The Patcher in the Wry

My Most Favourite Player after Season 3 was easy. Emre Can. In my Individuality Exercise a season or so ago, I said it was too early to give Can a rating, but that he hadn’t impressed me so far,.

Well, he has impressed me since. Currently he’d get an 8/10 on the Individuality front. I’ve even changed my formation to maximise his abilities, and now play him as an advanced CMF in front of a lone DMF, just behind the strikers. A 4-1-3-2, with the 3 stretched out in a near-horizontal line. It’s a formation that’s workmanlike rather than spectacular, but it brings results (see below). It’s all about Can being a great all-rounder. If he’s out suspended or unfit, I miss him – the test of a true PES individual.

I have more or less emerged from post-patch blues. I still don’t think the patch has done much, but I no longer think it’s done nothing. I would have liked a lot more from the patch. I would have liked PES2018 to be transformed into a proper single-player game. I knew the online multiplayers would get the first consideration, and that is what happened.

I think it’s the wrong direction, but I also understand that it’s the only direction PES can go in and still be a viable commercial property.

The game now has to sell X number of copies, and have Y amount of players playing kissmyfuckingarseClub online, and these ‘people’ have to spend Z amounts of money on micro-transactions while doing so – or the series stops existing. Such is the spreadsheet reality of life in 2017. 10-15 years ago, the world was very different.

Two patch acknowledgements. Three, really. First, I take back my paranoid Internet-era assertion that the patch was a phoney one.

Second, there do seem to be a few more matches with a foul-count above 2. But there are still too many with a count of 0 (ZERO), or at most 1 (ONE).

When it comes to fouls, it’s not about the fouls per se. It’s about the iceberg of which fouls are the tip: continuous play. The goddamn churning, nauseating, endless flow. Bring on a sub at half-time if you want to guarantee him getting on much before the end. There can be no forgiveness for this aspect of nuPES, ever, in my cold, cold heart.

And third, shooting-range free kicks do seem more numerous now. I have seen the above view – lining up a shot over a defensive wall before a free kick in shooting range – possibly 5 times over my first 14 matches in the Premier League on the new patch. Pre-patch, I’d have been lucky to see this view once.

I take back my early impression that the game felt faster now. It definitely did in those first sessions on Thursday and Friday, but over the weekend and yesterday I stopped noticing it.

Life in the Premier League, on Superstar, was tough, so I dropped back down to Top Player for a session, and have since gone back up to Superstar.

I’ve played maybe 6 matches in total on Superstar, and it is brutally tough. Getting anything out of this AI on Superstar is a major achievement for me right now.

I do continue to be mightily impressed with the AI. The variety of its play is remarkable. I can’t finish a post without taking a swipe at the online community. I will repeat that even the worst, most plodding PES AI throughout history has played better football and given me a better game (in every sense), on the whole, than the ‘game’ played by 99% of all human online players. The goddamn PES2018 AI might be the strongest we’ve ever had in this regard.

Updated: 21st November 2017 — 10:59

84 Comments

  1. Paul – yes please! I’ll grab it from PESFX later.

    I’d start the season on SS and move down if it’s not congenial. I’ve moved back and forth 3 or 4 times so far and probably will do again before the season is out. SS is extreme.

  2. I’ll post it here shortly, easier than uploading to PESFX as im not at home so cant build the 3D model preview for the gallery.
    Have the home kit, will make a GK and Away variant to go with.

  3. nG – I know you have little interest in cricket, but will you kindly suspend Cook’s posting privileges so he can get some batting practice?

  4. would kill for the pes6 link paul. been traipsing around the likes of cex trying to find the older pes games for my laptop. did manage to find pes5 on xbox alright so no a total lost cause

  5. Leroy – will get the link uploaded later, also have PES 6 on the XBOX, happy to send it to you if you give me your address.

  6. In my third Prem game on SS last night against Spurs the 2nd half went by without a single break. Its the first time i’ve really properly been bothered or noticed the “CHURN”.

    It was pretty poor really and i’m not one to moan.

    Undeterred I went on to my next game which was a very enjoyable 0-0 draw with Arsenal until the 90+1st minute when a random Arsenal 77 OVR signing pinged a first time shot into the top corner from 25 yards. Had to smile. I’ll be back tonight though…

  7. leroygetz – every time somebody raises the topic of the old games being hard to find, I’m genuinely puzzled. They’re everywhere on Amazon and eBay, and the PC versions of every PES game ever made all pop straight up in the ‘ahem‘ places too. In any case I’ve forwarded your email address to Paul. (JS Hutt – yours as well.)

    Paul – cheers for the kits – that away one in particular is gorgeous.

    Keith – do you think you would you have noticed or been bothered by the churn if you hadn’t read about it online? It’s something I often think about. Until around PES3, my football gaming experience was entirely personal. I knew one lad at work at the time who loved PES too, but other than that and magazine articles, there was no other PES content to be absorbed and potentially influenced by, anywhere. I believe I would notice the way the series has changed, though. You can’t go from what ISS/PES used to be, to what it is now, without noticing a massive shift in the series’ core design ethos and the general session-to-session experience. The churn, when it comes (and a whole half without interruption is a rarity I’d say), gives me a very queasy feeling of unPESness. It’s just not what felt magic about this series all those years ago.

  8. No worries NG, got your email,cheers!
    If you want a different home kit, I can oblige. just let me know.

    I’m pretty adamant that if we didn’t have forums and blogs and youtube and the host of social media we now have, to get info and opinions on games, that most of us would be oblivious to most of the issues of PES, and would just plod along playing quite happily.
    Not saying we are ignorant and wouldn’t notice things like the churn, and lack of fouls etc, but debating them online definitely compounds things.

    Its a fine balance between sharing adventures with like minded gamers who share your passion for the game, and have their own views and opinions on things, and isolating yourself to preserve the purity of the experience.

    SideNote: NG, as a test, I have upgraded my Parallels copy on the mac, and installed a 64Bit ver of Windows 10 on it, increased all the VRAM and HD space available and have installed PES 18, along with a system util that makes games run smoother and reduces VSync and frame rate issues, I will run PES 18 and test it and let you know how well/how badly it runs on low, medium and high settings, hopefully this can help you gauge the spec of PC/laptop you might need should you decide to take a plunge.

    My wish is to get PES 18 running on a pc and looking like this:

  9. NG – All I can say is over the past few years the times that I’ve not forced myself to make my substitutes around the 70th minute and then ended up making 3 subs in the 88th minute have been becoming more and more prevalent but last night was the most extreme example. There’s always been passages of play over the years where the AI goes into power-up mode, last night was a whole half. I’m guessing that if I’d have somehow managed to get a hold of the second half then I could of broken the AI’s rhythm/programming. So, anyway, I think I/we all would have noticed it.

    Most of my early ISS/Pro Evo years were a mix of local 2-player with local co-op and then ML when it came along.
    Spent a whole weekend the other week playing local co-op tournaments with a mate for the first time in well over a decade and it was so much fun.

    Not really sure if I actually properly answered that question. Just went a bit rambly and misty eyed whilst thinking about old games……..

  10. Paul: that video is amazing.

    I have to update you in PES 2013: very first game, Real Madrid vs Barcelona. 2/5 difficulty, 5 min, 0-0. The 3D effect is nice but the default camera is horrible. Switched the camera right away and finished the game in 3D.

    Restarted the game now without 3D and jumped straight to ML. PES united (will edit the team and kits later) 3/5 difficulty, 10 minutes, top division Spanish League. First game 1-1 vs AEK Athens. After that 5 straight losses (Porto, Benfica, etc). Some of my losses 0-3 and 0-4. I know I am a really bad player but I think this game is harder than usual. I think the AI foul average is close to 3 per game. I have tried different formations but I cannot find one that works for me yet. I think the season will be a game over because I won’t have enough money next season to keep my players, so I will probably restart with the same settings.

    I have played 7 games (1 friendly and 6 league games) and only scored two goals. I like it but I am starting to feel frustrated.

  11. Woah, woah, woah, wooo-aaahhhh….now hold on a minute mr not Greg. There are so many things to address there.

    Middle class childhood? Well I’m the child of teachers so it’s hardly coming from a long line of rag pickers but it was the early 70s when teachers were not well paid so I grew up in a pit village terrace house and went to a fairly rough school (more people went to prison than further ed).

    However, in the north east at least cricket is very much a sport with a home among the working classes, rather like that odd marriage of factory gates and public school that marks early football. The north east cricket leagues are full of teams from the kind of places you’d rather not have a bloke trying to take your head off with a rock hard ball – look at Harmison et al from ashington. There are a couple of leafy suburbs involved but they tend to import their players.

    196-4 is about par for the time, place and pitch. There’s no fixed ‘good position’ in cricket, on a par with the 1-0 away win in Europe as all kinds of contextual factors are relevant. You can be forgiven that, I’d struggle to pick out England rugby players in a line up and I take no interest in horse racing for example.

    But chess is pure la di da mr gunner Graham!

  12. Uncle Turf – as with most things I say there’s a strong would-be-humorous element, but there’s a lot of truth in it too, as you acknowledge by detailing the different social dynamics that make cricket more of a working class pursuit in the north of England. This is one aspect of English (specifically English) society where the Midlands very much belong to the South. Probably where Derbyshire shades into Yorkshire there are cobbled streets that echo to the crack of willow on leather all evening and weekend long, but south of that imaginary line, cricket is something that comprehensive schoolkids only come across in school Games lessons. There’s just no interest. My best mate at school loved cricket and tried to convert me on many occasions right up until we lost touch in our mid-20s, but he was a total outlier. I grew up in a working class bubble from which cricket was firmly excluded and it still is.

  13. JS Hutt – I think the early days of any ML should frustrate you, and the early matches/seasons on old-school ML especially so. Stick with it, as it sounds great.

    Paul – I tried all the kits on in the editor and they all looked good, so I’ve gone with them all, home kit included. Shades of Gazza-era Lazio about that. Pics in tomorrow’s post.

    Keith – just had a half-session where the game changed its character again, and the churn was nowhere to be seen. That’s PES2018 at its best. If only every session was like that. I’ve put the PS4 in Rest Mode while I have some dinner and will be back on later. Fingers crossed the game ‘remembers’ that it’s in the same good session.

  14. NG – of course, I am keen enough to poke bears with sticks on here so I would not take offence at any comments like that. I can’t generalise but I suspect there is truth in what you say – many times I’ve tried to convince people that the cricket I know and played is not the morning vicar, leather on willow, Victoria sponge and sandwiches for tea type affair beloved of tv dramas. Yet clearly for some folk that must be the reality, not the dangerous lunatic looking to hurt you with either club or rock. Currently, as I may yet unretire, my last ever game featured my broken finger, a furious row regarding an Urdu word that may or may not have been highly offensive and nine men around the bat for the final ball.

    Just achieved my first octopus in mgs and I’m well chuffed with myself.

  15. NG – look forward to seeing them. Have a spangly set of new kits to import my my maiden premier league season too, something special about getting geared up for a new season.

    Turf – cricket ….. seriously…… probably the least skilled sport in existence. Stand around and catch a ball. Or throw it back to some one else. Or hit a ball with a bat. And how fit do you have to be to run 10 yards bck and forth. Mehhhh. And boring as shit.

    I’d class anal prolapse after a night out in brum, a phaal, a peptic ulcer and 20 pints of Guinness more appealing than watching the Ashes.

  16. Turf – not sure what an octopus in MGS is, and certainly have never achieved one! Like your new plan of neutralising all enemy soldiers at the start of each mission, although I only fulton extract the ones with good skills

    #1/JS Hutt – thoroughly enjoyed the opening act of Witcher 3 in White Orchard, completed all the side quests and crafted some decent equipment. However at the start of the next bit some guy is asking me all sorts of questions about my choices and allegiances in (presumably) Witcher 2 – is there an optimal way of answering or can I just click at random without altering my experience of the rest of the game?

  17. Abbeyhill – an octopus is when you stealth the lot in a mission. There’s other awards based on other animals depending on what you do eg. A bear or something if you kill them all with a knife. I’d only been a chick up till then.

    Paul – 10 yards? Now you’re just showing your lack of sporting knowledge. Luckily for you I am happy to announce NG has agreed that this time every night of a test match for the next couple of months I will be taking over the blog to report on the cricket.

    So…we resume on 196-4, Ali and Malan to face, England will be looking to dig in although Ali not known for that approach, Australia will be looking for a bit more from the pitch than yesterday….

  18. abbeyhill: honestly I’m not sure. I clicked more or less my choices in witcher 2 but I didn’t remeber all of them. Do it randomly because the only thing that might change is some small sidequests. Now is when the game really opens up. Enjoy 😀

  19. abbeyhill – not recognising the octopus reference is very strange, even I had a few octopuses on a few missions (I would always start stealth, but if it went wrong, I’d shoot everything).

    Uncle Turf – all those cricket references to the state of the pitch etc are as meaningless to me as trying to explain to a non-football lover why the defenders closing down the attacking team’s space is so meaningful to the overall game. There has to be personal history with a sport for there to be that kind of affinity. Cricket is just never going to catch on outside its middle-class ghetto.

  20. ah, that explains it, a mission reward graphic – I was thinking I had missed some actual octopuses in the game!

    so Turf, 196 runs in a day sounds a bit miserly especially if the pitch was not offering the Aussies much – were there some rain delays, or just cautious batting? Look forward to the live Ashes blogging here through the night….

  21. Turf – I know where to come if I have trouble sleeping.

  22. I have never ever watched a cricket match in my life…

  23. Abbeyhill – yes, there was an almost unprecedented spell of rain mid day. Englands tail looks worryingly long without stokes and thus proved in that slump for the last five wickets. Fortunately Australia have started poorly and it now looks well poised. Just depends if they put on a solid partnership for the fifth.

    I’m still getting my head round it not being on Sky. They must be fuming.

  24. Can we please ban any Cricket talk on here NG, it sends me right back to sleep.
    the Most dross, boring pittance for a sport ever created. Closely followed by Golf.

  25. Yes Smith in particular looks well set Turf, we could do with an early breakthrough tomorrow. The pitch looks surprisingly sluggish for the Gabba?

  26. Uncle Turf – When did teachers become well paid? (No answer will make me think they are ;))

  27. Paul/all – a decent way to combat the churn is to sit with ATT/DEF levels on 2 (TWO) for most or all of a game, particularly away from home to one of the top Prem teams on Superstar. Had quite a few really good matches last night with the churn factor almost absent. PES2018 when it’s good, is really good.

    JS Hutt – one does not simply sit down to watch a cricket match at, say, 7 o’clock and then finish watching it by 10 o’clock. It doesn’t work like that, for reasons I have often tried to discover but never will now.

  28. Twitter has announced “Everyone is talking about Joe Root’s captaincy on Day 2.” Therefore, let us discuss it………What on Earth does a cricket captain do?

  29. Loads of things Jay – organise the bowling attack, placement of fielders, the order of batsmen e.g. when to send out a night watchman, choose when to appeal the umpire’s decisions, when to take the new ball plus all the motivation and man management aspects of leadership. An infinitely more demanding role than football captain

  30. when to send out a night watchman

    What does this mean? Assuming it’s a ‘balls in the mixer’ type of cricket lingo, but what does it mean?

  31. If you lose a wicket in tricky batting conditions near close of play you might want to send out one of your bowlers as next batsman and ‘night watchman’ rather than risk losing another of your key batsmen

  32. LOL all hail a cricket captain, he must be amazingly talented to say, ‘right you go and stand there, rather than there’, or ‘c’mon guys, you can catch the ball, you’re all grown adults with adequate motor dexterity functions’ ….. the talents are endless.

    Yawwwwnnnnnnnnn.

    NG – I’ll give it a go in the prem if I’m struggling and see if it has any impact.

  33. nG – Comprehensive educated and played ‘competitive’ cricket for school, uni, pub and work teams.

    Paul – 22 yards. Failure to understand nuances does not mean they do not exist, although you are right about golf being a complete waste of time 🙂

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