Betwixt and between

I’m strenuously resisting the urge to go back to PES2013 for a non-developmental Master League experience. I’m against chopping and changing my football game at a whim and don’t want to encourage bad habits in myself.

It’s a tempting call because I really do think that PES2013 is the apotheosis of next-gen PES. Every good idea they’ve had since 2007 was put into the on-field action. What a shame it was so severely let down by the Master League and other modes. (I don’t regard any kind of online football—or ‘squeezeball’ as I call it—as a football game. I’m sure the people who play it like it. They’re welcome to it.)

Only PES2011 is keeping me from PES2013 again. Only PES2011 is stopping me installing the final WENB patch on the PS3 and setting up again in PES2013 with a new team in a non-dev ML.

I’m nearly at the exciting end of my first season on PES2011. The current table:

PES2011 on PC season 1 after 31

Too many draws have cost me my top-three spot. With three games to go, I could miss out on promotion (although somehow I think I’ll make it).

The final three opponents are all top teams, with at least one of them also vying for promotion:

PES2011 PC season 1 run-in

So I’ve been playing on with PES2011—only a few games per day, on average, but enough to keep the flame alive.

I’m even enjoying nursing a certain Myth from the depths of youthful mediocrity towards being a respectable striker again. This is him after almost one full season. He plays as a sub most of the time and gets the odd goal.

Castolo in PES2011

The 34-year-old Sibon has been hugely disappointing. One goal since he signed mid-season. I marvel at how PES uncannily models the fading performances of a retiring player.

I swear that this game has got the PES ‘X’ factor. I rather misjudged it back in the day. I was too ready to see its gameplay features as insurmountable obstacles rather than as challenges to be dealt with.

I do miss a lot of what came in later PES editions. I sorely miss PES2012/13’s right stick control, especially at corners.

I even miss the ‘send player on run’ feature.

I also miss the L2+directional buttons method of changing the ATT/DEF levels.

On PES2011 you have to awkwardly tilt your controller towards yourself and press SELECT+R1/R2 in order to change the ATT/DEF levels. It’s never a comfortable way of doing it, and I’m not surprised it only lasted one iteration of the series.

Another downside to PES2011 is that I’m playing it on PC. Yes, the novelty has worn off a touch. The PC’s graphics and customisation options are wonderful, but I miss the convenience and routine of the console.

So the arguments to head back to PES2013 are stacking up, but I’m resisting—for now.

I do want to see what happens at the end of this season in PES2011. If I get promoted, I’ll be tempted to play on. But I know that if I play PES2011 into next season and pursue this career, it’ll be a while before I’m ready to look at PES2013 again.

And with so much PES under my belt, would I still want to play PES2013 in a few months’ time?

All things considered, the only window of opportunity to play a non-dev PES2013 ML might be right now… The decision time is coming.


  1. Good luck with final 3 games not-greg. Palmeiri and Schmidt have been at the heart of a default ML defence for so many years, it’s a shame they were summarily discarded this year. Palmeiri’s now 95 rated in my current 2012 ML; I would place him above Vorlander as best ever default/youth defender. Although of course it’s tough to compare footballers from different eras, as modern football is so much quicker

  2. R1 at set pieces and initiate runs are superb gameplay innovations and all the more obvious for their absence prior to 12. I’m finding my free kicks in 10 are often not as useful as had the ref played advantage.

  3. abbeyhill—I wouldn’t hesitate about placing Palmieiri above any other Default/Youth CB of PES history. It is an unfair comparison to the old days in some ways. But there can be only one, and it’s the big Italian.

  4. Uncle Turf—totally agree. It’s only the absence of R3 selection/trigger runs etc. that highlights how useful and coherent they became in PES terms. People still sniff at trigger runs in particular but I used them a lot in 12 and 13. As I said in the above post, I really think ’13 was the melding of every good idea Konami had in all previous PESes. Only in gameplay terms, of course. Gameplay might be fundamental, but Master Leaguers need more.

  5. the main thing that put me off PES 2011 wasn’t so much the stumble etc, more that through balls and triple tap crosses were so much more powerful than any other attacking options that it made sense to just keep using them incessantly. Obviously this reduced the tactical subtlety and depth quite a lot – got dull quite quickly. Any impressions on this so far not-greg?

  6. Good afternoon and and long time no PES speak from me. I traded in my PES 2013 ages ago and have been caning PES2010 (think it’ll always be my favourite) but since the problems at my work (HMV) have been sorted, the new owners are ceasing selling games and technology product, there has been a crazy fire sale on these items which led to me getting PES 2013 again for £17.99 (£12.60 after discount) so tonight I’ll be starting new. I put it on last night and stupidly spent 2 hours looking through teams to see who I’ll use for my ML. I’ve gone for Valencia. I looked at my previous saves and I managed 5/6 seasons with an edited Nottingham Forest and 8 seasons with my beloved Man United. Looking at the squads I built in those 2 careers instantly reminded me of something that put me off first time round- how easy it is to bring in regen superstars. Well I guess I don’t HAVE to…….

    In the interim my assistant manager gave me his copy of FIFA 12…………I started a career with Middlesbrough, played my first pre season game………and have never played it since.

  7. abbeyhill—I discovered those quasi-exploits last time round two years ago. As ever with many of these ‘get rich quick’ things on PES, it was never close to being overpowered for me as an individual player. And so far this time around, playing with 60OVR players, no dice.

  8. Mike—well it’s good to hear you survived the cull. And got some cheap/free games out of the chaos. (Can you believe Uncle Turf is campaigning to have PES2010 reclassified as a weak-shooting, shot-blocking, 0-0 fest?! I know…)

    Go with Regens and Classics. Not only does it bring the authentic PES taste to your own team, but it makes the other teams more entertaining and harder to beat over time. A nice real-world feeling is good to have, but realism as such (in terms of team lineups etc) is very low down on my list of great things about PES.

  9. Ng-has werditis spread to even you?!;-)…i agree pes for me is a fantasy world..if i want authentic i will watch motd.

  10. werd llitrah—no, none of that madness here. I’ve got through a full season on PES2011 (not just a match and a half in Exhibition mode) and have to decide right now what one game I’ll be playing probably for the rest of the year. Sniff.

  11. A minor dose then. Good luck my fine feathered friend. Its a major choice you have to make.and its three and a bit matches actually 😉

  12. NG (&Mike) – not quite…I am making a case for my 1st season of Top Player, defaults, being weak shooting, one paced, (yes Sherman tank-like Paul) boobs from the back of sector 7G. My XI is; Jacobs, Palmieri, Schmidt, Libermann, Kooistra (or Dodo), Oscar, Ettori, Fouque, VD Berg, Ordaz and Guttierez. 4 players announced their retirement when I started up (Minanda, etc), I got no offers pre-season but then good money for El Moubarki, etc in Jan. Castolo won’t sign a contract. Finances being sound I would only keep half of that XI.

  13. A tough one NG. Why hold out on the non-dev 2013 ? Pes 2011 will always be there to replay later. I would complete the season and then go for the non-dev 2013 ML. See how it pans out and return to 2011 if it disappoints. No need to resist any urges.

    I must say FIFA 13 is growing on me. The game as a whole just oozes quality and the gameplay shows flashes of brilliance…despite not having a certain ‘feel’ which pes does have…it helps as you said if one does not compare it to any other games but just let it be its own game.

  14. N-G – The gameplay on PES 2013 is so good that playing any other next gen PES only makes you want to play it more – or again in my case. I think it’s inevitable that you’ll be lured back sooner rather than later.

    I won my second match of the season on my non-dev ML last night. 1-0 with a long range screamer that deflected in off one defender’s chest and another’s face. Glorious!

  15. Uncle Turf—that is a terrible lineup (I shudder to think of the 2010 Defaults), but you should at least be getting decent shots away with Oscar and Gutierrez. Are you, er, pressing the button hard enough? That’s not as facetious as it might sound. The habits learned from the last few years of ‘light-button’ PES games might have sunk too deeply into your bones.

  16. #1—I’m enjoying PES2011 hugely through a different set of spectacles, looking back after the intervening few years. I don’t know what I will do. No question that PES2013 is the better football game, but PES2011 has the full-fat ML I crave.

  17. John—I donwloaded the final WENB OF this morning in case I do go for PES2013 again. I think I’m waiting to hear from yourself that the non-dev ML is awesome. Is it awesome?

  18. N-G – Too early to say. The gameplay is awesome, especially with under-powered players. That’s if you enjoy a the struggle of pitting crap players against the AI. It just remains to be seen whether playing ML like this allows for team building of some kind. Especially as I’ve started with such an awful and worthless squad.

  19. NG – yes, that’s what I meant when I said I’d been spoiled by minandinho but also I think 2010 has a lot more emphasis on where the ball is in relation to the players stride, a number of oscar’s shots have gone miles wide because they were under his feet and on the wrong side. Opportunities to stride and let fly seem very limited. Like i said I think pace will prove the turning point, once I can get that half a yard…

  20. John—I always have rather enjoyed that intermediate stage of an ML where you’ve got players just good enough to start competing but not yet so great that you’re one of the best teams in the ML world. I imagine transfer policy and scouting would be ultra-important in a non-dev ML.

  21. Uncle Turf—‘stride and let fly’ goals should be your secondary source of shooting opportunities at this stage. You need first time shots that exploit the smallest amounts of space between defenders. Try them on the training ground if they’re completely foreign to your nature, and you’ll see how and why they’re so effective in PES2010 early on (and throughout, actually). The trouble you’re having is so strange and never reported before by anyone playing PES2010 to my knowledge. It can only be your walk-the-ball-in predilections (as you’ve confessed in the past) that are the key factor in the trouble.

  22. Recalling my then pes 2010 campaigns I played as Liverpool, a sort of reclaim the glory of my childhood journey ( Newcastle never really had that…). I remember a number of thumping shots but mostly scoring from crosses, particularly after buying a big no 9. My crossing is currently really pleasing but there’s no big lad on the end. Turn and shoot doesn’t seem the way. It’ll come.

  23. Uncle Turf—turn and shoot in PES2010 would be very player-specific, as most of them will have that awkward slow turning animation. A few players have a quick turn ability, but I doubt the techniques of later PESes will be very effective. It’s fascinating hearing about all of this, as it becomes more likely (IMO) that your PES2012/13 experience influences and moulds your current PES2010 stab. As soon as you get that tuning fork-style ringggggg of belting a good one first-time, I think you’ll be away.

  24. right, I’m starting to get seriously annoyed with PES 2012 for the first time. I’ve dug deep and put together an amazing run of 10 consecutive league wins, mostly by a single goal margin, overcoming some outrageous scripting and utilising every piece of tactical and gameplay expertise I’ve accumulated over the years. But it’s all rendered meaningless by my anointed ‘title rival’ PSG winning all of these games too, mostly by 4 goals or so, so they are still ahead on goal difference. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything else, but after the extreme mental effort (+600 hours of experience) to get this far, I was hoping for just a bit of a break…..

  25. it’s almost as annoying as Ipswich continually winning in real life but all the other crap teams at the bottom of the Championship doing the same every week, leaving us still in serious relegation danger

  26. Abbeyhill – try living in my qpr hell;-)

  27. NG – I haven’t played PES2013 (it may be the first edition that I don’t play at all) but I can safely say 2011 was a great game. Loved the ML in that, shaping my players as I wanted. Schwarz was a monster, a cannon as I remember you described him.

  28. I did laugh at abbeyhill’s comment (#1) that its difficult to compare player’s from different eras, talking about virtual ML players! That’s why I love this place! For what it’s worth I think Palmieri (2011 heyday) is a complete defender and would still be amazing in lightning quick PES5.

  29. abbeyhill—the downside of crawling your way up the cliff face, hand over hand, from the bottom of PES2012 in the way that you have is that the waiting, grinning demon(s) of scripting—and the macro-scripting of league tables—are all the more galling. You will not be rewarded with anything except more difficulty and unfairness. ‘Props’ to you, though, as I believe the young people say. I never believed you’d make it anywhere close to getting this far.

  30. Grilled Seabass—PES2011’s Schwarz was the best-ever Schwarz, no question for me. I’ve played the last few matches of my inaugural PES2011 season this weekend and the dilemma I alluded to in the post is a very real and very strong one. PES2011 is a great game. It’d be a real wrench to go to PES2013 now.

    PES2013 is worth a look as the concentration of the best ideas from PES2010 onward. Like a next-gen PES Greatest Hits edition.

  31. Abbeyhill – that’s it exactly, it’s like a mirror. When I won my title I lost two games early on but just stayed top by a point or so. I had to win every single game from then on in to stay ahead, the pressure was awful because the AI results were just tracking me to make it harder. At least with games like nba jam they are open about the game not allowing wide gaps to develop. I think 2012 is the worst year for scripting and general screw the player over bullshit.

    Mind, could be worse….2010; 27 games, 4 goals.

  32. Abbeyhill- In my final 2 seasons of 2012 I adopted an all out attack mindset, with my albeit strong team, and really went for it. Really enjoyable and boy did Sibon score a lot. 🙂

  33. Phantom Tollbooth

    Seems like I scored a ton off crosses in 2010, something I have yet to replicate in any edition since. In 2013 they all seem to be turn and shoot or through-ball-run-like-mad-score-1-on-1-vs-the-keeper goals.

  34. 2010, 29 games, 5 goals. 14 nil nil draws….crouch signed for next season. Going to bypass shooting altogether!

  35. Uncle Turf—your starting settings (esp. difficulty) must be the lion’s share of the reason for your troubles. Sounds like you’ve got an abbeyhill-style challenge ahead of you. I still say you should be banging a good few more goals in though. It’s probably handicapped you going back to PES2010 after the more recent games. Your hands must want to try moves that the game just isn’t equipped to pull off. You should just be hammering that ball first time, but you’re trying to turn-and-shoot, etc. etc.

  36. Still bumbling around the bottom after 12 games of my South American non-dev ML. But had my first emphatic win last night, 3-0. I’m starting to get quite attached to my team.

    But not too attached. And that’s why I sold my best player – the 84 rated SS Bassano (I think) who I picked up on a free at the start of the season. He was my top scorer with 5 but a bit of a luxury player. I’ve been playing him as a CF which left him a little lightweight at times. Also his wages were huge. More than 700k compared to the pittance the rest of my squad are on. So I put him on the transfer list and he was snapped up for £5.5m!

    That’s wiped out my forecasted debt and given me some much need shopping money. I need a solid CB, DM and at least one CF. They’ll probably be high 60s-mid70s rated but they’ll be better than what I have with stats in the right places.

  37. John—those are the kinds of tough decisions I imagined a non-dev ML would force upon the player. I might soon be in a position to take some of them decisions myself.

  38. NG – I agree. It’s not 2010, it’s me. Very odd after such a good start, I was convinced I’d be up by season 3. At this rate we will see the whole thatcher years before I get there.

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