Category: PES2017

You do not talk about myClub

pes2017-season-3-after-31Moving up to Top Player has brought a little bit of pain. Results have wobbled. I just completed three matches straight where I failed to score a goal. I’ve fallen off the pace at the top of the table, inevitably.

I’m delighted about it. I would have romped clear on Professional. Moving up to Top player has made every match matter. It’s deepened my relationship with my players. Including a certain Mr Friday:

pes2017-season-3-the-goal-king

The very next match after this menu-screen blurb appeared, Friday stopped scoring. It’s been about 6 matches since – still no goals.

It’s as if the game knows that real-life players go on these runs of not doing whatever they were formerly doing rather well (cf. the real-life Ibrahimovic, Stones, Schmeichel, et al).

Rice had 3 games off following a straight red card. He hasn’t felt quite the same since his return. Son Heung-min hasn’t been the force he was before his brief injury lay-off. I’m loving this aspect of this ML.

Also very welcome is playing against an AI that does unexpected things. They won a free kick about 20 yards out. I prepared myself for the customary shot on goal. Instead, the AI free kick taker chipped the ball horizontally to a team-mate, who proceeded to execute a lovely Le Tissier-style chest-and-volley. I was almost disappointed when my keeper caught the shot with ease.

So PES2017 is a roaring success, right? It’d be churlish to deny that it’s a great PES. I think it is.

But doubts linger.

The fouls issue is bugging me massively at the moment. For a couple of weeks, fouls have been in steady decline as I’ve got used to the game and my usual pass-and-move approach to PES has taken shape.

PES2017 has always been a low-fouls match for me, but I was prepared to accept that as an improvement on PES2016.

The sad outcome is that I get entire clusters of matches with no fouls at all. Like this one:

pes2017-season-3-no-fouls

Seriously – I get two or three matches in a row where I have no free kicks at all. Not even PES2016 was guilty of that.

This was a supposed Rivals match, away to Birmingham. Look at the fouls/free kick count. Zero fouls against me and I only conceded one myself. That was with me playing a full-on thrash-metal style, a la PES2016. A horrible match, 1000mph, end-to-end crap. Everything that’s wrong with modern football gaming.

The annoying thing is that there were approximately 8 instances apiece that should have been fouls, but weren’t given as such. Had they been given, this shit match – and this was a proper shit match – would have been a great match.

The matches in PES2017 that have what I consider an acceptable amount of fouls — 4 per side or above is acceptable to me — are very, very rare now, in fact so rare that I cannot recall when I had the last one.

Fouls are not ‘fixed’ in PES2017. They never really have been.

Serious representations need to be made for the inclusion of an optional ‘Strict Referee’ setting in PES2018.

I want to see every single instance where a foul could be given, given.

Every. Single. One.

You often see the animation of a player holding out his arms in the universal ‘ref! ref!’ gesture. I want every one of these given as a foul and a free kick.

Yes, I know this would mean sometimes 8+ fouls per side per 10-minute match. That’s exactly what I want to see happen. I know exactly what I’m asking for, because that’s how things are in the greatest football game ever made, PES5.

If we have a Strict Referee setting in PES2018, there’ll be no need to discombobulate the online players. The current no-fouls model can still be the default setting. Those of us who want to actually play a football game, rather than a button-mashing rhythm-action game based on football, would have to go into a sub-menu and enable ‘Strict Referee’.

It could work very well. Everyone would get what they want. Us single-players would get proper matches properly punctuated with fouls and free kicks. The online players would still be able to enjoy their Real Munichelona cartoon blurs.

But it will never happen. Konami depends on shiteClub, as I wittily call it, to generate the kinds of extra revenue via microtransactions that probably make Pro Evolution Soccer viable as a commercial concern.

No shiteClub, no Pro Evo. And so there has to be the possibility that single-players will migrate to online play. Giving us single players a Strict Referee setting would probably seal most of us away from shiteClub forever, and Konami do not want that…

Everything bad that has ever happened in football gaming over the past 10 years can be laid at the door of online gaming.

  • frantic end-to-end pace (retaining player interest: the ‘MTV principle’)
  • the dumbing-down of player individuality (‘balancing’ for equally competitive online play)
  • the neglect of single-player modes (seriously, just what happened to Master League after PES2011?)
  • the gradual year-on-year reduction of fouls and free kicks (the fewer interruptions, the better)
  • the omission of injuries from in-game play in Master League (because in-game injuries not only interrupt play, they force the player out to the Squad screen – a mega-interruption)

I hate online football gaming.

I really hate it. I really mean this. I don’t hate anything else in the world. I don’t hate injustice or disease or death or suffering or anything else of that nature. Those things are inescapable features of a phenomenal world and there’s little or nothing we can do about them.

I hate online football gaming. I bitterly resent its baleful influence on the football game series that I love.

It is time for PES online and PES offline to go their separate ways. If not in the form of wholly separate games, then in the form of a Strict Referees setting for PES2018.

It is time to make PES truly great again.

The stars are bright

Not much time to write a long post today, but I have got a longish compilation of some recent notable goals. My two main men — Friday and Rice — being very much to the fore. Two stars in the firmament.

The main news is that I’ve moved up to Top Player and the quality of the game has taken a proportional leap forward.

Professional was only tolerable so long as I was being handicapped for lowish Team Spirit. As soon as I started waltzing through matches with little challenge from the AI, it was time to move up before that positive ‘PES2017 feeling’ stagnated.

Top Player has been a shot in the arm. I find the matches very competitive, with an intriguing step up in headed opportunities, as today’s clip will show. I’ve gone to about 1 in 8 chances being headed now. This is close to me having to agree that, yes, PES2017 is a header-friendly edition of the series.

Some of these goals were on Professional, but most came after the move up to Top Player:

I did a good bit of business – my Most Important Player has signed a new contract for the next 3 years:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161101191136

The question is, where will the team – and Rice – be in 3 seasons’ time? Will he sign a new one? As the above video shows, he’s very important to the team. A kind of Bryan Robson-Coynborough lovechild.

pes2017-season-3-halfway-pointI’m fielding a starting formation without an official DMF for the first time since… ever. In practice both Rice and Bartual (new signing) function very well as DMF-style CMFs, but it makes me uneasy. Expect this state of affairs not to last long.

After a match that saw me storm back from 1-0 down to win 1-3 away from home – on Top Player, that’s a great win – the post-match blurb made interesting reading…

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161101183853

…because it makes absolutely no sense at all.

The table after 26 matches:

pes2017-season-3-after-28

And here is the current top scorers’ chart. That £18m was imaginary money well-spent:

pes2017-season-3-top-scorers-after-28

AND FINALLY TODAY – THIS HAPPENED:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161031183242

He was back during December, none the worse for his brief ordeal.

 

Running like a Gauld

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161017120112After the encouraging upturn of fortunes I reported in the last post, I embarked on the most awful run ever. From one extreme to the other. 8 games without a win, just like it says there.

Nothing I did worked. Everything I did failed. My results for December:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161014123139

Other than that Wigan anomaly, I can’t account for what happened.

I’m finding PES2017 a high-quality experience, for the most part. The AI is giving me a great game, every game, on Professional difficulty, a season and a half in. Which doubtless says more about me than about PES2017. But whatever it is, I’ll happily take it.

I spoke on Friday about the booboo I made with one F Friday, a player who suddenly became so good that my playfully-bestowed moniker of ‘The Black Schwarz’ started to seem more than just playful. Sadly, he only came good after I’d agreed to sell him.

He’s gone now. I couldn’t buy him back in the transfer window — which is fair enough, really. If you drop a clanger like that one, you must expect there to be consequences. No consequences, no game.

I had another striker lined up.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161014123435

B DOST is my very first press-conference-cutscene signing. He’s a big, chunky striker, not too dissimilar to Friday, but has yet to gel with the side. I’m not writing him off just yet thought. Fool me once, shame on me, or whatever that thing was Bush said. (Oh, and I know who B DOST’s ‘real life’ self is, and where he plays. I am aware that so-called real-life football exists. I deliberately choose to ignore it here. PES is better.)

DOST appears in the following mini-compilation, getting his first goal. My new loan signing, Remy, is also there, getting his debut goal (which should have been Rice’s).

There are also a couple of interesting moments from general play. A professional foul that wasn’t. And finally… well… you’ll see. It used to be said of Pro Evo that you could play it to death and still see something new every session. The explanation of today’s post title is at the end of this clip:

PES2017 is a 9/10 game for me right now, let down by two things.

First is the skewed finances in Master League that make it far, far too easy to buy and sell players. I don’t like being able to get Remy on loan, either.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161017123525

And then there’s the peculiar lack of fouls in the majority of matches. There is no question that this is a deliberate policy decision by PES Productions (not Konami). And it is arguably the stupidest game design decision ever made in the history of game design decisions. ‘But nobody wants the game stopped every 10 seconds for fouls!’ Who says something like that? People, of course, and in enough numbers for PES Productions (not Konami) to take heed.

Well I do want the game stopped for fouls – every bloody second if need be! If that’s how the player plays, then that’s just what has to happen. Let the player learn how to play so as not to concede fouls. That’s the proper Pro Evo way. Not this horrible ‘continuous play’ ethos.

Imagine a Formula One game in which you were not allowed to crash – where the car was gently guided back onto the track without allowing any interruption to the gameplay. Where any crashes with other cars were just ignored for the sake of ‘flow’. That would be the stupidest, most insulting thing ever, wouldn’t it?

There are fouls in PES2017, we must acknowledge. There are matches with a proper abundance of fouls – about 1 match in 6 for me. And what wonderful matches those matches are! What a stark contrast they make with the no-fouls matches, which are the majority.

I appreciate that nobody makes football games for the over-20s anymore. I’m a long way outside EA’s and Konami’s target demographic. They both must know that they are never getting any Ultimate shiteClub cash from me.

But would it kill them to give us a simple referee strictness toggle switch, and let us oldies (of all ages) just go and play by ourselves like we want to? Why not throw us this bone?

You know those moments when a player gets clattered, and spreads his arms wide as if to say ‘Ref!’? I would like to see each and every one of those instances given as a foul and a free kick, and play stopped.

This match here was my game of the season so far – the fouls/free kicks count is not a coincidence:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161017125745

Even a 6-4 fouls count isn’t really enough for me. 10-10 would be about right.

You can say ‘PC modding community!’ all you like, but I play PES on a console.

Anyway, the medication is kicking in, so onto other things. Here is my squad for the second half of the season:

pes2017-mid-season-2-first-xi-and-squadLICHT, NIVET, EDINHO, and Regen LESCOTT are emergency Youths, plucked from obscurity in the grand tradition of a panicking Master League player who messed up his transfer window and needs to fill some gaps.

I sold Castledine, which brings down the curtain on last season’s Lennon-and-McCartneyesque partnership, one of PES2016’s highlights.

I’m still not out of the running for the playoffs.

9 points adrift, a few wins will see the table obliging me:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161017125819

I’m on Professional, and I’ve shown that I can get a run going. Once all the new players gel – and that Team Spirit of 80 shows they are gelling – things will change, I’m sure of it.

My noob errors in the transfer market have probably crimped my style this season enough to consign me to a Season 3 in Division 2, but we will see.

 

Thank God It’s Friday

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161011192639

I’ve started to turn the corner with PES2017 on Professional difficulty. I’ve got to grips with some of the game’s core mechanics now. I’m no longer trying to hold onto the ball for so long and losing it unnecessarily (the game strongly reminds me of PES2011 in this respect). I’m also scoring more freely, as I’ll discuss.

At the time you’re reading this, I’ll still be on Professional, but I don’t think it’ll be long before I make the step up to Top Player.

Compared to Tuesday’s table, where I was in the bottom quarter of the league and had scored only 4 goals, today’s table shows a remarkable upturn:

pes2017-season-2-after-20Up to 10th, just 8 points off the playoffs with over half the season remaining. As ever in Master League, if I stay in-form the teams above me will kindly get out of my way. They’ll part like the Red Sea for Moses.

If I stay on Professional I believe promotion would be a near-formality. I’m still getting unexpected, puzzling draws and the odd defeat, but the needle is pointing firmly in only one direction now.

Back in the first transfer window of season 1 I picked up a striker called F FRIDAY. I found him in a random search. Or was he a Scout recommendation? I can’t remember. Whatever, he has so far done nothing for me. One or two goals here or there.

Now… Well….

As today’s first mini-compilation of PES2017 goals shows, Friday is the striker that every Master League player dreams of having.

Friday is the man of the moment. Talk about the black Schwarz? It’s not Lobato. Not yet, not for me. Maybe never.

FRIDAY is the black Schwarz! The first and last goals are from Castledine and Rice respectively, but the ones in-between are all Friday goals.

And check the last goal, from Rice – that’s my Moment of PES2017 so far. 1-1, 90th minute, a last breakaway. Rice with the classic Pro Evo moment. I was shrieking like a girl.

I described Rice in comments the other day as this edition’s Coynborough, and so he is proving. Consistently playing above his stats, sometimes in trouble, sometimes puzzlingly down-arrowed for no good reason. An enigma. I have not lined up a transfer deal for Rice and I don’t believe I will. He’ll be with me until the end now.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161012121809

This upturn of fortunes has also highlighted a serious mistake I’ve made in the transfer market.

Before things started going well, things were not going well, and I started to think about changing personnel.

Lining up upcoming transfer window dealings, I agreed to sell my then-anonymous striker F FRIDAY.

Come January, he’ll be off to his new club – along with a few too many other players, I’m sorry to say. I did go a bit overboard, which will have consequences for my Team Spirit now that I’ve finally started to have some.

But the biggest loss of the bunch will be Friday. I accepted an offer while he was bad. That big, strong, bustling, thunder-booted striker you see scoring for fun up there, will soon be leaving my team. It’s one of my biggest ML howlers ever.

I’m already making tentative plans to buy him back. It’ll be humiliating, but necessary. Will he come, though?

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161012124751

This is the great weakness of the new Master League, in my view. It’s too easy and too tempting to have a high turnover of playing staff.

New signing(s) not working out? Just trade him/them in at the next window for better one(s). Not a problem at all.

Master League feels as if it’s configured for a three- or four-season length. It’s obvious what they want us to do. They want us playing shiteClub and paying cash for the pleasure of exercising our finger muscles by the incessant squeezing of those famous double-sprint-pressure buttons.

A regular commenter, Paul, has been supplying bespoke Coventry City kits to me for some years. He has come through again with a wonderful 2016 take on one of Coventry City’s classic kits from bygone days. Above left you can see his Sky Blue effort. I’ve made a homebrew adjustment to create an Away version of it, above-right. As of Season 3 these two kits will be my first-choice Home and Away strips. Cheers, Paul.

Until November of season 2, I’d never had a single player in the Team Of The Month. Not one.

Now:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161011192559

6 of them are mine, reflecting a wonderful month.

The spread of where I’ve got players shows where my weaknesses lie: in central defence and on the right side.

My current right-sided midfielder, Gauld, isn’t springing to life the way the others are. I’d like to keep and nurture him, so I’ve declined a few purchase offers and put him up for loan instead. PES2017 makes it easy to take the option of cashing in and buying someone else. Must. Resist. Master League historically is about nurturing young talent and being patient. Lesson learned from the Friday fiasco.