The True Home of the FA Cup

Totally genuine. Not a two-minute knockup in Photoshop at all.

Yes, Season 6 has ended and I have retained the FA Cup. That’s back-to-back Cup wins for the first time in the nuPES era, I think. And so in Season 7 I will get another crack at the Europa League (my Master League bogey competition), which I am eagerly looking forward to.

It was a tough FA Cup Final. Not only were my opponents Manchester City, as souped-up and hyperactive as they can be, but for the final I moved back up to the dreaded Superstar.

Somehow in PES2020 they’ve brewed an extra-special concoction of bullshit for Superstar. It’s not enjoyable most of the time. The least enjoyable Superstar ever!

I find that I can cope with the AI’s excesses, most of the time. No-fouls on Superstar are just the same as no-fouls on Top Player or Professional. I tend to be shoulder-charged and clipped and scythed to the ground on every difficulty level without a foul being called, so it’s no different to see it (not) happening on Superstar.

My Superstar problem is that I just cannot seem to score. I played two league matches on Superstar prior to the Cup Final, as a warmup, and scored 0 in both. It did not bode well.

The Final was tight and tense. Here is the decisive action. We come in with the score at 0-0 in the 80th minute, and a foul given on the edge of the box…

The full match is there if anyone wants to click back and watch the whole thing.

I played well, apart from the periods when I got sucked into the AI’s frenzy.

Then it’s important to take a breath, take your time, and deliberately slow the game down. A hectic melee of turnovers and tackles and barging only helps the AI.

Part of the challenge of this era of PES is imposing your own vision onto matches. PES Prouctions want us to get sucked into the hurdy-gurdy, button-mashy nonsense that the Useless Anti-PES Focus Group Bastards tell them to make.

I suspect the existence of at least one Fifth Columnist in PES Productions. One or two individuals, aware of the series’ rich single-player heritage, who want to make a game that’s true to the series’ origins. They sneak in a few things every year for us. Hence all the demos we get loaded with single-player goodness. Summertime demos full of fouls and goodness might not just be a cynical marketing ploy. #IchoosetoBelieve

Here’s my avatar leading a post-match Macarena:The league was as ordinary and mediocre as it gets. I finished 10th with a perfect 0 goal difference.I scored precisely 1 goal per game. I did play about 2/3rds of this season on Superstar, in the end.

So to Season 7. The big question is, what do I do with difficulty? Top Player is just that bit too easy for me now, but Superstar is a good bit too shitty-hard. I’m reluctant to make my big move to PA0 at this stage (which would enable me to play on Professional), as I want to ‘complete’ a PES2020 ML on my standard settings first.

Decisions, decisions.

Updated: 22nd November 2019 — 11:20


  1. I wondered if Death Stranding would click with you NG. It certainly did with me. I compared it to a sports sim, If your sport was Amazon Prime courier in the peak district.

  2. prsgame — it reminds me much more of a strange Metal Gear Solid 6-type game than a quirky ‘Scottish Highlands deliverator simulator with ghosts made of oil or something’ (although it is that too). I’m amazed more wasn’t made in the pre-release hype and the reviews about how DS recycles so much MGS5 code and style.

  3. It’s more the planning of what to take and what equipment to take with you I liked. Almost like setting your team up before a match then seeing if you made the right choices along the way. It’s very addictive and calming

  4. Is that Carlos Tevez in your squad celebrating the victory? PES was always good at player likeness.

    I haven’t played since PES 2017, and even then it was just the demo. I think my last FIFA was 14 or 15, subsequent upgrades were prevented by my poor PC specs.

    Since then I’ve switched to Rocket League, it scratches my football gaming itch and runs well on a modest PC.

    For some reason I decided today to check the state of real football gaming, checked some PES, FIFA reviews, and then thought: Hmmm is PESChronicles still online? Great to find you knee deep in Master League. Everything has changed (what on earth is that nonsense eFootball title?), but your blog is humming along, and that continuity is quite pleasant.

    Do you still play the traditional England-Scotland game as your first game?

  5. diego – I do indeed play Eng-Sco as my opening match, in every new football game. The oldest and greatest international in the world, unfortunately one that isn’t played much these days due to various things, politics mainly (too much bother thanks to the various nationalist elements in play).


    Luton Town 3, Bristol City 4 (AET), FA Cup Round 1
    Match Sponsor: The Wachowskis
    “Celebrating the second Matrix reference in a PES Chronicles Forum post in the space of a week.”

    Luton Town:
    1: A. Smith, 2: A. Smith, 3: A. Smith, 4: A. Smith, 5: A. Smith, 6: A. Smith, 7: A. Smith, 8: A. Smith, 9: A. Smith, 10: A. Smith, 11: A. Smith. SUBS: A. Smith, A. Smith, A. Smith, A. Smith, A. Smith, A. Smith, A. Smith

    Bristol City:
    1: Hysterical 1950s cartoon lady stood on chair to avoid mouse, 2: Snoozy the dwarf, 3: Overweight asthmatic child, 4: shot in the paddock, 5: Zombie Kenneth Williams, 6: timid antelope with a limp, 7: David Mitchell from off the telly – you know, the one who famously doesn’t do sports, 8: fart in a stiff breeze, 9: dying swan, 10: thank fuck I signed Fabio Silva from Porto – the lad can finish, 11: red shirt from Star Trek. SUBS: Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon, Radon, Oganesson

    Referee: Mr A. C. Unt, Luton

    39% Possession 61%
    9 (6) Shots (On Target) 17 (11)
    5 (0) Fouls (Offside) 1 (1)
    47 (17) Attempted Murder (Manslaughter) 0 (0)
    2 Corner Kicks 3
    1 Free Kicks 5
    1 Yellow Cards 0
    0 Cries of “You cheating bastards! What the fuck is this? What the *fuck*?” 117
    29 Interceptions 39
    8 Tackles 2
    8 Saves 3
    18 WADA post-match doping tests 0

    The fifteen or sixteen minutes of bullshit that I’ve just endured in this match: *actually traumatic*. Were it not for the fact that even PES 2020 puts a limit on players hitting the woodwork, and that Luton went all-out attack (which impeded their ability to have one defender hold my player in possession down, while a teammate stamped on his throat – which was spectacularly successful until that point), I would have lost that.

    Every single Luton player was *significantly* faster and stronger than everyone on my team.

    I feel that someone in uniform should be asking me where the bad people from PES Productions touched me, and I should be pointing at the dolly’s backside and weeping.

    But in better news: I got a message after the match to tell me that my star playmaker Y. Yazici is now called “The Bison” by City supporters. That’s *my* wavering sense of immersion restored!

  7. James – there are so many decisions made for PES2020 that could vie for ‘most scandalous’ – no fouls of course… Superstar being something other than super in the popular sense… but right up there in the voiting would be ‘the woodwork is the other team’s 12th man’ decision. Of all the ways they’ve hit on to manage scorelines and stop us scoring too many…

  8. NG – No word of a lie, I’ve hit the woodwork at least a dozen times in my last four games, which finished 1-0, 0-0, the freak 4-3, and a 1-2 reversal. Also, there appears to be 0.0001 degrees of sweet spot between “straight at the keeper” and “float past the post”.

    My most common sources of goals:

    * Runner from deep ignored by AI defenders, in the rare instances that the player attempting the assist can make the pass before he’s blown up by the closest opposition homing missile.

    * Free kicks from 20-25 yards

    * AI deflecting the ball into its own net

    * First-time shots deep in the penalty area, a suspicious number of which go in off the post

    * Complete flukes after the AI passes to the wrong man

    * Chip shots.

    It’s probably time to go back and try Advanced Shooting again, but I never get along with it.

  9. Decided to give it another go and the game is behaving (very well) again. Lost 4 out of 6 matches in season 3 of serie A and very enjoyable at that. No fuckery, just outplayed by stronger teams. For all the misgivings I have with master league there is *some* realism in it. Robben is my best player by far but true to real life he is injured very often, on average every other game. This forces me to make decisions which is good. I need the guy but can’t play him too often and he probably will be retiring soon. There’s a large gap between him and my other strikers and it shows..

    Have to finish 6th but it’s going to be a challenge. Dropped back down to professional and I think it was the right choice. Not counting Robben my best player is 75 rated and declining..

  10. And just like that, a nice goal from Robben…

  11. #1 – nothing like in off the bar, and how many seasons are you in if OG Robben still hasn’t retired?

    It was inevitable you’d be back on the game soon enough.

    It’s just occurred to me to ask what the modding scene is like on FIFA PC. A quick look and I see a gameplay mod for FIFA19 and FIFA20 that looks pretty straightforward – replace an .ini in a single folder – what’s it like?

    James – my most common goal in PES2020, as a composite of all goals, would be a sidefoot finish from 10.5 yards, going in off the base of a post as you say.

  12. NG – I’m on season 3 now, about 10 games in…that must make him about 37 or something? His Stamina is *really* going down the drain quickly now and I can only play him for like 60 mins before he’s knackered. I’m guessing he’s going to give me the retirement – announcement mid-season or thereabouts. I’ll be in real offensive trouble then.

    My sick bay is filling up as well. Both Moretti and (a CB) and Lucas Perez (CF) were injured for about a week or two after RObben had just recovered. THis is becoming a frequent occurrence for me now and it’s very welcome. I wonder if the game is trying to counter the fact that I have 12 subs at my disposal as is customary in Italy as opposed to 6 (or 7?) in English football. Never seen one injury in my Arsenal save i occasionally check in on…

    I like when little things come together as well. A small example. I’ve got regen Baines as a LB. He’s got Pinpoint Crossing, low weighted pass and weighted passing as player skills, which means when you (try to) overhit a long pass from way back, a lot of backspin is applied allowing a tall and strong forward to either head it on or control it. Now, this rarely works if ever with robben (who’s 5 foot 10 on a good day) and my other CF, Vincent Janssen (6 foot 1 or thereabouts). However it DOES work regularly with regen Graziano Pelle, who’s about 6 foot 5. He’s not good for anything else (yet), but this I can use him for and have just done so against Empoli in the Coppa Italia. |Minor stuff, but I like it.

  13. Btw NG – no clue about the FIFA mods, I usually play FIFA on ps4..

  14. A weekend indoors mostly due to the horrific weather and having to put together a shedload of flatpack furniture meant that I was able to get in about 12 matches across a couple of sessions, and they were pretty much all gloriously good matches.

    The chatter of Top Player becoming too easy may be on hold as its currently proving a very balanced level for me, I often get good results and score a few against the weaker teams, and top teams trouble me enough to make the games interesting.

    Really enjoying it at the moment.

  15. THIS!!!! x 1000000000000000000000

  16. Paul – I’m currently very happy with Top Player too. Every time I think it’s going to collapse on me – occasional matches – it tightens up and gives me a tough match. I believe the dreaded Superstar will eventually have to be contended with though.

  17. And that’s the video I saw yesterday (I’m a subscriber) that prompted my question to #1 about FIFA PC mods. I have a few days off this week and might take a look at one with a mod attached.

  18. NG – Keep us posted, im sure there must be some sort of FIFA modding community

    This may be a starting point:

  19. Paul – already seen and raided. With there being no real cosmetic side of FIFA to worry about, gameplay is all the modders have to address. I can see a Career Mode mod and a gameplay mod, but surprisingly not many options. Nevertheless it looks promising as I felt the only real issue with FIFA ‘these days’ is the appalling no-fouls situation, even worse than PES. With FIFA19 having completed its life cycle I thought I’d start there. The laboratory has all the necessary equipment in place and I will carry out the experiment later this week for sure, maybe later today if there’s time. I’m starting my Season 7 in ML and it’s pretty good.

    I conceded from an AI free kick this morning too. It was about 40 yards out and I did jump the wall as usual but it was just too far out to make a difference with the (gorgeous) up-and-down flight of the ball. Top corner. That’s the 1st one in over 6 full seasons.

  20. Keep us updated NG, as FIFA’s mods are mostly game play its hard to see that from a video, so will have to rely on your opinion of it vs vanilla game play.

    I conceded yet another 40 yard free kick last night, I jumped the wall but didn’t matter, it went over the wall and top corner, along with there being no visible trophy, its my biggest hate of PES20, that every single COM FK is on target top corner.

    Last night’s session was straight from your PES19 Golden Copy NG, a truly remarkable FA Cup match loaded with fouls and FK’s for both sides, a gritty tense finish, and a couple of prem matches that had red cards and multiple penalties.


    If you are due new kits anytime soon NG, let me know, happy to provide.

  21. Go on then, I’ll say it….Paul – who for? Clearly nobody believes that you would entertain flat pack furniture in your house. It’s like that snobby criticism of self-made millionaire Michael heseltine, that he wasn’t one of the old inherited Tories as he bought his own furniture.

    I’m having a short break from the game at the moment, just dabbling in minecraft. I’d suggest that there is the perfect game support – regular new content at zero cost, a thriving community, etc etc rather than simply trying to sell minecraft 2018, 2019…eMinecraft et al. Might be a project to try and make a footy stadium instead of the usual castles n dungeons I do.

  22. Turf – Nope, the flat pack was all ours.
    We have renovated the bedroom and needed a specific type and colour of wood and front of drawers etc to go with the colour scheme in the room, the only ones we could find were from Dunelm, and flat pack, pretty good quality though, really sturdy and looks nice 😉

  23. Having assembled more than a few flat pack items, I would pay a high premium to have the stuff delivered assembled. Just putting together an office-type chair from its consitutent bits is enough to drive me mad. My L-shaped corner desk took up most of a day to assemble. Never again.

  24. NG – The instructions are cobbled together by a hybrid of chinese/aliens who probably worked for the PES Dev team with illustrations that are impossible to make out, so I barely use them, just lay it all out and its pretty obvious where most stuff goes, this was all numbered too which was helpful.

    Got 2 bed side tables, and a large chest of drawers done in one day, wallpapered the bedroom, and new bedding on and new curtains up, just have a tall slim book case to do, wasn’t too bad but my knees and asscheek muscles are shot to pieces after all the scrambling around on a hard floor, certainly feeling my age.

  25. Turf – I am playing a lot of Minecraft at the moment. Me and mini Darryl have a medieval town (similar to Skyrim) on the go at the moment. It all started with a haunted pub around Halloween time and have just continued to build around it from there.

  26. Sounds ideal Darryl – my interest was rekindled by mini turf finally deciding he could handle a survival minecraft, aided by videos on YouTube by some irritating ‘vlogger’ called ‘dan tdm’ (and I clearly intend for those quotation marks to be accompanied by the ironic finger gestures).

    Paul – got our new blinds from dunelm and was surprised I was able to follow the instructions and actually fit them myself. That’s quite a review as usually I’m furious and sweary within minutes.

    The dad of a lad I used to work with set up a business putting together flat pack furniture when he retired. He was doing really well last I heard, particularly from the universities in their halls of residence. I think a lot of people feel they can do it but it takes too long and is annoying enough to want to do exactly as you NG.

  27. Uncle Turf – at times in my personal YouTube journey I happen upon a video that would be a contender for Most Annoying Ever. While searching for FIFA PC mods just to see what ‘the scene’ is like (it’s pretty dead), I happened upon… this bloke:

    That voice. That diction. That voice. Must not… hate.

    But then you look at the views – almost 1m now for that one alone – and know that translates to real-world £££s, and who is the real chump here?

  28. I can picture the owner of that voice….he’s easily the most obnoxious of a group of arses on a stag do dressed up as gladiators standing in a wetherspoons thinking they look hilarious. And that mod isn’t funny either, it just looks shit.

    JUST AS YOU think that people KNOW HOW TO modulate their VOICE WHEN presenting YOU discover some PEOPLE HAVE no idea.

    Far better to bask in the melodious tones of not Greg

  29. Uncle Turf – we’re not the demographic. I’ve noticed more and more content providers on YouTube are doing what that fellow is doing. Somebody 20-30 years younger than us would probably think he sounds quite tame compared to some of them.

  30. There’s a few less than desirable ways to make money on YouTube, i actually setup a YT channel dedicated solely to this, with a sound understanding of how it all works, but as of yet, i just can’t be assed to do it.

    Had a couple of Turdy matches last night, they were long due after the lengthy good run I was on, firstly, this:

    Undefendable FK, wall jumps, bar the player that can stop it, no matter how well you time a jump, if the COM wants a goal, it will get one.

    And this is really annoying me as of late, the AI in PES being completely unaware situationally, here I was having a sustained period of attack, creating goal chances, it was 0-0 late on, I’m in the title race, any real life team would keep the pressure on and press from the front in this situation, not in PES.

    Watch my attack, players all forward, but the second I lose possession, even though its deep in the COM’s half, in their box even, all my players immediately leave the ball alone and sprint back into defensive positions, its like its a flick of a switch, attack or defend, no in between, no awareness of needing a goal and maintaining pressure, very annoying.

  31. Paul – re. Vid 2, I notice your ATT/DEF level is on default level 3 all the way through. Whack it all the way up, or at least to level 4. On higher levels your players do stay swarming the defence as you wish. I know this to my great repeated cost from getting done on the break whilst using level 5 attack and my custom 2-3-5 ultra attacking formation late on in matches.

  32. NG – I’m not talking about ramping up attack levels to the point of pure all out attack, I’m talking about the AI being aware enough to read situations and context, a team doesn’t have to be on all out pure attack to know that if they lose the ball and its still in the opponents penalty box, then the forward line and midfield would press to close their space down, I have never ever seen a team playing ‘normally’ all run away from the ball like its a grenade the second they lose possession, especially when its in the opponents box.

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