The Faraway Back Three

3rd-kit-hoodoo-brokenMost regular readers will know that I have a special fondness for the DMF position in Pro Evolution Soccer. My best experiences of this entire series have come in Master League. My best Master Leagues have always featured a standout DMF.

PES5’s Mathieu, naturally, is the lead example. PES5 has the best of everything.

But there’s also Prieto (also from PES5). Neeskens (PES2012). Coynborough (PES2013). Pizarro (PES2014). Plenty I’ve doubtless forgotten that’d have an honourable mention. Even Donadel from PES2008.

I struggle to remember individuals in any position from last year. But I do remember promoting a certain MILLIGAN from my Youths early on in PES2016. A very Duffy-like player, he was my first-choice DMF in that game for a few seasons.

He’s reappeared now in PES2017, albeit as a 32-year-old already at another club:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20160928131944But why even hang on for a young Milligan in my Youths today when I know I’ll be able to afford much better players more quickly? This non-dilemma addresses the great contradiction of PES2017. It’s far too easy to completely replace your entire starting squad very quickly.

It’s a great PES, like none we’ve seen arguably since the patched PES2014, or PES2011 (for the PES2014-phobic), but it persists with the same structurally weak ML that we’ve seen for the past few years.

I’m very tempted to institute House Rules for the first time in nearly 10 years (since PES2008!) to stave off an inevitable romp to a team of Galacticos in a few seasons. I dunno, though. Just thinking about it.

I welcome PES2017’s beefed-up fouling model. I never thought the PES makers would go even as far as they have done. It’s nice to have at least one match per session that finishes with about 3 or 4 fouls apiece.

My only wish is that the fouling dials could be turned up even more. Essentially, I’d like to see a football game where any tackle that doesn’t win the ball is a foul unless there is a clear and obvious advantage. 10 fouls per side would be about right.

‘But the game will be stopped every few seconds!’

Yes, that’s the point. We’d have to find ways to defend in football games that don’t involve squeezing three buttons and waiting for the game to win the ball back for us. The defensive technique I call sprint-clamping is still very much a thing in PES2017, unfortunately.

Here’s a decent goal I scored with Yankov, a goal that was notable for FOUR distinct reasons. First, here’s the goal:

And here are the reasons:

One, it’s possibly the first time I’ve beaten the AI defenders with an aerial through-ball. They usually get cut out.

Two, it’s the type of finish that used to be a PES staple for me in the PS2 days, but has become comparatively rare in all the games since. I do always notice when I get a ‘rifled from the corner of the area past the keeper into the opposite corner’ goal (that name won’t catch on).


Three, it was a rare instance of me doing the AI on the counter-attack. Catching the AI full-back out of position with Yankov – by no means the quickest player – was very rewarding.

Four, it was the VERY FIRST GOAL I had managed to score whilst wearing my 3rd Strip. I was beginning to develop a true footballer’s-style superstition about this kit. I was wondering if having the PES Chronicles sponsor logo plastered across the chest in such a self-regarding and masturbatory fashion had swaddled my digital players in bad karma or something. The Pro Evo equivalent of saying ‘Macbeth’. Glad I broke the goalscoring hoodoo, anyway.

So there’s a lot going on in that seemingly rather straightforward goal. It has multiple layers of meaning and hidden reward – the very essence of the appeal of Master League.

In the wider context of my progress, well, there isn’t a great deal. I’m only averaging 3 matches per day, due to real-life factors out of my control. That should settle down soon. You’ll see me cruising past in the fast lane to my customary 10+ seasons. Hopefully.

Updated: 30th September 2016 — 12:02


  1. NG – neither did I. Didn’t win crap on pes 2016. I’m a pass and move kind of player and what I’ve found is that this years edition rewards dribbling more.. So that’s a factor I guess.

  2. 8 games left in season 2, 3rd in the championship on 72pts, Sunderland are runAway leaders on 82pts, there’s only 3 points separating 2nd to 5th, will be a close run in for that 2nd placed auto promotion spot.
    Arcas has yet again been my main man, 79 OPR and top scorer with 14 goals. 16yr old regen Adebayor just came on as sin and bagged his first club goal with a good downward header.

  3. NG – my thoughts so far is this game is still the same fast and furious high octane game, with little player individuality, which is a shame as there is a great game there if there was a way of calming it down a bit. But at least it doesn’t have cricket scores.

  4. Edited 5 strips for next season, I spent most of my 2 hour sesh wheeling and dealing. Got a wad of cash for finishing 2nd. I still cant buy any supestars but have got a couple of cheapies and a couple of youths.

    I got beat 2 -1 by the old boys in Borodins Testimonial. Di Natale was stunning. Leverkusen is FC Bozens first match.

  5. Was playing around this morning as I just had half an hour before work. Tried -2 game speed on dynamic wide camera as the wide camera complimented the slower speed as a zoned out camera always makes the game faster, so it didn’t feel sluggish. Also used fluid formation tactics and the game now doesn’t seem frantic at all. It also offered me hope on the individuality front as well. As these two areas where my only issues with the game (which has fantactic potential) things look promising.

  6. Darryl – Individuality currently feels completely piss-poor and the lack of fouls really annoys me, but I’m loving the game and enjoying sedate, sim-like matches that only occasionally veer toward the fast lane. There’s definitely a sense of how you play it that dictates how it is. E.g. if I lose the ball I don’t automatically bear down on sprint-pressure, except in dire circumstances at the end of matches.

    We can chalk up that fast and furious feel to the drive for football gaming to be ‘fun’ first and foremost.

    Sadly we’ve been conditioned to bear down on the (in)famous 3 sprint-pressure buttons when not in possession of the ball, and do kung-fu slide-tackles all over the place.

    Before release I often used the phrase ‘sleight of hand’ to describe what I expected PES2017 would be like vis-a-vis pacing and fouls, etc. What we see is exactly what I what I was talking about. Most matches have the same amount of fouls in them as PES2016 – 1 or 2 – some have none at all, which is aggravating, and some (maybe 1 in 10) have quite a few fouls. This was Konami’s answer to the conundrum of ‘how do we keep our new playerbase on board but give the older lot something to keep them happy?’

    Once again we have to suffer because the fuckers online don’t want their button-mashing trance states interrupted. The 3D myClub adverts at either end of every pitch in ML deeply offend me. Deeply.

    It’s about time we had a serious sustained campaign for two tiers of football gaming. An online version where those who are happy with their COMPLETELY SHIT ‘fun’ football gaming can stay happy. And one offline that does all the things we want it to. It wouldn’t be hard to do this at all. All it’d take would be offering a toggle switch that alters a handful of values in the code. But they’ll never do it as they want people to move online, ultimately. Sorry, ‘UltimateTeamly’, I meant to say.

    All that said I’m getting a lot out of PES2017 and you should give it a chance. Its AI is one of the best, possibly the best, we’ve ever seen in PES. I don’t recognise the forum talk of toothless AI. I’m experiencing the exact opposite. Try a few matches on TP/SS and see how you get on! See if you run back to Professional as I did…

  7. werd – I’m catching up with you!

  8. Darryl – have you tried a custom camera with zoom 0, height 10 and angle 10? Just like the swing cameras we used to get on PS2 PES, absolutely tremendous

    Unfortunately my experiment with zero bar passing and advanced through balls/shooting did not go well. As intended it made passing through midfield more realistic, but I had forgotten that zero bar means manual crossing which is too awkward

  9. Just tried your camera settings abbeyhill – I recall looking for the same sort of PS2-settings on PES2016 and it not quite being there. This is as close to PS2 camera angles 1-10 as we’ve had since PES6 really.

    Just played a magical session. Scored one single goal. Game still feels great. It’s the Master League scaffolding that’s causing me the most anxiety. Maybe we just have to accept that ML, like PES itself to a certain extent, has been streamlined (i.e. simplified) to draw in a more casual market than used to be the case.

  10. Eager to try those camera settings too abbeyhill.
    Erring on whether to up the difficulty to top player as I’m 2nd in the championship with a few games to go. Do I leave it on pro and if promoted try my hand against the better teams and players of the premiership, or add a double difficulty increase and go top player against better teams.

    Disheartened slightly that a promotion is on in season 2. Especially as I was struggling on regular 2 weeks ago.
    Maybe I should go up to top player right now and add extra pressure to the end of season promotion push ?!

  11. nG – There was actually a mod on the pc version to remove the myclub banners from behind the goal, not long after the game was released. So you’re not alone.

    December and I’m top by 5 points. Got a little cash bonus for 5 wins on the bounce.

  12. £248k bonus Tommy? I’ve had that twice now. Nice touch.

  13. Paul/Tommy – same here. I’m on Pro and expect 4/5 star Bayern and Dortmund to thrash me so I havnt upped the ante yet.

  14. Abbeyhill – I have as I think I suggested it for 2015. It gives a nice overhead view of the pitch and you can see much more of the entire pitch. It is now my go to camera sething.

  15. January window and a wild Totti has appeared! Currently £1.5m in wage debt so doesn’t look like I’ll be picking him up just yet.

  16. Second (small) session was better than the first. Alas I have to agree that individuality sucks ass balls. You can tell the difference between big strong players and small nimble ones but that seems to be it really. Ouch. CPU AI is really good though and team individuality seems pretty good, even in the eredivisie. Lots of long rangers, missed shots by the CPU and good saves by my own goalie. Varied play from both sides… Matches have a nice ebb and flow to them. Reminds me of pes 5 in this sense where teams had very distinctive playstyles as well. On another note, lack of a second division without screwing with the league structures is annoying me just a bit. Thinking about doing a premiership master league for the first time since pes 5.i won’t get to play as ajax but always had a soft spot for arsenal since bergkamp played there… Hmmm. Can’t decide at the moment. If night matches in the eredivisie persist I might give it a go regardless.

  17. #1 – I’m getting 3/5 daytime matches in the Premier League, as it more or less should be. I’ve heard of people being afflicted with all-night matches again but I seem to have swerved it somehow. There’s some talk – probably the usual forum vapour – about the night/day settings on your last Exhibition game before starting ML ‘somehow carrying over’ to decide on your dominant ML match times. I know, groan, ‘I know it sounds crazy but you gotta believe me!’ etc.

    And player individuality is truly as bad as PES2016. Barely anything at all. The ghost of a vanished greatness. One of the Pro Evo pillars has fallen forever. Over the past 3 editions FIFA individuality has improved a little bit, but Pro Evo’s individuality has dropped like a stone to meet it on the level of ‘Big Striker’, ‘Nippy Full-Back’, ‘Agile AMF’ (thousands of ’em), etc. What’s to blame for this? Can you guess?? Can you??? FUCKING ONLINE. Somebody like Chris99 will pop up to mock-innocently ask ‘you mean YouPorn?’ to which I’ll say ‘No, I mean online multiplayer football gaming…’

  18. Paul – definitely time for Top Player. And have you played past Season 1 in an ML since PES2013? They’re all – PES2014 excepted, as it always must be – nothing like the old-school ones we all hark back to. Season 2 promotions aren’t unusual at all. To be honest I’d welcome a Season 2 promotion as I’m less than enthusiastic about another massive long season in D2. In the days of Shimizu and Schwarz et al, I’d quite happily languish in the basement for 7 seasons while my squad knits and individuals emerge, and often did, but that kind of ML is gone.

  19. As if I would.

  20. Lobato is up to 90 ovr, shades of 2016 player development. I’m enjoying it immensely but feel it may be conquered sooner rather than later. I think you’re right NG about the longevity of ML being curtailed.

    Just had my second cpu red card and second penalty. De Bruyn for Manchester City the culprit. This is already 2 more than 2015-2016. The penalty was dispatched into the top corner by lobato. Still no significant long rangers, the keepers are outstanding this year.

  21. Trotskyite entryist

    Well I’m just past the halfway point of my second season on my ML and I’ve now had enough time to meddle with the tactics for my team and I was wondering what other people’s opinions on this were.

    Iv’e tried a few different formations, 3-6-1, 4-4-2 diamond, 4-2-2-2, 3-4-3, 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. I’ve found that 4-2-3-1 with 3 AMF’s and preset tactics of Attacking Full Backs and Centre Targets is very effective. The Fullbacks compensate for the lack of width in midfield and the Centre Targets tactic means that the AMF’s flood the box usually leaving you with 4 men on which to plant a cross. When defending the lack of any wingers means that your AMF’s combine with the two DMF’s to form a compact midfield which the opposition struggles to break through.

  22. As a fellow offline only gamer I say fuck online gaming. I only hope my “other” goto gaming franchise, the elder scrolls won’t go that route. We’ll they have already with elder scrolls online, just don’t make the “default” games online only please. Back to pes, the lack of individuality hit me harder than expected as I skipped most of last years offering. To be honest I’m much more disappointed about that than about fouls or the god forsaken night matches. Sigh. Maybe in my case it’s a case of the eredivisie not getting as much love as the other leagues. This has always been the case but it stands out more this year. I’m gravitating towards a premier league ML more and more… Hmm. Will have to decide quickly.

  23. Had a quite brilliant session last night and seem to have found a nice sweet spot for me personally with -2 speed,13 minute matches and zoomed out dynamic wide camera. Games seem a lot more physical but last game was a no fouls affair which was a shame as the other four were fantastic. Game is so much better when it isn’t so frantic. Although the game is starting to feel easier as the TS goes up.

    As for formations I have adopted North End’s 5-3-2 and with attacking full backs it is very effective.

  24. Darryl – sounds good. I’ve not seen the frantic pace yet but for one half of a match.. So far. Somewhat weird question of the day : how many player names are “known” and spoken by the commentary team in the championship? In the eredivisie there’s barely any mention of players which leads to quite odd, silent matches (mind you this is a blessing sometimes but still… Weird)

  25. #1 – I’ve not encountered many commentated names which makes the ones they do really annoying after a while. Why can’t the defaults be given a bit of attention here?

    Now my team is filling up with regen youth team players I’m getting a greater variety on this front. TBH, I may have to mute the commentary soon anyway.

  26. Quite absent to all this lack of individuality talk. I definitely feel a distinct difference between my players, I can tell their strengths and weaknesses and even their play style by watching them.
    Arcas feels different to anyone, my 2 DMFs feel quite similar but I k ow Gil can hit a blistering shot from 30yards and dribble whereas Clement is a tank, a textbook anchor man and just patrols that centre circle and does the basics, very well.

    So I needed a draw from my last game against 5 match unbeaten Burnley to secure promotion, beat them 1-0 so up the the premier league it is, and with that, a move up to Top Player level.
    The double difficulty increase should make next season interesting.

  27. Cook – good point. Defaults had names in previous PESes, so strange that they’re gone again.
    Paul – maybe, and I hope that this is the case, it’s just my pessimistic nature. Also I’ve barely played any matches so there’s that.

  28. Paul – you’re not alone in seeing enough/lots of individuality in PES2017. And I’ve yet to finish 1 season of course. But I suspect if we were to swap your DMF for my DMF, neither of us would notice much difference. I’m harking back to a Season 1 of Shimizu and Castolo and Dodo et al, which set the standard in this field. Individuality has been watered down, year on year, since PES2013.

    Trotskyite entryist – I’m still persisting with my 4-2-2-2 purely because I deplore the modern trend for lone strikers. This might be the most formation-critical PES ever, though, surprisingly. I notice and take into account the AI teams’ starting formations a lot more in this edition than any other so far.

  29. NG Previously commented that it takes 2 seasons of ML at least to really gauge a PES game and how it will hold up.

    so after 95 competitive matches on PES 2017, these are my brief likes/dislikes summarised:


    – Game play in general
    – Animations, player emotions
    – Attention to detail (often completely overlooked by Konami)
    – Master League Improvements (Player Training/skill training/Transfers etc)
    – AI of COM teams
    – Goalkeepers much improved


    – Absolutely Awful, repetitive and contrived Commentary
    – Player development/growth* (still too early to be sure but seems the defaults develop far too quickly)
    – Team Mates AI and runs often aren’t very intelligent
    – Overbaked nerfing of dribbling ability
    – shots from 20 yards + (ALWAYS seem to zip a yard wide of either post, everytime)
    – COM AI in defensive third, constant 100% pressure and harassment, every team, every game, unrealistic
    – Goalkeepers sometimes too good

    At this early stage, 2 seasons its hard to tell whether this will be a classic PES as in a 10 season plus of old, PES5, PES11,12 and 13 all delivered 10+ seasons for me and were my most memorable PES experiences, but its possible, as long as the difficulty level holds up on the highest settings.

  30. Paul – Good list, and the overdone development has been that way for two editions now.
    It’s to give those who only want a few seasons of ML (probably most people, to be fair) a more compact experience.

    The AI has scored two spectacular long-range top corner goals against me now, and I’ve scored none. I’m OK about this as I know I will get one eventually and it’ll be golden.

    I thought you were a PES6 entrant to the series, not PES5?

  31. #1 – I still suggest messing with league structures etc…

    No games yesterday as MiniWerd 2 id not sleeping well, so I’m not sleeping well. I fell asleep last night during a Truffuat/Hitchcock doc. I really wanted to watch that as well. I woke up at 23:30 with wailing and crying from the floor above so I called it a night.

    NG/Paul – I tweaked motion/running styles etc in my homebrew ML, I know its no excuse that Konami overlooked individuality but it helps my ML world.

    Glad most are enjoying it…hop it we don’t get tropical 2013 though.

  32. NG – PES 5 entrant. Only 2 seasons on ps2 but then a further 8 last year on patched pc version. 8 seasons in div 2. Won nothing. Highest finish was 8th. On superstar.

    Werd – tweaked running styles ?! How ?

  33. Paul – I’m duly impressed with your PES5 venture last year. 8 seasons in D2 on 5* (or 6*?) wasn’t unusual even at the time. I’ve got a long, long alt-ML career permanently on the go on the PC PES5 and I’m still in D2 after 4 seasons, on 6*. I only really play that every summer.

    You can tweak running styles in Edit mode? Never done it en masse, as only werd could do, but I’m sure I’ve seen the option.

  34. I was playing FIFA 16 and a very enjoyable Liverpool career on PS4 but every other night I’d play pes5 pc version. Patched with all the latest players names and teams. Added stadiums. Adboards etc. Was a mightily impressive patch.
    5* difficulty I believe. It was a slog and half. Barely scored but enjoyed the game play so much it wasn’t a hassle.

    Knew you could edit names and appearance but not running styles.
    Might have a look at that.

  35. Paul – I am becoming more hopeful and if the difficulty holds up like 2015 did then this could be a very good ML. I am finding it a good challenge with North End as the players are crap and nobody wants to play for them other than of standard about level I currently have, so no issues there with me and the gameplay is growing with me. The training and seeing the potential effects is also helping me build an affinity with the players already. I like it.

  36. Paul-its in EDIT – EDIT PLAYER – MOTION(I think)
    You can tweak hunched running etc, arm swing, Free kick/Penalty style and 190 or so celebrations. I have only edited 20 of my ML squad not EVERY player as NG thought 🙂

Comments are closed.