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. Played my opening FIFA 17 game and there’s a lot of stuff to like. The only things I’m not happy with are corners, the receiver and aiming just feel very loose, is there no receiver off the ball control still in FIFA? And difficulty. I’m currently on pro, that will have to change, but experience suggests the jump to world class is way more than one level. And I’m not doing sliders.

    I still contend the transfer search is poor. You can happily find all the players you like but without a wage indicator you have to click on them to find they are way out of your price bracket. When you are cork city it’s practically everyone. I hoped I could pick up a decent young English league player. Seems only if I have 8 grand to waste on wages. I’ve had to do this too many times.

  2. Turf – scouting will uncover wages, so dont just approach to buy right off, scout the player first, or enquire to buy, both will tell you the rough wages per player.

    Have you tried searching for players with 0-1yrs left on their contract? this will throw up players you can sign much cheaper as their contract is due to run out, or even do a free agent search.

    Look for players that might not necessarily have a great starting OVR, but a good potential rating, with steady game time and training, these players can develop quickly and are cheaper to sign.

    Also, setup a youth academy, sign players, promote to first team, play them loads, good development curves and will be extremely cheap, plus you can sell them on at a good profit.

  3. Yes, I’ve set the scouts away to look for specific players and ending contracts but an academy isn’t possible on a low budget, you simply don’t have enough money to set one up, recruit more scouts and sign youngsters. I’m just really disappointed that they don’t seem to have done much to this area of the game, even the free agents are the same names, Indian strikers, Egyptian keepers, etc. I quite agree that player stats should be masked (and they actually matter in the game unlike pes’s rendering of individuality mute) but you should be able to say ‘exclude anyone earning 4K and above – which is what my wage budget capacity is.

    When your shirt sponsor is clonakilty sausages you’re not in the running for real madrid’s reserve strikers.

    Having given up on breaking bad I’ve started watching mindhunter on Netflix. Seems very promising from first episode.

  4. NG – this is it then! The final stretch for nu / current pes. Must be strange, weaning yourself off a 20 year habit.

  5. Turf – I’m working on writing an API to extract all the player data from the FIFA 18 data engine, if it works I’ll be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of players that match a salary range, will look to maybe host it with a search function over on PESFX or something.

    Agree, more flexibility should be allowed within the game itself.

  6. #1 – I’ve been building up to it for months so it feels easier than if I hadn’t been. I’m excited about no longer being dependent upon ‘current-year’ PES games for my PES fix.

  7. Paul – sounds cool….(rapidly googles ‘api’…..ah yes, Arizona private investigators….?)

    We’ve had the yoko moment, then the retreat to the Indian ashram, this now feels like McCartney is kick starting the Wings project.

  8. Turf: there is a trick to know if a player is good or bad without scouting him. Just make an offer. The price range the other team asks for and the salary the player wants will give you an idea of the average of the player.

  9. Turf – Spoiler alert! If you want to side step the in game restrictions

  10. Thanks for the positive thoughts guys but you don’t know cork city….average level around 57, wage budget remaining 4K, only decent striker injured at start of game, 35 year old keeper, veteran centre half….half a dozen young promising players would be just a start, laughably im 10k per week short of my first choice loan teenager. It’s a whole other world to the usual guides. Some may even say ‘hardcore’….

  11. Turf – a bit crude because knocked it up whilst at work, but API written, added a page to PESFX that shows all players in FIFA 18 with a wage of 8k or less, have a look:
    left stats out so you can identify affordable players then go seek and scout yourself

  12. orlando.jabulani

    not-Greg: Southampton’s left-centre-back is playing catch with your striker, what a mess. Does anyone at Konami watch actual real-life football matches?
    Excited for what is going to be a new era for your blog. As I’ve said before, we all need to get that passion for PES back. My feeling playing PES for the last few years is exactly the feeling I had when playing FIFA on the PS2: it’s boring. Plain.

    Paul: one of the aspects that shook me when watching your FIFA 18 Newcastle-Tottenham hihglights was the fact that players when defending actually take a defensive stance, which happens in real-life and helps players have better agility and reaction to the play. In PES2018 they’re just running around like headless chickens.
    The other was the fact that players’ first touch on the ball is not always perfect, and even if it is good it still takes half of a second for a player to first get the ball, control it and then finally continuing the play. Forces you to think what you’re going to do next instead of just ping-pong passing your way through.
    Match day presentation is absolutely amazing, as expected.

  13. I thought I’d break my month-long silence and risk Brighton’s impressive recent record (n-G pointed out how the Seagulls lose when I comment) to wish you all the very best in your last ever present-day PES sessions n-G. End of an era.

    I’ve used my only-half-joking superstitious exile to quietly get on with my own new/old chapter in footy gaming without you lot influencing and flip-flopping. I actually toyed with the idea of not playing any video games, then no footy games, before finally settling on drawing a line under PES 2018, maybe even all PES and going back to my two quid FIFA 17.

    I’m happy to keep one-year behind new FIFA so won’t be tempted to by FIFA 18 until PES Day at the earliest. That said, I’ve started a rather mammoth task of getting Colchester promoted to the Championship at least – Premier League hopefully.

    I’m now in my second season on Professional, slow, manual passing, semi shooting and crossing, using the much lauded Matt 10 slider settings from Operation Sports. Defending isn’t a problem but a combination of PES muscle memory and tricky new techniques means I really struggle for goals.

    But I’m enjoying the challenge in the way I used to relish that early slog of taking the defaults through a first season of ML. I’m finding YouTube tutorials helpful and, yes, the bells and whistles of Fifa’s Career Mode are a joy to behold after PES 2018.

    This time I’m determined to stick with FIFA and will play 17 to some kind of conclusion before moving on to the by then patched up and thoroughly sliders-tweaked (if need be) FIFA 18 in which I will return to Sussex and BHAFC from Essex having either taken Colchester to glory or bored the Western Homes Community Stadium’s (I know, awful isn’t it?) attendees rigid with my plethora of goalless draws and ugly one-nillers.

  14. Paul — some sterling work there with putting an APB on Uncle Turf.

    Shed — I ended up paying 5 quid for FIFA17 just before Christmas but I feel just as pleased with having snagged it for next to nothing. PES2011 most certainly is next in line for me, and all the unlimited glory of PES past and the best of current FIFA is stretching out before me like an unlimited, stretching thing. I’m off to put a tenner on Everton for Saturday, although current form strongly suggests a score-draw is likeliest, with an away win a strong possibility. But now you’ve commented, the footballing hex is cast.

  15. n-G – I thought given this is pre-Champions League, my comment might somehow avoid the hex. We’ll see. It also doesn’t seem to affect Brighton’s FA Cup reserves – as shown by their thrashing of your Sky Blues in the last round. An attempt at real footy ribbing and riling there.

    PES 2011 is the only PES I would contemplate returning to now. I do have a copy in my new Shed PS3 but I just can’t face another ML environment right now – even arguably the best one.

  16. Paul – I can’t even begin to fathom how that’s possible but sterling work my friend. Thanks.

    My FIFA 17 was four quid if we’re comparing deals.

  17. No worries Turf. Hope it helps.

  18. This has been bothering me. I know you’re attached to assisted shooting, but I feel the developers created a key in the system. A style of playing that once unlocked, reverts current Pes to its mid 2000s pace and overall NARKINESS. My concept of Pes difficulty.

    Your a suave Konami developer, you want that heavy, impossibly sweet pace of the sim aspect of oldPes, or some modding group of mad old PC heads game. But with modern graphics please , no home but my South American legends grow more handsome with each latest yearly rendering. A grace. FIFA, everything is slumped and muggish and an ugly stepchild. So you create options. In Pes, there have forever been options , workarounds.

    Minus 2 game speed. Fully manual everything, means you miss nearly everything. No icons, none but the score. Meaning, none, just you, the ball, and the wonderment these options exist.

    But we Westerners are obtuse. We play all the way , difficulty high. The way I play, you basically can’t turn any nuPes above regular difficulty. It’s ok, because it always seems to mitigate all your complaints.

  19. Paul – he’s saying play PES2018 on Regular, everything on manual, with all HUD elements turned off save the score, and you will get a PES experience much like the PS2 classic era. It’s a good pitch he’s making, but for me the bird has flown.

    NoUSA2018 – thanks for your comment and I see you left a previous one endorsing PES2014 as the last ‘true’ PES game before the glut of nuPES titles, which I agree is broadly the case. I can’t see how your settings would make nuPES have individuality and fouls? My liking for assisted shooting is a hangover of those very mid-2000s PS2 days, when assisted shooting was sublime. For me that’s still the PESness of PES, and unassisted settings lowers the bar. In any case, yes, the bird has well and truly flown PES2011 is my next PES.

  20. Because like you said the bird has pretty much flown. However I am quite taken with the new capacities in edit mode, adding a third kit option and so on, it is so convenient. Base copying a player, and all that, it is easier and looks better than the past.

    I am also looking at PES 10-12, just a few short years ago PES 12 had me in ecstasy.

    It is down to really just one flaw in this 10 to 13 era of PES, that is that forwards don’t streak like they do in nuPES. In nuPES players streak and the ball curls low on to the ground. In PES PS3 before Metal Gear Solid PES of 2014 and beyond, we don’t get those two aspects that make a Ronarid goal so attractive. However for Maradona teams, the short shorts option and general quality of 10 to 13 PES make it very attractive.

    Fouls seem to be increased a tad on pure manual minus 2 no help, I’ve had a fair share of penalties, but I never pass, I always dribble to my doom.

    I’ll grimace when in the 80th minute the stats flash 0 fouls on the cpu despite my settings.

    Player individuality is a psychological torture of self convincing, while at the same time Romarios toe poke and Ronaldo’s glide where only ever first realized in PES 2017 glory. Even Ricardo’s left foot.

    The real answer is a heavily modded 10 or 11, I saw this on YouTube and it seemed quite delicious. I’d be fine with FIFAS shams and shallow fakery if you could turn off the immersion killing giant red cursor hanging over your player. There is snow in FIFA, but that’s it.

  21. FIFAS shams and shallow fakery if you could turn off the immersion killing giant red cursor hanging over your player. There is snow in FIFA, but that’s it.

    ^^ Hahahahahahahaha !!!!!!!!

    You have no idea. cant take comments seriously from someone that states that playing
    PES on full manual, with a treacle like game speed, suddenly makes it like the gloriouS PES GAMES of old. NO it doesn’t.
    There are still no fouls, the AI is still poor, There are still no injuries, COM teams still all play in an identikit manner, and if anything the old PES games were alot FASTER than what it is now.

    As for the FIFA sham and fakery comment, that’s just ridiculous beyond the point of even warranting a response.
    Are you American, judging by the name? Would explain why you seemingly know very little about proper ‘football’, not soccer, football.

  22. NoUSA2018 – While I’m really not tempted in the slightest to try your version of PES, I find myself rather enjoying your slightly cryptic posts in a way that Paul clearly isn’t. Keep it up.

    I’m now at the halfway point of season two of my FIFA 17 CM in Div 4 as Colchester. It’s a long slog with 46 league games plus three cup competitions (I’ve now been knocked out of all of them).

    On the pitch I’m slowly improving and now averaging a goal a game. It’s keeping possession and creating chances I really struggle with. I had one notable game away at Hartlepool in which I had two penalties awarded, a ‘pool player got red carded and my teenage leftback scored on his debut.

    Now about to enter the January transfer window needing at least three new players to replace disgruntled members of my squad.

  23. What level you on Shed?

  24. Paul – I’m intrigued by you r use of a FIFA database API. Is it an online DB search a bit like the one at ? I know there is an official EA API for FUT, for example,%22link%22:1%7D but I wasn’t aware of anything for CM.

  25. Paul – Professional but with the Operation Sports sliders so many seem to recommend. It plays really well but might be partly the reason I struggle to get in on goal as the backline width and depth is tightened right up.

  26. Chris99 – I have a membership to a data science forum/website, that supply datasets, for modelling/research purposes, I was able to attain via that source 3 seperate files, one for all FIFA 18 players, one with their playing attributes and one for personal details, such as wage etc.

    I just wrote a SQL query to join them all up via the Player ID field into one cumulative dataset, then used a websockets DB to pull the data into my website and present the table, with a filter to only show players under 8k wages as that’s all that Turf was interested in.

  27. I’m yet to try the sliders Shed, I’ll probably play the full first season on base settings and then gauge from there.
    I’m enjoying the realistic flow of game play on standard for now, wary of adopting some sliders which tighten things up so much I don’t enjoy it as much.

  28. Paul – sounds sensible. I had a dry run with a lot exhibition games on standard sliders and afterwards switched to the operation sports one. What I instantly noticed : defensive lines are tighter as shed indicated. (a good thing in my view) And there is more passing error both for cpu and player. I prefer playing with them but would do a test run with them first.

    The comment from NoUsa – etc triggered me ; has anyone here played this year’s pes on full manual? Or at least the zero passing assistance setting, I don’t think it’s fully unassisted..

  29. #1 – I have, fully manual that is, passing was fine, but found shooting very hit and miss, the virtual reticule for aiming is so narrow even a micro nudge too far sees the ball balloon wide.

  30. Paul/Shed – I always found using FIFA’s sliders so psychologically ruinous to the experience that I’d prefer to forget they even exist. And yet I think that sliders (or a few toggle switches to control things like fouls etc.) are the only thing that might ever ‘save’ PES now. Strange, no?

    And I understand NoUSA2018 perfectly! His previous comments under another name say he’s a frustrated South American living in exile in the USA and annoyed at how they perceive football there, by the way Paul (as his current username also suggests). The South Americans do know a thing or two about footy, even if the penalty-box grappling thing is now so deeply-rooted there that the coming World Cup is going to be almost impossible for me to watch.

  31. NoUSA2018 – I wish there was a way to get the playername permanently displayed over the players’ heads in FIFA (rather than fading away after a second or two). It’s ‘what I’m used to’ in PES and my ‘visual muscle-memory’ wants it. But this is all by the by anyway – FIFA is months off for me, hopefully.

    The nuPES bird has well and truly flown, but your all-manual, Regular, HUD-free suggestion made my heart go a-flutter for a few moments. We never used to have to tinker endlessly with settings to get the PES experience from PES, and that’s the era I’m time-travelling back to now. I am not coming back (in PES at least).

  32. ‘by the way’ NG – it’s my perogative to dismiss any comments that consider a very good game ‘Shams and shallow fakery’ and if you class a small (not huge as stated) red indicator triangle above a players head as key to killing all immersion then well , you obviously lead a very worry free life.

  33. Unnecessarily touchy there as I meant by the way literally, i.e. non-snarkily, as his previous comment was YEARS ago and there’s no chance of anyone remembering it, and I was gently trying to draw the sting out of any offence he might have taken at being told he knew nothing about football purely based on where he (might) come from in the world, which was not the coolest thing you’ve ever said. Also the whole PES muscle memory when transitioning to FIFA is an issue as you freely acknowledge, years of being accustomed to seeing and feeling one set of values does not vanish. Also the whole FIFA thing is completely moot for me anyway and I was just making polite conversation about a game I won’t be playing until the nights start to darken again…

  34. fair enough, he is entitled to label FIFA as a sham and fake, im entitled to counter argue it.
    Just quite fed up of people shamelessly making excuses for pes over and over again, like its some form of privilege, Konami have literally just f*cked us over year after year for the past 5 years in terms of offline play, whilst they focus on their cash cow, there’s another game (FIFA) which whilst far from perfect, does everything PES should be doing, and does it very well, so libellous claims of fake and a sham, are just that, and i pointed out so.
    also really not fussed if my opinions are ‘cool’ or not, I speak my mind, always have and always will.

  35. Paul – I meant cool mainly in the unheated sense! But yes, I’m down with the kids too. I love the passion you show for football games personally, I feel the same about them. Even when a football game isn’t wowing us and is only ticking over day to day, having something good like a great football game in your life is an absolute net positive. Intrigued to see where you and Turf and Shed and others end up with FIFA. Looking into the years ahead, without an absolute change of tack by Konami, the only hope for a new, living, breathing football game rests on EA. There is no credible case to be made for PES ever being what it was again. Imagine taking that knowledge into an actual DeLorean and climbing out in 2004 and sharing it with the PES fanbase, complete with proof (a video of PES2018’s clones sprinting and sliding around). Just imagine the comedy of their absolute horror. At odd moments of the day I still find myself staring into space wondering how the hell nuPES happened.

  36. I fully expect to get a good few thoroughly enjoyable seasons out of FIFA 18, knowing what I know now about how PES 18 imploded on me, I wish I’d have played FIFA first, exhausted that and then just sampled PES towards the end of the year.

    The main boiling point that it comes down to me for me, regardless of game play nuances, fouls etc, is this:

    In FIFA, I actually look forward to every single match, knowing that playing against Stoke will be vastly different from playing against Chelsea, visiting a real Old Trafford with the noise, crowd chants and players that play like the real players, will be a much tougher test than visiting a Brighton side at the Real Amex stadium.

    I enjoy that proper palpable big match atmosphere in games, I know if I’m playing Liverpool they will attack me ferociously with pace, whereas Arsenal will pass and pass but offer limited attacking threat, knowing that playing in Europe will feel vastly different and that playing Burton will not be identical to playing Barcelona.

    Scraping a 1-0 win because the opposition CF screwed a shot wide from 12 yards late on in the game rather than pulling a lofted through ball down instantly and firing off a 30 yard volley whenever he feels like it.

    Hardly any backheels.
    Team Management.

    Basically FIFA feels different match to match, its a new challenge every time, PES is a rinse and repeat affair with no variation.

    And on that note, I compiled a s/sheet calculating the difference ratio between a players OVR and potential for FIFA 18, and listed the top 20, so in essence, these players are fairly cheap but have massive potential to grow into superb players.

  37. Paul – I do think you come across as unnecessarily aggressive to new commenters in particular if they are ‘thinkers’ e.g. this fellow, orlando jabulani, that pleasant chap we had a while back who was a games reviewer (Neil?). Obviously you are not going to agree with all their views, but equally it would be nice to grow our little community

  38. With all due respect Abbey, I really couldn’t give 2 hoots if you or anyone else thinks I’m aggressive towards anyone.

    If he hadn’t have came here spouting absolute rubbish about FIFA that simply isn’t true, or that the overriding factor in his enjoyment is the red cursor above a players head (WTF?!) then I would have taken him more seriously, and wouldn’t have responded how I did.

  39. Blimey, it’s all gone a bit WENB on here hasn’t it?

    Personally, I don’t feel the need to hate one game while playing the other. PES 2018 gave excellent value for money and even Paul seemed to be singing its praises much of the time. It’s only comparing the game to past PESes that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    As for cursor colour, speed settings and what snacks one nibbles between matches, that’s all down to personal preference surely.

  40. Paul – Cheers for the info, that seems simpler than using a third party API.

    nG – You can turn on the player name in FIFA

  41. Chris99 – I know, and that’s the setting I play FIFA with when I play FIFA – alas, the name fades away after a moment or two. Same for the AI players. It’s not ‘always-on’ and in the hurly-burly of a contemporary football game, it’s much the same as having no name indicator.

    As has been clearly established, I cannot play any other football game unless I have access to the exact same kinds of cursor settings as in PES, and that’s the actual, real reason why I choose PES!

  42. Shed – it should never be about one game vs the other, surely if there are 2 amazing games that only benefits the consumer.
    People will have a preference which game they prefer based on various personal factors, and thats fine, would be boring if we all liked the same stuff, but to make such vitriolic claims that one game is a sham and fake and shallow, especially when factually its anything but, and outshines the other game, is just appalling, hence my response.

    Nice tongue in cheek comment there NG 😉

    Chris – happy to send you the raw CSV files if you want them mate.

  43. Ah, I see. You mean always on names rather than just the player you are controlling.

  44. Chris99 – no, not the whole team – that would be awful – I mean just the player you are controlling, and the AI’s equivalent too. You’ve been away from PES for a long time so you’ve probably forgotten, but it’s possible in PES to have the name of the player you’re controlling displayed above their heads all the time they’re ‘active’, in attack and defence, and ditto for the other team. Playing Wide camera all the time means that’s usually the only way to know which player is on the ball. Relatively few player models are so distinctive that you ‘just know’ the tiny sprites from each other over time. I’ve often wondered if the perception – the PERCEPTION, Paul! – that FIFA has less individuality than PES is due in large part to the absence of that persistent identifier of individuals.

  45. NG – Don’t shout 😉
    I can honestly identify which players are on the ball quite easily in FIFA, probably because I play on broadcast cam which is more zoomed in at an angle, and you can spot the likes of Vardy, or Touré a mile off by their running style and general feel.
    On wide came or equivalent (default) it would probably be harder, especially with a team who’s players I wasn’t very familiar with.

  46. Paul – I meant to say that I like the look of that broadcast cam setting you use but doesn’t it make it hard to pick out passes? I don’t know if you use manual but even on semi I find it tough to build up play and the shifting angles would surely only make it harder.

  47. No Shed, I really like it, don’t have any trouble picking out passes at all, see enough of the pitch to plan the next couple of passes, and can use the radar to see general positioning of my players if need to.

  48. Paul – I might have a look at that setting. What pass assistance are you using? I’m finding manual a little odd to be honest (Fifa 17 this is). First time passes are fine but I often get weirdly misplaced passes from players comfortably in possession.

  49. I play assisted passing, semi assisted crossing, manual through balls.

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