Most regular readers will know that I have a special fondness for the DMF position in Pro Evolution Soccer. My best experiences of this entire series have come in Master League. My best Master Leagues have always featured a standout DMF.
PES5’s Mathieu, naturally, is the lead example. PES5 has the best of everything.
But there’s also Prieto (also from PES5). Neeskens (PES2012). Coynborough (PES2013). Pizarro (PES2014). Plenty I’ve doubtless forgotten that’d have an honourable mention. Even Donadel from PES2008.
I struggle to remember individuals in any position from last year. But I do remember promoting a certain MILLIGAN from my Youths early on in PES2016. A very Duffy-like player, he was my first-choice DMF in that game for a few seasons.
He’s reappeared now in PES2017, albeit as a 32-year-old already at another club:
But why even hang on for a young Milligan in my Youths today when I know I’ll be able to afford much better players more quickly? This non-dilemma addresses the great contradiction of PES2017. It’s far too easy to completely replace your entire starting squad very quickly.
It’s a great PES, like none we’ve seen arguably since the patched PES2014, or PES2011 (for the PES2014-phobic), but it persists with the same structurally weak ML that we’ve seen for the past few years.
I’m very tempted to institute House Rules for the first time in nearly 10 years (since PES2008!) to stave off an inevitable romp to a team of Galacticos in a few seasons. I dunno, though. Just thinking about it.
I welcome PES2017’s beefed-up fouling model. I never thought the PES makers would go even as far as they have done. It’s nice to have at least one match per session that finishes with about 3 or 4 fouls apiece.
My only wish is that the fouling dials could be turned up even more. Essentially, I’d like to see a football game where any tackle that doesn’t win the ball is a foul unless there is a clear and obvious advantage. 10 fouls per side would be about right.
‘But the game will be stopped every few seconds!’
Yes, that’s the point. We’d have to find ways to defend in football games that don’t involve squeezing three buttons and waiting for the game to win the ball back for us. The defensive technique I call sprint-clamping is still very much a thing in PES2017, unfortunately.
Here’s a decent goal I scored with Yankov, a goal that was notable for FOUR distinct reasons. First, here’s the goal:
And here are the reasons:
One, it’s possibly the first time I’ve beaten the AI defenders with an aerial through-ball. They usually get cut out.
Two, it’s the type of finish that used to be a PES staple for me in the PS2 days, but has become comparatively rare in all the games since. I do always notice when I get a ‘rifled from the corner of the area past the keeper into the opposite corner’ goal (that name won’t catch on).
Three, it was a rare instance of me doing the AI on the counter-attack. Catching the AI full-back out of position with Yankov – by no means the quickest player – was very rewarding.
Four, it was the VERY FIRST GOAL I had managed to score whilst wearing my 3rd Strip. I was beginning to develop a true footballer’s-style superstition about this kit. I was wondering if having the PES Chronicles sponsor logo plastered across the chest in such a self-regarding and masturbatory fashion had swaddled my digital players in bad karma or something. The Pro Evo equivalent of saying ‘Macbeth’. Glad I broke the goalscoring hoodoo, anyway.
So there’s a lot going on in that seemingly rather straightforward goal. It has multiple layers of meaning and hidden reward – the very essence of the appeal of Master League.
In the wider context of my progress, well, there isn’t a great deal. I’m only averaging 3 matches per day, due to real-life factors out of my control. That should settle down soon. You’ll see me cruising past in the fast lane to my customary 10+ seasons. Hopefully.