Just 7/10 at the moment

Regen Dani Alves has arrived at RB. Just landed in January, and I have a deal for Regen van Persie in the works. RVP will cost me £20m and I won’t see any benefit from him for probably 3-4 seasons – but I play Master Leagues for the long haul, typically getting into double figures for seasons, so these kind of signings make sense for me.

Table:League form has of course abruptly fallen into the toilet. PES2020’s ways of stopping the player scoring when it wants to are pretty much the same as all others. This year the AI is allowed to commit outrageously violent fouls that are simply ignored. Even PES2018 – even PES2018 – would have whistled the kinds of fouls on show here.

Passing the ball around is still very nice. Shooting is still very nice – even though it’s crystal-clear that you’re not allowed to score from 25+ yards enough to make shooting from that distance worthwhile.

Master League, intriguingly, so far seems to be one of the weakest editions of the mode ever made. Perhaps it’s just me belatedly waking up to things. Perhaps this really is the Master League that broke the camel’s back.

The only things truly new in Master League are the cutscenes – an entirely cosmetic addition.

The difficulty settings for Negotiations and Budget might as well not be in there at all. I am starting to see random occurrences of hardness in contract negotiations with my own players, but not enough to bother me (for now).

You really can get any player you want, finances willing, at any time you want. Your entire squad can be completely replaced after two transfer windows. Is this what God intended when He created Master League? I don’t think it is, you know. How Satan (myClub) must cackle with glee every time a Default is shipped out in the first window.

Come on, PC modders. What’s keeping you?

I met Arsenal in the FA Cup. This was my first encounter with a top team in PES2020 and it went rather well. I won 1-0. (In the middle of a League run where I could barely complete a pass.)

The winning goal was from Castledine, following one of those embarrassing short-range looping goal kicks that the AI does. (It must be near the top of the ‘Patch This Shit Out’ list, surely?)

I’ve included in this brief clip a final chance that Arsenal had where their player headed away from an open goal



Updated: 11th October 2019 — 12:49


  1. Uncle Turf – or if we got our own separate PES offline. The frustrating thing is that with just a few tweaks, easily do-able with Settings settings, we could have it. But no, that would reduce the online revenue stream by however much £££ is spent by those offline players who currently drift into online. Which definitely does happen, as my PES2018 foray into myClub showed.

  2. Ugh, konami really are hell bent on pissing the single player right the fuck off aren’t they. Title match of course and all went to shit (reminder, I was 24 points ahead and in first). Suddenly spezia – who are midtable nobodies – takes a free kick from 40 meters out, hits the crossbar, rebound is headed in. From there on they turn into Barcelona with the laser guided passes and the works, we all know the drill.

    Take. This. Out. Konami! Nobody enjoys this. These kind of matches make me want to throw my controller through the TV while setting it on fire. Well maybe not that but they make me plenty fucking angry. Give me a challenge, not an avalanche of bullshit.

  3. #1 – I didn’t enjoy the mammoth All In One patch that I downloaded, because it took me all the way to a destination that I need to get to myself. I want to add the bits and pieces myself and build up my installation over time. So I’ve put the AIO patch to one side for now and will farm bits and pieces of it as time goes on. I need to know and understand for myself where to drop content in what folders, and in what way to adjust .ini files etc, but it’s nice that it is possible to just grab somebody’s folder and try things out.

    I’m not a big fan of the custom turfs I’ve seen yet, strangely.

    Also grabbed a 19GB facepack just for the hell of it, really! Not a big face-man at all, but when the time comes to complete my personal installation I’ll probably drop them in.

    I’m much more excited about a new dt18 I’ve got that yielded 5 free kicks in the first match. Haven’t had time to play a second yet.

  4. Just had an awful session and the sad thing is it was entirely predictable – I was third, on a run of wins, playing the bottom team. I knew I couldn’t win. I knew even if I quit, played again, I couldn’t win. Every player, every attack, anything I tried was dumbed down to nothing. That then sparked a run of defeats, the worst of which was due to one of 2020s most rage inducing fuck overs – the defender who could easily cut out a ball deciding he needs to turnand move away from play. It’s such a pathetic admission of the inability to make a balanced game when you have to interfere with the users inputs. The game needs a patch, the game has needed a patch for five years but this year I’m not seeing anyone defending it such is the unashamed bollocks.

  5. NG – I fully get that and tend to enjoy that side of modding as well. Quite pleased with myself that I now understand how sider works. Just out of curiosity – what dt file would that be ? The supernova one is too fiddly for now I think as it requires a bit more setup and dpfilelistgenerator which is a big no no from me.

    I won Serie B unchallenged in the next game, in other news. Ridiculously easy. Played the first Serie A game after a VERY eventful during which I acquired nearly 20 promising 16-year old “name” players (squad building is SO not a thing anymore. Damn you konami), and that was easy as pie as well. Won against Cagliari 2-0 without breaking much of a sweat. And *what* is up with that weird bench thing in Italian football?! I thought it was a game related bug in Serie B but it carries over to Serie A as well; I have about 12 sub players on my bench! Are the benches bigger in Italy or something? Surely this is not the case in real life?

    This makes it even easier as I don’t need to carefully plan ahead, rotate players or whatever. A little bit deflating to be honest.

    Also, guess what konami did with the Serie A license…wait for it… nothing! Apart from the kits and the official ball I think. Not even the replay wipe is “branded”, it’s the silly efootball thing. Oh, konami..

  6. Matches where the PES 2020 AI doesn’t use overt handicaps feature some of the best videogame football ever created. Opposing teams are much more varied in the way that they attack and defend, but the most noticeable thing is that AI players play in accordance with their stats and build. For example, Edin Dzeko is distinct as a real handful on high balls, or for holding off a defender; Kante is a little bastard at closing the gap and getting a foot in. But when the AI sets to juicing its teams, they can *all* do these things, and more. It completely shatters any sense of immersion.

    Handicap matches don’t have to start on the blue defensive setting, though they usually do. The real tell is the distinct way that the AI presses that doesn’t change from game to game, and opponents are entirely uniform in the way that they close you down – not to mention more rigid in defence. There’s no difference in pace, while you can expect two other players to live in viable passing lanes while all off-the-ball runs are tracked with robotic precision. This kills any chance of real variety in match tempo or chance creation, which makes PES boring.

    I managed one game with my Southampton save today before I had to turn it off. My opponents played in almost exactly the same way as the four previous teams, as I’m an on a “AI says fuck you” run, but this time clattered my midfielder with a slide from behind in the middle of the park, instantly pinged a 35-yard drilled pass to a striker, who killed the ball, turned and rocketed it into the roof of the net in little more than a second. There was absolutely nothing I could have done about it, and it was their first shot, on 73 minutes. This levelled the game. When I could get close to their goal without being floored instantly, I hit the woodwork three times in the second half. And so: a 1-1 draw where I feel robbed of two points for no adequate reason, but a result that won’t do anything to reset the adaptive difficulty shite.

    When the AI is playing freely in a good match, the football it serves up is mostly all entertaining, proactive stuff on a scale that can range from Pardew to Pep – and PES 2020 is a 9/10, with potential to be a true 10 on the pitch with some smart tuning in a future patch. The moment it goes peak reactive Mourinho for in-game weeks or months at a time, it’s a 3/10 ML, and a no from me.

    You know where this adaptive difficulty nonsense *does* kind of make sense? MyClub, where the designers might be under pressure to extend the grind in order to have people pull out their wallet at least once. Monetization of videogame content after the initial title purchase need not be a terrible thing – Fortnite, for example, hasn’t appeared to slow down on the development of single-player content as the money has poured in due to the overwhelming popularity of its battle royale mode. But I feel as if PES and FIFA have been utterly corrupted by MyClub and Ultimate Team. What reason do they have to make meaningful improvements to modes where they can’t sell additional content?

  7. #1 – I have played a match with this one and it was good – but of course single matches mean little or nothing as guides to ‘how it do be’. Promising start though, I don’t believe I’ve ever got even close to 5 FKs in any match on any platform.

    James –

    PES and FIFA have been utterly corrupted by MyClub and Ultimate Team

    as they say on the Internet, ‘this’.

  8. I really do think we are going over the top these days with scrutiny of football games. This is in no way a dig at James or anyone else on here as I love reading his comments on the game, in particular the analysis of the attack/defence levels. However, which games from the back catalogue would really stand up to such levels of forensic examination? I doubt any would? Prior to the little one getting an X Box One I had an X Box 360 set up in the other living room. A couple of years ago I had an ongoing save of PES 2011, which I just dabbed into from time to time. That game had very little fouls as did every other game in the series, aside from 5 and 14. The latter being more by fault than design. That game had high levels of fuckery and scripting as did every other game in the series. The game had table scripting as did every other game in the series. Cup games played out differently as they have done in every other game in the series. I could go on……

    I am actually really enjoying this years game as it does feel different and is a challenge on Top Player. It has its issues and would like to see more goals from long range but when it plays well it is the best I have experienced.

    I guess I am just lucky when it comes to footy games as I am of below average skill set. I play a simple game that utilises as little commands as possible. I also have zero knowledge of how the gaming industry works. I am able then to sit back with the majority of the audience and watch in awe at the magic trick I have just seen performed in front of me. The moment you start doing multiple re-starts and testing is the time it is over as this path leads to nowhere.

  9. Darryl – if there was a “like” button I’d have clicked it. Well put.

  10. Contrary to other experiences I’m finding Superstar a bit limp in the Premier League, comfortably in 7th place in the first season with pretty much the same squad I got promoted with. Plenty of time for the game to bite but so far very little in the way of scripting. I had a brilliant game versus Chelsea yesterday evening, lost 2-1, the only top team to really show their strength so far, hopefully more to come. I accidentally selected the win the league option in the pre-season objective setting so could yet get sacked, no sign of the DoF so far…

    The worst parts of the game for me are the overpowered regens available in the youth team (I have about 6 or 7 in the squad, all very good at age 17), ease of buying free agents/scouted players and the easy money available. These are fundamental ML design problems so only house rules will fix. I’m tempted this year to start again with a modded up PES and enforcing a few house rules.

    – No free agents/others.
    – No youths.
    – Can’t adjust budget settings to wages.

  11. The difference is Darryl that back in the PES 5 days we were all younger and had less expectations.
    If someone said back then, that in 14 years time, the PES game we have would have half the features, not many stadiums, hardly any fouls, and an AI thats so unintelligent that instead of reacting to how you play and upping its own game to exploit you, it just handicaps your players stats and applies lag to your inputs, or ignores them totally, we’d all probably have laughed, then grimaced in fear, but that’s exactly what we have.

    Its 2019, not 2005, technology, and everything else, perceptions, expectations, have all moved on, its not Ok to forgive a games shoddy parts just because we didnt complain much about its predecessors.

    That being said, the game must have felt sorry for me, as my mini 4 match session last night was one of minimal fuckery, 4 enjoyable games despite 2 defeats, with some sublime passages of play.

    Such a shame this game is Jekyll & Hyde to the max, when its good, its beautiful, when its bad, its monsterous.

  12. Season Three

  13. Darryl – I like that. It’s almost the same argument I have with wrestling fans. It’s a big soap opera just sit and watch it if you want, dig too deep into the politics and you could ruin it for yourself, which I’m as guilty of in wrestling and PES.

    With PES I always thought they leaned into the Japanese RPG AI type in Master League. Cripplingly unfair. Next, a team will one-hit-kill me and I’ll not be able to heal my main strikers as they are off-form.

  14. On the Jekyll and Hyde spectrum the game is currently about halfway along for me right now. Having some great matches and if anything Top Player (in D2 currently remember) is a bit of a breeze. More in today’s post to discuss of course. Superstar is looming, put it that way.

    Tommy – what a superb compilation – the Pellegri show or what?! You do score some great goals, and good to see you persevering with Robben, there is a payoff once he hits 20 or so. Van Persie goal at about 4:55 is wonderful, pretty much a proper long-ranger. Where are you in the league? Still on Superstar?

  15. A long ranger has arrived – well long range for me anyway

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