As a Mathieu of fact

Having just 8 (EIGHT) teams in PES5’s Master League Division 2 is a wonderful feature that I wish could be brought back.

There are just 8 (EIGHT) teams in Division 2. This means that you only have to play a comfortable amount of settling-in and getting-to-know-you matches before you get to dip into the transfer market and start to bring about incremental change.

In my historical PES5 adventures, I’ve usually helped myself to Ono during the first transfer window. Ono is a wonderful, versatile Japanese midfielder who is almost as dear to me as many of the Defaults.

Ono is so good that he usually stayed to the end. I’ve got another save of PES5 that I’ve played very occasionally over the past several years – a few matches every month or two, with most played in mid-summer. I think that career is in Season 6 or 7 and Ono is a hardy regular there.So I skipped getting Ono this time.

Instead, I helped myself to another beloved regular. The Most Beloved Regular of all.

Step forward, J Mathieu.

I don’t recall ever getting him this early before. Not in the very first transfer window.

I held off getting any further players. Mathieu cost me 4133 Points. Expected Earnings indicated I’d still just be able to pay squad wages at the end of the season. I didn’t want to risk a Game Over.

Besides, I’m not getting promoted this season:

Or… could I? 5 points off the promotion spots…

I doubt it. I just cannot score goals.

4 goals scored in 10 matches says it all. These are the best two:

At least I’m not conceding. The AI is strangely reticent in front of goal – a problem that plagues PES in almost every instalment. I do recall PES5 being like this as well. This isn’t a shock rediscovery.

How’s the general experience? What’s it really, really like, with a 13-year-old football game as my main daily football game?

I said before this PES5 adventure started that I’d be completely honest about how it feels, and I will stick to that promise.

So far I’d rate my PES5 experience ‘only’ as 8/10.

Gameplay is deep and satisfying but I just cannot get anything going for long. The Defaults are too poor.

And this is how it should be. Master League should be pretty dour in Season 1.

This initial dourness is why the PES makers changed the essence of Master League in recent years. They remade ML so that things were instantly ace on the pitch, with skilful players and hatfuls of goals.

That way is not our way. Those of us who were there in the early years of this century recall a Master League that was often so unrewarding to begin with that you wondered what you were getting from it.

So that’s why PES5 feels like an 8/10 sort of experience currently. In classic ML, you have to tunnel through to the great stuff. You have to earn it all.

Updated: 27th April 2017 — 23:20


  1. Turf – sorry for helping explain the PES2008 wonder dribble and spoiling your ML. I think you would have discovered it for yourself though, and as the game becomes pointless at that juncture then hopefully this might have saved you some time! Particularly look forward to hearing about 2009 as it is the one PES I have never played

  2. #1 – Welcome to the PES world I used to inhabit. You will now find yourself in a Garden of Eden situation. Will you ever be able to resist patching a PC PES again?

  3. No worries abbeyhill, you’re right that it is better to not waste 2 seasons when they are 20 team leagues and the fact everyone panned it in advance suggested there was something I’d find. I now have a memory of 2008 which is important to me – confusion, awful defaults, a lack of customisation and one way to play. I’ve just fired up 2009 and it immediately looks better, has more editing options and seems to be a genuine ps3 effort, not the offspring of a non-HD ps2 and stripped down Xbox games union. I did play it but the aliens took those years from me.

  4. #1 – I found a Smoke Patch vid on YouTube and watched some – no major difference immediately apparent, and the player was constantly seeking wing-play and crosses for the exploit-goal that we know so well – but as ever the game is the game that you play, not watch. Good luck with finding the fouls patch. It definitely exists and isn’t a Shangri La-style mirage?

    Uncle Turf – PES2009 was solid. Its only major failing was a PES6-style difficulty curve, i.e. I think I Trebled after 5 seasons. That might suit you. Some people took exception to the big giant arrow that decided things in Negotiations, but it never bothered me. (Master League is already a bizarre fantasy world.) Good shooting, good individuality, and one of the most memorable menu songs in PES lore:

  5. I’m already keener after seeing the 12 team division two. What was the thinking with that 20 team 2008 then the flop back to madeupsville? I noticed bal appears so suspect this was my lone wolf period.

  6. NG – I’ll post a link later, it’s definitely real. The smoke patch itself is content only, it doesn’t touch gameplay from what I’ve read so you need separate patches for that…

    Chris99 – oh yes I will definitely still play it vanilla as I have a very simple rule for modding (previously for just Bethesda games, now also pes), which is play vanilla first and mod / patch later. This way I’ve experienced the game out of the box and when I’m ready to go mods, they’re usually of a higher quality and tested thoroughly.

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