I like a Challenge

I got underway, feeling as grand as a ship captain setting sail for lands unknown. That’s a decent avatar of me. I can’t quite achieve that whole Lex Luthor-style, billiard-ball-bald look, though. There’s always a shadow of hair, Lombardo-style. So this totally smooth-headed avatar represents an impossible ideal that I will never attain.

Challenge mode. I have to finish in the top 9. Okay. Will do.

Another cunning Konami stunt, moving the menus from the horizontal to the vertical and hoping we’ll passively accept it as being a revamp. Is there another example anywhere in gaming of a developer so comprehensively shafting a beloved game-mode, year on year, than PES Productions does with Master League? I mean, if there were no Glory Years to remember, this would seem fine, probably, but there are so it’s not. It’s almost as if they don’t want us to play it! I know, crazy talk…

The new Team Status screen. This, plus a slider to negotiate contracts with, are the new additions to Master League.

I decided to go full-throttle old-school with the formation. I need to win games. Goals win games. A 4-3-3, then, similar to my Glory Years’ 4-3-3 (the same formation I was still playing with in PES5, this summer just gone).

Game on!

This is the stuff, right here. Nothing feels better in gaming, in life, than the feeling of the nights drawing in, a sudden chill in the air, the central heating pipes clanking under the floorboards, and the warm hearth of PES flickering on the screen…

I lost that match. And quite a few others too.

Top Player, PA1, before anyone asks. I’m not a great player, and probably should have stuck to Professional for at least half a season as I normally do, but I fancy making Challenge Mode challenging. I will stick with Top Player. If/when I restart, though, following the sacking, it’ll probably be on Professional.

I’ve won one match so far.

Here is the table from a few matches ago – I’ve played more since this was taken, but am still bottom of the table:

9th is a long way away from here.

I’ve toyed with the formation, switching to a version of the 4-3-3 with two DMFs and a sole AMF. Trying to beef up the defence.

It hasn’t really worked out. I still concede, on average, about 2 or 3 goals to the AI per game. I have to go on record as saying I love this aspect of PES2018.

Whatever else happens from here – and the fouls/free kicks situation, year on year, has dragged the series into quicksand – I’ve been waiting since PES2012 for an AI to feel consistently deadly again. Here it is. Brilliant.

I don’t even care that most teams mostly play the same way. There’s never been great individuality at the team level in any football game.

Random thing: I always press L1+dpad-UP to make my kickoffs feature the traditional two players. The game remembers this setting for the rest of the match. Wish it could be permanent.

All hail a momentarily confusing usage of ‘marching orders’ in the American English sense:

These menacing board messages do keep popping up. I saw this one after an atrocious run of results:

Which made me fear for my future after losing the next one. But all I got was a sarky message about potentially clearing out my desk soon. I hear that there is no wiggle-room in Challenge Mode. I will be sacked, probably in mid-season.

I’m tempted to jump before I’m pushed, and restart with a renewed sense of purpose and focus. Every match matters. But this is the first time such a feature has been included in Master League, in this way, and I want to pay tribute to the old girl (meaning, Master League) by letting it sack me at least once.

On the pitch, PES2018 plays a very good game of football. But there is a dark, dark cloud on the horizon. The end-times are at hand. Never in my worst nightmare did I think that the low-fouls of PES2016 and PES2017 would lead to the situation we have today in PES2018. Almost literally no fouls at all.

Roughly 1/3rd (maybe even half) of my matches feature zero free kicks for either side. The remainder feature a pathetic 1 or 2 at most.

15 or so matches in, there has not been one single match with more than 2 AI fouls on me, and that was itself a rarity. Appalling and unforgivable.

So the time has come. I solemnly pledge now that there will be no PES2019 in my life or on this blog if this keeps up. And PES2018 is on borrowed time.

The no-fouls issue, unless it is resolved properly, and SOON, has effectively destroyed Pro Evolution Soccer.

Updated: 19th September 2017 — 11:50


  1. You are effectively saying that whenever you stop playing PES 18, that will be the end of PES and this blog then? As you know full well, like you have pointed out several times, that fouls won’t be patched,

  2. I got the game last night, started a International cup with England, played 5 games, 2 AI fouls so far, one of them within shooting distance. It plays a great game, such a shame about the fouls issue. And the close range free-kicks are great when you get them.

  3. I tweeted stating how fouls issue is ruining ML, Adam replied in his usual defensive way, stating that the issue wont disappear or fade away and is still being actively looked at by the dev team.
    I dont have any confidence in this but enough people are kicking up a fuss to make sure it doesnt just evaporate, what else can we do?!?

  4. Paul – I said there’ll be no PES2019 on the blog, not that there’ll be no blog. Time to stop giving Konami this annual free pass to take the piss.

  5. Paul – whats baffling is the PC community have already patched the fouls issue with a slider I read somewhere. Clearly in the codebase of the game it is possible to do.

  6. n-G – As one of the bald brotherhood myself, I hear you on that pesky back ‘n’ sides stubble. I’m also a member of the bearded brotherhood and often find myself checking out my fellow bald-with-beardies to see their approach to the tricky blend of beard into bald.

    As for PES, that’s quite a bleak sign off there. Like you, I feel like I’m having to take up more and more of the slack to keep on enjoying PES but some things just can’t be played around or dealt with by house rules, fouls being most definitely one of them.

    We all saw this coming though. We all said there would be at least no change in the fouls situation and that ML would be bare bones again yet we all still got caught up in PES Day. Maybe this is just like that week after Christmas when we’re all feeling slightly hung over and rather irritated by the return to normal.

    I suspect the first real feedback will be how many copies of PES 2018 are in CEX by the weekend. A few I suspect followed by a helluva lot more come FIFA 18 Week – FIFA has a week rather than a just day like PES I think.

  7. Neil – I have had 1 shooting range free kick so far and duly pressed R3 to have the BaP-style view of the ball after I’d taken the kick. Really good. Shame it won’t be seen enough.

  8. I thought I’d lurk for a few days before buying the game only to discover a mass mutiny about to occur. I must admit, I vowed to give FIFA a go this year if Konami continued to leave ML in the lurch. I know it’s like swearing off McDonalds in favouor of KFC but I need my fix and haven’t played FIFA in a couple of years. Downloaded the demo last night and it was very enjoyable – my first game resulted in my winning a penalty in the first five minutes which is a good sign, plus the sliders remove some of the issues being described. But… it’s not PES. Maybe it’s time for Konami to introduce a slider system for AI aggression, referee leniency, injuries etc in order to sort these issues out. They seem incapable of getting their house in order though so I just can’t see it happening.

  9. This is a sad situation to be honest. I think the problem is that everybody posting on this blog has a certain age and we look for something different in a football game than kids. But the companies want to sell, and who buys games the most? Kids, or their parents as a gift. So they get their fast & online gameplay and we get nothing.

    In the past year I have been playing FIFA 17 on the xbox one, PES 2016 on PC and PES 2015 on the one. I love the FIFA licenses, how responsive it is… but the gameplay it self lacks something. The career mode is really good, but I don’t like that only lasts for 15 seasons and personally I don’t like the regen system. A lot of people complain that in PES regens kill the game in ML because you already know who is going to be good or bad. But honestly, if you want to take a bad team and win the Champions League, you would like to see on the line up the names of the stars we have now. Fifa 17 random regens don’t make me smile when I get a youngster with Ronaldo/Messi potential but he has a random face and Pedro Martinez name.

    In my FIFA career mode I took Morecambe (worst team in Leage Two) and I am already in the Premier (playing in semi-pro because professional is too hard). When I look at the best players in the world, the names I know are starting to fade away and I see random names that tells me nothing. That’s why I prefer PES, its regen system and its gameplay.

    But then we have what we all know: no fouls, stupid ML set up, no scouts, no budget allocation, horrible commentary, horrendous menus, etc.

    I really fell sad about it, but it is what it is. We can always go back to the classic games and enjoy them…

  10. Have to disagree entirely with the whole regen thing JS Hutt.
    Regens in PES are systematically ‘broken’. As in when a well known player such as say Drogba, retires, he then appears as a youth player in PES, but instead of appearing as a lowly rated 16yr old, with great growth potential, if played in the right way and given match time, and is in a successful team with the right training etc, instead he appears as a highly rated (75 +) player already who, even with minimal training, will develop into a 90+ rated player within a season or two, which is hugely unrealistic.

    Also there is a large number of iconic regens who appear in your youth team after season 2, meaning you can sign a team of well known legendary players, all with high ratings for next to nothing, which nullifies the entire essence of master league, and having to grind out results with unknowns in order to wheel and deal to get a slightly better player in who could make all the difference.

    That’s why nearly every PES fan, has complained about regens for the last few years, you are certainly in the minority by thinking PES regens is a good system.

  11. Chris/JS Hutt – I think you’ve both slightly misread the intent of my post and recent comments. There’s plenty of life left in PES2018 yet. I’m looking forward to teasing what I can out of it and having a decent ML with what’s there.

    My new determination, though, is that once PES2018 is over, whenever that is, that’s it, I’m done with all new PES games. No more new no-fouls PES games. Ever. Release Week next year will come and go without me. I’ll be on PES5 or PES2013 or PES2014 or PES2011 or one of the good FIFAs.

    PES2016 and PES2017 were bad enough. I never in my worst imaginings imagined that fouls would go backwards from where they were. But they have done. And what’s that old saying? Once is bad luck. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

    No-fouls is enemy action. They’re doing it on purpose. We all know why – well, I do at least. It’s fair enough, I suppose. Business decisions are business decisions. And we have all the solid-gold classics to fall back on.

    But PES2019, with no fouls? Never again. You can all hold me to this too.

  12. Shed – my head only ever has that all-over gleaming billiard-ball look for maybe 6 hours after a shave (and even then there’s a shadow in some light). Very frustrating, as I can’t really shave the head every day, so after a few days I’m a proper Lombardo. Glimpsing myself in overhead supermarket CCTV monitors always makes me wince. As for the beard, I’ve thought about it, but can never get past the 1-week itch stage.

  13. PES11, PES13, PES5 all good games back in their day, but feel totally dated now, I could never go back and play any one of them solidly for an entire ML campaign.
    If it really is that drastic NG, then I’d recommend grabbing yourself a half decent PC upgrade, and a PC copy of PES 18 and fill your boots with the patches, including the improved fouls patch already available.

    I saw a pc build shop on ebay earlier offering a quad core Intel I-7, 3.2ghz, 16GB DDR3 RAM, 2GB Nvidia Geoforce GFX card, 250GB SSD Hard Drive, with Windows 10, and gaming keyboard and mouse for £429. Tempted myself.

  14. Currently 19th in the league, 1W 3D 3L. Feels like a normal start to an ML campaign. Getting battered when I push, but capable of my own threat from time to time. Team will grow, and I’ll be at the top end of the table in another season or two. Problem is, I won’t be getting anywhere near 9th this half/full season, so it’s all a bit pointless.

    So I’m bailing and I’ll start again in a day or two. Back to the drawing board (not feeling Sheff Utd’s purple away kit anyway) and considering some options. A slightly better team to start with perhaps, a homebrew team of semi-decent free agents maybe, or to turn challenge mode off. At least that way I can build my team slowly and lose in peace.

    I’ve been reading that a finished Chinese super league and Mexican league could be around tomorrow, so good time to restart.

  15. Paul – that’s a great price for them specs, particularly with an SSD which usually grossly inflates the price.

    I am keeping an eye on how things develop PC-wise. That link you left me the other day to the ‘fouls patch’ seemed on closer inspection to be a less specific ‘AI Aggressiveness’ patch, and there were comments in the comments thread saying there’d been no change, but it is early days – I do have the example of PES2013 on PC, where the modders did introduce a ref strictness slider and it does work very well.

    Tommy – One big positive with PSE2018 that we haven’t mentioned – the slide-tackle nerf! I know from your vids that you’re a keen slide-tackler like me (if the game provides the tool, I’m using it). How are you getting on with 18’s nerfed version? I still try them with the same wild abandon, and they sometimes come off, but nowhere near the same frequency.

  16. nG – Exactly what you said. Yes, we can firmly put that in the ‘Good’ tray…

  17. I thought so NG. you can go bigger on the SSD drive too for that PC option but a 250GB drive would be more than adequate for me, it would only be a PES machine anyway.
    Quite a piss take though having to fork out over £400 just to play a £40 game without issues.

    will be keeping a close eye on the PC patch front.

  18. Paul – I have other PC gaming interests, XCOM2 and Civilization VI included, that could do with a shot in the arm a new hi-spec gaming rig would bring them. Got a link for this eBay seller?

  19. yreah it would be a good investment for you NG, I’d probably get it in a mini tower and slot it down the side of the TV cabinet and connect via HDMI to the large 4k Tv, and just use it for PES.

    heres the link: https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/172732565223

  20. Paul: I agree that the system is broken because when this players are reintroduced in the game they are already 75+. They should be 50 something as everybody else and then grow pretty fast or something like that, given the time. But what I tried to say is that if I want to create my hometown team, I would like it to end up having a pretty good team with players that we all know they are good, not random regens that don’t give you any feeling when you play with them.

    By the way, does anybody know about a good patch for PES5 that only adds, kits, emblems and 16:9 support? I got a copy of the game and I would love to play it. I saw a lot of patches online but they update the rosters to 2017 or 2018, but I prefer playing with Zidane, Gattusso and Ronaldinho rather than Messi, Gozte or Harry Kane for example.

  21. JS Hutt – We shall agree to disagree then.
    I create my hometown team every ML year – I DO NOT want it filled with the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta, Marcello, Neur, Benzema etc as that for me, has no feeling whatsoever, you may as we ll just choose any superstars team from the offset if all you want is a team of highly rated well known players.

    The idea of ML is that you CREATE a team of world beaters, not from already world class players like those mentioned but the joy is in unearthing and developing unknown players who you know nothing about, or very little that have skills that can take your team to the top, the Villalba’s, Embolo’s, Arqas’s, Castledine’s, Rice’s …..

    It sounds like myClub would be right up your street.

  22. Anyone notice you can now train the ml youths before you sign them? Also I’m on normal ml and the chairman want promotion not 9th.

  23. I cant locate it now, but i could swear i read some reference to a PC mod that changed referee strictness in PES 2017. Now, if that was true, and the same guy did it for 2018… Anyone heard of anything like this?

  24. Paul/not-Greg – not too sure about the specs of that system, core i7-2600 chip is about 5 generations out of date, DRAM is DDR3 not DDR4, graphics chip is awful, don’t think it would play modern games at high settings

    (awaits justified abuse from Turf for being a nerd….)

  25. Werd – It’ll be interesting to see what happens if you fail to meet the expectation in the non-challenge ML.

  26. Abbeyhill, wondered where you was, did you see my message from back end of last week?

  27. NG – I had The End by The Doors playing in my head as I read that post. At least this year is a good game to bow out on if you did call it a day. Don’t blame you at all if you did as I am not not sure why we do put up with this nonsense.

  28. NG will be here in a years time, eagerly awaiting an early copy of PES 19 and posting the traditional thumb shot, we all know that.

  29. Shed – there were multiple copies to be had in cex by end of day one (ridiculous regardless of first impressions) but they wanted 48 quid. There will be many many more now, there is always a group of insanely early sellers of everything (I know one, he trades after one play of a game sometimes).

    NG – having revisited 2015 and having a remarkable experience I confidently predict pes chronicles could flourish without 2019.

    Abbeyhill – confirmed. Although I’m giving you a pass this time as it was a public service.

  30. I think EA are intentionally sneaky with releasing FIFA two weeks after PES. It’s enough time for people to see the shortcomings and trade in/buy Fifa.

    PES 18 has the most downloads of any pc title on steam last week.
    Can guarantee the retention rate and number of copies in game and Cex will triple next week.

  31. Turf – CEX are offering more cash (let alone vouchers) than I paid for my copy from simplygames…

  32. Paul/abbeyhill – yes and I see another problem with that range of PCs at least – no onboard wifi. Wifi connectivity is achieved via a plug-in dongle (supplied), which even if it works well just doesn’t sit well with me in 2017. I’d spend 600-700 for an upper-mid-spec machine with 240GB SSD and built-in wifi. I won’t touch anything with a regular HD or even an SSHD now.

  33. Paul – I’m with you on the regens and the lack of an all superstar team in a career. For me it is about unearthing a hidden gem that suits my needs and budget, whether it be a regen or a scouted player from a lesser league/division.

  34. Ng – you could easily fit a WiFi card in that pc for 20 quid. But as Abbeyhill points out if it’s a dated chipset then worth looking at more expensive ones. The price did seem too good.

    Chris99 – absolutely.
    The highlight of my PES17 ML was eventually signing Embolo, after two failed attempts, a low 70s rated CF, and turning him into a multiple ballon d’or winner, multiple treble winner and premier league top scorer.
    I’d never heard of him before that. I definitely wouldn’t have had any sense of accomplishment if I’d done that with a Messi, Kane or Ronaldo.

  35. Could someone, please, who has the pes universe file confirm that in edit mode, in the bundlesliga, FC Augsburg is mostly made up of free agents, and, Hertha Berlin has three ‘blank’ players…

    I think this is down to the file being a “beta” but may have buggered it up myself importing other teams. Just want to check…

  36. Mines off to CEX, I’m done. Unless we get a new engine and head developer that’s me and new PES. Junk since 2013 for me.

  37. METZ – you should get some kind of badge for that 😉 PES2014 was great by the end its year, if you never caught up with that I promise you, it was possibly the last gasp of old-school PES. PES2015 was solid, not great, but solid. PES2016? Uh. PES2017. Great on its day, but its day was a midwinter day overshadowed by its lengthy night (I love that analogy).

    PES2018 remains to be seen. I’m getting strong ‘early PES2017’ vibes from its gameplay, but the continuous play and ‘online individuality’ (i.e. every player has to feel and handle almost the same) is going to become an issue eventually. I’ll stick with it and enjoy what I can of it, but unless there’s a drastic change in design philosophy there’ll be no PES2019 played by me, and you really all can hold me to that.

  38. Ha, if there was a CEX close it would have gone yesterday. Friday I have time to call into one. Only completed around 5 games it just feels hollow to me now PES. If I’m honest I’ve been done with it since PES 6 completely missing 2009 and 2010. FIFA 17 wasn’t great but really enjoy the demo of 18 and that’s my football game this year for sure. Could just about live with the fouls but my particular fly in the ointment is the pointlessness of any stats bar pace (off the ball) what’s the point of signing anyone! The presentation is mobile game standard and any team who put that little effort in with the front end can’t be trusted to put any in behind the scenes in terms of tactics and individuality. PES by name only, a vehicle for myclub (the pachinko machine of football games) konami are soulless across the board and this is evident throughout PES. A side not on Bhatti……can’t stand the bloke, rude, arrogant lier he has as much influence as me into the development that’s for sure.

  39. Luis – there definitely isn’t a working fouls patch for 2017. I’ve searched the depths of the internet for it to no avail.

    Neil – provide a link to that patch for 2018 please? If there is indeed a slider fouls patch I’ll be all over it from the word go.

  40. NG / Paul : the “aggressiveness patch” and others like it are all vague and most if not all do nothing at all. I found that the hard and time consuming way on pes 2017. I found ONE that semi worked and upped aggressiveness but also turned the cpu into superman and made some animations go wonky. So I’m not going anywhere near those kinds of patches with a clear description of what they do.

  41. Hi guys, I’m another one of those usually silent blog/forum lurkers who has never posted before.

    Big fan of Pro Evolution Soccer, but I limit myself to the very first one on PS2 or, in particular, lots of PES 2011 (PS3). I did play PES 2013 aka van der Mirch edition quite a bit when that came out, although I was very pleasantly surprised this summer to find out how much more I prefer PES 2011 (50p in CEX). Having all four West Midlands clubs in the top flight of English football also helps to elevate my fondness for this particular version of Pro Evo. The soundtrack is immense too!

    What I also want to bring to the table is this: if anyone has a GameCube/Wii knocking about, might I suggest going back and giving Virtua Striker 3 ver. 2002 a try? No problem with “no fouls” there! The CPU-controlled opposition team often receives 3 red cards in a match. It offers a completely different spin to video game football, being a footie game that was poorly received in its day, but there are some things about it that have aged well (or at least, interestingly). I’m finding it has a lot of FUN to offer in playing knockout tournaments as various different countries, and searching for the perfect goal as it has a scoring & ranking system for each goal that gets scored.

    Thanks to peschronicles for being the best resource for all things PES-related.

  42. Paul – ah, sorry, missed your message, have responded now!

  43. A soul destroying session on 2015 tonight, lost five games in a row, some where I managed 60% possession. I simply can’t score more than one a game. It wasn’t like this in the release year and I can’t believe it’s entirely due to going manual passing as my shooting is very much still on basic. I think I may have this career terminated as I’m not doing much for AZ. I’ve always reckoned myself to be a good player, not insane Lloyd type goal good but decent enough to win things in season four and titles by five and six on superstar. At this rate I’ll be lucky to finish top half by season seven or eight, with my seventh or eighth team.

  44. Consider it value for money with its longevity then Turf. To be struggling 2 years later !!

    This little twitter exchange says it all.

    View post on imgur.com

  45. #1- did you try those edited dt18_win.cpk files in pes 2017? I looked at one using notepad++, and there was a line where it states the fouls level (level 1 to 5). There were also lines in the code that controlled the foul rate.

    Are these edited files any use at all?

    I didn’t test them as I don’t have pes2017.

    I suspect that the patch Konami issues, if they ever do, will only give us very few fouls, instead of next to none now.

  46. NG – I agree that the game has early 2017 vibes but I also think like the current Hurricane’s it will follow the same path and we will sooner see the ugly side of the game as TS rises. Already saw hints of that last night as my TS tipped into the 60s. Last nights session felt flat.

  47. This is the first ever Pro Evolution ‘Soccer’ that I won’t be buying. Konami’s direction is set and so is mine. Balls to them.

  48. Paul – his twitter handle says it all.

  49. Indeed Tommy – its a Zombie Apocolypse, just with brain dead idiots rather than the undead.

  50. Paul – did you seen my question earlier about the pes universe file? Are you able to check when you’re next on the game?

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