Month: November 2019

That man and Robin

Today is all about Robin van Persie, specifically, my Master League Regen version of him in PES2020.

The story so far with my Regen version of Robin van Persie:

I am always looking for the classic ML experience of bringing in a ‘name’ player whilst young and developing him into a personal legend. It has happened to me so many times over the course of my Master League life that I could fill a hundred posts with tales of the great and memorable players I’ve had through all the eras of PES.

Stoitchkov in PES3. George Best in PES4. Bergkamp in PES5. Raul in PES6. The list goes on, past the Golden Age era of PES, all the way through the Silver PS3 and Bronze PS4 years. It is the foundational principle of Master League. There is an Eternal Champion who must be found – usually more than one.

Master League retains this essential aspect of itself. No matter how blighted the current PES era is with all those appalling concessions to multiplayer (no fouls, no long-rangers, no headers, no penalties, etc.), the magic persists.

Last year in PES2019 it was Forlan. This year, I’m still holding out hope that Robin van Persie could be the man of PES2020.

So far it hasn’t looked good. He arrived in the first transfer window of Season 2 as a raw 16-year-old.

It’s currently the latter half of Season 5. RVP is now still only a raw 19-year-old and it shows. He’s scored only 3 (THREE) goals in three (3) seasons – until now.

Away to Manchester United – decent in PES2020, but beatable – a combination of injuries and poor form meant I had to play van Persie up front as an out-and-out CF. Here is a 90-second clip of his highlights in the match:

I was happy, it’s fair to say. Both great finishes with his favoured left foot, with the first one being especially satisfying.

The problem after this was something I have always noticed in nuPES: the dreaded Next Match Nerf.

RVP’s form arrow was firmly down for the next match. How absolutely aggravating is that when it happens? In what footballing universe is a young player who’s just scored two match-winning goals in a big game, not considered to be on form for the following match?

Or are the arrows supposed to signify other things? Injury during training? I don’t think so – the arrows exist solely to indicate morale and form, as far as I am concerned, and as far as I am concerned, RVP’s form arrow in the match immediately after the one above should have been glowing bright and pointing UP. But it wasn’t.

Yet another balancing method from online that has infected offline.

I’ve focused on one player and one theme in today’s post for two reasons:

1) Nothing else really happened worth mentioning. PES2020 is still not a PES of great goals in their own right for me. And I’m still ticking over in mid-table. I can’t post yet another picture of me in 9th. I just can’t.

2) The potential Story of RVP is representative of the spirit of PES and ML. This is what makes the series and mode distinctive and still worth playing year after year.

Oh, and 3) I’ve spent the week playing a bit of Death Stranding in the time I would have otherwise spent playing PES2020.

I’ve decided I will give Regen van Persie another 4 seasons. That’s all the way to Season 9. By then he’ll be in his mid-20s. I want him at least on the same level as Jarvis – a striker who is as deadly in PES2020 as any other striker I’ve yet to play with. If PES2020 ended right now, it’s Jarvis I’d remember. Let’s see if RVP – or any other contender – can change that.

One of these men is 19 years old

It’s the one on the left. Let’s assume he’s had a hard life and move on.

He’s a new Youth CB signing, whose name I have embarrassingly forgotten. His first initial is A and his surname starts with M, and it is something Romanian-sounding. He has good OVR (77) and great supporting stats. He’s fast (Speed 80), which counts for a lot in PES2020. He also has RB as an alternate primary position, which is always handy. I have the usual high hopes that he will be distinctive. I hope I’ll remember his name by the end of the game year. That’s all we can ask really, isn’t it?

I still have the Default E CANNING in my squad, by the way, and he still plays regularly when my first-choice LB is out, and he still does great. A nuPES Ruskin is what he most certainly is.

I also brought in a Regen ‘name’ player whom I spotted in the Free Agents list. One of these two men is 17 years old…

I’m still in the middle of the January window and these two are my only youngsters.

I’ve got some experienced players too – Ikone at AMF, for one, and others currently in mid-negotiation.

I’m on the verge of selling Bryan Gil but with no one coming in for him he may get a stay of execution.

The latest news on my so-far-disappointing Regen van Persie: no goals and precious few near-misses for him. I just cannot get him into any game. I’ve played him in the middle, on the right, on the left, as a CF, as an SS dropping deep – nothing. His close cousin (in terms of player type), Jarvis, pops up and tucks them away for fun, and is on-target to be my top scorer again, so it’s not my play-style. RVP has scored 3 (THREE) goals in almost 4 (FOUR) full seasons now. This is becoming a thing. He’ll get two more seasons after this one.

I have played a short session of 4 matches on full manual! Well, on my version of full manual – PA0, with shooting left on Basic. So not full manual, Persie, but the next best thing to it. All with an eye to eventually playing PA0 full-time.

Verdict? It’s too soon for me. I’m still in the throes of building my club and finding my feet in PES2020. Manual settings are for a mature PES and for when ML is past a certain stage. One for when the days start getting longer again.

I beat Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup Quarter Final to make it through to the semi. I’m very interested to see if I can retain the trophy this season, and make another Europa League.

In the domestic league I’m still paddling in circles in the middle of the table:Goal-scoring has picked up a little. Only a little. I still keep trying shots from distance. It’s about stubbornness and nostalgia more than hope. I refuse to stop trying long-range goals. Scoring long-range goals has been one of my principal footy gaming pleasures since I played my first proper football game at the end of the 1990s.

I will never give up on long-range efforts. I will never stop judging football games by how long-range shots are treated. PES2014 didn’t allow them until one of its excellent late patches (February, I think it was). PES2020 currently doesn’t allow them either, but it’s only November.

Today’s post is yet another where I don’t have even one goal worthy of showing off. There are goals in PES2020 that make you grin and shake your fist, but they tend to be good because of the context of the match, or a player who has suddenly sparked into life, and that kind of thing. PES2020 is not so far a PES of great goals as a visual spectacle in their own right.

So here is one of my full matches on PA0, for the curious. Arsenal vs Coventry, in the league.



Tidy finishes are the new rock and roll

I’ve played quite a bit since Tuesday’s post, but I only have the above screenshot of the current league table to show for it. There have been no on-field highlights worthy of recording.

I’ve played as many Europa League and FA Cup matches as league ones. I’m out of the Europa League at the time of writing, having disastrously lost one of my remaining group matches versus PSV. I then won the final match of the group but PSV won theirs, and so my players sank to the floor in the now-traditional gutted fashion.

I’m still in the FA Cup though, and more than fancy my chances of retaining the trophy for possibly the first time ever on a nuPES game. That would be a handy route back to Europe, as the league route seems unlikely.

In the league I’ve started flitting back and forth between Superstar and Top Player. I find Superstar just too hard and Top Player just too easy. I score lots of goals on the latter, too many. On the former, I score few goals — too few.

I’ve started holding L2 frequently to play manual passes and shots and they feel great. I have more than half a mind to formally switch to PA0 rightaway. I might give it a few sessions and see how I feel.

There are no other highlights to show or talk about really. I remain committed to PES2020, but am not yet dazzled by it. PES2020 does not so far seem to be, for me, a PES of great goals. Good goals, yes. There are many goals where I nod appreciatively and admire the way a passing move came together, or feel delighted that Jarvis has netted yet another (he’s the box finisher par excellence).

Regular readers will be very familiar with the kind of goal that has me figuratively leaping out of my seat (or literally doing so). Those goals are simply not allowed in PES2020. It frustrates and annoys me.

I’m over 4.5 Master League seasons into PES2020 now. Which is a lot of games. It’s reasonable now to assume that I have experienced a thoroughly representative sample of the game. The amount of goals I would count as great are… few. Perhaps one or two.

It’s a PES of context and player/team development rather than those super-duper wowser moments. Maybe that’s for the best, who knows?

Some bonus content today.

My PES PC project continues — but not the PC PES2020. I’m still gathering all the stadia and other files there. It’s a project that will mature sometime in 2020 itself. I have learned that the effective PC release date is somewhere around the turn of the year. Up until that point it is all about experimentation and assembling the many parts that go to make the whole. Which is its own kind of fun.

I have an ambition to install every PC version of PES, and pimp them out as much as possible. The first candidate is PES2013, which I would like to get running with the Jenkey patch and gameplay tool — still the best such that I have seen on any PC PES.

I installed PES2013, the 1.00 vanilla version, the other night, and recorded myself playing my traditional England vs Scotland opening match. Professional difficulty.

Take a look at the surprising outcome, with a moment at 10m35s that will amuse any reader who has been following the discussion here about PES2020 free kicks:

Yes, I got hammered — HAMMERED — 5-0, on Professional, on PES2013, by the AI. I remember the game being so easy in a matured ML that I didn’t really take this Exhibition match seriously enough, and got punished.

And here is that amusing moment if you don’t want to click through the video searching for it:

PES Stranding

Season 5, and my Europa League campaign got going with a great first-match win away at PSV. Followed by another win at home to Kortrijk.

Alas, I then met a very decent Zenit side in back-to-back fixtures and lost them both, so my Europa dream has been derailed somewhat. But I should still qualify from here. A win and a draw will do it, I think. I’ll be trying my very best. This table pic was taken just before my second encounter with Zenit. PSV also lost their 4th fixture.The Europa League is a priority this season. My League form is nowhere near good enough for a top-six finish.

I could still go on a winning run. And we all know that amazing and mysterious things can happen in a Master League table when you win a lot of matches. Superstar post-patch is still not showing me its fully-fanged self, but it is still just snarly enough that I think an upper-mid-table finish is most likely.

The table after 10 league matches:I’m not at all happy with my matches:goals ratio of 1:1. That needs to be raised, pronto.

This season my alternate away kit is yet another take on Coventry City’s infamous  brown kit from 1980 – thanks to regular commenter Paul. I wore it away at Manchester City. A strangely tame Manchester City. Superstar post-patch is definitely not what it was. This time last season I’d have been slaughtered. Now, I had chances and I should have scored and got something, or at least held on for 0-0. But while pushing for a goal I conceded two late goals and lost 0-2. It was quite a relief to see that I can still overreach and get punished.

During this match I semi-accidentally did something skilful with Daniel Alves that is in the very brief highlights video below. Also in this video: a debut goal from a player called Djaniny (young LWF for whom I have high hopes); and a late free kick winner vs Manchester United from Lobato:

Lobato was a panic buy a few windows ago, and with his dreadful stamina issues (knackered by half time usually), I was planning to sell him for profit. But a tip from another regular commenter, Tommy, has completely solved Lobato’s stamina problem. If you have a forward with stamina issues, just set him to Counter Target in Advanced Tactics (the d-pad tactics). With the tactic active, he will stay up front and conserve his energy. No chasing back.

Lobato as a Counter Target can now play full matches, usually even finishing with a green stamina bar. He is having a proportional impact. He was still on the pitch in the last few minutes to take that free kick above, for example.

It’s a measure of PES2020 that the above 90-second compilation of 3 (THREE) highlights are the only real highlights from around 15 matches.

PES2020 is not a PES of great goals. The only real chance of scoring a goal from 30+ yards is from a free kick, as seen above.

Oh, there are plenty of nice goals. Tons of well-put-together goals. There are many occasions when you can justifiably say: ‘That was a perfectly fine goal, and I am pleased with it’.

Goals in PES2020 are adequate. They do their job of incrementing one’s own score tally. They make me nod in quiet satsifaction.

But… Where are the goals that can get you to your feet screaming at 2am? I have yet to score a goal that makes me shout. I’ve scored one solitary laces long-ranger in almost 300 matches now – this one. Proportionally, it’s not enough.

PES2014 was like this – almost exactly like this. And ultimately PES2014 became one of the essential editions of the PES series for me (not quite a classic edition, it was a bit too weird and Death Strandingy for that). So there is a long way to go with PES2020.