Category: PES Chronicles

I wonder if anyone will think of saying ‘PES2020 vision’ this summer?

I nearly scored the greatest goal of all time in a recent session – here is the replay:

My cleared corner leads to a tussle about 35 yards out. I get a toe in, and knock a loose ball towards my stalwart CB, Cesar Navas, who’s lurking on the halfway line. Why the hell not, I thought, and unleashed the kind of 60-yard attempt on goal that the word ‘speculative’ was invented to describe.

The ball flew goalward. It was heading for the top corner, but the AI GK saved, of course.

But…. if it had gone in the net, it would have been a great goal, one of my all-time best.

Somehow, I don’t think goals like that are ‘allowed’ in PES2019 anymore. A lot has changed in this game in the wake of recent patches.

It’s been 2 seasons since I scored a true long-ranger. It’s been about 5 (FIVE) seasons since I got one of the R2 curlers that decorated the opening seasons. It’s been many seasons since I gave a single thought of any kind to Visual Fatigue. My stamina-depleted players just play on now, as is traditional in nuPES. Most matches feature 0 (ZERO) AI fouls now. There’s the odd match with a couple of fouls, as per PES2018, but generally, nope. The sequence goes 0,0,1,0,0,2,0,0, etc.

I no longer get at least one free kick in shooting range per match. I’m lucky to get one per session.

The life and soul has progressively been patched out of this game, to the point now where it’s little more than just another nuPES instalment.

Why do they do this, time and again? Why, no matter what good things are in the game(s) in the first few weeks and months after release, are things progressively diluted to the point of this 1000mph, high-turnover, generic mush?

We all know the reason why, of course. My questions are entirely rhetorical. No need to answer.

The only real question might be: why can’t us single-players have our own separate game? Or separate settings? And let the drooling multitudes have ‘fun’ out-squeezing each other online?

I’ve been saying it for years, along with every other single-player football gamer, as we have watched in collective horror while everything that is great and valuable about PES is destroyed.

No matter what is shown to us of PES2020 in the rapidly-approaching summer; no matter what the early testers say; no matter what kind of old-school-friendly noises we hear from Konami PR; no matter what anyone, anywhere says – just a few weeks after release, the real project of turning PES2020 into the most multiplayer-friendly game it can be, will begin.

Anyway, to business – the table:31 matches played, 7 remaining. 11 points off the top, with a vastly inferior goal difference. I should make the Champions League from here, but the title seems out of reach.

Even the most generous ML table scripting would struggle to hand me the title with a straight face from here. (Although I bet if I now get 7 straight wins, I’d come close.)

My form isn’t that great. I have good months and bad months. February was an indifferent sort of month:Look at the goal-scoring. I got 10 goals in the month, and Gomez scored 8 of them. He really is as good as those figures suggest. One of my all-time top PES strikers.

Gomez is one of the reasons that PES2019 and Master League are still a going concern, despite the multiplayer madness that has claimed it. Nearly 10 seasons in, and it has enough of a hold on me that I want to see it through. It’s good for another 2-3 seasons, probably. But then I’ll walk away with a feeling of some relief, as I have done in every year of nuPES.

A good night was had by all

Only 1 (ONE) session played since the last time, but it was a good one. I played around 6 matches – these were the first four results (for November of Season 9):

4 solid wins in a row. All were more comfortable than the scores might suggest. The game works hard to keep you within a goal or two, to make the matches ‘exciting’. That 4-3 win over Liverpool featured a lot of scripting shenanigans. I went 4-1 up midway through the second half – and the game blatantly seized control and gave itself two goals to make it 4-3, to set up one of those nuPES ‘exciting’ finishes. 1000mph, no fouls, etc.

League table scripting is also much in evidence. I was in 2nd place before this session, 3 points behind Chelsea.

I was in 2nd place after it too, still 3 points behind Chelsea.

After the above 4 matches, I drew a match and then lost a match. I wasn’t worried about the leaders pulling away, because I know Master League of old. Chelsea, above me, also drew a match and lost a match, in perfect sync with me, to keep the gap at 3 points:I’m conceding a few too many goals to currently be confident of mounting a consistent title challenge.

At this stage though, after 16 matches, and coming up to mid-season, I’ll be very disappointed not to at least qualify for the Champions League.

Gomez is joint-top of the goal-scoring charts:I’ve scored a few satisfying goals, but none more so than the following.

It comes from one of my Youth promotees. BUONANOTTE. He’s a real-life player, yet another Argentinian whose career has been interrupted by a literal car crash. I say ‘yet another’ because one of my prominent players last year in PES2018, Rodriguinho, was also an Argentine player whose promising career was interrupted by a car crash. It must be a South American thing.

Buonanotte is one of those 5’3″ Shimizu/Shaqiri types, a versatile attacking midfielder. Currently 18 years old, he’d not played much until a spell of fatigue and poor form gave him the chance to feature.

Some fine performances followed. The individuality is strong with this one. I played him as a central AMF against Liverpool and he was noticeably going on intelligent runs. I spotted one in particular and used Benat to pick him out:

That goal was fairly routine, but deeply satisfying due to the context and the player who scored it. If Master League doesn’t have that kind of satisfaction, it might as well not exist.

What I liked about the run was how early he sets off on it.In the clip, Buonanotte starts running at around 0:03, several passes before my silky midfielder, Benat, even gets the ball and sends the delicate aerial pass over the defence.

I had spotted the run and knew I only had a few seconds to work the ball into the right position to send the right ball over. Everything worked out in end, but of course it often doesn’t. Either nobody seems to go on a run, or I fail to get the right ball away in time. It’s part and parcel of the gameplay of the game.

Mid-season coming up, and I’m reluctant to disrupt the harmony of this team with more than one or two signings. There are gaps in my squad that need filling. I still have Loanees – only two. I could do with a proper big-name DMF of my own, and an LB for cover.

I’ve got £2m in the salary budget to play with. A few top players have been stewing in the Free Agents list since the start of this Master League. I might indulge myself in grabbing a big name, or a couple of journeymen, I’ll see.

One man Bandiera

I’ve only kept four of the starting Default players in this Master League, but the ones I’ve kept have all been well worth it.

They are Giorza, Rice, Jarvis and Castledine.

Of the four, Rice has been the most traditionally PES-like player, in terms of having an emergent character, and becoming a great sentimental club favourite.

Giorza and Jarvis have both been fine. Giorza is a first-team regular. Jarvis is a squad player who always seems to grab a goal whenever he plays. (There’s a lovely Jarvis goal in today’s mini-compilation below.)

But there is one of them who is a bona fide superstar of the game, and that is Castledine.

A few years ago, the Castolo-character started to change his name and appearance from year to year. And then of course he turned white.

It’s a shame PES isn’t a lot bigger than it is, as it would have been amusing to see the Castolo-Castledine racial switch covered by mainstream news as a scandal. Imagine it given Harvey Weinstein/Kevin Spacey/#metoo levels of coverage. Given that the mainstream news doesn’t know the difference between a web browser and the Internet, it would have been hilarious trying to see them explain Master League.

Castledine is one of my main men in PES2019 and he will stay with me to the end now, whenever that is.

The way things are shaping up it’s just possible he will reach retirement age in this incarnation, for the first time since his original Castello/Castolo character was any good.

I’ve had an uptick of results. Here are September’s:

That 0-2 reversal versus Liverpool was in the FA Cup. I was pleased to go out of it.

Here is the table after 10 matches:This does reflect how the game is for me at the moment. I’m focusing and getting results where I never would have before. I’ll be disappointed not to at least bag a European place after this start.

Finally today a mini-compilation of 3 interesting moments. None of these are great goals, as such – just moments that provide potential talking points.

  1. A stylish chest-down, toe-trap, and finish from the dependable Jarvis.
  2. A rare sweeping counter-attack by myself, of the sort that the CPU does to me all the time. So nice to get one back at them.
  3. One of my few free kick goals this season, a true ‘Beckham vs Greece’ effort from Captain Castledine.

You have to be very quick to see what I did when defending the free kick (vs Leeds) in the counter-attack clip. Whilst defending a free kick I switched my formation (press and hold the d-pad) from 4-2-2-2 to a swashbuckling 2-2-1-5. I recovered the ball and as I swept upfield my players were running forward to get into their attacking positions. This little ruse almost never actually works in PES, and can be costly if you don’t win the ball back at once, but when it does work, it is deeply satisfying.

And that final free kick… At approximately 32 yards, I think it’s the farthest-out I’ve ever netted one from. And what a Beckhamesque outswinger it is! I love how it flies in with plenty of room to spare.

There’s lots of chatter about how free-kick-friendly PES2019 is, but it rarely has been such for me. I’ve only been able to get a couple per season, so they have great value.

In off the bar humbug

Firmly back in the routine now, after the fever dream that is the end of the calendar year. Could we have a Brexit-style movement to pull out of Christmas and New Year now?

I’m on Season 9 in my Master League. The August transfer window was a quiet one. All my Season 8 Loanees returned to their clubs. I didn’t sign any new players.

I had 19 players of my own and just enough money in the wages budget to pay them, with about £300,000 surplus left over.

I could have picked up a random Youth squad player to bulk out my bench, but I decided to wait until mid-season. My wages budget by then should be around the million mark due to various revenue streams.

This is the First XI and squad that will take me through the first half of the season:I still needed cover in a couple of positions, so signed two Loanees to tide me over: S BERGE at DMF and C MILLER at LB. Berge was a particular coup, being extremely competent at DMF’ing, one of the key roles in any PES setup.

The squad is still a bit thin currently, but I’m not in Europe, and only have to worry about the League and FA Cup.

The season started badly – two defeats and a draw in my opening three matches. I really do need to crack on and get into the Europa League at least this season. That’s the target.Results did pick up, though, as I focused and rallied and started banging a few goals in.

Gomez and Aduriz up front are starting to show signs of a good partnership., despite being such similar players.

I mostly play Forlan in a central AMF role now. He’s not going to be what he was in PES2012, but he can be a force of a different kind in PES2019.

The table after 6 matches:I’m not at all happy with what feels like a sudden pivot toward the nuPES side of the fence in PES2019.

Master League looks odds-on for getting well into double-figures in seasons, for the first time in a while. Largely due to the excellent first 5 seasons or so.

Things have levelled off recently. I suspect foul play on the game devs’ part. I think they’ve tweaked the game (via patches) to be more in keeping with the expectations of online players.

PES2019 is pretty much a zero-fouls game again for me now. Average 1 per match.

Most matches pass in a semi-blur. All sprinting and lunging and strangling the controller. There are still enough great matches to keep me going, but PES2019 started out with that formula exactly inverted: most matches in the first months after release were great, with only around 1 in 7 defaulting to the nuPES garbage that somebody, somewhere, actually thinks is good football gaming.

And now it’s back as the norm.

Is it patches? Is it Team Spirit? Is over-familiarity breeding contempt?

The change has been too sudden (since the late December patch) for it to be anything other than Konami-side tinkering, in my view.

Overall experience is an 8/10 at the moment. The better matches are sustaining the overall quality.

But, oh dear, we say it every year now. By kowtowing to the market, PES is shaped to meet the expectations of its lowest common denominator – a constituency that neither knows nor cares anything about PES or football gaming in general. Idiocracy rules.

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