Month: September 2016

PES2017: 1st Impressions

Here we go. Picture the scene Wednesday afternoon: postie’s just been, curtains are drawn against the September sun streaming through the window…


It’s strange, the thoughts that go through my head when starting a new edition of Pro Evolution Soccer. Where did the year go? How many more years will there be – for PES, and for me?

First thing that struck me was how the top-level menu system is a near-carbon copy of FIFA16’s menu system. (Which was probably a copy of something else, I know. Verily, there is nothing new under the sun.)

PES2017 has heavy players and fouls and for me it is HARD TO SCORE.

After two and a half sessions, comprising about 9 matches in total, the game gets a thumbs-up from me — but it’s always thumbs-up from me in the first days of a new football game. I’m not sure that a self-confessed football game fan’s first impressions of a football game are to be invested with a great deal of significance. How I feel in a week or two, or even in November, is usually more of a guide.

I’ve scored 4 goals – that’s FOUR goals – in those roughly-nine-matches. None of them have been from outside the box. I drag so many shots wide that would have gone in on PES2016.

PES2017’s ‘aiming lozenge’ is a lot narrower than recent football games’ equivalents. I keep on dragging my shots well wide. I spent twenty minutes on the Training Pitch taking potshots from 20-40 yards, long enough to satisfy myself that long-range goals are possible, but will be a lot rarer than at any time since PES2014. Scarcity breeds value, so I’m liking this.

My first goal was a scruffy goalmouth scramble after trying to work space with Vardy for a shot from the edge of the box that was beaten out.

The AI’s first goal against me was a snap volley after some terrible defending by me:

Low player individuality, it seems. Rooney felt like just another generic player. I spoke in comments yesterday about how Rooney is something of a canary in the coalmine when it comes to gauging a PES edition’s commitment to player individuality.

Who remembers the way Shimizu used to feel? As opposed to Schwarz et al?

Arguably — no, definitely — player individuality has been Pro Evolution Soccer’s standout feature over the years. Year after year we tootled along happily, enjoying that eerie, lifelike player individuality. Then the solid brick wall of online multiplayer gaming came along, and PES hit it. Things have been different since then.

One bonus — a very pleasant surprise — is that PES2017 seems, on first acquaintance, to have delivered on the fouls front.

There are still matches with very few, but there are plenty of matches with enough, and there are some with lots.

And you can adjust your play-style to take advantage of the fouling regime. Here in this clip I am going nowhere with Danny Rose, and in the moment of going nowhere I deliberately chose to move across the defender’s outstretched leg to draw the foul.

Shame I blasted the free kick over, but in 9 matches I’ve already had more free kicks in shooting range than I probably did in 90 matches last year.

I usually have Release Week off work, but messed it up this year, taking next week instead. So my gaming time will be limited between now and next week. I’ll be playing a few International Tournaments and might take a glance at myClub (entirely offline, needless to say; I’m not encouraging the reprobates who’ve spoiled our football gaming).

I’ll be active in comments over the rest of the week and the weekend, of course – and on Twitter too, if I remember it’s there.

My next post will be Tuesday’s regular midday post, which should see me having started my Master League.

And no, I don’t know which Option File I’ll be using yet, and have yet to try to install any of them, so I don’t know how that works yet either. I’ll be sniffing around for the best OF sometime over the weekend.

Happy Release Week!

5 Wishes for PES2017


It’s Release Week. For some, today – Tuesday the 13th – is Release Day itself.

For most of us though, myself included, it’s Release Day Eve. I hope the preorder fairy brings everyone their heart’s desire with that satisfying rustle-and-thud of the letterbox on Wednesday morning.

A short post today, detailing the 5 things that I want from PES2017.

  1. AN AVERAGE 5 FOULS PER SIDE PER MATCH. I know, dream on, right? I’m pessimistic about fouls in PES2017. It seems to be a lost cause, because nothing must be allowed to interrupt the online multiplayers’ trancelike states. Most matches in PES2017 will still feature a token few fouls, or even none at all. But I can dream of matches like my standout demo match, Germany vs France. It ended with the fouls count 7-5 and for that reason was easily the best match of the lot.
  2. NERFED SLIDE-TACKLES. The stupid long-range sliding tackles seem to be firmly in PES2017, to judge by the demo. They remind me of the grabby-arm thing in a platform game. The way to deal with these is to punish mis-timed ones with fouls and cards, every time – as in PES2014.
  3. PLAYER INDIVIDUALITY. This has been absolutely shocking for two editions, probably an even worse sin against PES tradition than no-fouls football. PES2016 was worse than PES2015. The demo contained lots of encouraging signs of hope. A rebirth is possible for what was arguably always Pro Evolution Soccer’s standout feature as a gaming franchise. I await the experience of Master League to find out if the full game has delivered. After 20 or so matches of Season 1, I’ll know.
  4. 10 seasons of a Master League. That’s my ballpark figure.
  5. Moments to remember in 20 years’ time. They don’t have to be many. In fact, even the best PES games tend to only yield a few. I remember a couple of Mathieu goals from PES5. A 45-yard screamer from Owenn in ISS98. That Crouchigol special in PES2015. Hagi’s free kick in PES2012. Even PES2016 had a few. I want some from PES2017 too.

So there we have my 5 wishes. Give me fouls. Nerf those goddamn slide tackles. Show me some true player individuality – please God don’t let nearly every AMF in the game be an identikit clone again. A good long satisfying Master League of 10 seasons or more. And some special moments that I might remember in 20 years’ time.

None of those wishes are too much to wish for.

While we twiddle our thumbs waiting for our PES Santa to come, and at the risk of sounding like one of these ‘blog people’, what’re your wishes for PES2017? Let me know in the comments! LOL…


Bring back Stewart Houston

And so we come to the end of another footy game year. No, PES2017 isnt out officially until next Thursday, and there’s another post to come on Tuesday before I start posting thumbshots and First Impressions and all the rest of it. But today feels like the end of term.

I’m still fooling around with FIFA16, with great enjoyment. I tell you, once I stopped pissing about with difficulty settings and sliders and just focused on enjoying the game, all the problems melted away. Professional difficulty and Default sliders are where this game is at for me.


I’m toddling along just outside the top 6 of the Championship with my Coventry City team. I’ve got Marcus Rashford up front as a loanee. He’s an underperforming loanee, I should add – this mid-2015-produced game doesn’t ‘know” he’s a teenage starlet. In FIFA16 Rashford is just a moderately decent young striker.

I encountered Arsenal in the FA Cup – and what a difference. Most neutral observers would characterise real-life Arsenal’s playing style as ‘tippy-tappy bullshit’, and it was great to see it reproduced here. This is an era in footy gaming when most players feel more or less the same, and most teams do as well.

I struggled to get anything going, and whenever I did, I found everything stuck to their keeper, Szczesny. Much of the time in FIFA16, keepers palm or punch away crosses and corners, creating follow-up opportunities. Szczesny frustratingly caught everything thrown at him, reducing my chance-creation by about half.

I’m not a very sophisticated football gamer. I’ve only got the vaguest idea what people mean when they talk about foot-planting. The phrase ‘on rails’ makes me go ‘pshaw!’

I lost 0-2 and it was a deep, satisfying game of computer football, the kind of experience that the FIFA-scoffers would insist cannot ever happen in FIFA.


The final stats, though, show zero fouls per side, which is terrible. But the enjoyment I had from this game just goes to show that zero-fouls football gaming can still be enjoyable if there are simulation-like elements to compensate – in this case, the eerie lifelikeness of Arsenal.

And with that with that I draw a line under FIFA16 until further notice. See you sometime in 2017, team.

Here is that line:

I might skip Tuesday’s post in favour of a Wednesday post complete with PES2017 thumbshot and basic first impressions. ShopTo and Royal Mail willing.