Regarding AI fouls, league table scripting, and super-duper free kicks

Almost at the end of January now, in Season 10. The wages bill is dire again, so there’ll be no new players. The AI fouls count per match for my most recent session of 4 matches went like this: 0,0,3,0. One of those matches was better than all of the others. Can you guess which match that was?

The lack of AI fouls count is the canary in the coalmine for a single-player football game. A football game without AI fouls can never be great.

Yes, you can still have a good experience without fouls. But it’s the difference between pastime and passion. Given how great the experience is with AI fouls, it makes no sense at all to eliminate them in the way Konami have done. All I will say to Keith Konami, if he’s reading, is well done, Keith, well done. Golf clap, etc.

The current table:I started yesterday’s session in 4th place and lost the first match of my session. All the teams above me also lost. It was nice of them to do that.

Then I drew my next match. You won’t believe what happened… All the teams above me also drew! Can you believe that? Incredible!

So what happened was, I won my next match – and all the teams above me also won! This was truly astonishing!

My next match was against one of those teams above me – Fulham – who were as tough as a weirdly-ascendant Fulham in the year 2029 could only be. I got a draw out of that match, and was lucky to get it. That draw had to haul me up the table, of course.One of the reasons Master League remains compelling, despite the table massaging and the no-fouls, is the very real and very deep connection with individuals. R JARVIS is in serious decline now. 69OPR and he often plays like it, unfortunately, in my team of top players. But he still gets the odd important goal and the game recognises what he is to me.

I have made it to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup for the first time in this PES. This match was a proper war of attrition. The game so far has seemed not to want to let me progress in the Cup.Finally today, a monster free kick. Their recent scarcity adds much value here. PES2019 on release and for some months after was very free-kick-friendly, even for me – but it has not been so for some time now.

Here’s a free kick from around 34 yards, it looks like to me. I’ve tried a few like this before and got close. I was stunned when this went in:

Yes I know: the GK, standing in the middle of his goal, should get it, but he doesn’t.

Also note the weird phenomenon in the replay – spotted by commenter abbeyhill a few weeks ago – of the pitch stripes switching from horizontal to vertical.

It’s my favourite free kick of nuPES, but not my favourite free kick of all time.

Any excuse to post the greatest free kick ever scored in a football game – my Georghe Hagi, back in PES2012:

That looks like around the 37-40 yard mark, a good few yards farther out than Benat’s whopper.

A few things make Hagi’s a better free kick. It’s an outswinger, it hits the perfect postage-stamp corner, the keeper is not so much at fault, and it came in a less free-kick-friendly edition of the series – a Silver Age PES game. As good as PES2019 has been for me and still is, it certainly belongs to PES’s Bronze Age, and the series’ agonising descent into multiplayer button-mashing hell.

(You can browse some of my PES2012 Hagi goals here.)

Like when Lothar Matthaus looked gutted

Slow but steady progress. When you’re in multiple competitions, things move slowly mid-season.

I’ve played another 5 league matches since last time, and I’m still in the FA Cup, and I’ve finished the Europa League group stage – which gave me one of the most disappointing outcomes in my recent PES history.

Regular readers will know what I always say of the Europa League (or its equivalent): you tend to only get 1 shot at it per Master League, because there’s usually only 1 season when you’re in the betwixt-and-between phase of being able to get up the table, but not finishing in a Champions League spot.

Sometimes there is a second chance at the Europa further down the line – such as having an unexpectedly tough season or finishing 3rd in Champions League groups – but it tends to just be the one time only.

I really wanted to do well in this competition.

The table above shows how close I came. In the final fixture, at home to Fenerbahce, it was in my hands. A win would’ve taken me though in top spot. It ended 0-0, and it was a game I had bossed. The ball just would not go in the net.

Even so, if other results had gone my way, I would have made it… At the final whistle I waited to see what my players would do. They all went into the old ‘Bayern Munich flopping around on the pitch in the pits of despair in 1999’ routine.

Rangers had sneaked into the second spot with a win in their last match. The two matches I played against Rangers in this group showed that they’re decent in PES2019. Maybe I’ll run into Celtic in the Champions League in Season 11, if I get there.

Speaking of which, league form has held up well enough for me to still be Seb Coeing the leaders at the moment:With over half the fixtures remaining, I might move down as well as up, or even stay much the same.

The ‘feel’ of this season so far is that it’s going to be a title-challenging season. I now tend to only lose or draw matches that I feel the game doesn’t want me to win.

And I am still in the FA Cup. Manchester United await in the ML equivalent of the 3rd round in January.

I would like some silverware this season. None won on PES2019 yet, remember. Yes, I won the D2 playoff final, back in the day, but it doesn’t really count.

Finally today, I have scored a bona fide long-range cannonball goal. Very pleased with this one:

Especially with the player scoring it: Montolivo, my young DMF, getting a rare start (he’s an understudy for Mascherano these days).

This was a classic DMF run and finish straight from the PES Golden Age. The pitch markings tell me this was 27 yards or so. Not a super-duper long-ranger, but still a long ‘un.

I have a feeling I won’t ever net a 35-yarder on PES2019 again. I will, of course, keep trying…

What would Jarvis do?

Wait, what? The week or two that just whooshed by was January? My next post will be in February? And then pretty soon the clocks will go forward and the PES2020 fanfare will start up?

At least this year there is no way that anybody should believe a single word of anything said by anyone – not by Konami, not by any preview tester –  not by anyone – about PES2020.

I currently finish a typical session of PES2019 with an average of 0.5 AI-committed fouls per match. That’s 1 every 2 matches. When the PES2019 demo came out last August, I was getting more like 3-to-5 AI-committed fouls per 5-minute match (per FIVE-minute match!).

I’m very salty about the way the game has been changed.

So this is why nothing at all that is said about PES2020 this spring or summer can ever be believed. Even if summertime PES2020 looks and plays like PES5 and Far Cry had a baby, it will, by the time Christmas rolls around, be just another nuPES clone.

I’m really annoyed about it.

I’ve played some more matches in my PES2019 Master League. Away matches have been a pain lately. They all seem to start the same way. I’m not allowed to touch the ball until it’s been in the back of my net first.

This sounds like I’m a lot more pissed off with PES2019 than I am. It’s a good football game. It is. It’s still the best since PES2015 – and probably, yes, when all’s said and done, it’s the best since PES2013. It is.

The trouble is, 2 months ago it was a lot more than that. It was a very good PES game.

Now, it’s merely a good football game of the current era.

There is a world of difference between a good footy game and a good PES game. If you don’t know what that difference is, you’ve never really known PES.

The story of the season so far has been the exploits of Huddersfield Town. Far from emulating their real-life bottom-feeders, the version that exists in my ML has topped the table so far this season.

I met them in a real 6-pointer, and just about scraped a 1-0 victory, to become the first team to beat them this season. A few other great results gives me this table to look at and enjoy after 11 matches:It’s a peculiar table in more ways that one. Liverpool in the year 2027 are 4th from bottom with a 3-2-6 record.

One of those defeats was one of my best results for October. I hammered Liverpool 4-1 at Anfield in a match that Jarvis was playing in due to fatigue (it was a busy month), and he scored two lovely striker’s goals.

October was a month of great results, barring a cruel defeat at the hands of Rangers in the Europa League:A lot of information in that screenshot. Can you spot the most interesting?

For me it’s the performance of one R JARVIS, arguably the most stalwart of this year’s Defaults. (Rice probably is the MVP of this year’s bunch, but Jarvis comes close.)

Jarvis is 70OPR and average-statted across the board – except for Finishing. He doesn’t play much, but when he does, he always scores. ALWAYS. ‘Why not play him all the time, then?’ A good question, with a simple answer: because I don’t want to interfere with the magic. There is a spell at work with Jarvis’s goals. Every fool knows that when a genie appears from the bottle and grants you three wishes, you don’t wish for unlimited wishes. You use the three wishes that you do get, wisely.

And so Jarvis only plays – or comes on as sub – when the likes of Gomez and Forlan and Aduriz and Robben are unfit or exhausted. Jarvis features to some extent in roughly 1 match in 5 – and he always scores. ALWAYS.

The Team of the Month for October:It’s stories like the Jarvis story (and the Gomez story and the Rice story and the Castledine story and the Buonanotte story) that keeps Master League going now.

The quality of PES2019 gameplay has slipped to the 7-8/10 mark (9 on a good day), but Master League in general is still keeping its nose well above water.

The imperfect ten

Season 10 is well underway. That’s Season TEN.

PES2019’s Master League is the first to reach double figures for seasons since PES2015 – which made it to 14 seasons in the end. Will PES2019 equal or better that? It’s got a great chance of doing so, despite the game’s recent lurch toward the arcade side of things.

A big reason why PES2019 is showing longevity is the great start it had. I’m bedded down in the game and have a Master League that I want to see to a conclusion.

It took Konami 3 months or so to cave in to pressure and twiddle the knobs to make PES2019 faster and more flowing the way the majority of the online contingent likes it. PES2019 is now not much more than just another nuPES instalment. No fouls, poor player individuality, and much too frantic much too often. I sincerely hope whoever makes these decisions at PES Productions tragically falls into an industrial mincing machine.

I scratched together enough pennies to get 1 big new signing, and he was quite a doozy.

Step forward Javier Mascherano from the Free Agent list.

21 years old, he seems set to establish himself in PES2019’s twilight seasons. My search for a truly legendary DMF continues. A legendary DMF in a nuPES game is a contradiction in terms, because so much of legendary DMF status in any PES is the ability to pop goals in from long range, and nuPES is hostile to long-range goals. Gotta love that online balancing act.

Thanks to regular commenter Paul – currently of the FIFAFX parish – for these new Season 10 kits. Home on the left, modelled by R Jarvis (he still gets the odd game, and nearly always gets a goal, despite being a creaky 70OPR now). On the right is Mascherano celebrating a goal that someone else has scored, naturally. DMF goals in nuPES are… eh, I’ve already done this bit.

I’ve played 8 matches in the season so far. I’m not badly positioned for a title push, but I said the same this time last year and that didn’t turn out well.Look at that table closely. What’s unusual about it? That’s right – bloody Huddersfield in top position with the most peculiar record I’ve ever seen. 6 wins and 2 draws. 7 goals scored in 8 matches. 0 conceded.

I’ve checked their current roster and other than Regen Samuel Eto’o, they haven’t got anything special. Time will tell if this is just a strange fluctuation in the ether.The Europa League has got underway. I really do want to do well in this tournament. Nice to see Rangers in the group. Shame I won’t get to play them at Ibrox.

A little minute-long goals trilogy now, all on a theme: 3 goals scored in off the post. (All goals scored before I updated the kits for Season 10.)

First a lovely aerial through-ball from Mascherano for Castledine to hit on the half-volley. Then a breakaway move against Man Utd to seal a 2-0 win – Danny starting it off with a delicious outside-of-the-foot through-ball. And finally a nice 20-yarder from Buonanotte, with his native left foot. This youngster is 81OPR now and has forced himself into the first team. The new Shimizu? He’s got a chance.