PES2010 out of 10?


I’ve only just started Master League in PES2010. Some people say they never see them, but I see team-coloured nets at every match. Today’s Net of the Day (right) is a very fetching purple number from an away game against one of my invented Division 2 opponents, Engelbert Humperdinck Athletic, or whoever it was.

I loved how the purple nets shimmered under the virtual floodlights. I disliked it when my net sadly rippled, twice. The other team put two goals past me in a very tame defeat. That’s just how the season’s going for me so far. After 9 matches I’d won 1, drawn 4, lost 4. I’d scored 3 goals, conceded 9. I was 4th from bottom (and I’m still there now, many games later).


If this anti-form keeps up—and it’s looking like it will—I’ll consider dropping down to Professional difficulty next season. I’m not too proud. I’ve never been the type of PES player who absolutely has to play on Top Player all the time. I only started out on it because the overall difficulty of PES2010 was a worry.

The full depth of the new Master League is starting to become more apparent as I move through these early weeks. I’ve started to pay attention to, and spend some time with, the many new features. In the first few weeks of the season all I wanted to do was play, really.

Traditionally I have always played PES with a 4-3-3 formation. After a few early matches where I could barely touch the ball I decided to revert, at least temporarily, to a 4-4-2. It can be a conservative formation in PES terms, but conservative is what I need right now. 4-4-2 covers you in every department. It gives you a proper presence in midfield and you still pose a threat up front, especially with a central AMF just behind the strikers. 4-3-3 is pretty lightweight in midfield, and it really needs good strikers to be effective.


I’ll have to pay a lot more attention to formations this year. PES2010 actively penalises you for trying to play players out of position. Due to suspension and low fitness levels my 4-4-2 (right) was lacking a recognised CF for one particular match. In the old days with the Defaults, you could just stick a Burchet or somebody up there and have done with it. The thinking would go: Burchet’s a WF; a WF is a forward player; he’ll do as a CF for this game.

That’s not really an option any more. Playing Burchet at CF will drive his overall rating down to something ridiculously low—from 60 down to 22 in one case, with a proportional impact on his individual stats. And if you persist in trying to play players out of position—trying to play a CMF as an SMF, for example—they’ll acquire an angry face next to their names in the squad list.


I don’t know yet what’ll happen if you still persist after the angry face stage. I learned my lesson early. Now I slavishly spend a little while before every game individually customising my formation. On the left is the altered RWF positioning for Burchet in that same game. It didn’t go well. I got thrashed 0-3.

If all this wasn’t enough, there’s tactical team sliders to play with, and the training options. I’ll try to talk about them in some depth next week.

All of this Master League newness is very exciting, but how’s the football? Pretty decent, actually. The CPU teams play keep-ball and cause me frustration. I finished one match with 35% possession to the CPU’s 65%. Sprint-clamping to pressure the CPU does no good when it’s in the mood to keep the ball.

Schwarz is a disappointment so far. I’ve scored one goal with him, a tap-in, and done precious little else. He’s a Youth in a team of Defaults. It’d actually be wrong if he was already super-Schwarz or anywhere close, but he’s not even fairly-decent-Schwarz at the moment. He’s behind Gutierrez and Ordaz in the pecking order. But he’s ahead of Castolo. Everyone‘s ahead of Castolo.


All through this first week of PES I’ve been awarding it scores out of 10 every day, and keeping a running average. I did the same thing with FIFA10—its final average was 8.42/10. FIFA10 suffered a dip in the scores in the middle of its week 1, but went on to recover well—just as PES2010 has done.

Wednesday was the 7th full day for me and PES2010. It was a great day of continued immersion and progress with Master League. I’m giving PES2010 9/10 for Wednesday, which gives it a grand week 1 average score of… 8.35/10.


Both games experienced a post-day-1 dip for different reasons. FIFA10 suffered because of its shocking Manager Mode issues; PES2010 because of real worries about the game’s difficulty and AI (worries which have only been put on hold by the move to Master League). Both games recovered. Both games are superb in my eyes at the moment.

I could be accused of slyly ramping up the PES2010 scores over the past few days in order to force some parity with FIFA10, but I’m really not that much of a fanboy. In any case, I’m not a reviewer and these are not review-style scores. They’re subjective ratings of how much I’ve enjoyed/not enjoyed the game(s) on any particular day. After I started Master League, I was in a state of football gaming bliss. Hence the raised scores.

I think those are fair scores at the moment. My proper end-of-year review won’t appear until next September, complete with a final score for each game. There’s a long time to go between now and then, and there’s a lot of football to be played.


  1. not-Greg,
    Glad to see you’re enjoying ML. It really is amazing. I once let Van den Berg get all the way to a red angry face and the scout report said he was really unhappy about being played in the wrong position, but I was too cowardly to continue on and see what would happen.
    Because I sold Gutierrez, I’m having to play Schwarz up front nearly every game. He’s been awful, though he did hit 4 away in the FA Cup first round against Wolves. The FA Cup difficulty seems broken to me. After I won last season, I was hoping it’s a fluke, but in the course of my 2-leg first round game against Wolves this season, I scored 6, conceded 1. In the 9 games I played in the league, I’ve scored just 2 goals and conceded 7. I’ve won just one game. Sigh. I’m playing on Professional, but I don’t think that dropping down to Regular for me would present any challenge. Actually, I did play the international cup with Netherlands on Professional (to unlock Bergkamp), but it was far too easy; I was never in any danger of losing. ML seems very balanced though.

    About the training features, a couple of my players don’t gain any experience at all. It really is odd.

  2. Good Luck with your ML Not-Greg. Schwarz- I am not sure he’s the same Schwarz we’ve always had! I say this because I conducted a little experiment by setting up 3 ML’s, in each one he’s a different age! I Think I’ve finally worked out the ins and out of player training- After each ‘turn’ check out their development, everything they have down arrows in, develop that area. E.g:If Shot accuracy is declining, focus more training points in ‘shooting’.With regards to Castolo, I agree he is a piss-poor striker, but play him in RMF and he’s not actually that bad, he’s still got a bit of pace, mind you so does burchet! Unlucky about Minanada getting injured for so long, he’s finished!

  3. Darshan—ahhhhhh…. those are magic words:

    I did play the international cup with Netherlands on Professional (to unlock Bergkamp)

    See my PES5 videos (1 and 2, and please pardon the YouTube-enforced music) for a clue about why I’m so excited to think of Mr Bergkamp making a return to my PES ML team. I’m just off for a quick tournie with the Netherlands…

    Re. the training, I’m sure the backroom staff have an influence. Still early days though, we’re all still finding our way.

  4. patrick222—Minanda will be gone as soon as I can sell him. Even if that’s not until he’s fit again, by then I’d hope to have developed the squad enough so he’s really got to either be sold or released.

    Schwarz is very peculiar so far. He’s 20 in my game and really quite poor (it’s not just me, honest). I recall him being pretty decent even at 17 in previous instalments. I thought it was too good to be true, having him available for free from the start. Either he’s on a slower development curve or he’s been completely nerfed for 2010. That’d be okay, actually. I’m sure there’ll be other stars emerging over the course of the seasons.

    I’ve already sold Castolo, without a single pang of regret and a lot of relief. Waste. Of. Space. ‘The Myth of Castolo: Tradition and Communal Perception in Pro Evolution Soccer 2002-2010‘ – there’s a really geeky pseudo-scholarly paper to be written there for anyone who wants to!

    It was a busy mid-season negotation period. Monday’s post should take us close to the end of the first season.

  5. After reading Wednesday’s post I had the itch to start a ML, I’ve only played the one game, winning away from home 1-0 against Boca Juniors with the mighty Mancs County. The ML mode this year is really deep, there is so much to get to grips with, I’ve got a feeling that we will all spend a good couple of months working it out the intricacies within it, this can only be a good thing!

    I too opted for Ordaz and Guiterrez upfront, they proved to be a good partnership. Castolo seems to be a fading star, I for one am gutted about this, in the past he WAS the default team. Roll on 8pm when I can crack on with some more ML…

  6. Do I sense a new feature emerging ???
    “PES Chronicles Net of the Week ?”

    ‘Its purple beauty shimmering in the light of the stadium…’ lol

    Ive given in, off to the shops at lunchtime to pick up PES, straight into a ML career, no messing…!

  7. not-Greg,
    Those are some amazing goals.
    I’m so excited about Bergkamp. I might just sign him now. He’s 30 in my ML already, but, my God, is he good. One thing that’s annoying me about the replays is the lack of the slowdown button. I loved that button.
    I wonder if you can score a goal like his one against Newcastle. That’s still the greatest goal I’ve seen. Ever. I might play around with him in training mode later and see what he’s like…

  8. not-Greg

    What format are you playing on PS3/XBOX? I am playing my ML on PS3 not tried XBOX yet and ALL my nets are white.

    Your league table looked very similar to mine at the same stage. My first 10 games also on TopPlayer, my record was W2 D5 L3 F3 A4. It was initially frustrating, I have had to change my approach. I have now reached 2 games after mid-season and it reads more healthily /

    My fortunes changed from a slight tinkering of my 4-4-2 /
    I pushed my RMF just enough to edit their position into a RWF giving me touchline width, and the narrow 3 of DMF/AMF and LMF gives me adequate defensive cover. Deploying a counter attack strategy initially with mapped All out attack and defence depending on circumstances. Add in the tactical sliders along with these strategies and I am loving the tactical side of this game.

    I am going to do a first and see how far my defence of El Moubarki, Valeny/Stein, Jaric and Ruskin can take me. As of now they under no threat of the chop as they are performing well and not leaking many goals.

    Ivarov, Burchet, Dodo, Van den berg, Ximelez, Gutierrez, Ettori and Ordaz are the others safe for next season.

    Minanda and Huylens announced their retirements at start of season.

    If I manage promotion (be disappointed if I don’t) I will be keeping at least 11 defaulters, that will be a first.

    I am addicted to this ML which is a 360 change from earlier in the week.

  9. I’m really surprised that people are opting for Ordaz upfront! Has everyone overlooked the beast that is Hamsun; I am in my second season now and hes top scorer with 5 in 10.

  10. Nostalgicforpes- I play Hamsun, Ordaz is terrible! Lately though I’ve rediscored Huylens, he’s quite decent actually, I haven’t played him at all since PES 5!

  11. Aaron—As you might have gathered I’ve started really to dislike Castolo recently. Over the past few PES games he’s not been the player that everyone still thinks he is IMO—me included. I keep playing him in my teams, expecting him to be good. He’s been no good since PES4 or something like that!

  12. Paul—good luck with it, and after your weeks on FIFA10 I hope you’re braced for some initial ‘errr…. what the hell is this?’ when you see and feel the PES gameplay. Personally I like the contrast between the two games’ handling.

  13. Darshan—I didn’t have time to play today in the end, I think I’ll zip through the tournament tomorrow on 5 minute matches on Regular. Just to unlock Bergkamp. I’m really very excited about this. In a sense we’ve all been trying in the last few years to get back to our golden ages of PES, and for most of us that was somewhere in the PES5/PES6 zone. For me it was PES5, and Bergkamp was a big part of that.

  14. heraldo—I had you in mind when I said about some people not seeing the nets. There’s a few debates on the forums about it too. Why aren’t they showing up for some people? I have no idea. I’m on the PS3. (It was time for me to put my repaired console through its paces with some serious sessions (holding up so far), and the controller is a better controller for my tastes.)

    Maybe it’s a leagues thing? I chose to play in the English league, and my Division 2 is full of Yazzlethwap Beebledrap Uniteds and so forth. The only thing I did was change the Division 1 teams’ names before I started. Did you customise yours in any way? I just don’t know what it could be.

    Hang on…. How are there only 12 teams in your Division?! There are 18 in mine. EIGHTEEN. I’d love there to be 12. It’s a long old season with 18. What league did you set up your ML in? That’s got to be why you’re not seeing the coloured nets (I’d take a shorter D2 season over coloured nets any day – I bet you’ll see ’em in D1).

    p.s. I like your formation and may steal it for my own team. Nice balance, and looks like a borderline between 4-4-2/4-3-3. Best of both worlds?

  15. Nostalgicforpes—Ordaz has never let me down over the past few PESes. Unlike a certain other player. Name begins with C, ends with O. Rhymes with ‘Bastolo’…. I’m so happy I sold him!

    Always had a sneakign regard for Hamsun, despite him never actually doing anything for me. If you look at his stats in PES2010 he’s got a few respectable-looking ones in the Yellow zone.

    A Defaults-only challenge would certainly be very interesting this year.

  16. patrick222—there’s lots of talk around the forums at the moment about PES5, and I keep referencing it too. Is something stirring in the collective PES unconscious? If PES2010’s difficulty holds up I think this could be close to a PES5-equaller, if not a PES5-beater.

  17. not-Greg

    😆 My league has 18 teams, the screen only shows 12.

    I set up the league in Division 2 of the EPL (as I am using the WENB OF) with all the teams from Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Belgium and Switzerland giving me exactly 18 teams. Worked in perfectly as the rest of the clubs will play in the Others League and participate in both the CL and Europa Cup.

    It’s not a concern for me regarding nets, it’s just I have read so many people mention it.

    The formation is working a treat for me. I am now sitting proudly joint top with 10 games to go. 2 points separating the top 4 with 3 automatic places. Squeaky bum time.

    Meant to mention earlier, again for the first time I had to change from 10 to 15 minute games to turn the 0-0 draws into 1-0 wins. 10 minutes felt as though I was rushing the games, 15 minutes has allowed slow build ups which I feel is required when using the defaults.

    Negotiations and Scouting is like an addiction, I spend so much time looking and scouting future targets. I like the fact you can now make an approach outside the transfer window through your scout and accepting deals.

    I have always switched off the Classic players in the initial set-up. I take it I am in the minority? I remember when I first came across your blog and you mentioned how Escherano? (Eusebio) ruined your ML with his superpowers. Right enough that was PES 2008!!!!!!!!!

  18. not-Greg,

    I tried to sign Sir Dennis, but he refused my offer (my scout’s level 3). Sigh. He’s being poached by AC Milan. How dare they! Sigh. Hopefully he’s retire in a couple of seasons, and then be reborn as the legend that he is.

    I’m getting coloured nets. My team strip is orange, so I get a nice one. I quite like the way the ball ruffles the net when (if?) I score.

    Sadly, I’m moving flat tomorrow and will be without internet for a couple of weeks, so I hope you manage to find some form and maybe sigh Bergkamp. One good thing about the lack of internet is the fact that I’ll be able to play more PES. Lots more. I’m aiming to finish the next couple of seasons by then, and hopefully I’ll be back in D1.

    Keep playing, and here’s to hoping you’ve managed to sign some decent players.

  19. i started my ml on sunday. Its been a little frustrating playing with the defaults. I choose celtic so got quite alot of sponsor money. I signed 4 players darren gibson and tosic from man united a cm called ekdal and a ss named kerlon who has been a revelation now he has settled in. Guitterez has been astounding. Big and strong and has got a good touch for a big man. Back four are pretty much the same as yours not greg. I rate ruskin. He is fast and fairly solid. The same cant be said for the fella on the opposite flank. I find him cumbersome. Now ive fiddled with the sliders and got a settled formation im starting to play some amazing pass and move stuff with back heels and flicks a plenty. Ive scored some absolute beauties also. Diving headers. Bullet headers screamers from 25 yard. Ruskin even popped one in after the oppositions goalkeeper made a worldie double save from kerlon and guitterez. Right place right time what he was doing up there i dont know this was in open play. On the subject of keepers i am finding them of much higher quality for the most part. Thoroughly enjoying the game.

  20. Hmmm… well I realize how addictive Master League can get, but for me, as it always was with PES, the main bulk of a score should be down to how the game plays on the pitch, and not its modes… Following that analogy, would you still score PES2010 so closely to FIFA10? Also, in all honesty, which game to you think will have more longevity?

  21. Picking up my copy of PES tomorrow and straight to Master League, just like Paul… I’m excited – after the sterile awfullness of Manager Mode it’s going to take some truly TERRIBLE gameplay to put me off PES with an offline mode like this rejigged Master League… finally some quality Master League once more. I definitely feel an almost childish excitement harkening back to those heady days when Konami first started their career mode. I’m over FIFA to be honest, Manager Mode is so tainted that there’s no way it could have any longevity for me, in my second season in the A League I’m just… well… BORED

  22. heraldo—oh, in that case could it be the option file is somehow causing your lack of coloured nets? I’m not using one (although the novelty of the Prappinack Groveship FC kind of teams is starting to wear off).

    I’ve started using your formation. I’ve created a right-sided version and a left-sided version. I’ll get to how it’s working for me in detail in context on the blog on Monday.

    I was completely confused when I started getting offers for my players after the first negotiation windown had closed, in the midst of all the matches! It’s a great touch and well overdue.

    Re. Classic players, from PES2 onwards I always liked having them in my ML worlds – in for a fantasy penny, in for a fantasy pound – and never experienced them as overpowered. Until PES2008 (next-gen), sadly.

  23. Darshan—I’m hoping to get Bergkamp as a Regen, so it’s good news for me that he’s already 30 in your ML. 90% of the great things he did for me in PES5 he did in his second life as a Regen.

    Are you using an option file? If so, that’d rule out the option file as being the reason some people don’t see coloured nets.

  24. jamie—I’ll get to it all next week in due course, but I’m finding the Defaults the most difficult they’ve ever been. The new slow heaviness and ponderous touch etc. is really punishing me. I’m playing well below my usual average at the moment.

    I’ve got no complaints abotu the keepers (yet) either. Not had any pat-a-cake moments. Maybe they’ll start coming when I get good players and attack more often!

  25. TareX—I think the reviewers took the same approach, i.e. they scored the two games based almost entirely on how they played on the pitch (which they shouldn’t have done really).

    Purely on that on-field basis I’d have to agree that FIFA10 is a 9/10 game, PES2010 an 8/10 game. The reviews were (mostly) right. But factor in the modes—the things you actually do with the games—and the games should swap places IMO. Or at least PES2010 should become a 9/10 game as well. FIFA10’s gameplay is so good (you have got to play it!) that even its mediocre, buggy, hollow career mode is actually pretty interesting.

    Which game will have the most longevity? If I had to put money on it, FIFA10. I played a few matches on it yesterday, just to see, and I saw. It’s enough to break a PES man’s heart to see the animations and difficulty and intricate passing game in the F-game… They should all be PES’s, dammit! Curse you Seabass….

    But I want to play Master League for a year again. It’s the greatest game mode ever created in any game, ever. That’s not just my opinion, it’s a natural law of the universe. There’s the rub. As long as PES2010’s difficulty holds up, I will play it.

  26. Chris—happy PES day to you. A couple of things: be ready for a huge shock. The transition from FIFA to PES isn’t the totally unproblematic, joyful thing it was circa 2002. And when you set up your Master League, force yourself to take the time to make sure your Division 2 isn’t full of the weird, made-up teams that I’m currently putting up with. It was funny and charming to start off with, but I’m not laughing now

    And as a bonus, a few weeks of PES will whet your appetite for FIFA10 again. I had a few matches on FIFA yesterday and it felt pretty good.

  27. Superb posts over the last few weeks, not-greg, I’ve been following with huge interest as I try to decide which of the two to buy this year – Fifa looked a certainty until your ML posts, which have really caught my imagination! I’ve always enjoyed the fantasy element of ML but was wondering if these fictitious D2 teams go a bit too far; 18 of them, composed entirely of (apparently pretty good) fictitious players might be a bit too bizarre. But you suggest above that it’s possible to leave them out from the ML setup. Do you know if it’s also possible to edit your team straight into D1 at the start? Perversely, I always like to start a ML campaign with a desperate relegation battle!

  28. abbeyhill—thanks, and I think the posts just reflect my excitement at playing two very different and (IM current HO) very good games. Out on the forums there’s a definite sense that you should belong to one ‘gang’ or the other, that it’s somehow rude not to. Load of rubbish. If you can get both games, get ’em. Football gaming heaven. IF you have to get just one, Master League makes PES2010, but the core on-field gameplay makes FIFA10. Not saying PES2010 has poor gameplay, just that it’s nothing you haven’t seen before really, but FIFA10 is. Master League, however, is all I want to play at the moment.

    You certainly can edit the ML setup to avoid the bizarre made-up teams in D2 and/or start in D1. I’d much prefer the Spartak Moscows et al in D2 to the Englebert Humperdincks. Not worth a restart, as hopefully I’ll soon be out of D2, and who knows? These made-up teams could become as near and dear as Ximelez and Ceciu & co.

  29. The master league this year its so deep its amazing i signed a youth player called oscar for about £16000 his overall rating was about 65 within 2 season he had reached 74 and i was getting offers for like 2 million and more so i have already made a huge profit this is fantastic i love my youth team. and not greg i cant beleive you sold castolo its castolo how can you sell him will never do that he is without a doubt my best player saved me from relegation last season how can you sell castolo how could you. i also love the nets depending on what kit you arwe wearing thats the colour the nets are going to be a great feature.

  30. Mike Mike—down with Castolo! Sorry, but I don’t think he’s been a great player even within the Defaults for a few years now. I’m mystified as to how his reputation/myth has held up.

    I’m loving the new real currency in Master League too, makes it all feel so much better and immersive.

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