My old Forlan, said follow that van Persie, and don’t Dele Alli on the way

A Superstar long-ranger on PES2020!

For context and full appreciation of my reaction when this went in, look at the time on the clock, the opposition team, and the 0-0 scoreline. This goal was the winning goal.

Great scenes.

I know – it’s only just a long-ranger. I’ve scored hundreds that are ‘better’ and from farther out. But everything is about context and this is the goal of PES2020 so far for me.

If anything over 25 yards is to be counted as a long-ranger (and I think 25 yards is a reasonable marker), then this one clearly does count. It’s 27 yards as the crow flies. The turf lines confirm 27 yards at least (6, 12, 18, 24, plus 3 yards):I judge the overall range of the long-ranger to be just about 28 yards, taking the diagonal direction of travel into account.

The scorer was Robin van Persie – ‘the new Forlan’, as the voices in my head are calling him – in the last minute of normal time, away to Man City, on Superstar. Playing on Superstar, as I now am for keeps (see below), has impacted van Persie’s goal-scoring prowess. He hasn’t had many recently.

The long-ranger came while wearing the latest version of the lucky brown kit. Great things happen in the brown kit. This was a great thing.So why am I still on Superstar after my grumbles last time?

Simply put, because Top Player is just too easy for me. I would honestly rather sweat and suffer and rage on Superstar – with occasional flashes of light, as above – than routinely romp to victory in every match on Top Player.

It had got to the point on Top Player where I was barely conceding a shot on target to the AI, never mind conceding any goals, and I was scoring for fun myself.

So I had two choices. Either revive my enthusiasm for PA0 and stay on Top Player (or more likely drop down to Professional, to offset the heightened struggle on PA0).

Or stay on Superstar with PA1 and ‘suck it up’, as I believe the kids would put it.

I have chosen option 2 – for now – and so far, so good. A slight change of attitude helps. I accept. I am calm. This is the game. It is up to me to adapt

There is also the knowledge that there is no way back on PA1 to a lower difficulty level. It’s Superstar or bust.

What I’ve done is slowed my game right down. Conservation of possession. A fast direct attacking style that works on lower levels is only used occasionally, rather than it being the first instinct.

Also I’ve lengthened my match times to 11 minutes, and I’m considering going to 12 minutes.

One of the problems with my preferred 10-minute matches on Superstar is a lack of time to respond to the AI if it scores in, say, the 60th minute and goes 1-0 up. You then have to score twice to win, obvs, and on Superstar it’s a struggle just to score once. 11-minute matches (and maybe 12-minute ones) offset this factor a touch.

Matches are pretty good. Cheaty as hell, and good grief what a dark day it was for the PES series about 6 years ago when the PES Productions meeting room discussed the item ‘Shall we just mostly ignore fouls like FIFA is doing?’, and everyone agreed. If I ever get a time machine, I’m heading to Tokyo circa 2012-2013. I am going to put on a set of grey Acme Cleaning Company overalls, and Solid Snake my way into that meeting. I haven’t really thought about it any further. I suppose I’ll make a passionate speech or something.

So yes, one of the elements that makes Superstar in PES2020 so obnoxious is the way 9 out of 10 clear fouls against you aren’t given. Which is bad enough on Top Player and below, but at least there you aren’t struggling to get any kind of purchase on most games. All the barges and nudges and little taps that knock you off the ball are proportionally so much more aggravating and anti-PES on a difficulty level where it’s hard enough to get and keep the ball, never mind do meaningful things with it. I know there are readers who wish I would stop talking about this. No. I will never stop talking about this. I’ll always talk about this. I’m genuinely amazed that every PES fan isn’t constantly talking about this.

The season is already pretty much a write-off in the league, so the Superstar experiment won’t cost me much there. The table in mid-January, after 20 matches – I’ve got a top-4 finish to play for:I’m out of the FA Cup. My first knockout Europa League match is looming. I might play 15-minute matches for that competition.

No new players coming in. I’m serious about ‘completing’ this ML, in whatever form that completion takes, with my ragtag bunch. Who aren’t all that ‘ragtag’ anymore, actually. I’ve got quite a few players whose OPR is over 80 now. They will become a squad of galacticos in their own right. I have had a quick look at the available players, out of curiosity. I could break the bank and bring in a mature Dele Alli or any number of big-name Regen Youths, but no. I’ve got what I’ve got and will work with them.

Updated: 6th December 2019 — 12:05


  1. Great goal, anything much outside of the d is considered practically a half way line strike in this pes, so I absolutely put that as a 2020 long ranger!

  2. First a clarification – Paul, I didn’t say I won the premier league undefeated on superstar, I said I won the championship at an absolute canter (I lost 3) after a horrific grind of four seasons. Now in the premier league I’m finding it ridiculously easy – 60% possession, 1 shot against easy.

    Genuinely I am. It’s either because five seasons of coal face superstar (I’ve never altered my settings other than to give myself pa3 in season 4) have made me know exactly what the AI will do (and let’s be honest they don’t adopt different tactics, strategies, etc – they never have) or the game has decided this is another easy year for me. I can’t explain why last year I wonthe title with numerous games to go having struggled to reach the playoffs previously, but I did. Again, I was expecting the step up to be really noticeable – if anything it’s easier.

    My team is now well established, with numerous 80+ players and a team spirit of 96. Don’t forget at various times this year people on here have said things along the lines of ‘finding superstar easy’ or ‘it’s got easier to score post patch’ etc etc only for it to turn for them. Maybe I’m just in one of those periods – I was definitely behind you all in getting promoted. The main conclusion for me is that I feel the game is more loaded with patterns and hidden modifiers than ever before, I’m not suddenly brilliant, it’s just suddenly easy.

    I will screenshot in due course.

  3. Great goal NG!!! That brown kit …… !!!
    Looks like you are using a different camera again? if so, whats the settings?

    found this in the patch notes of the most recent DP3 update:

    ■ Gameplay Adjustments
    ・Fixed an issue that prevented you from kicking a Controlled Shot if your Shot Type was set to ‘Manual’, or you attempted to shoot a ball manually using Manual Controls.
    ・Fixed an issue that prevented both previous and planned substitutions from being displayed for all match participants.
    ・Fixed an issue that caused Finesse Dribble to trigger when attempting to use the right stick to select a message from the chat function immediately before trapping a ball in Team Play Lobbies.
    ・Fixed an issue affecting the ‘Stadium’ camera setting, which would occasionally result in the camera failing to track a ball that had been cleared after a corner kick.
    ・Fixed an issue where certain phrases in the commentary did not match actual game play.

    The camera tracking on stadium cam was a big annoyance so glad that’s sorted, but not much else, if anything actually proper game play related, and yet people on forums are claiming the AI has been vastly improved!!!

  4. Uncle Turf – PA3 might well be the deciding factor, but even then it seems strange. Just going by what I see of Superstar, it seems impossible to get that kind of sustained run going. I’m almost certain you’ll find it says Top Player when you open up the Settings.

    Gary – ‘IKR’ as the kids say… It’s got to the stage where even a shot from the 18-yard line is an exceptional goal. The last PES that was like this was PES2014 and I would say that was a strange edge-case classic, and we’re only 3 months into the foty game year, so we’ll see.

  5. It really doesn’t, it’s never been changed. Last season I thought I’d do an invincible season till I got one of those matches where Leeds scored four without me really participating. Scroll back through your posts and you’ll see a time where you declared superstar surprisingly easy for a while and I responded with fury at how the AI simply blocked out the edge of the box. There are others on here who have similarly blazed through it. Took me longer than normal but I think it’s rolling over now.

  6. M’lud I give you….

    And I concur, post patch it hasn’t been the same park the bus filthy squabble it was. Not enough time has passed for me to know if this is the new or a run like you had, but tame it most certainly is.

  7. Paul – my current Stadium camera settings are 4-3-4. I had to go back to Stadium as I missed being able to see runs into the box in time to make use of them, and Stadium is great for that. I haven’t noticed any change in the AI.

    Uncle Turf – I remember you dropping down to Top Player at one point (unless you threatened it but didn’t do it) as you were apologising to Abbeyhill. Having seen what I’ve seen of Superstar and how it handles and how it stifles the player, I am sceptical. My own early experience with Superstar was just a couple of matches at the end of a season that seemed straightforward. I soon changed my tune there.

  8. I did indeed threaten but after seeing your posts of how easy top player was I didn’t, I went pa3 instead (and felt it didn’t make much difference at all). I’m not having the 15 shots+ per game of a top player level but nor am I feeling like I could lose.

    And van persie wouldn’t even get on my bench now, that may be one of the issues you’re having? The very top strikers get away with a lot more.

  9. Kudos to Turf if he’s really mashing up superstar that easily, NG and I will be over sunday for a game, to check you dont have some kind of stealth ps4 mod running that makes SS easy.

    Then you can take us for a pint and to watch the ferret racing down your local pub.

  10. I think we’re all in our own private hell on Superstar. We can all compare notes and draw parallels, but I’m almost certain that PES 2020 employs adaptive difficulty – or something that approximates it – to the extent that Turf’s Superstar is not my Superstar, which is not NG’s Superstar, which is not Paul’s Superstar, which is not Turf’s Superstar.

    I watch footage of other people playing, especially a few of the Youtubers, and think: why is PES serving up Diet Superstar or Legend Lite for them? Their AI seems meek and obliging by comparison.

    I’m currently playing PES for short sessions every couple of days, retiring when the relentless layers of cheating push me to the point where I’m nearly incoherent with anger. I’m bossing almost every game, but find it incredibly difficult to fashion clear-cut chances when the AI can surround and destroy any given player in a heartbeat. In situations where the AI cannot stop me by cheating, it’s crushing that so many shots seem to fly in the same trajectory just past the post, or are played well below the power described, or meet with a keeper making the save of his career. (Again.)

    I admire your current state of calm acceptance, NG, but I can’t share it. This is a PES in the “potentially best ever” class, ruined by spiteful, underhanded, and fundamentally unfair and dishonest design features that actively punish any attempt to play authentic football. I don’t play these games to win everything: I play them to play football.

    But I also feel that the PES 2020 AI is patently unfinished, and vulnerable to smart build-up play. How many times have you engineered a good shooting opportunity, or been poised to make a killer pass, only to have your player bundled over by at least one defender running through him at high speed? I couldn’t even begin to count them. But without those fouls, and AI player doping to facilitate them, Superstar and Legend would probably be a piece of piss.

    There’s probably a compromise setting that the devs could find, but I’ve heard not a single word that would suggest that they even know that there are issues with AI difficulty and conduct in Master League – let alone give a shit.

    I keep hoping with every patch that they might finish making the game that they sold me. I am such a chump.

  11. Some of you might find this interesting:

    PES 2020 | Data Pack 3.0 Review from WEPES

  12. NG – FINALLY you’ve got your long ranger. Nice! Am I seeing it right that its RVPs right foot?

    James – i find it interesting how someone can come out with a review on AI changes in ONE day when session variance is such a prominent thing in PES. Personally I have noticed zero changes. Game is a little easier but I’m outgrowing Professional as it is and the end of the season tends to be easier to begin with. Maybe SpoonyPizzas *is* on to something but i’m not yet noticing these changes. A lot of the things he’s noticing, I’m seeing daily (perhaps, again, down to klashman tactics).

    In general I’m still having very good games. Just lost to Juventus, properly, in the Coppa Italia final. They had more and better passes, more shots, and more possession. For the first time in a long while or maybe ever in PES, Ronaldo behaved like Ronaldo. He was the most dangerous player by far and scored two goals, one of which was outside of the box. Lovely stuff.

  13. Uncle Turf — good point, I am steadfastly refusing to operate the revolving door transfer policy this year. My squad average OPR is in the mid-70s. I still regularly take to the field with Jarvis and van Persie up front, Rice in behind them, and other youngsters too. I’d still be interested if you specifically checked your difficulty though, as Superstar is so extraordinarily obnoxious this year that it seems incredible any player with any team could be coasting through it.

    James — PES isn’t designed for single-player anymore. The design document must begin and end with multiplayer, with single-player a footnote. A simple toggle button — Fouls On/Off — would instantly resolve everything. But as you say, perhaps the AI wouldn’t be able to cope with a human opponent if it didn’t have this advantage. And there wouldn’t be that funnel of disenchantment that undoubtedly ushers a certain % of single-players towards online.

  14. I checked, I knew and I was right. There’s no way of actually proving it but it hasn’t moved off superstar.

    This is an example of how straightforward it’s been just to offer some sort of vision of how open and slow the AI is playing (although I actually drew this game thanks to some lapses in concentration!)

  15. Just catching up as I haven’t been on the Internet for about a week now or watched any live TV. The reason being is that I have moved house. This really will be the last time as I can’t do it anymore at my age. My back is now fucked and my hands are all chapped. I have been off work all week and feel like I need another week off to recover.

  16. Change of attitude is a good one NG. I’m happy enough now with small sessions when I can and when the uncanny valley of real football doesn’t put me off. Surprised that other games have taken so much of my time. Didn’t expect the Star Wars one to be decent.

  17. Darryl – welcome to Club Neveragain on the house move front. It’s not just the strain of the move, which is bad enough, but it seems to take months before everything is proper.

    prsgame – I got the new Star Wars game as part of the Origin package that also got me FIFA20, and gave it a couple of hours. Decent but destined to be another that’ll never be returned to. I’m really past the game-game stage of life now. I can forsee Cyberpunk being a great exception though – as long as it isn’t just another ‘load of interlocking fetch quests with shooty bits’ in a sci-fi wrapper, of course. That’s a genre of its own now and a very profitable one, so I fear that Cyberpunk might have to be one.

  18. NG- too old for your youngster speech I had to Google it.

  19. Got promoted via the playoffs in my third season of Xbox One PES 2018 Master League playing as Cork Celtic in the English League. PA0, basic shooting on Professional. Will try Top Player in the “Premier”. Feel there’s definitely some player individuality to be had on PA0. Agustin and Machis have been great up front for me, as has Ponce in defence and David Soria in goal. The latter refused to renew so got a new keeper. Hope I haven’t overspent on the wages front. Got waylaid by steering Ireland to the semis of the European Championship. We’ll see how top player goes, after I’ve done some basic editing on the teams. No option files on the Xbox 🙁

  20. Watching Man City recently they’ve fallen prey to PES 2019 low cross syndrome. It’s every attack

  21. After two really unpleasant matches at the start of the evening, and having experimented at length with different tactics to make Superstar or Legend playable without resorting to exploits over the past couple of days, I was poised to put the pad down and make it another short session.

    Glad I didn’t, because PES clicked into “best fucking football evar!” mode.

    No controller input fuckery. No ridiculous AI stat boosts. My players were responsive and present in a way that I’ve not experienced in – well, some time. Perhaps at all.

    I’ve been firing wine into my face all evening, so it’s not a case of “PES is great because I won the games!” I was pretty sketchy in some of these matches.

    I think I lost two, drew two, and won four. The difference, though, was that the PES Superstar AI actually seemed to come out and play once bereft of its customary superpowers. I’d usually expect Superstar to grind out a 0-0, or Hail Mary a couple of magic passes to forwards that I cannot catch for a wretched win on a night like this. Instead, I’ve had balanced, honest matches with a minimum of cheating.

    If this continues for the next couple of days, I’ll share my tactics and numerous adjustments. For now, though: I can say, hand on heart, that switching to Counter Attack and Long Ball instead of Possession and Short Pass made my players significantly more responsive. It takes a couple of matches, perhaps, but when it clicks – fuck, this game is good when it wants to be.

    The only real on-pitch difference I noticed after ostensibly switching my footballing ideology to the dark side was that I had more movement, and that I was scoring more goals. Three of my wins were by four-goal margins, which is pretty much unprecedented if I’m playing my usual game in PES 2020, where the majority of absolute whitewashes end 1-0. And the funny thing is: I still Barcelonad my way up the pitch in my usual style. I didn’t go direct, or start punting passes upfield – and nor did my team set up for me to do that. It was just business as usual, but better.

    Another thing that I’ve discovered: All-Out Defence actually positions your advanced players in better positions to close down opponents if they’re knocking it around at the back, and min-width max-depth gives exactly the opposite of what you’d expect on the pitch.

    And yes, I actually checked five times to see that I’m playing on Superstar. I’ll sober up and report back after another session or two.

    EDIT: Actually, balls to that. Anyone interested: try this. A system that leads to more than three goals in greater than one PES 2020 Superstar ML match is clearly something that bears further scrutiny:

    4-4-2 (4-2-2-2) with the right CMF changed to a DMF. Otherwise: no changes.

    Attacking: Counter Attack
    Build Up: Long-pass
    Attacking Area: Central
    Positioning: Flexible
    Support Range: 3

    Defensive Style: All-out Defence
    Containment: Middle
    Pressuring: Aggressive
    Defensive Line: 1
    Compactness: 10

    Advanced: Tiki-Taka, Wing Rotation

    I also use man-marking, but it’s very much tailored to each opponent. Usually: full backs man-marking wide guys, DMF set to man-mark most dangerous striker, and Tight Marking advanced instruction on one or both strikers.

  22. rhymes450 – PES2018! Enjoy the long-rangers, but are the fouls still as terrible as I remember? Slightly worse than PES2020 I think.

    James – interesting findings as ever, and I can report Superstar progress by one simple expedient: 12 minute matches, and treating R1 as if it’s a self-electric shock button. Matches are deep and interesting. I don’t think it’s session variance either as there have been 3 sessions like this now.

  23. NG – I always play on 12 minutes (one fairly longstanding FIFA feature that PES Productions should adopt as standard, IMO), but I’ve actually bumped it up to 14 minutes of late. I just feel that you need more time to develop moves on Superstar, and seven minute halves seem to hit the sweet spot for me.

    PES 2020 is clearly designed to be played with quite subtle extensions of the left stick, as there’s a granularity to player movement that you just don’t get if you just slam the stick in the direction required. I think I’ve mentioned before that you can send AI pressing players the wrong way by throwing in a little static with small additional LS movements. You can also briefly tap it in other directions to execute body feints. This is also a PES where there’s a lot to be said for just standing still for a moment, when you can; instead of forcing build-up play, taking a moment to see what players are doing can lead to better opportunities.

    I agree on your thoughts on R1, but there’s one use of it that is absolutely essential: the double-tap for a quick burst of pace to get away from your man, usually from a stationary position or when moving very slowly. It’s especially useful when you pass to a player inside the box, where you know that you have a picosecond to react before they get murdered by the closest opponent. I’m now creating more chances (and some pretty damn good goals) by looking for the space to move into while the ball is travelling, then reacting as quickly as I can with the first touch.

  24. My postman mate has just finished death stranding….needless to say I won’t be getting it. Sounded like metal gear solid cut scenes were mere trailers.

    Superstar – still easy. (Might as well dance about and sing jehovah while I’m at it….)

  25. Turf – I’ll wait until NG blows his whistle before I start throwing.

    But also: Superstar isn’t actually incredibly difficult. It’s the manner in which it is set up to stop people from playing authentic football and scoring from traditional scenarios that is the problem.

    Just out of curiosity, did you change your transfer frequency settings to the max level?

  26. James – funny you mention that, yes I did. The two changes I made, as I was on the brink of going Top player (which long term would have killed my game) were to up pass assist to full – I’m not noticing any difference, you still get the random opposite direction effort, and whack the transfer setting up – as in six seasons the likes of Jordan sancho have been permanently listed and never sold.

    What I’ve noticed since season 5 is not me playing any better but as you say being able to play more freely. I still don’t get headed goals but no longer do I have to face a wall of defenders – I posted that goal as it’s typical of what I see now – large spaces to move into. I feel a little like NG last year – not playing a different game but somehow not experiencing the same. For four seasons it was awful, now it’s a total reverse, I expect a sting in the tail of complete screwovery proportions though. I am not going to romp to a double.

  27. Promotion is on the cards in season 3. Debating whether to go up to TP at the half way point? Rice score a cracker last night, will try and post it up later today

  28. Reaching the point of oversaturated frustration with PES20 lately.
    It can and does play a superb game of football, and looks and moves beautifully, but so so much is just off with the game that its all getting a bit tiresome.

    Fed up just scoring teamwork pass and move goals
    Fed up of the complete omission of physicality, you are unable to hold off any AI player, whereas they just smash right through you everytime.
    Fed up of the ref/fouls logic being so massively biased in the AI’s favour
    Fed up of finishing every match with 1 FK, vs the 6 for the AI
    Fed up of pointless repetitive cut scenes in ML which add zero to the game
    Fed up of THAT bloody manager on the sidelines cut scene
    Fed up of the abysmal commentary repeatedly saying things are are completely wrong, in factual, or just bare no resemblance to whats happening in-game.
    Fed up of the lack of any atmosphere or big game type presentation.

    Just getting fed up of it all being so samey lately, tbh.

    A FIFA 20 CM may be closer than I first thought.

  29. Paul – re. Fouls, since last week’s patch I have had runs of matches that go 0-0-0-1-0 for fouls. Previously it was more like 2-1-0-2-1. Last week’s patch coincided with the advent of PES2020 Lite. Konami would have hoped for a big new influx of players, and I suspect they have set out an arcadey welcome mat for them.

    I’m still enjoying PES2020 in Season 7, but only in the way I was enjoying PES2016-17-18 at this stage (and each one of those had much better goals, per session, than ’20 does). PES2019 was much better.

    Uncle Turf – no idea what’s happening with your game, Superstar is such a slog that I’m thinking about options. I.e. Top Player on PA0, or the PC version with a gameplay mod.

    James – I too love the R1 double-tap, but don’t love the Superstar PES2020 thing where the AI player you’re trying to get away form is allowed to clip you for no consequences.

  30. NG – All this turdery I mention, most noticeably the lack of physicality, and fouls thing, has been ramped up since the DP3 patch, it’s so noticeable it’s not even remotely arguable.

    The R1 speed burst rarely works either, another thing I’m fed up with, the blatant handicapping of your players abilities to fit a pre-determined match outcome.

    Fed up of drawing AI players in to play a quick sharp pass past them to my waiting player only to see the AI player develop sudden superhuman ‘slow-time-down’ abilities and stick out a leg to not only block the pass, but bring it under instant control and launch a counter attack.

    At the same time, my players responsiveness is handicapped and pressing a pass or shoot button, nothing happens for 2 secs to allow the AI time to block it, not only that but when the AI passes towards my players, they don’t develop superhuman abilities to block the pass, instead they become unresponsive and actually just watch a simple pass roll past them.

    The whole game is dumbed down so much and its such poor, lazy, reactive Ai and code to script matches that you reach a point where you can no longer ignore or put up with it.

    I’m halfway through season 8, and whilst ‘enjoying’ matches still, every one of them reeks with so much frustration that it wears me down.

    PES19 didnt even last a season for me, by that logic, PES20 is 8 times the game PES 19 was.

  31. Paul – until last week I had more or less made my peace with fouls and free kicks in PES2020. I wasn’t getting many, but I was getting just enough for honour to be satisfied, and the AI wasn’t getting away with too much. I would have at least 1 shooting-range free kick in most matches. After last week, it’s gone totally piss-poor, right down to PES2018 levels. And it’s 1 shooting-range free kick per session now.

    You’ll have your head turned by FIFA20 on PC, if you go for that platform – sadly no fouls at all in that one though. You have to get it and the Frosty Editor, I haven’t got the time or patience to delve into it. The underlying code on display in the Editor is very intimidating and subtle. Straightforward kit editing options though.

    I think another season or two on the PS4 and then a heavily modded PC PES2020 will suit me nicely. Or even a modded PC PES2019. The door is certainly closing for single-player console footy gaming.

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