11 matches into the start of Season 2, and this is the current league table:
If that’s not slightly shocking, you’ve probably not looked at the goals-scored column: 4 goals scored in 11 matches. Worst in the division.
I love this pain. This is why ISS/PES, and Master League, have lasted with me for 20 years. I’m a poor enough player that scenarios like the one currently playing out are the norm for me. PES2017 is still holding up for me, despite its lingering niggles (of which more below).
Here’s a typical run of results in this period, starting with a hilariously one-sided visit from top-flight Fulham:
I was lucky to get nil in that Cup game. I remind the reader that I remain on Professional difficulty. With my first-choice XI, Team Spirit is 81. Even with changes to the team, I’m never below 70. So it’s not that.
It’s almost safe to say I won’t be going up to the Premier League in Season 2. I say ‘almost’ because it’s always possible that I could experience the required click, and then surge up the table. We all know that the ML league table is very kind to human teams on a surge.
I’m getting annoyed about fouls again. For a while there, I thought fouls were all right in PES2017. But fouls are not all right in PES2017, and it matters.
I had a golden period at the end of Season 1 where the free kicks count was averaging 3-3 per match.
That was still risibly low compared to the great PES games of the past, and nowhere near the level required to make PES2017 the properly serious football game that it wants to be and should be allowed to be.
But I was willing to accept the 3-3 sort of level as a decent compromise with those fuckers online whose fatuous, un-PESlike demands for continuous, flowing, ‘fun’-filled play have created this entire issue. (If you’re one of those fuckers, I am sorry. No, I really am.)
The issue has crystallised anew for me after I noticed something very odd about Rivals matches in PES2017. I believe they are deliberately coded to permit as much foul play as possible.
I thought it was a quirk of my playing style, but having played several Rivals matches since the start of PES2017 and experienced the same stupid fast frenetic gameplay in all of them, I’m ready to call it: Rivals matches in PES2017 are broken.
Here’s the post-match screen for Coventry vs Birmingham:
0-0 there. Not even an offside. Even these days, that’s pretty rare.
The Villa came along soon enough. I set out in this one to play as dirty as possible myself, sliding and chopping and hacking at every opportunity:
0-3 this time. I was never fouled once (well, I was, approximately 10 times, but none of them were given). I managed to concede three fouls, but only because I tried really, really hard.
Had I played my usual game this one would’ve ended 0-0 on the fouls front too, I’m sure. Maybe 0-1 at most.
I believe I know what’s happened. PES Productions decided that Rivals matches should feature the kind of referee of whom football pundits would say: ‘he has to show some common sense there’, i.e. be as lenient as possible in order to permit a flowing, fast, crazy derby feel to the match.
This is disappointing to me.
Somebody at PES Productions clearly thinks that Pro Evolution Soccer’s gameplay shines best when it flows without interruption, and at great speed. The curious thing about that belief is that the exact opposite is in fact the case. Pro Evolution Soccer is at its absolute worst when the game flows fast and furious and there’s not a foul in sight.
PES2017 is at its least attractive when it’s in no-fouls, continuous-play mode.
So the Rivals matches, for me at least, are the absolute worst matches that PES2017 has to offer.
I don’t finish them with the desired effect that PES Productions undoubtedly wish to achieve. I’m not wiping sweat from my brow and going ‘Whoo! What a great match!’ Instead, I sigh and think ‘Thank God that’s over with. That was one of the most tedious matches of PES I have ever played. Everybody at PES Productions should be ashamed of themselves for spoiling what is an otherwise great game with these regular detours into PES2016-style crazytown.’
I really do say that, out loud.