Approaching mid-season of Season 1 of PES2017. Leicester eliminated me from the FA Cup in what was probably the single greatest match of PES2017 so far and, apart from many excellent matches on PES2014 and PES5 over the past 6 months, my best PES experience for a calendar year or more.
It’s still too early to call PES2017 a success or failure, in my view. Two seasons of Master League, minimum, will decide that.
One thing’s for sure: when this game plays well, this is the best PES since PES2012. When it throws up a duff match, however, I often find it unpleasantly reminiscent of PES2016. So I’m wary in case that becomes the dominant note over time.
The Defaults are the worst since PES2013. Look at that Speed profile for the formerly-not-bad Yankov!
I’m happy that Castledine is white now. No, don’t take that out of context. I’m happy Castledine is white now only because he’s so rubbish and it would have been a betrayal of last year’s black, good Castledine. There.
Encouragingly, goals are at a premium, which means that great goals are too. Scarcity breeds value. I’ve only scored two of any note so far. The Hettich long-ranger from Tuesday’s post, and this one here:
Context: I’m 0-1 down at home to Rotherham, and I really want to get back into the match before half-time. I switch to full-on Attack. And what an effective re-introduction of ATT/DEF switching this has been in PES2017, by the way. You can park the bus or sound the trumpets as you please. If you’re not using it, you’re not really playing the game.
I also initiated one of my preset tactics, Attacking Fullbacks. This doesn’t simply push your LB and RB up the park, but right into the box, PES2011-style. Giorza was a star of PES2016, one of the few bright spots individually, and is shaping up to be the same here.
I’ve got no transfers lined up for the imminent window. I’ll look around when I get there. I’m just enjoying the game, and letting the menus look after themselves for a while. I want to be playing right now.
I have adjusted Training to make sure each player is getting the right focus. And made a retro-ish Coventry 3rd kit using a very handy online tool.
Where is PES2017 with me at the moment? It’s high in my esteem, but I’m watchful. I think that’s how most people feel who felt that PES2016 lacked too much.
I can’t shake off a feeling that Konami have pulled a sleight-of-hand trick regarding the great single-player AI fouls issue. An issue that only exists, remember, because online multiplayers don’t like their button-mashing trance states to be interrupted. The game is accordingly calibrated to observe a very liberal fouling threshold, with the principal side-effect for single-players being that there have been few AI-committed fouls, or none, for a couple of editions now.
Pre-release, I had a theory about what would be done with fouls. I hoped it was a daft theory. My daft theory was that PES2017 would be scripted to give us poor single-players a match with plenty of fouls every once in a while, but that the majority of matches would remain fouls-lite (or even fouls-free) in the style of PES2016.
So far, I really hate to say, everything I’ve seen supports my daft theory.
I think I’ve got a handle on how it works now, and here it is: in a sample of about 6 matches, 1 match will feature a good, high (proper) amount of AI fouls. 4 of the matches will feature a token one or two AI fouls, as per PES2016. And the remaining 1 match will feature no AI fouls at all — literally zero fouls. Even PES2016 would rarely do that.
We’ll see how things change along with the ever-changing contexts in Master League. But my strong feeling is that this is how things are for me and my playing style. Low-fouls will remain the dominant theme for most matches.
Could I live with that? Yes. Yes, and I’ll consider it a good deal, if the gameplay/ difficulty otherwise holds up. That’s the major worry.
Fouls are something of a personal hobbyhorse for me, perhaps largely because they were such an essential motif in the symphony that was PES5 — the game that was, is, and ever shall be, the greatest football game ever made. I derive all my expectations of what makes a great football game from that template.
Which is a hard burden for the likes of PES2017 to bear. But as many a PES since PES5 proves, I’ve got used to setting expectations to one side if the overall package delivers.
Oh, I’m 4th from bottom of the table, with the worst goal-scoring record in the division. I think it’s safe to say there ain’t gonna be no Season 1 promotion in this one.