time when it got over the wall, and the keeper saved.

    James – this is all new to me so I don’t feel as if the PC modding pastime is me desperately in search of good gameplay. I’m enjoying the whole thing really. I added a few stadia today and enjoyed just looking at them whilst testing a new gameplay mod. The Big One is the fouls mod that I hope is out there… somewhere.

  13. NG – At some point soon, the base PS4 PES 2020 is going to bare its fangs and go for your throat.

    So go on: keep tickling its belly, and saying how “You wouldn’t stop my wall jumping so you can score after a bullshit foul, would you little PES? No you wouldn’t! No you wouldn’t!”

    It’s going to happen – and *so* much more. And I just pray there’s a blog left for us to talk you down on when it does*.

    *As opposed to when it happens to Paul, when the universe might actually explode.

  14. James – I discovered when to make the wall jump at an AI free kick in PES2019 and didn’t concede one after that. It’s early – the wall has to jump early, counter-intuitively early, similar to PES2017’s headed goals where you pressed Square immediately after the cross was struck. With PES2019’s and now PES2020’s AI FKs, it’s when the AI player’s kicking leg has started to swing.

  15. NG – I know. I’ve performed dozens of wall jumps in PES 2020 without incident. But when you’re in a “bullshit match” on Superstar or Legend, where the opposing team are boosted beyond comprehension, *your wall does not jump*. They do something between a hop and a shrug, and the ball hits the back of the net. It’s a completely different animation.

    It’s nothing to do with timing, or skill, or practice. The AI fucking *takes* the goal. It might as well smash-cut to a black screen midway through play, then resume seconds later, a goal up, from kick off.

    You’ll know it when you eventually see it.

  16. He’s right NG – I was in your camp when Paul was unhappy about the free kicks then my presses started to fail, despite being at the same time – the wall simply makes a token effort and the ball goes over them in the half an inch of air they clear from the ground.

    And wouldn’t you know it, I missed out on the playoffs by a point. Villa went up. And I was promptly offered the villa job. As fucking if…

    So cue Instant Karma, roll footage of the miners strike, lets see Denis healey interviewed about the EEC, I’m here for decades…. and I’ve just gone huge on two loan signings – that savic midfield bloke at 87 from lazio I believe, and mo salah. Fuck em, if you can’t go up with a team spirit of 94, a front line of salah, kean and van persie, tevez on the bench, a lightning bolt called gameiro and anyone else I care to sign with my 170m balance then I’m going to bed in for the winter of discontent.

  17. Here’s an unstoppable AI free kick.

  18. Cook – the specific type of jump that Turf and I are talking about on Superstar is even worse. The players don’t even get nearly that high off the ground, irrespective of when you press the button.

    That said, I have noticed instances like yours, where you press at the right time but the AI player’s FK stats are so good, the ball gets the perfect level of up and down in its flight. KDB at Citeh is someone who has scored those against me three or four times so far.

  19. nG – I watched the whole game.

    62 mins – Your long range attempt here is the most ambitious thing I’ve ever seen.

    95 mins – This Liverpool attack is a good example of what’s gone wrong post-patch. He stops and looks for the pass instead of going on towards goal, very 2019-esque. Pre-patch the striker would have driven on and most likely scored.

  20. You have to accept that COM FK’s will go in sometimes, sometimes they are just that good that you cant stop them, like in real life, my issue is that you never ever see a COM FK go off target, its always 100% bang-on placement, so it becomes like a mini-game, or a side quest in GTA, the issue isn’t whether the COM player is good enough and has good enough stats to hit a FK from 25 yards, its whether you can time your jump perfectly, then hope the ‘ML Turdery Dice Roll’ doesn’t land on a six, because if it does, even if you jump correctly, you lose the mini game and its a goal, which is total BS.

    I’ve even had occurrences where the COM has taken a FK from 40/45 yards, I’ve jumped, and it was still a goal, bang, top corner, precise placement, from 45 yards, and the only man in my wall who didn’t jump – the man that the ball was flighted over, coincidence!?!? Nah.

    It’s just lazy, BS programming, and very reactive.

  21. Tommy – I try long-rangers all the time, from every conceivable angle and distance, and the odd one that’s inconceivable, like that one. Re. The echo of PES2019’s ‘turning away from goal’, yes that’s one of the ways the AI has been defanged. Another brief session last night and SS is still in tame mode for me.

  22. nG – Still holding up for me, despite the obvious toning down. It’s a nice level right now, and the AI still has the ability to best me. I played Newcastle yesterday, and they parked the bus most of the game. I tried to break them down, but they nicked a goal and then went full defence mode until the end.

    Going back to your video, Liverpool went full attack around 75mins, sending van Dijk up front which obviously opened the door for you to attack. They are almost impenetrable when he’s at the back, so taking him out of the equation is a tactical blunder. The AI going full attack is something I’ve only ever seen in cup games.

    I’m 3rd at the moment, and I won’t be winning any leagues this season, I’m pretty sure. I’d like to try out Legend post-patch to see what’s going on there now, but I’m not thinking of switching until I’ve won a few things on Superstar. I know it’s there, waiting, should SS really fall on it’s arse.

  23. Updated Brown Kit for when/if you want it NG:

    View post on imgur.com

  24. Tommy — another session or two in Season 4 and I’ll know which way the game is going with me. It would be very peculiar to say the least — in fact unprecedented — if my experience of Superstar doesn’t eventually dovetail with yours and others’. If the tame Superstar keeps on happening for me I’ll suspect I’ve tripped some setting or bug in the game, as I remain a pretty basic, below-average player, as my full-length videos prove. (If I was a Football Manager player I really would score a 4 for Composure.)

    Paul — fantastic, many thanks. I don’t think I can let the Talbot one go so soon, so I will run with TWO brown kits! (Or I might alternate them by season, we’ll see.)

  25. For everyone with CPU free kick issues (that would be everyone), an alternative method is to select your GK, move him approximately to the center of the goal and then switch back to a field player. Not 100 procent foolproof but 95 procent or thereabouts for me.

  26. It’s squad building time for me – as others have said the transfer set up this year is a complete farce, money rolls in, players are easy to get, nothing is sense checked – for example my top earner Golovin has just happily accepted 1.6m less with a higher release clause only one year into a three year contract. Konami – as James pointed out – really don’t know what they are doing. I’m going to aim for the best players I can without breaking team spirit, that seems most important due to the nerfing.

  27. I signed Palito, an AMF from the youth squad, 2 weeks before the end of season 4, I’ve just finished the season, upon checking contracts his is set to expire in a months time despite the fact I’ve literally just signed him, went to renew contract and he has refused stating he wants a transfer!

    What the Actual Fuckkkk !?!?!?!?
    This game is so pathetic in so many ways.

    At least this cheered me up, a 91st Min winner.

  28. In pre-season 5 now I’ve attempted to change the Release Fee to ‘NONE’ in every renewal, and been successful with 4 out of 5 so far. Having Jarvis worth £6m but his release fee £4m is not acceptable. It was a relief to get his release fee off. With others it’s trickier – ‘The release fee is non-negotiable’ – but all this means is that I’ll raise it as far as I can, and that’s successful about 80% of the time. With all the players who will happily take massive paycuts, or Free Agents who’ll sign for the min-wage, etc. etc, it’s fair to say I think that this is the crappiest ML transfer and squad-building setup EVER.

  29. NG – anytime I’ve tried to remove a release fee from a contract renewal, they weren’t having any of it!

    Saw someone post on Twitter this morning saying they loaded up MyClub for the first time, and had some free spins so used them, and got Griezman, Bruno Fernandez, Sané, Salah …… his starting team without ever playing a match was like a Galacticos squad, its just ridiculous.

    What do MyClub players play for? must be ranking kudos or something because it appears there is no form of squad building or player development at all, and that framework is creeping further and further into ML.

  30. Paul – I’ve decided to stick with my low-level squad – average OPR around the 73 mark, with none above 79 – so maybe my mix of Youths and journeymen and Defaults can’t afford to quibble with whatever I’m offering. A few have kicked off about it though. Notably Castledine.

    Re. The new brown kit you did, I can’t see it on your site – ? Just had a mooch through and that 92-93 Yellow/Green Man Utd away kit automatically transports me back to the early 90s…

  31. NG – I hadn’t put the new brown kit on the site, but heres a download link:

    I was gobsmacked that a player aged 16, promoted to the first team from the youth academy, would then refuse to sign an extension, and sees his future elsewhere, and more gobsmacked that the game only signed him to a 1 month contract?! Wtf ?!

    Yes, that ‘Newton Heath’ Utd kit, the early premier league days, when Norwich were in europe and Leeds were a decent team.

    I keep meaning to load in my Premier League retro kits pack, will do that tonight now you have nudged my memory, download link here for that:


    View post on imgur.com

  32. Just get bored of PES, to be honest, and broke my promise and bought FIFA yesterday. I must admit, it’s a brilliant game. I am completely in love with it at the moment. Must mention Paul in my post, as I know how much he liked FIFA last year – you wouldn’t be disappointed with the new one mate.

  33. Watched almost all of the FA Cup final you played NG and I thought it would make a very good, albeit rather long, advert for the game. Having recently upgraded to the XBOX ONE X, my gaming budget for the year has been well and truly overrun so PES 2020 will have to wait. Based on your FA Cup final video, PA1 looks very loose, with lots of interceptions, which can only be a good thing. Since PES 2015, a game for which I share Darryl’s enthusiasm, I’ve found PA1, PA2 and PA3 to be practically identical. And I guess I hardly need to tell you to keep harping on about the fouls. I take KingSalah’s point in his comment on the last post and he’s almost certainly right in saying they’re not going to do anything about them, for reasons you’ve also gone into in depth. But at least you’re sending out the message and I’m sure it’s been received. Who knows with Konami? If their decision-making processes are as quirky as some commenters here believe them to be, they might surprise us.

  34. Abbes – I have FIFA 20 still in its cellophane wrapper at home waiting, the wife bought it for me on release day.
    I was kinda glad PES 20 is keeping me entertained at the moment, as FIFA’s career mode was totally broken at launch, i know there’s been one patch fixing some of it with another due, so I’ll let them sort all that out before switching over.

    What is so good about FIFA 20 in your opinion then compared to last year? As I’ve heard many mixed reviews of it.

  35. So who does mo salah need for company…Gareth bale. I sign Gareth bale for Charlton (the original, not a regen) and the ‘big signing in the championship’ headline on the main page is G.Whelan going to Reading….

    This is shit or bust me having fun – regen crouchy was worth the tiny wage too.

  36. Abbes – same here re. FIFA20 and mixed reviews, so it’d be good to hear from someone what’s good about it. Taking the f-word, fouls, being absent as granted of course.

    rhymes450 – I had to boot the ball out to get my subs onto the pitch in a match today, so the absence of fouls in all current football games will never not be at the forefront of my footy gaming experience. Every session, in multiple ways, it’s right there in my face. A live issue and always will be.

    PES2020 will be worth the slightly cheaper punt when you eventually can. Master League is bewilderingly atrocious though. At this stage I’d still say my PES2019 experience was better overall, but it’s early days.

  37. abbes – We all loved PES in those first few heady days.

  38. Uncle Turf – that’s similar to when I could have had the current Mezut Ozil in the Championship. Bale is even bigger though. This Master League…

  39. Tommy – that’s right, and for this reason I will just stop on that one post about FIFA. Gonna play a week or so and then will make a proper judgment, which will share with you all.

  40. I just wanted to chip in and say that Vidal as a captain is 100% the image I make of Liverpool keeping an “energetic spirit” in a post-Klopp era

  41. I’m currently bored to absolute tears by the game. Each match now plays out the same and I’m just going through the motions. All the randomness that was in before is essentially gone. When I concede it’s always in the 46th or 91st minute. Almost no exceptions. who play-tests this? Undoubtely something under the hood in Master League that is fucking with overall game quality. Gonna leave it for a few days, disappointing.

  42. #1 – have a go with the ‘Our Demo’ dt18, and/or the gameplay mod that allows you to adjust the ball weight. Clip below of me playing with both mods (including others, mainly a vertical camera (from 2:20), without the nauseating swing, that I have been waiting since ISS98 to play with again). The Tottenham Hotspur stadium looks fantastic and that turf mod is superb. I’m not too far from flipping to the PC platform as gameplay is the most important thing and the ‘Our Demo’ dt18 really does bring back the randomness that has been progressively baked out of the console version.

  43. NG – good shout! Tried that last week and it was pretty good. I’m a little wary of going that route I must’ve tried about thirty mods last year and I find it hard to “settle” on something. But I’ll definitely be installing that since vanilla gameplay seems to be losing its merits already for me.

  44. NG – That Turf? Seriously?
    It looks damn awful. like some plastic table topper that someone has painted neon green stripes on, its an eyesore.

  45. #1 – it’s all new to me and enjoyable for its own sake currently. Probably I’m helped by the fact that I’m not specifically searching for something to settle on as I still have a very viable and enjoyable console ML on the go. If I was searching for something to settle on though, the Our Demo dt18 is the one I’d use as a base.

    Paul – yes that turf! Looks great to me. The others in the pack aren’t bad either.

  46. wow. i couldn’t play on that, its eye damaging and looks like its been ripped from Emelyn Hughes soccer on the C64.

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