The last days of PES2018

So… nearly… there. A few more frustrating draws have made it very unlikely that I will close the gap between me and the leaders.

Amusingly, Man City, who were the runaway leaders, also drew both of their matches in the same weeks that I drew mine.

United have overtaken them now. I’ve got United next in the league. With 5 matches left I suppose it is technically a 6-pointer, but even if I win I can’t see the RNG fairy being kind enough for it to matter much.I’m still in both Cups. The end of Season 8 and the end of the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise as a living, annually-renewed presence in my life is about two hours’ play away.

It feels scary and liberating at the same time. Scary because for umpteen years I have always had the prospect of The Next PES to draw me through the year. The annual release of a new game lent shape and structure to the passing months. The first springtime stirrings of PES2019 are not too far away. This year, there will be no PES2019 at the end of the rainbow. That’s scary.

But it’s liberating because, well, there effectively isn’t a new Pro Evolution Soccer game every year anymore. There hasn’t been one for a few years now. It’s taken me this long to admit it. It’s taken me this long to realise that the flavour of PES that I have come to call ‘nuPES’  is new product that bears the PES name.

It’s not all bad, though. There’s a lot that’s good. My most recent session was packed with the good and bad of nuPES.

As shown by the table at the top, I’m trying to close the gap with the league leaders. Which the game is well aware of.

I had a home fixture against Bournemouth and it was harder by many orders of magnitude than any encounter with any top team in the whole game. I’ve played all the Premier League top teams and many of the European ones too, including two fixtures against Barcelona. None came even close to the difficulty of playing Bournemouth – at home.

They stormed into a 0-2 lead by halftime, in a match that the game as a whole knew I needed to win. Okay – coming back from behind is one of PES’s traditional glory tales. I was more than up for the task. This could be a comeback for the ages.

Into the second half, I got a scrappy goal back to make it 1-2.

So there I am, now 1-2 behind with 65 game minutes elapsed. Bournemouth kick off and keep the ball.

And keep the ball.

And keep the ball.

Fair enough, I think, I’ll commit a foul and stop the game that way. Might pick up a card, maybe even a red one, but whatever.

So I start sprinting and sliding, trying to foul the CPU players.

Every slide tackle is skipped over.

Every double-tap X is evaded.

After 10 in-game minutes, I started to marvel at what I’m seeing. Of course. I should have known. I’ve just scored, so there’s now a CPU keepball/raised threat-level script running.

Long story short: I finally managed to stop the game in the 85th minute with a scything slide-tackle from behind on a Bournemouth player who was clean through on goal. Red card. I took it.

I cleared the free kick and swept upfield with my 10 men and scored an equaliser. 2-2. The final whistle went as Bournemouth kicked off (not that I would have got the ball back anyway). A partial comeback, but that long period between me getting one goal back in the 65th minute, and getting to touch the ball again in the 85th minute, was transparently artificially-enforced by the AI.

Not to say this match was unenjoyable. I roared when I got that last-minute equaliser. nuPES in a nutshell.

I’m in the FA Cup Final – for the second season in a row. My mostly forgotten striker, Stepinski, played in the semi-final to enable my bigger stars to rest. I like to kid myself that accumulated stamina actually matters.

He scored this fine mid-distance goal. Quite a strike:

Friday’s post will be my last-ever ‘live’ dispatch from any current PES game.

Next Tuesday will be my End Of Year Review of PES2018.

And then – who knows.

Updated: 6th March 2018 — 12:05


  1. Abbeyhill – re “thinkers”….Paul Pot?

    There’s always been the odd random vent on here, and often it was NG raging against Werd’s latest summary of how he’s switched from pes 2013 to 2011 and developing a bundesliga in 2012 while he waits for skyrim to load. Then there’s Darryl’s irritation with the whole of society…. Those mad people who seem to despise cricket…..I well recall offending someone called Adam when I pointed out the palindromic value of his name…

    I never feel as comfortable with FIFA, probably because it’s not what I’m used to but the one big advantage it has straight out of the box is the correct editing. I will never defend the need to fanny on with either option files, manual changes or simply playing with West Yorkshire white. In this day and age that is total crud.

  2. Horses for courses I guess Turf. Some people, like Werd arguably get more out of the editing side and creating their own multi coloured fantasy worlds than they do playing.
    Others love realism and everything correct.
    I personally like a balance of both. Love FIFAs authenticity, but it’s being able to design and change kits a la PES.

    I saw the official FA Twitter acount recently posted an ad for the upcoming FA cup match Leeds vs West Brom and it was titled WEST MIDLANDS VILLAGE VS YORKSHIRE WHITES.
    Nice nod.

  3. FIFA continues to bring the goods. currently at almost the midway point of the first season and suddenly have four matches in one week. Quite like it though, brings an extra challenge. not finding it too hard on Professional, am second only to Spurs on 6 points difference but it is just challenging enough. Just had a great match against Chelsea, got 1-0 in front after which they immediately threw everything forward as if to say “we’re not going to be beaten by lowly Hull”. Even the commentary team commented on that fact. Had me reeling for a large portion of the match but I managed to stand my ground and sneak in a counter after being under siege for about 50 in-game minutes: 2-0 for me and the match over and done for. Great stuff.
    In the match after, Watford got ahead by a lucky own goal and defended throughout the rest of the match with all their might. Could not break them down apart from a few long range pot shots but it was just as “frustrating” as it should be.

    Afterwards I got an e-mail saying 9 players were in danger of leaving due to contracts running out and the midway transfer window approaching. Renewed all of them for a hefty wage increase but they are all worth it as all are crucial squad players.

  4. Ah yes, something pes shats all over FIFA on….the manager avatar. I hate the cut scenes showing nothing like me on the sideline.

    World class is most definitely my level, much better game, lost 1-0 but felt a fair test.

  5. Turf – oh on the contrary as l love people and their social interactions within the framework of lives they believe to be real. I love the social rules that we find ourselves abiding by.

    I will give an example. From November I have been getting the bus to work as there are no trains until 25th March. The bus from Fleetwood to Preston takes about 2 hours and trundles through every village on the Fylde Coast. Since last week I have found myself talking to an older lady who travels the full journey. I think we struck up a camaraderie because we are the only two who stay for the full journey. The ritual we go through is that I will sit behind her. However the awkwardness lies in the fact that it is difficult to speak for a full two hours. But if I was I was to sit elsewhere she may think I am rude. But going home is different as she is usually reading a Kindle and I get on with mine. There seems to to be a unspoken rule that sitting with each other at night is not required and we use our Kindles to communicate this. If we were to try talking for another 2 hours again at night, then this would be difficult. Today she informed me that she has quit her job from Friday and won’t be commuting anymore.

  6. My apologies Darryl, I guess the odd rage just stood out. However, you are of course aware that said ‘older lady’ will be a government plant. The coincidental journey, the conversation, the sudden quitting of the job….they’re going to take you down on Friday night.

  7. #1 – Had a few m ore matches on FIFA last night and it continues to please me in how realistic it was.
    Played Man City in the Carabao cup 4th round, now if this had been PES, City would not have felt any different or posed much of a threat if any, it would have been another comfortable run of the mill match, but last nights match was possibly the most difficult match I have ever played in any football game.

    City spanked me 4-0, could have been about 8-1.
    Their passing, pace, incredible, DeBruyne ran the show, couldn’t get near him, poor old Yaya’s legs couldn’t keep up, Sané’s dribbling caused all sorts of problems, so I man marked him which left gaping holes elsewhere.

    They simply played just like City, with key players standing out massively, and tore me a new one!

    Next up I played Bournemouth away, after a tight first half I grabbed 2 goals for the win, then Liverpool visited, Mané and Firmino were superb, Ox was strong in the middle, it was 1-1 and they brought Salah on late in the game, his pace was just unstoppable, he set up their 2nd for a 2-1 defeat.

    This is all on just professional, default settings 10 games in, I’ve seen so much more variety, intelligent AI, and realistic matches so far than I did in 10 seasons on PES, this is the kind of stuff that makes you excited for the next match, which is Man Utd @ Old Trafford, I’m already thinking about how to nullify their threat and what my team should be.

  8. Darryl – I love this!. I take a bus to work that takes longer than another I could get as it gives me time with my Ipod classic and good listen to some music I wouldn’t get the chance to listen to at home.
    I always try to sit in the same seat near the middle right hand side so I can see the sunrise over a certain field. Being a bit of a misanthrope i rarely speak to any fellow passenger but I love this routine and that other people have theirs too.

  9. I used to get the bus, never again, the world’s weirdest, smelliest and most mentally fragile people all congregate on buses.
    Tainted me for life.

  10. Paul – bit insulted there dude

  11. Darryl – too coincidental that the old lady has quit her job now. She’s obviously thought ‘I cannot stand another one of those awkward sessions, morning or evening; only solution is to tell him I’m quitting, and walk to work’.

    Paul – one of the things I’ll be watching for in PES2011 is AI team styles. I.e. the Man Utds and Barcas. I remember Sunderland were a weird bogey team. Goes back to the realism-fantasy point you were making yesterday and most of us wanting something between the two that suits our personal taste. I’d put myself almost exactly in the middle of the spectrum on that front.

    Uncle Turf – cricket again? Now you’re just upping the ante. Werd, get him.

  12. You’ll get over it WERD.

    What you failed to grasp was that I was obviously talking about in my local area.
    Your bus may be full of tweed suited professors and elderly bird watchers that whistle on their whole journey, the route I had to take went through a lot of largely underprivileged estates, single mums with 24 kids that think they have a god given right to the front 8 seats to park their buggies because they have to get to the benefits office before 9 to get in line so they can afford their harvester lunch and primark shopping trip.

    I wouldn’t class you as being in that demographic Werd?

  13. Paul – You really are the Piers Morgan of these comments. No offence, especially as I rather like Morgan’s rants and how they are reported as “news” by the tabloid media.

    I also have to thank you for those FIFA settings. While it takes time to adjust to, that camera angle (broadcast, low and zoomed out) really adds another dimension to the game (FIFA 17 in my case) and the atmosphere as you get to see more of the stadia and crowds in normal play.

    I’m also given assisted passing (manual for through-balls and lobs) a try and I can see why it’s a good setting for us recovering PES players. Far less frustrating. I’ve kept the Operation Sports sliders and gone up to World Class to balance things up a bit.

    The result was two fairly comfortable wins for my Colchester side last night, although this is against Div 4 fodder of course. It’ll be interesting to see the difference when I play better sides.

  14. Shed – Piers is a man after my own heart, says what he thinks, doesn’t worry about precious princesses, and has the balls to say what others only think.

    The broadcast cam with zoom at around 8-10 and height 0 is superb, its like a proper zoomed out ver of the PES broadcast live cam without the annoying disorientating zoom in cut scenes.

    My Wife walked in the room and said ‘Are Liverpool playing?’ as she genuinely thought it was a real life TV game.

    I have since notched the manual through balls back to assisted, as whilst manual for lofted through balls is much better, normal through balls kept being intercepted because i wasn’t pushing enough power into them.

  15. is the Mail Online comments section not working at the moment?

    Started season 11 on PES2011 3DS last night, think it will be the last one before switching to FIFA18. Actually quite excited about the prospect as I’ve been away from the series a while. Some great close season transfers including Aguero coming in to replace Iaquinta, Nani for Agbonlahor and Chivu at the back, still sticking to the ludicrous 3-3-4 formation as nothing else works. Predictably poor start to the season owing to all the turnover but at least the team is playing some proper football at last, in contrast to the previous one dimensional ‘run down the flanks and hit a hopeful cross’ tactic

  16. The irony of a 7 year old PES game on a flash-in-the-pan handheld console having more depth and individuality than the current day game on a powerful console.

  17. Indeed Paul! Even a really bad version of classic PES still has a lot going for it compared to modern fare

  18. I really wanted to play a handheld classic PES as you are Abbeyhill, hence why I recently bought the Original PSP again and several old classic PES games but they are just so lacking, the camera views so poor, and the PSP screen is such a poor resolution it was a no-go.
    Wish I could find a copy of PES 12 on the Vita, since they removed it from the PSN Store.

  19. Paul – Vita homebrew. Emuparadise. (Just found an ISO for PSP PES2012 there and they are all legit.) Sorted! But don’t mix your football games. That’s the surest way to end up playing nothing.

  20. Thanks NG – I had looked into homebrew before but you have to reinstall the hack everytime you power off the Vita, so was a bit of a hassle.

    Seem to have found a newer HB version here: so will do some research and see if i can get it running.

  21. Paul – I’m pretty sure the Vita homebrew scene will only get deeper and richer as the support from Sony starts going (if not already gone). If nothing else you’ll have a handheld PS1 in your hand as well, as they all run on it. Strangely, there doesn’t seem to be any converted effort to get PS2 games running on it.

  22. Would have thought the PS2 area would have the most appeal, as most of the PS ‘classics’ were PS2 based.

  23. There’s some technical issue that no one’s ever had a crack at getting around, not even Sony it seems as all the PS2 games that are on the Vita, are ports. The PS1 games are just the originals.

  24. Proof if ever it was needed that werd lives in the 1950s as he takes the omnibus up hill and down dale, saying a cheery hullo to the postman and the bobby on the bicycle…sorry mate but I’ve read the odd Agatha Christie, that old biddy in the front row will be a poisoner.

    I’m currently in Preston, not many trips left now and I’ve settled in to a highly familiar routine myself now. It takes exactly two and a half hours, I park in the same place every time, jacket spud in the campus canteen and a stop off in Kirby Stephen on the way home. If anything changes such as them replacing the menu choices or building houses on my car park I’ll likely fail the degree.

  25. Well they blocked off a road near me to repair one of these Snowflake Britain burst pipe things, causing a ripple effect in the bus service that is currently making me walk a bit to get a different bus in order to catch my usual bus from a different part of the city, and I don’t know what’s real anymore.

  26. Nobody ever heard of Taxi’s ?

  27. Paul – Taxis!? What and have to make smalltalk with the driver and then tip him for his “trouble”? I’d rather walk or even join my fellow riffraff on the bus. Actually, I tend to drive everywhere despite the fact Brighton is almost always busy and has ridiculously high parking charges. Midi-Shed is now at that age where I’m very much in Dad Taxi mode – I don’t charge or make smalltalk however.

  28. NG – indeed the thought had crossed my mind but it would be a long walk. I think she may have gone to the length of quiting her job to avoid me.

    Paul – quite an accurate description of the types of people who get this particular bus.

  29. Taxi’s – only use them as a last resort of there is no other alternative.

  30. Season 2 has started pretty well for what is still largely the initial Cardiff team The best addition is Costinha, although Holtmann does well on the left, with the added bonus he can play up top.

    Won the pre-season tournament, although I only played the final. Don’t get too excited though as the other teams were Fulham, Genk and Utrecht. There was even a trophy to lift

    First game of the season was home to Chelsea, and after just about holding them out for 80 mins, they over committed and Danny Ward got a last gasp winner on the break (cue jumping off the sofa and screaming like a little girl).

    Be sorry to see you go Darryl, but I guess by lunchtime tomorrow this site will have been hacked and all mention of you removed. Don’t get on the bus tomorrow if you’re the only passenger, that’s all I’m saying.

  31. Barely any of the taxi drivers round here speak english, or know where they are going for that matter so i definitely dont tip any of them.

    Good looking squad Chris99 – Had a few ‘YESSS’ outbursts whilst playing FIFA 18, makes a welcome change from ‘WTF what was that !?!’

  32. well I am a great fan of the bus, it is a 15 minute oasis of calm on the way to and from work where I can listen to music and stare out the window safe from any disturbance from colleagues and family. As I am in the final few weeks of my current job I have taken to going in progressively later and it is interesting to see the composition of passengers changing as days go on: businessmen, then school kids, then OAPs, now just a few random individuals seemingly lacking direction in life

  33. Abbeyhill – You don’t dress up as an old woman and sit by Darryl on the bus do you?

  34. ^^ hahaha !

  35. peschronicles needs a ‘like’ button ^^!

  36. and a status board, emoji’s and a part where we can post what we had for dinner and any family arguments for all to see?

  37. Paul would you like to hear how I dumped my 200k Instagram followers and tripled down on LinkedIn??

  38. Please Abbey – then expect a trolling comment about it. 🙂

  39. This 2 hour bus journey is an interesting one as it goes through every little village along the way, including a couple of culdesac where nobody gets on. The part that fascinates me most is when we get to an army barracks set in the rural countryside. The bus stops at a checkpoint where a soilder gets on and then gets off at another checkpoint a few mins later. This same roitine happens with the bus going in the other direction. This is obviously for security reasons but it would be entirely possible to circumnavigate the barracks if it was such a problem. Also anyone getting off in between checkpoints is asked for ID. They never have any and are always allowed to get off.

  40. A couple of culdesac….culsdesac or culdesacs?

    That event I worried would destroy my routine is going to happen – I was asked if I’d give a professor a lift up to Durham on my way home next time I’m down there. Aaah! What about my podcast listening, the cheese pasty I get in Kirby Stephen, the detour to barnard castle to see how it’s holding up against shop closures (always had a soft spot for barny). Passenger…shudder.

    What you off to do Abbeyhill? More of the same but elsewhere? Or radical career change?

  41. Turf- I love bcastle. It has one of my fave 2nd hand book shops.
    Paul – no worries. It’s my 40th next weds and I’m in a funny old mood.

  42. Paul – Thanks for the squad comment. They’re an evenly balanced bunch, but my centre backs are all in their 30s, so I’m looking to get some youngsters in and train them up.

  43. Werd – Happy 40th for next week, I’ve got another year to go until I reach that milestone. 39 in June.

    Chris – I used my FIFA 18 data to identify some youngsters with really good potential, with the idea of signing them and then loaning out for a season, but its proving difficult.
    I went for A Gomes from Man Utd, a winger with a potential of 90 and Jadon Sancho from Arsenal, AMF with potential of 88, Sanco is on loan at Dortmund so I couldn’t negotiate with him, and a tense office meeting with Mourinho led to my approach for Gomes breaking down as we couldn’t agree on terms.

    Gomes’ value was £875k, I offered £675k, plus a 10% sell on clause.
    Mourinho said that wasn’t acceptable but would sell for £875k, no sell on, so I removed the sell on % and offered £900k, then Mourinho came back saying he wanted at least £3m !!!

    So that was that.

    Doing a bit of true-to-form Newcastle at the moment, being beat by all the big teams, scraping by against the mid table teams and beating the weaker ones. Currently 11th in the table.

  44. Paul – It can be hard getting high potential youngsters from the big prem clubs, but normally the reason is because they are on high wages. I noticed just before the end of the transfer window that I had no CDM cover, so a very quick search lead to a semi blind deal for He’s 68 in my career at the moment, and I got him for £1.2m, £500k signing on and £22k a week. I’ll train him for a bit then give him some game time later.

    Dropbox emailed me today to say I had an account that was about to go dormant. This old PES image was there Don’t know if the blog and Dropbox play better than Imgur. I’ll try putting it in image tags and see if it works

  45. Chris – he’s got some steady stats, and good potential, with some training in place he could turn out to be a gem, £22k is quite a high wage though for a 68OVR 19yr old.

    I cant see dropbox, its blocked here.

  46. Abbeyhill – may I just say in comparison to the above discussions I’m flying the FIFA flag for hardcore. My average wage is £650 a week. I have a few possible options in the free agent bracket but refuse to pay anything above £1500 a week, it simply wouldn’t be right to have one middling centre half on 5 grand while all the others work part time. Consequently I’ve only managed to recruit a 20 year old Bulgarian defender. I have to play 4-5-1 as I only have one fit striker. I’ve not scored yet.

  47. You should have applied for the Royal Marines Turf, you’d have been great at it as someone that obviously enjoys torture and pain.

    Using that FIFA data again, I’ve just filtered it by players aged 17-21, Acceleration > 70, ball control > 68, dribbling > 70, Position = RMF/LMF, Value <3mil, Wages 75 OVR
    and got 36 players back all matching that criteria, so next job is to try to negotiate for a promising winger, on lowish wages who could turn out to be a great player.

  48. Well I can’t even remember what it was like searching for players and getting them in PES2011, so I’m looking forward to rediscovering that all over again. Just been playing a few more test games in it this morning and, wow, it really does showcase just what the newer PES and FIFA games have done. In nuPES you can get the ball with any player and rotate 360 degrees on the spot, to evade an opposition player, and every player can do this and it’s become a baked-in part of modern footy game gameplay. It’s monstrously absent from older games! It doesn’t work at all. My players keep getting bundled off the ball and it feels ‘wrong’ while of course it’s right. Very happy to be resetting my footy game expectations. Hope it’s not too late. Final PES2018 post up at 12.

  49. What you’ve just described NG is how FIFA 18 works, you cannot receive the ball and spin 360 on the spot and evade your marker with just anyone, you will get pushed off the ball, dispossessed, or tackled.
    Yaya Toure has great strength, he can shield the ball (using the L2 shield control) and hold off players, his turning with the ball is slower but stronger, he can bring others into play.
    Vardy can turn a lot sharper and quicker, in tight spaces, and maintain strength, Gayle can turn rapidly, but often gets bundled off the ball by bigger stronger players.

    Atsu out at LM is a pacey winger, can burst past players but often exhibits a loose touch and loses the ball, there are so many traits to each player that shine through in FIFA 18 that you really can tell each player from one another and you can purposely play the ball to individuals for different purposes, knowing what they can do and can’t do.

  50. Paul’s right, L2 is really useful as you often have to hold up play to wait for a pass to open up.

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