You’re just too good to be true

Another sighting of my team’s somewhat random JIMMY HILL banner:


What a time I’m currently having on PES2017. I’ll rate my last 5 matches, out of 10: 9-8-8-9-10.

A typical 5 matches on Top Player, particularly in the last half of my promotion season, would be something like: 3-6-4-8-5.

What do these scores mean, here? What exactly is being measured?

I’m measuring something intangible and deeply subjective: how PES-ish each match was. How satisfying it felt, passing and shooting. The intricacy of trying to craft a chance against the Superstar AI. The extremes of elation and despondency when chances are taken or squandered. The way that trying to squeeze performances out of players highlighted their individuality. In short, a gestalt of everything that PES has come to mean and represent, sentimentally, historically, and actually.


I’ve alighted on a formation that seems to work for me, providing the required balance between defence and attack. It’s a narrow 4-3-3 with a single DMF. This is the exact formation that I played with in every PES from PES2 to PES2008 (with the exception of PES4, oddly, where only a 4-2-2-2 really worked).

This 4-3-3 is slightly different from my old PS2-days one. Back then it was a back four, a DMF, two central AMFs (no CMF or SMF), and three CFs (none of this fancypants ‘Support Striker’ nonsense). Nowadays I’ve compromised somewhat, and plumped for one CMF-AMF combo, and one CF flanked by two SS’ers.

One thing has not changed: this is the formation that created an air of mystique around the PES DMF position for me. PES5’s Mathieu remains my most memorable player in any Master League ever. Not just by a bit, either. By a long way.

In this kind of 4-3-3 the DMF is critical. He’s the last line of midfield defence and a crucial link to the front. He’s got to be superb, with a big, booming shot on him as well.

Petsos is a decent DMF, in fact he’s a bit more than simply decent, but I’ll need a truly top-calibre DMF for the future. At the time of writing I’ve just landed on the mid-season transfer window (of which more below). I’ll be seeking my main DMF for PES2017. I might not have to look far with a young Darren Fletcher waiting in the wings, but he might need another few seasons to be ready.

Januray 1st, a new signing waiting in the wings showed up — courtesy of my Scout, I now have this versatile CMF:


I hope he’s not just another midfield clone in the style of Bartual.

A boatload of new Youths appeared. I treated myself to Gary Cahill, Michael Carrick (more future DMF material), and Fernando Torres. The latter was a key man for me in my still-recent PES2014 campaign, so it feels like welcoming an old friend.


And of course Torres was a star man in PES5. And my current Home kit is very reminiscent of the homebrew kits I used to make for myself back then…

All in all, it’s as if a magic spell has settled upon me and PES2017. I don’t want it to end.

I’ve got a few clips saved up from recent games — a few goals and suchlike — that I’ll stick together into a little compilation for Friday’s post.

SPEAKING OF FRIDAY… the great man continues to be a shadow of his former self.

If it wasn’t for the still-vivid memory of last season’s heroics (top scorer in the Championship), I’d be shipping Friday out in this window. He’s got the rest of this season to come good again, or I might have to consider moving him on.

Still just two goals all season. One in the Cup, one in the league.

He seems to have no touch, no shot, no aerial prowess. I’ve tried balls to feet, I’ve tried pumping long balls endlessly from all angles, everything. The only thing that’s worked recently was when I dribbled with him, skinned a defender, and lobbed over a simple cross for one of my Youth debutantes to tap in an easy winner late in a game. So Friday got an assist on that occasion, which was nice. This goal is one of the clips I’m saving for the compilation next time.

I’ve already dropped Friday for a few matches in favour of the promising Jarvis, who scored a massive late winner for me versus Manchester United that I spoke about in comments on the previous post.

I’ve also taken the risky step of dropping Rice. He’s maintained the same battling form that first brought him to my attention in the starting crop of Defaults. But he’s no longer all that indispensable now I have so many good midfielders. Rice naturally makes way for them sometimes. Could another early-doors favourite’s star be falling?

Today’s TL;DR version: PES2017 is currently cruising along at a solid 9/10 experience. If this keeps up, the title of Best PES Ever might well be up for grabs. This was so unthinkable just one week ago that I can’t realistically foresee it happening.

Updated: 29th November 2016 — 09:36


  1. Things getting very tense in my ML as the table after 24 games stands Man City 55 points, PNE 55 and Chelsea 52. I have Arsenal next and that is the end of the run of hard fixtures.

  2. Darryl – I forgot to ask a few days ago if you’re aware FIFA17’s The Journey is only 1 season long. I’ve watched a good few YouTube vids of it and it looks wonderful and immersive, but that 1-season limit would do my head in. I’m skipping FIFA this year, just had enough of that whole routine. PES2017 and then PES5. Going to be a classic PES year!

    And that’s a very good analogy about the nuPES individual players being like special cards. Time was nearly every player felt individual. Now most players don’t. It makes trying to unearth the gems an interesting part of PES nowadays though.

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