The Crouchening

Season 14 Crouch rare goal

Now here’s a sight I haven’t seen all that much in recent seasons – Crouchy on the scoresheet and celebrating as only he knows how.

It was the nicest goal I’ve scored in a while. Below is a minute of actual gameplay leading up to the goal. I like to pass it around and await my chance, because trying to get the ball back from a Superstar AI determined to keep it is no fun at all.

These deft headers past an onrushing keeper are one of PES2015’s signature goals.

The above was the first thing of note that Crouchy’s done in about 3 seasons. He’s often just a missing person, along with Robben, Gerrard, Homemade Hagi, etc. Occasional flashes from each star name simply aren’t sustained. There’s a definite behind-the-scenes nerf of players who do good things.

PES2015’s player-nerf has been counterpointed by my own decline at the game on Superstar level. I struggle to cope against the AI at times. After floating the idea half-jokingly last week, I’m now convinced that there’s some kind of under-the-hood RPG-style levelling-up of the overall AI difficulty that takes place as the seasons pass.

The sweet spot would therefore be when you’ve got a few good players but most of your squad are still just above-average or even below.

No, it’s not been very enjoyable in recent seasons. Mostly this is due to straightforward normal fatigue, but the tailing-off in performance of my key players has contributed to it.

Which isn’t to say the game’s bad overall. It’s certainly not. And with this as my final season I’m very motivated to do well.

Every match is getting maximum focus. And it’s paying off. In 8 league matches played since last time, I’ve won 6, drawn 1, lost 1. Master League tables always reward that kind of effort, and so I’m joint-top after 21 matches:

Season 14 after 21

The frustrating thing here is that Arsenal just will not budge. And even more frustrating (and slightly whiffy) is the familiar way in which, when I lost and drew those two matches, Arsenal also dropped points. All to keep me close.

Still, we’re used to playing Master League with ye olde suspension of disbelief firmly in place.

Season 14 CL group table

A couple of scares in the Champions League group stage. I drew 3 matches that I shouldn’t have. Careless of me. I secured top spot with a swashbuckling last-fixture win over Bayer Leverkusen.

I’ve also sailed through the FA Cup opening rounds. Until I meet the likely big guns in the later rounds, the FA Cup holds no fears for me.

This last-gasp Treble is still very much on. At the rate I’m currently playing – not every day, but long sessions when I do – and all being well, by this time next week Season 14 (and PES2015) will be over.


  1. Nice goal with crouch, the build up play was definitely Stoke Style 😉
    Do you record your matches in entirety then ? wondered how you captured the minute of play leading up to the goal.

    I think I may have a little bout of PES-Fever grip me. After rediscovering the chronicles and such a long time away from gaming and footy gaming, those 2 matches last night, whilst my opinion of PES 15 remains largely the same, has reignited my desire to be playing footy games again.
    I resumed my 4 season old ML career earlier and played 2 matches, and have lodged a bit for Christian Atsu….

  2. n-G – Yep, that’s pretty much my tactic; keep the ball at all costs. Nice goal that. And I do agree there is something uniquely odd about player form/ability as well as formations in PES 2015. It’s certainly not a game breaker but it’s odd.

    I’ve now gone back to a kind of 4-5-1/wide 4-4-1-1 and it’s helped provide some much needed form in what could be my last ML season and my last chance of some silverware. Still in the cups but, now in November, the league is already looking out of reach.

    Paul – Welcome back.

  3. There is just time before the PES2016 demo hits, probably, for a quick season or two. I’m planning to go that way with FIFA15.

    Lloyd clued me into the setting in Share Settings where you can set the PS4 to always record the last 1 minute (instead of 15 minutes). When something interesting happens, hit the share button and save the last 1 minute of footage. Much better.

    Shed – the league out of reach in November? Pshaw! Not in Master League. Only if you’re literally bottom with no points, and even then you’d have a chance. Go for the heroic comeback. 1-0 wins all the way.

  4. Loving the Crouch action NG.
    On for my mystical treble also – I’m currently 20 points clear with 10 games left in the prem and in the semis of the FA Cup and quarters of Big Cup. If I can beat Real over two legs I’ll start to believe. I think this team is the best I’ve ever had – amazingly I still have Leisenthar in goal! Now the most highly rated keeper in the game and still developing at a ripe old age, he’ll go down in history as my favourite ever PES keeper – he’s won me a lot of points with one on one saves. Splashing out over 40 mill on Varane has made the difference for me, talk about a Rolls Royce defender!

    Paul, how the hell are you??? Real life get in the way of some serious gaming I presume?

  5. Just uploaded a couple of clips from rocket league… A bicycle kick to score and a full speed save on the line onto the post:

  6. Chris – which number season are you in now? I’ve still got Leisenthar (sp?) in the squad but he’s seriously declining. If I was playing after this season I’d be replacing him.

    Pete – good stuff and I can go you one better with the goalie save. Hehe, I’ve got a collection of a few random clips form last night’s session with Darryl that I’ll be putting up soon.

    Next time I’m on the PS4 (should be tomorrow) I’ll ‘add you’ and next time there’s a Rocket League happening feel free to pop in. Although if that reverse flip goal is any indiction you’re already playing a level beyond me.

    With one thing and another it might not be until Saturday night that I get some Rocket League in.

  7. And here it is – after Pete’s goal and save double, here’s one from Darryl (the kick-off ‘bank shot’ goal at the start) and one from me (the goalline save).

    If I play Rocket League for the next 20 years I doubt I’ll make a save like that again. Yes, it was partly luck (what a fortuitous little tilt the bottom lip of the ‘post’ gives me, eh?), but those who play the game know that anticipation and reading the game is a massive part of being in the right spot to make the plays.

    After that you see mainly Darryl up to mischief in various ways. Towards the end of our session he started running interference in the American Football sense, which sometimes involved blowing up our opponents. Couple of other goals too. His bank shot goal would have been my highlight, but he might have a different view.

    It’s a great game. Anyone with PS+ has no reason not to try it in July when the download is free. Anyone who’d have to fork out £16, I’d say it’s worth it but YMMV.

  8. I must doff my cap to that save… That was millimetres(!) From crossing the line, awesome save.

    I’d defo be up for some online matches so feel free to add me

  9. NG – just finished playing. Boy is it addictive. It is funny how you see the game in a different light on video. Wow that save looks even better now. I also love how I am wandering up the wall in the background. What was I doing 🙂

  10. Yes it certainly is very addictive. After a full FIFA session I went on for one quick Rocket League game and ended up there till 1am, which is not ideal given my day starts at 6.30am! Does anyone know how communication works online – is there voice chat, or some sort of messaging system?

  11. Thanks for the share settings tip NG shall have to change mine.
    Played 5 matches in my resumed ML last night, 3 wins, including a 4-0 trouncing of man city, a draw and a defeat has ‘rocketed’ me up to 12th!!! half the season to go.

    That rocket league still bemuses me!!!!

  12. Pete – will do, and I’ve seen a few saves like it posted.

    That’s now myself, Darryl. abbeyhill, and Pete – a potential 2v2 match in waiting or a team of 4 to play 4v4 online. Sadly time constraints on me (I work evenings and weekends as most of you know) means it’ll be Saturday night or more likely Monday night before I get to play again. But y’all definitely don’t have to wait for me! If you do meet up, save the replay after each match. It’s an in-game option on the post-match menu.

    Darryl – I’ve seen a few people boosting along the walls and even dribbling the ball along the walls, but generally I think wall-crawling imposes a time penalty where it takes a few seconds to get free.

    I put in that view of you because as soon as you got down you were over in the nick of time to clear the ball after I nudged it off the goalline. Otherwise, one of those lurking blue cars would have simply nosed it in. So it’s an example of the emergent teamwork that the game produces. Even with randoms online that happens in a fascinating way.

    Any thoughts on the deeper strategies of the game? Obviously centering is the big one: one player lurks in the middle while the other tries to nudge the ball across the pitch. Towards the end of our matches the other night I didn’t go near the walls at all and let you do battle while I just goal-hanged 🙂 But are there any others?

    In the midst of all this, PES2015 is still proceeding apace. I’m nearly at the end of the final season and it’s very interesting. Knowing that these are my final matches is slowing me down and making me put my foot on the ball and take my time, and really appreciate the game. Certainly after a frantic session of Rocket League, PES (and hopefully in due course FIFA) is like a refreshing glass of water.

  13. abbeyhill – each d-pad button holds a variety of standard messages (e.g. ‘Defending!’ or ‘Nice Shot’ or ‘*S*&$!’ for your teammate(s)). In practice it’s hard to remember which button says what and you end up spamming ‘Defending!’ when you’re trying to say nice goal. Custom messages will be coming in an update. I’ve seen YouTube vids of people in voice communication so it supports that too.

    It’s because you were in a FIFA15 session Monday night that I didn’t bother you. (I wouldn’t have wanted to be.) You could have joined a 3v3 with me and Darryl. I’ve never gone beyond 2v2 so it would’ve been intriguing. We met another duo who played excellently and we had a best of 3 matches that they won 2-1.

    Paul – It’s a Minecraft-like craze at the moment. Give it a try if you have PS+, if not, I doubt you’ve got the time to enjoy it or get any real value out of it. Especially not with your revived PES2015 on the scene.

    That one minute at a time share setting has changed how I record goals. I know the PS4 was always recording but I liked to create my own snippets, and that was always the slow-speed replays. It was too much bother to slice and dice the 15-min chunks to get live action goals and incidents. 1 minute recording makes this feasible now.

  14. This video sums up the appeal of Rocket League for the puzzled and bemused – setup is that it’s a 3v3 game where the other team goes 0-4 up with a minute left to play, whereupon one of the poster’s teammates quits, leaving it as a 2v3 match. See what happens – skip to 5 minutes to get straight into the scenario:

    Lots of tactics on display, particularly with him hanging back and waiting for the ball to break from melees.

  15. yeah I had a lot of matches going to Overtime last night for added drama, although I wasn’t playing very well. So hard to judge the flight of the ball when it’s in the air. In my games an AI car spawns if someone quits mid-game rather than leaving the teams unbalanced, and usually plays better than the human it replaced. I’m down south in the grim north visiting sister at the weekend but would certainly be up for a 2v2 (or more?) get together on Monday night….

  16. I tend to leave ball-cam on and suffer with the ball in the air too, but the pros recommend tapping triangle to non-ball-cam, and only switching to ball-cam sometimes. Also you’ll rarely see them beneath the ball in a melee except when last-ditch defending. They’re always standing off waiting for the breaking ball. There are vids up on YouTube detailing it all. Also: in the detailed camera settings you can turn off screen shake, increase the distance of the camera behind your car, and all sorts. I’ve never had anyone quit a match yet, although admittedly I’ve probably played less online than you and Darryl. In my typical loner’s fashion I started an offline League against Pro-level bots and they’re killing me!

    While looking at these yesterday I found the PES2015 Fan Mode camera video I made, and the camera looks amazing – on YouTube. In-game, I rarely last more than a match with Fan Mode camera, despite the Blimp-like view being one of my favourite views historically. I’m tempted to see out the last season on Fan Mode camera, but it might be too late now.

  17. I think sitting back is often the best policy, even in 1v1 let the opponent piss around in the corner and pounce as soon as it spills out.

    Any time after 10pm is good for me so seems most of us should be around at similar times.

    I’m amazed any game has been able to drag me away from the witcher 3 let alone football with cars.

  18. NG – I started to dribble on the wall last night as I did it once and it felt natrual. I had not seen about this, so it was pure instinct. It allows you to dribble with pace and have control and when you come of the wall the angle leads you nicely to centre of the goal.

    Played a 3v3 last night and was very happy to get a star man and a hatrick as other 3v3 I seemed to be a passenger in the game.

    Bit annoyed that a few people quit on me because I was winning last night. Especially as I have always played on even if I am losing 10-0 as it is the right thing to do.

  19. wow, please can I be on Darryl’s team?

  20. Abbeyhill – that was one match and normally I am pretty bad and spend some parts of the game wandering around up walls or losing the ball. NG was much more technically gifted than me and has good close dribbling skills. I am more of a rough em up and bash about person. I did add you as a friend request in case you want a game sometime.

  21. still, I am a long way from being able to dribble at all, let alone in a controlled manner! Accepted the friend request so hopefully see you online at some point. I wonder if Turf would enjoy Rocket League

  22. On holiday next week, so will have to get into Rocket when I get back. Still undefeated, W9 D8, 2 points behind Spurs.

  23. Lloyd –your BOOM would have a very different context in Rocket League…

    Back at footy gaming, I fired up FIFA15 this morning for an experimental match, just to see what it felt like. I’ve got the nubbin end of my last PES2015 season still to go, and I had this burning curiosity about FIFA15. On match in my 5-season Career Mode. It felt good. A bit fast, but good. This could be the year I play FIFA throughout August.

    As well as Rocket League I’ve also got Skyrim on the go, and I’m back playing the unfinished XCOM, and I’ve always got a Civilization game on the go. Metal Gear Solid comes the week before PES2016. I’m getting through the Advance Wars games on a DS emulator on my phone. All in all, for something that I’m supposed to have grown out of or become jaded towards, gaming is as much part of my life now as it’s ever been.

  24. Few more PES 15 games last night, 3 wins from 3, including a 5-1 drubbing of West Ham, and a 4-1 mauling of Brentford.
    could potentially move into the european places if this form keeps up, was in the bottom 3 when I started, but 8 wins from 10 games has lifted me up.
    Shaquiri is in a rich goal scoring vein and Maxim, my forward who flattered to deceive has started bagging too, a hat trick against the hammers.

  25. Paul – whatever difficulty you’re on that’s giving you a good experience, stay on it. I think you might still be on Professional from those scorelines, but don’t go any further than Top Player at all, is my advice. The Superstar experience on PES2015 can be exhilarating, but it’s often a tiresome slog. Don’t listen to any of the voices – your own or others’ – telling you that you have to follow the same trajectory as previous footy games.

  26. It is professional NG, set it back to that after being away from the game for so long, didn’t start too well but have ‘learnt’ how PES 15 plays so will probably finish the season and move up to Top Player.
    Superstar is very unbalanced from what i remember.

    Enjoying the games, the long break must have paid dividends, but am still aghast at the fact that key things such as no cpu crossing, abysmal referee decisions, no FK’s or penalties and no injuries, still haven’t been patched despite being fed back to Konami within the first month of release.
    Back then it annoyed and angered me that this was the situation for the next year, now, with under 8 weeks until the new game comes out I’m just playing PES 15 for the good things it does, and not getting angered by the bad bits.

  27. NG – only in my seventh season (it takes me a while, especially on 15 mins). I think this ML will turn out to be my longest ever, and is likely to be my last gen swansong – definitely a fitting one.

    What’s this rocket thing, it looks insane? Are you guys all playing (gasp) ONLINE????

  28. Paul – the minute-long clips are here to stay. They give a better sense of the football in the football game, I think. Not knowing which way it’s going to go is much more interesting. I’ve got a few of the 60-seconders lined up, more than I’ll get to use before ML comes to a dignified end. A couple will make the final ML post next week more interesting. Which end will the killer goal come in? Etc.

  29. Chris – online play has taken place. For just over an hour last Monday I played against Darryl, and I hear others have played each other. I’ll be back online this Monday coming and you can join in if you wish. Rocket League is a current Minecraft-like craze. Like Minecraft, it’s a great game in its own right, and the craze phenomenon is interesting too.

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