The Volley of Adventure

pes2017-the-burning-wallApproaching 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-speed-nerf-2017The 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.


  1. interestingly my default formation is 4-3-3 rather than your narrow 4-4-2 not-Greg. Nice solid 0-0 away at Auxerre to get us going although E.Canning had a great chance to win it

  2. abbeyhill – ah, the old deceptively straightforward opening match or two. The classic Default ML opening…

  3. and a second 0-0, away at Brest. Will have to scrap the 4-3-3 immediately as there are no decent LWF or RWF in the squad. Liking Giorza so far, and indeed the keeper Melikov has been excellent

  4. I prefer all CF/SS for 4-3-3. I’ve always found the Wing Forward position a bit computer gamey. I know the made-up game is superior to real life, but not in this instance. Don’t think I’ve ever had a memorable WF in any PES. Always played the likes of George Best as an AMF or CF.

  5. Trotskyite entryist

    And so I have just passed the first transfer window and overall I am really enjoying it so far. I really like the team spirit aspect of things, I’ve spent ages meddling in game plan and noticed the huge difference your line up tactics and formation make, my team spirit can fluctuate between 60-80 just with a few minor tweaks. With this is in mind defaults such as Hettich who is awful improve the rest of the team greatly just by being on the pitch. On the other hand though I have found Vrany to be weirdly effective in an AMF role.

    Regards the uses of pace I’ve found that pace can actually be really effective but more so as an off the ball trait. The way your teammates make off the ball runs is much improved on this PES and if they can make that run with pace you will frequently find yourself in a scoring positions. Also, with regards to dribbling I find that you can outrun defenders however the slightest change in direction really makes your player slow down. I don’t think it’s so much pace which has been nerfed on this PES but rather acceleration. If you can get a player sprinting down the wing starting at the half way line you’ll see them outpace defenders, wingers are a lot more effective if their starting position is level with the centre mids.

    With regards to the defaults I’ve noticed a lot of people have sold Arcas believing he plays nowhere near a 75 rating. I’ve been playing him at CM and training him accordingly, his passing and quick feet can be very effective in a congested midfield but I do agree he is rubbish as a striker. One thing I am really enjoying about this PES is how often a 65 OPR rated player can be better than a 70 rated. E.g my first signing Clarke-Harris 65 OVR is far better than Coutinho 70 over because he excels in physicality and pace even if not the more technical aspects. Coutinho might be more rounded overall but his lack of any outstanding attributes means he is largely ineffectual. Clarke-Harris only cost me 300k or so and I’d definitely suggest taking a look at him as a useful first season signing. Another shrewd buy was R.Ince an absolute beast of a DMF who is about 195m tall and literally sends opposition players flying when making a challenge and has a weird knack of always being in the right position to intercept passes. Again he was very cheap so might be worth a look.

  6. NG/abbeyhill – burchet was quick but generally useless thereafter. I miss the SMF option.

    But France….oh please, why not go the whole hog and set it to beginner…..

    Odd situation in my pre January window negotiations. Checking the free agents a mr arcas is listed as available, me having sold him for 7m quid a couple of months ago. I’ve secured his signature and am just trying to free up wages (15 million in the bank yet 400k wage budget). Is this some pes money making scheme, the myth of arcas?

    My best player, out of what is a pretty rank effort, is rice. He is the one for me this year.

  7. Paul, I scored my first dribbling run goal last night, think I beat 2 players… Will upload this evening, it is possible with the right player.

    Body control ie how a player handles being outmuscled is a key factor in beating players as it determines how well and if they stay on their feet when the tackles start flying.

    Personally I hope it stays as is, PES 2016 was so straight forward to just waltz past an entire defence.

  8. Abbey – man after my own heart starting in a foreign league. I liked your Serie A ML.

    No games yesterday as we have moved bedrooms and Mini Werd 2 has swapped with his sis and we have moved back downstairs(3 storey house)so sleeping patterns are mixed at best.

    Paul – so glad to hear your loving it. We just need Darryl in…

  9. Turf – ha! In this instance I would agree that Ligue 2 is weaker than the English championship so there is no chance of losing games 8-0 or whatever. However the French leagues are the only ones fully licensed this time, and I have a distrust of option files

    not-Greg – that’s a good idea, I could keep the 4-3-3 but have Arcas as a SS on one side and another CF such as Yankov next to Coutinho. Quite like my midfield 3 of Rice, Hettich and Vrany

  10. Scored 2 free kicks yesterday, will put Castledine’s in my next video. Also a goal scored by the Cpu that made me go wow.

    No promotion for season 2, 11 points off the play offs with 11 games to go. On the plus side, I’ve got a positive GD +2. Boom!!

  11. Anyone else noticing very few offsides? I’ve never been offside (I simply don’t get that room behind their defence) and the AI has only been caught perhaps three times in 19 games. It’s always been my achilles heel and I’m wondering if it’s simply contextual or a tweaking.

  12. Uncle Turf — I have seen enough offsides, for me and the AI. It’s something I have noticed particularly as it was said of the demo that there were few offsides. You’ve really never been offside in PES2017??? Quite a few are random offsides where the ball is pinging around and I’ll shoot and it’ll hit a player standing in an offside position and the game gives it.

    Trotskyite entryist — with my PES anorak on I’d say DMF was my favourite position. They have such a chance to influence the whole game from front to back. Mathieu circa 2004 of course being the exemplar of this.

  13. Nope, not even from a corner – which was often an issue when I tried a cheeky quick pass. I know they are there, it’s probably just my lack of attacking ability and the AI’s direct route. That said the gap is closing – just lost to Ipswich in the 89th minute after 60% possession and 8 shots on goal to their 2.

    Apart from Rice I’m not feeling anything with any of the defaults, I reckon I’ll have replaced them all in my starting XI by season 2. Hierro at DMF is possibly my favourite ML player of all time, him and the criminally undervalued Ribeiro from 2012.

    I don’t think I’ve had a night match either?

  14. NG – I was in no way suggesting PES 17 should be tweaked to make more use of pace, I was merely observing some frustrations.
    We all know how the wheels can fall off with one minor tweak that ripples through all other mechanics if the game, besides I’m totally loving the feel of PES 17. Even in the early honeymoon days of past PES games I’ve not felt this much excitement for the ML journey that I hope will play out.

    Definitely getting to grips with the game now. 6 games into season 2. On professional, I’m 2nd in The championship.
    Playing Arcas as a SS and he’s the superstar of my team. When played regularly his growth curve is huge. He’s at 79 OPR now. Just started training him in physicality so he can use his pace and dribbling to better effect.
    Giorza also develops rapidly when played regular, he’s my first choice right back.
    Vrany was my sole DMF and was a rock, but retired at the end of last season, his testimonial match was a great nod to him. I’m now playing a 4-2-2-2 with Clement as the DMF anchor man, he actually has the anchor man trait and patrols that circle in the middle beautifully. Also playing new signing Gil Gilberto alongside as a CMF, he has the long range shot trait. Use 2 wide midfielders with a CF up top and Arcas supporting as a SS.

    My biggest signing of the summer though was a 16yr old regen Jonathan Woodgate. He’s at 68 OPR but his height means I deal with aerial balls so much better which I conceded a lot from.
    He’s also a great standing tackler.

  15. Paul — signs of progress from you on Professional are encouraging — I’m still on Professional and my record is shocking even so.

    Uncle Turf — I’ve had about 60/40 split between day/night matches.

  16. And one thing I really don’t like about PES2017: try to dribble the ball into your own goal and see what happens. I tried doing this in my Exhibition matches (to force extra time) and discovered that the game won’t allow it. It auto-clears for you. It occurred to me again last night after a goalmouth scramble at my end, leading to button-mashing of course, that should have resulted in on own-goal, except the game cleared for me. Didn’t like it.

  17. NG – things are looking up. Still get frustrated when working a good chance and receiving the ball where the only logical option is to dribble and attempt to beat a defender. As it just won’t have it. But goals are coming more easily now. Not easy per se. Just easier than they was previously with better players and a better understanding of the game.

  18. Jan season 1 – Three job offers turned down and A.Lobato pops up in the youth team. I’d have signed him anyway as I’m desperate but now I’ll see what the fuss is.

    I think I’m taking the prize for grindingly bad play – 4 points to my name, 4 goals scored.

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