Month: November 2019

The man Persie

One of my shortest posts ever today, not because I’m not playing PES2020 on PS4 (i most certainly am), and not because I’m not immersed in the ML that I have going on it (ditto). A few real-world things mean I’m stitting down to write this post from scratch at 11.44.

16 minutes to post time. No pressure.

Something about the colours of Borussia Dortmund just say ‘football’ to me. And European football in particular.For this Season 7 I’m highly prioritising the Europa League. I don’t know if or when I will get to compete in tjhe competition again.

Currently top of my Europa League group with 10 points after 4 matches. I have played and beaten Borussia Dortmund. Yes, this is still ‘only’ on Top Player, but this level can be plenty tough when it wants to be tough, believe me. I’ll probably go up to Superstar for Season 8 now.PES2020 still isn’t a PES of great goals – they’re all much the same, really, with only the odd goal standing out – but it is a PES of great goal-scorers.

This is a box-finisher’s PES and so the likes of Default Jarvis is a treasure – as is my 18-year-old Regen van Persie.

Goals from all my box-finishers and others have fired us to 2nd in the table.And look at whose name is 2nd in the goal-scorers’ table.That’s not too bad at all after 9 matches. He is still only 18, remember. A few seasons yet before he hits his stride properly. This kind of developing story is what PES and Master League are all about.

And finally today – yes, I said it would be a short one – here are 3 moments of interest from my most recent session.

First up is a team move that ends in a nice headed goal from Lobato. Then a free kick from Castledine that felt too far out for a shot, but I thought I’d try it. And finally a 29-yarder from Castledine that still doesn’t satisfy my stringent requirements for a satisfying long-ranger… because it’s more of a ‘dodgy keeper’ moment than a true long-ranger.

Hang the DJY

Season 7 dawns, and with it a decisive moment in my Master League history. Which way to go with my squad? Do I spend the money on new and better players, or stick with what I’ve got and see if can get them to the pinnacle of PES?

I could go the spend-spend-spend route. I have silly money in the bank – currently close to £100m. And I have received a bid of £160m for my inconsistent and stamina-challenged Lobato. My wages budget would easily handle a couple of superstars coming in.

Which way do I turn?

There’s no decision really. I have chosen to continue on my way. I’ve had plenty of PESes where I’ve spent my way to glory. This ML will be something different. The squad you see below is the squad that will finish this ML. Defaults and Journeymen and Youths (DJY).

I’m counting the big-name Regens as Youths, because that’s what they still are. I have 3 Youth Regens out on loan who will return at the end of the season. Vardy, Arnautovic, and Romero. I’ll decide then which ones to keep, if any, and move the others on.

Regen van Persie is really coming good now. See his Goal of the Month contender in the clip below. He currently starts most games in place of either Lincoln or Lobato, as one of them is invariably unfit or off form.

The Europa League got underway with a win in my opening fixture. True to my word.I started well in last year’s attempt at getting somewhere and doing something in this tournament, before it all fell apart when I met the big boys of the group. This year I’m in a group with Borussia Dortmund. I want at least 4 points against them. I’m still on Top Player so I feel confident.

Here is the current league table after just 4 matches –I played another match after this screenshot and won it, so I’m up in 2nd now.

All the talk in recent weeks about the PC version of the game and the endless modding possibilities that it offers. With all the delights on offer on that open platform, some might have wondered why I’m still perservering with the PS4 console version and all its limitations. There are many reasons why I still love the PS4 and still feel the urge to finish my ML on it before moving on (and we’ll see how that goes).

Here’s a little compilation vid of 4 moments from my recent session that sums up why I’m still a committed console PES gamer right now:

First we see Casteldine performing a lovely bit of skill. Then Lobato scoring what must be my lowest-ever free kick from that close in. Then Regen van Persie’s sublime outside-of-the-boot finish into the top corner from 23.5 yards. And finally Schone scores his first goal for me with a beaut of a half-volley.

I hope that whenever Peter Drury’s wife asks him if the postman has been yet, the answer is: ‘He’s delivered all right!’

The True Home of the FA Cup

Totally genuine. Not a two-minute knockup in Photoshop at all.

Yes, Season 6 has ended and I have retained the FA Cup. That’s back-to-back Cup wins for the first time in the nuPES era, I think. And so in Season 7 I will get another crack at the Europa League (my Master League bogey competition), which I am eagerly looking forward to.

It was a tough FA Cup Final. Not only were my opponents Manchester City, as souped-up and hyperactive as they can be, but for the final I moved back up to the dreaded Superstar.

Somehow in PES2020 they’ve brewed an extra-special concoction of bullshit for Superstar. It’s not enjoyable most of the time. The least enjoyable Superstar ever!

I find that I can cope with the AI’s excesses, most of the time. No-fouls on Superstar are just the same as no-fouls on Top Player or Professional. I tend to be shoulder-charged and clipped and scythed to the ground on every difficulty level without a foul being called, so it’s no different to see it (not) happening on Superstar.

My Superstar problem is that I just cannot seem to score. I played two league matches on Superstar prior to the Cup Final, as a warmup, and scored 0 in both. It did not bode well.

The Final was tight and tense. Here is the decisive action. We come in with the score at 0-0 in the 80th minute, and a foul given on the edge of the box…

The full match is there if anyone wants to click back and watch the whole thing.

I played well, apart from the periods when I got sucked into the AI’s frenzy.

Then it’s important to take a breath, take your time, and deliberately slow the game down. A hectic melee of turnovers and tackles and barging only helps the AI.

Part of the challenge of this era of PES is imposing your own vision onto matches. PES Prouctions want us to get sucked into the hurdy-gurdy, button-mashy nonsense that the Useless Anti-PES Focus Group Bastards tell them to make.

I suspect the existence of at least one Fifth Columnist in PES Productions. One or two individuals, aware of the series’ rich single-player heritage, who want to make a game that’s true to the series’ origins. They sneak in a few things every year for us. Hence all the demos we get loaded with single-player goodness. Summertime demos full of fouls and goodness might not just be a cynical marketing ploy. #IchoosetoBelieve

Here’s my avatar leading a post-match Macarena:The league was as ordinary and mediocre as it gets. I finished 10th with a perfect 0 goal difference.I scored precisely 1 goal per game. I did play about 2/3rds of this season on Superstar, in the end.

So to Season 7. The big question is, what do I do with difficulty? Top Player is just that bit too easy for me now, but Superstar is a good bit too shitty-hard. I’m reluctant to make my big move to PA0 at this stage (which would enable me to play on Professional), as I want to ‘complete’ a PES2020 ML on my standard settings first.

Decisions, decisions.

A wild unicorn appears

A great session yesterday morning has gone a long way to restoring some of the polish to my view of PES2020.

I’ve been up-front about my disappointment at the lack of great goals in PES2020 for me so far. I don’t believe that will change much, if at all, anytime soon. This era of PES is firmly under the jackboot of online multiplayer. Long-range goals are Not Allowed, generally.

But… but, yesterday I scored a goal from about 28 yards! Not a true long-ranger in my book, for reasons that will be clear upon viewing… But technically, it is one, and I’ll take it.

It’s the very first goal in today’s mini-compilation, which also includes two other unicorns of PES2020: headed goals from crosses. All 5 of these goals came in that great session yesterday:

King Castledine and Prince Jarvis dominating proceedings there.

And yes, I have gone back to my traditional Wide camera.

The dearth of spectacular goals – goals that look and feel great in their own right, rather than being ‘only’ contextually great – is a PES2020 trait. I foresee me marking down PES2020 next August because of it.

But the rest of the play… setting aside the grouches… it’s pretty bloody good.Over in the League and Cup in general…

I’m into the FA Cup final for the second season running after a wonderful comeback against Liverpool in the semi final where I was 0-2 down before half-time. I stormed back to make it 2-2 at 90 minutes. The goal that started the comeback was a fine opportunist header from Jarvis, who quietly has a bit of the David Speedie in him. A little guy with a knack for headed goals. That was a great match.

Also great was the match versus Chelsea, away, where I dug in grimly from an early setback and came back to win 2-1. That match was remarkable for the amount of AI fouls in it. There were 7 (SEVEN), a complete anomaly for me in PES2020. If only every match was like that.

I’m still holding on mid-table. 10th after 32 matches of Season 5, with 32 goals scored and 31 conceded. My 1 goal per game average is an improvement on my 0.65 goals per game or whatever it was on Superstar.

I wonder if I will ever go back to Superstar now, but I think I will when I have the players to cope.

And I wonder if I will ever upgrade this squad much past the point where it currently is.

I fancy more or less shutting up shop now, letting player development take its course, and sticking with what I’ve got to the end. It feels too familiar and predictable to follow the route of bringing in new players until I’ve got a team of galacticos. My excellent PES2019 campaign, where I pretty much did exactly that, is still fresh in my mind.

I don’t know what or where the end-game scenario is for this ML career. I used to always regard the first Treble as the natural culmination of things. This year it’s probably a time-limited ML, as come January/February-ish, I believe I will want to give the PC platform a proper go.

So there’s about 10-12 weeks left in which I will see what I can do with a halfway-house squad of journeymen, Defaults, and one or two big name Youths. Should be interesting.