The Double

After 15 seasons’ worth of incessant PES2019 wordage, I will keep this one relatively short and sweet.Season 15 of my Master League is over. This is likely to be the finale of PES2019. I have sucked the marrow of this game, and I am now full up. I have learned never to say never, but such is my feeling currently.

I won the League title. And I won the FA Cup. A classic domestic double.These felt like somewhat anti-climactic celebrations, lacking the focal point of a physical trophy. What the hell, PES Productions?! (PES Productions is the company that makes PES; Konami is merely the publisher.) They were capable of inserting a bogus but perfectly respectable trophy into this game’s version of the Europa League. There was one for the Champions League too. So where is the one for the domestic League and domestic Cup?

Here are my lads celebrating the FA Cup win too:It was super-tough to win this Cup, as the key matches came in a session where I was Not Allowed to play with my customary panache. I ground out a couple of wins, including one on penalties.

Here is the final League table:I completed the season in 3 long sessions, the middle one of which was that troublesome session – one of the hardest single sessions of Pro Evo I have ever played.

Couldn’t score, couldn’t win, all very puzzling. Is there a single football gamer in the world who does not know that feeling as well as the proverbial backs of their figurative hands?

Fulham and Chelsea drew right up on top of me, both breathing down my neck, both threatening to spoil the victory parade. I held them off and won the title with a couple of matches to spare, thanks to my newfound love for walking the ball into the net, mostly. One of the reasons I’m jaded with PES2019 and looking forward to something else now is this game’s dearth of long-range strikes. Having to hit circa 100 to score just 1 is just not on.In the middle of my bad run I was eliminated from the Europa League in shady circumstances. I think I had 10 clearcut chances in a crucial second-leg decider versus Lens, but the superkeeper and/or the post-crossbar, stopped me scoring. Or my players just inexplicably dragged their shots wide.

Despite all that it was a superb domestic season for my front two.I was satisfied, pleased, proud, everything. It’s been a long, long road getting to this point – and it kind of did take me getting a good old-fashioned fantasy team of Galacticos to accomplish it.

Here are very brief highlights from the clinching match, a fine 3-1 away win at Newcastle. There are some celebrations, after all my goals – the third goal being the moment when I knew that that was it, it was all over:

So what now?

FIFA19 is now.

This will be interesting, as I can tell from my 10-or-so warmup matches so far that FIFA19 is a different beast from the last two years’ efforts.

Tuesday’s post will likely be the equivalent of my ‘England versus Scotland’ warmups. I have a few interesting replays stored up.

I hope to get something out of FIFA this year. I never usually make it past a few sessions. We shall see.

But as for PES2019 – what a great run it’s been, and I will of course be at least mentioning the game again on the blog when I come to the End of Year Review in late August. And history, at least, suggests I will play it again at some point.

Updated: 7th June 2019 — 11:58


  1. What a befitting way to finish your time with a largeley enjoyable PES 19. The Double, just a shame you couldn’t have added the trophy that often eludes you, the Europa League, to that to make it a treble.

    That was a nice outside of the leg finish for the third goal too.

    Looking forward to seeing how you get on with FIFA 19, knowing what I know of it, it ‘should’ bring you many joyous moments as some of the play, and animations are so realistic, and with long shots still possible, its a FIFA made for you I think.

  2. NG – What a wonderful way to bow out this term. Many congrats! Good luck with FIFA too. I hope it brings us both much fun. Which brings me nicely onto ..

    Paul – May I ask for your opinion here? In gaming, I generally like to start ALL the way at the bottom, so League Two in FIFA terms, however, I’m concerned this may put me off the actual game by playing at the most grass roots level from the start. I intend to play on World Class, using the OS slider setting, and locked to one player in each match. Would you recommend starting higher for my first foray in order to appreciate the juicer parts that FIFA has to offer?

  3. Paul — still been a fairly decent haul for trophies (invisible and not) in recent seasons. The Community Shield, the Europa League last season, and the domestic double this. A shame the Champions League eluded me (I got to the final and blew it remember), but I am more than satisfied and ready, at a deep inner level, to move on now.

    I’ve still got the water wings on in FIFA19 as PES muscle memory makes me do things that just don’t work. But so nice to feel and taste different things.

    SockWulf — I’ve got more or less the same dilemma. I need to sample Career Mode, but I want to give myself a reasonable chance of good progress before September, ideally, which means starting as CCFC in League One is probably not the way to go. I might just move them into the Championship (you can do that during setup). So maybe take the lowliest L2 team and move them as-is into a higher league — even the Premier!

  4. Sockwulf – I guess it depends on how much of a challenge you want, remembering that starting in League 2, you will be playing league 2 opposition, so the difficulty level will be balanced.

    If you was playing a regular game, ie controlling all the players, I’d say League 2 and build your way up would be a fantastic challenge, but if you want to experience the ‘best’ of FIFA, ie responsiveness, presentation etc but whilst only controlling one player then maybe choose a good team, such as a team in the Prem, or Spanish league or Italian league or something?

  5. n-G – Congratulations! This really does seem like the right time for you to lay PES 2019 aside. Last time just didn’t feel right to me, not with you clearly in such a positive phase of the game and with invisible trophies to win.

    I know we’ve covered this before, but it is a mystery to me why Konami don’t just go back to those fantasy trophies of the classic PES era (see the beauty I just won on PES5). Even a golden PES logo, boot or ball would be something.

    Looking forward to seeing how things go with FIFA 19. Paul seems to have had a good time with it. I love the authenticity of it all but the gameplay on FIFA has never quite done it for me in the longterm.

  6. Paul – Thanks for that. I may begin a game as Wolves to get to grips with the gameplay and management mechanics first then, and look at a League Two start if / when the FIFA hooks are in deep enough.

  7. Sockwulf – Maybe even do as NG suggested and move a lower team up to a higher division, just be prepared for a tough time, especially controlling a lone player.

    One thing I learned from my 11 seasons on FIFA is that in order to properly compete you need to acquire the right players, and play to their strengths.

    I’ve already decided that for my FIFA 20 CM I shall be continuing the rise of the mighty Hatters and taking Luton Town from Championship to hopefully European success!!

  8. Paul – I shall keep that in mind once I’ve delved in with Wolves. I shall go into it knowing that it’s my “learning” game, and that I shall attempt something more challenging in the near future. I just feel that I need to taste the sweet parts of the game first so that I know that they’re there, before a more long-term lower league slog. I love the lone player approach as it puts more emphasis on the management side of the game too. Now doubt I shall add my own house rules as I progress to further enhance things.

  9. SockWulf – The Lone player scenario, ie a kind of BaP mode, is appealing in theory but I always get too frustrated with my CPU controlled team mates, they never make the right decisions, or runs, and there’s too much watching the game go by, when I would rather be playing it properly.

  10. Paul – To each their own, friend. I’ve played almost exclusively on Pro Evo’s ‘Fix’ setting since PES 6 and have truly loved the experience. I know I’m in the minority there, but hey. 🙂

  11. SockWulf – my comments were intended purely from my own personal viewpoint, i meant that style of play isn’t for me, obviously you enjoy it and that’s great.

  12. I know Paul. I didn’t read anything negative into your response. It really is a personal thing that I enjoy, and you are correct, it can be immensely frustrating at times having to rely on CPU team mates. However, a decent AI can also make this very rewarding (for me at least), so I look forward to what FIFA 19 can offer on that front. I have high hopes!

  13. SockWulf – have you checked out ‘The Journey’ Mode in FIFA?

  14. SockWulf — that’s one of the reasons why I’ve always bounced off the BaP-type modes – the experience of playing as one moving part in among the AI on both sides, is poor IMO. When everything gels and it works, it’s one of the greatest footy gaming experiences ever, but that’s too seldom for me. Which is exactly what a lot of people would say about ML and the like of course, so it really is a case of what you’re used to. My most-hated feature of the solo player modes is being subbed (or being a sub from the start) and having to watch the rest of the match. I would literally watch paint dry before I’d watch the AI playing with itself.

    Shed — as ever, the blog is a few days behind where I am now, and so this year’s FIFA fiddle has begun. So far so refreshingly good, and this one does feel different as Paul and Darryl have been saying all year. But PES muscle memory is a hard thing to overcome. It’ll be interesting to see if I make it past a week or two at least.

  15. Paul / NG – I have also bounced off the BaP/Journey modes, but mainly because you’re locked onto one player for an entire career, and that gets a little samey, plus the modes can be too one dimensional for me. Playing fix/locked mode in ML/CM provides variety as I progress because I can switch players and positions on a game-by-game basis. I also still get to enjoy the whole management aspect of the game too. Also, unlike in BaL, when playing Fix in ML you get to control the sub should your starting player be taken off. No paint drying viewing required. God, that was indeed tedious!

  16. Sockwulf -choose a team in the Irish league, its way further down than even league two, winning something European would be monumental. If it doesn’t go well you could always go for a job elsewhereas part of your career journey. That was my plan before fm intervened.

    Congrats NG. The rather looming turd bobbing towards the no fouls flavoured punchbowl is the no long ranger suggestion. Pes 2020 may be something akin to arsenal 2000s meets speedball 2. With a broken transfer system and no cups.

  17. Uncle Turf – That may well become an option once I’m past this first impressions venture. I shall keep it in mind. Do clubs approach you without applying in FIFA 19? I know you can browse the jobs manually, but I can already see that system is flawed. When simming I would’ve been able to move from Tranmere to Willem II after about half a season, so I’d need to apply some house rules to that if I want to use it as a method of changing clubs in CM.

  18. Well done sir! A fine double is a great way to go out. I can but hope that August is this years release date again. Normally a change to my personal yearly calendar like last year would bother me but I find myself yearning to see if the rumours of an engine change are true.

  19. NG – Great stuff and a fitting farewell to an epic adventure.

  20. superb not-Greg, perfect end to a great 15 seasons. I like the fact that one of your all time favourites Mathieu scored the crucial first goal in the decisive match. Shame he doesn’t have the DMF role these days, even so I’ll probably pick him up myself in the next window.

  21. enjoying the world cup abbeyhill? (not the one that started last night)

    Seems to me like NG ended his 2019 adventure so he could devote a bit more viewing time to the avalanche of sixes now seeming commonplace. They must be playing with shorter boundaries/stronger bats.

  22. SockWulf – One thing to bear in mind if you start in the lower divisions is the sheer number of games you will have to play. Not only are there 46 league games plus every round of the League and FA Cup, but you’ll have the Checkatrade Trophy as well. Unless you can commit a lot of game time, or don’t mind swimming, I would say start in the Championship.

  23. Chris99 – Thanks for that, and it’s a fair point, but I’m also leaning towards simming away matches too as part of my setup. I’m trying it in my Wolves test save atm, and it’s working fairly well imho.

  24. Turf – don’t follow the one-day game closely and am confused about its dumbing down into a 300-400 run per side thrashfest. Especially given, as Paul would be quick to highlight, such totals would be more than enough to win a proper test match. How has it actually been achieved – changed rules on field placements, batsmen training as one-day specialists?

  25. Abbeyhill – it is indeed a slight mystery why test cricket hasn’t become more expansive because as you quite rightly say if teams treated every game as if it were 50 overs then they may well post higher scores. However, there are various reasons could explain – in one dayers you can’t have more than a couple of fielders in the deep for the first ten overs, after that it’s still only four, so batsmen can risk lofted shots as the chances of being caught just short of the boundary are very slim. Test matches they are spread out and bowlers have the luxury of bowling at a slip cordon. Often the ropes are brought in for one dayers, either for entertainment purposes or as the home side asked for it (at one international I worked I was standing with the head groundsman when the England fielding coach told him the captain would like a shorter boundary back over the bowlers head – it was duly moved in). The pitches are also in different states – not for the first innings but by the second it may have seen 100+ overs ie. the equivalent of the whole of a one dayer played on it, so by the final innings they can look and play like dirt bmx tracks. Try pulling one off a good length from a quickie with the new ball on a 4 day old test pitch and you are going to be really pushing your luck. Try it in the first over at aworld cup and you have much better odds. So players basically approach each format in very different ways.

    I know what Paul is going to say though….Adam gilchrist!

  26. SockWulf – all they’d have to do would be to make the AI vs AI portions of matches skippable and I’d have probably been playing BaL and BaP for the past few years. It would have at least been a regular feature of my annual footy game cycle. As things stand, just the thought of BaL makes me feel unhappy.

    Gary – there are rumours every year of an engine change and a complete revamp and ‘we won’t need supercancel no more’ and ‘catchup bug is gone!’ and all the rest of it. A huge chunk of money rests on them being able to convince us that this is finally the one foretold in legend. PES2020 will be a tweaked PES2019. The last big change in PES was PES2013 to PES2014 and look how that went for them at launch. I think we were lucky to still have a PES after that fiasco. By the end of the year of PES2014 it was actually one of the most notable PESes ever made, but I doubt that earned them any extra money and that’s the bottom line.

  27. Darryl – cheers, and it really does seem as if I’m spent with PES2019 now, so I’ll soon be finding out just what FIFA19 was/is all about. I predict at least a good go for it this year.

    Uncle Turf – no long-rangers in nuPES is something I have tolerated too long. When you catch one just right in FIFA19 it feels so good… Whisper it though, but not many of FIFA19’s long-range efforts seem to fly in either. I’ve scored maybe 1 in 20 matches so far – and it was the 1 from Dier in England-Scotland that I posted a week or so ago. Nothing since. I’m beginning to suspect a parallel nerf on the FIFA side of things, as would only be expected in a game that needs to restrain online exploiters just as much as PES does. I don’t recall seeing any long-rangers (25+ yards) posted on Paul’s blog… More study needed of course. I’ve barely begun.

    abbeyhill – there were other, better FK takers on the pitch, but when I saw the game had auto-selected Mathieu for me, I felt the hand of destiny and decided to take a swing at it. Also a shame that we can’t straightforwardly retrain players for new positions (à la PES2010), but instead have to just play them there and hope the position sticks after a while. I think that nuPES way has only worked once for me.

    I do feel a sense of relief at the end of 15 seasons. I have no appetite to continue on right now. FIFA19’s fouls-free nature is absolutely maddening as it’s so complete in every other aspect.

  28. NG – Can’t disagree with you there. Skipping the bench time would have been a huge help. It was the first thing to irk me about the mode, and I’m clearly not alone. It will be interesting to compare long shot notes on our FIFA progress. I play in central midfield a lot when I lock in my player, and can’t help having a dip if the moment feels right. I’ve only popped one in so far too, but it may be down to our n00b status atm?

  29. This is quite reassuring – no indication of mode these were scored in, or difficulty level etc, but it is at least technically possible to score them from long range with hopefully greater frequency than in PES:

  30. NG – i think you’ll see long rangers flying in before long. The good thing about FIFA this year is that no outcome is impossible whereas Pes is far more formulaic and set in stone in that regard.

  31. Turf – Many good points. The other one I’d like to add is in the ODI you get a new ball at each end, so the ball is only ever 25 overs old and so is harder. It is quite an indictment of modern test cricket that so few matches make it into the fourth day,nevermind the fifth.

  32. Good point chris99 – I’ve never played with the multiple variations of ball colour make, etc – ours were just red in all forms – but the pros do say ‘the x ball under lights is hugely different’. Trying to get after a spinner on day four using an old tatty ball on a scuffed pitch is a challenge. I’ve played on a very slow pitch before (took four wickets) and it was bouncing twice before reaching the batsman, that was like a different game even at my crappy level.

    Loads of tickets available up here for matches. England top price was £170! Are they insane? £16 gets you into the windies, worth it just for the possibility of meeting holding, Richards and any other former players.

  33. Completely ignoring all the cricket comments, as its not even a proper sport….
    Have you seen the news coming out of E3?

    FIFA 20 will have Volta football mode, whereby you can play in arenas, on the street etc, looks a pretty nifty little inclusion.
    But, CDPR’s CyberPunk 2077 ……….. if you haven’t seen the reveal trailer go do so, holeeeeee sh*t !!!!!

    Bend me over, pull my pants down and take my pre-order immediately.

  34. I’m ignoring all the cricket news too. This is what it’s like for non-football fans when the football World Cup is on – just something going on in the background that you hear people talking about occasionally but has so little to do with you that it might as well not be happening at all. At the end of this I will be able to say who won it and that’s it.

    Paul – it would be nice if EA could spend some time on the FIFA single-player AI. It shows as many signs of neglect, in its own way, as the one across the aisle in PES. Lack of aggression or any consistent threat. It’s not just fouls, it’s how it attacks. I remember #1 having this early trouble too and eventually seeing it flower so don’t worry. I’m sticking with it. My PES juice really is dried up.

  35. Paul – I was thinking you would’ve seen that trailer 😉 April 2020 it is then! Keanu Reeves on-board for the coolness factor on top of a guaranteed buy for me already..take my money CDPR.

  36. NG – are you playing vanilla, or using sliders? and what difficulty?
    As i do not see any lack of aggression in my FIFA game from the COM, as will be highlighted in this Thursdays post where everything comes to a conclusion.

    If you are not using sliders, I seriously suggest the OS sports sliders, on World Class level, 6 min halves, normal speed, as this greatly enhances the randomness of the game and CPU attack threat.

  37. NG – it will flower for you,trust me. Like I and others have said before you just need to ”de-PES” first. I can almost guarantee you’ll warm up to it as long as you stick with it. And since you’re well and truly done with PES you should manage.
    Paul’s comment about OS sliders is a good one as long as you stick to those and don’t start fiddling about. I’ve found that they make the game better in every aspect. In sure you’re aware of my tendency to screw around but with the OS sliders I’ve never felt the need to.

    I will say though as I’ve touched upon on FIFAFX – even with the sliders I’ve found the ai a bit toothless in terms of offense. But you would do well to find about that yourself as it seems I have a bit of a knack for defending on FIFA.

  38. Paul/#1 – I am fully slidered up using the OS settings. Makes for a great-feeling game in possession – out of possession, I dunno, it all feels a bit too straightforward to defend. The AI gets the odd goal but there’s no consistent pressure or sense of ‘oh shit’ danger as they break away. More tomorrow but I’m about 20 matches into it now, the latter 5 or so on World Class. This year is a different one for FIFA as I am truly dried up for PES and hungry for the different sensations of another football game.

  39. NG – All I can say is that I’m playing on WC level with OS sliders, and as I mentioned about Thursdays post, I was under the kosh for large parts of a game, being battered by a relentlessly attacking CPU team.
    Also key players for big teams such as Sane at City, and Aguero, Aubameyang at Arsenal, Hazard at Chelsea etc, all cause chaos when they are on the ball, its very noticeable.

  40. As ever, it takes probably 100 matches to take the true temperature of a football game. Not giving away what I’ve started on but I won’t be meeting the likes of Aguero for a while. EA really do need to look at fouls though, and just as with their counterparts at PES Productions, no fouls is a deliberate decision – not a mistake, not a glitch, not a bug, not an animation thing, not a by-product of any ‘engine’ thing (nice to see the FIFA forumites are as inventive as their PES cousins). They sat down and decided for it to be this way, and they made it this way.

  41. Agree, fouls do need to be improved, the match I mentioned above finished with me having 4 fouls, and them having 6, still relatively low numbers compared to the likes of PES 5, but enough for decently enjoyable game and representative of a pixelised version of a very gritty match, but unfortunately these kinds of foul counts are rarer than rocking horse shit.

  42. Hi nG – well done on winning the title on PES2019. Seems to be a good way to end and try something new.

    I’ve been on FIFA18 since it came out, i intrigued by Pauls comment, and your initial thoughts and bought FIFA19 on a deal at the weekend from the PSN store. I’ve only played 5 games so far, on World class level, with Liverpool on the Career mode, i’ve plenty of AI fouls, averaging 4 a game, and plenty of satisfying 25+ yards crashing the bar. The CPU attacking is fantastic at timeS, i’ve had to really focus and grind out results. I’ve not tried the sliders settings thats been mentioned, but will be doing so.

    Keep up the good work on the blog, the post and comments are always a good read.

  43. Paul – in my very first FIFA19 match I had 4 AI fouls against me and I committed many myself. Interestingly, perhaps, that was an England-Scotland match, with Tyler and Smith referencing the derby nature of the match. It was a great match indeed, and I think all of us single-players know and appreciate how much fouls enhance the experience. It’s not just that fouls do move it from a video game experience to a true football game experience – but also you can get that chance to do something different with a free kick in an otherwise tight match. But this whole debate is done. We’re like pensioners saying how much better shillings and farthings were.

    I saw somebody on a hardcore PES forum the other day complaining about having any fouls at all, and he wasn’t even shouted down – which tells us everything we need to know about the current state of hardcore PES fandom. The no-fouls constituency is the only vote that counts to the developers in the genre these days, as they’re engaged in a commercial enterprise. So will we get our own separate sliders/settings/etc.? Well no, because multiplayer and ‘no fouls’ is the norm that they want to establish, and having a separate ghetto of single players happily playing on with fouls, is counter to the $$$ imperative. Wherever in business the question is ‘why’ the answer is nearly always ‘money’. Even if you could get a specific response from EA (or Konami for that matter) it’ll be generic ‘we’ve fed that back to the team’ stuff, and the next edition will come out the same way. PES2019’s fouls-filled demo, followed by a final game that was anything but, was a particularly cruel example of them demonstrating that they know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to fouls in football games.

    Just as action movie directors know there has to be a car chase and/or punch-up and/or sex scene every X minutes for them to make $Y at the box office, so footy game devs know that X number of fouls per average focus group test match is what’ll make their testers start to complain and seem disinterested in their button-mashing, so they need to have X-1 (or perhaps even X-5 to be safe; or maybe even no fouls at all) per match in order to safely hit $Y in revenue. ….And the kicker is that I would do exactly the same in their shoes.

  44. Neil – thank you very much, and I intend to see the footy game year out with FIFA19, barring a collapse that so far hasn’t happened, so it should be interesting.

    Here’s hoping your fouls continue. Let us know whether they do or don’t. I will say that I’m an habitual passer and mover in football games and quite rarely give the opposition the chance to foul me, compared to most players. But that style doesn’t stop me getting hacked to bits in PES5 in nearly every match, so I’d say most of it is down to the modern footy games and the various force that shape them.

  45. Thanks Neil, all of us here on cricketchronicles try and keep it quite light and entertaining but if anyone wants to share their thoughts on the future of the game or debate a top ten slip fielders of all time then please inundate the blog…

    Our sister site is currently running a ‘guess the lbw’ competition to win a bat.

  46. With being off work and not spending money on travel I bought the Cricket 19 game at the weekend. Have to say for a team with a low budget they have done a tremendous job with the presentation with loads of cut scenes and extra animations. I played an Ashes Test earlier and the game plays out just like the real thing. I had to endure an early onslaught from the Aussie opening bowlers and recovered from 22-2 to finish the opening session at 80-3. Really dug in and felt so rewarding. I have even turned the bowl marker off for added realism.

  47. Good going Darryl, whats your Asking Rate? Hope you’ve got a good anchor in the crease, build up those runs.
    Perhaps look to hit a few to the cow corner?

    Turf – its a Kookaburra Refined Oak bat signed by Brian Lara too, Loved by the biffers.

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