Category: Editing

Master League 2017

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20160919111328

PES2017 acquired: check.

Exhibition/Tournament ‘getting-to-know-you’ matches played: check.

Sumptuous Option File installed: check.

Master League: commence.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20160919003033

First, I put the finishing touches to my hybrid Option File installation. No matter how fiddly and frustrating this might be, figuring it out and then finishing it is always a strangely satisfying task.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20160919003848

Then I edited PES United into Coventry City. I’m not impressed with either of the 2016-17 kits. There’s a grand tradition in particular of terrible Coventry City away kits. 2016-17’s away kit is one of the worst.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20160919110156

There were other odds and ends I could have added, but didn’t. The Portuguese League. Celtic and Rangers.

Without wasting any more time, I got going. You can spend so much time setting up that it creates a peculiar sort of anxiety about whether you’re truly ready to begin. Down the years I’ve always leapt into Master League with the paint still drying on the figurative walls. The experience is usually all the better for it.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20160919105008

How considerate of the PES2017 makers to make the Default formation exactly the same 4-2-2-2 formation that I use. The only difference being that instead of two DMFs I like one CMF and one DMF.

I offloaded a load of players whose names I don’t remember now. I bought two players – a goalkeeper, STRAKOSHA (68OVR), very solid so far; and a LB/AMF, BABANCO (72OVR), both on free transfers. I’m eyeing the wages/salary budgets with caution, remembering financial brushes with disaster in many a Master League of years past.

I poked around in all the new parts of Master League. I don’t think the various innovations that surfaced last year realised their full potential. Perhaps they were hitched to a football game in PES2016 that didn’t really do them justice. There wasn’t much incentive to toil through the menus to expand the margins of performance when just about every single player was a high performer.

It’s too early for me to say anything more about PES2017’s Training except to welcome it back and acknowledge that I know it’s there. We shall see what it actually does in practice. I like the look of the position retraining, needless to say.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20160919114107

Since when has Castledine been white? I’m calling this Casteldinegate.

This is quietly one of the biggest scandals ever to engulf a computer game, and precisely no one will care about it but me.

Castledine in PES2017 is the latter-day avatar of the Castello-Castolo-Cinalton-Castledine entity.

Whatever you think about The Myth Of Castolo, there’s no denying that he has – and deserves – the status of ‘iconic’. One thing each instance of this Eternal Champion has had in common is that they’ve all been black. I’m not going to be laying down in the middle of an airport runway in protest, but the whitening of Castledine seems a strange, pointless, self-defeating move. Castolo is as famous and celebrated as Master League itself. He’s locked deep into the lore. Why is he suddenly not black anymore? Could it be an oversight type of mistake?

Coutinho(CF) and Arcas(SS) are good enough for my front two. Will they match up to last year’s stellar pairing that bore those names? Do I want them to be as good as last year’s?

NO, is the short answer to that question. I do not want any echo of PES2016 in this game at all. PES2017 will stand or fall according to how unlike PES2016 it is. (I’ll say again that I don’t think PES2016 was a bad football game. It was a good game of computer football. But it was definitely a bad Pro Evolution Soccer game. There’s a difference, and it’s a telling one.)

Straight into the action, and I opened with a creditable 0-0 draw against Reading. Chances were very few and far between. I still find myself automatically trying to use last year’s routes to goal, which are happily blocked off.

Classic Players ON

The only real blot on PES2017’s landscape right now is that I don’t find there are as many fouls and free kicks in Master League as there were in Exhibition and Tournament games. Which is a staggeringly stupid thing to happen, if you ask me. I believe that as my team improves, and as the seasons roll by and stakes increase, fouls and free kicks will naturally occur, as they occurred in other modes.

But still… I will remain worried until I start to see the fouls in Master League. Konami is perfectly capable of pushing out a PES game with what it thinks is a crowd-pleasing absence of fouls in the most popular mode(s).

It’s significant that we’ve yet to hear much by way of moaning from the online players. If they were having fouls in the quantity that they should be having them, we’d have heard the wailing from within a soundproof room at the bottom of the ocean. But there’s a strange silence. Which indicates to me that there are still few fouls online.

There’s a lot at stake here. Fouls and free kicks enhance a football game’s gameplay, rather than diminishing it. They enforce a kind of seriousness that used to set PES apart from the herd. They need to start happening, in numbers, and soon, or the fabric of the gameplay that looked and felt so good in Exhibition and Tournament, will be fatally undermined.

PES2017 feels very much as if it’s the series’ last chance to hang onto itself, if that makes sense. i don’t want Pro Evo to disappear down the fast-flowing-arcade-fun-bullshit drain that it’s been circling for a year or two. It might already be too late to stop that happening. On the PES forums lately, I hate how PES is occasionally referred to, in passing, as the game that ‘was always fun’.

No, it definitely wasn’t. And I can prove it too.

Hop into the nearest DeLorean. Go back to 2004 or so. Ask the average FIFA fan of the year 2004 if he thinks PES is fun. A scornful laugh will be your answer. FIFA players back then hated PES – because it wasn’t fun. PES was hard work to them. Then double-check this finding by asking the average PES fan, in 2004, if he thinks PES is fun. A scornful laugh will be your answer. We loved PES because it was a lot more than ‘just’ fun. A whole lot more. This paragraph contains the most truth about PES that I know how to express. I’m scared about how easily it’s starting to be forgotten.

This post has turned out to be a lot more hand-wringy and ‘State of PES’ than intended. This is because there is potential in PES2017. Big potential. If this game flowers as it might, PES might just have saved itself from the fast-flowing-arcade-fun-bullshit drain that I mentioned.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20160919184053Table. A nice spread of results.

I knocked Brighton and Hove Albion out of the Cup with this fine goal, which I’m thinking of as my first long-ranger of 2017:

Hettich with the strike. Hettich has always been the poor man’s Irjescu.

I’ve scored a pleasant range of other goals as well, all bread and butter types. No worries there.

You get a feel for how sturdy a football game is pretty quickly, and my feeling is that this AI, defensively at least, is a decent one. Up front, things are also encouraging.

So Master League 2017 is up and running. As Peter Drury remarks in his opening day spiel, a rollercoaster is getting underway.

But Evra knows I’m miserable now

Season 13 Treble is over

The Treble dream is over for another season. I crashed out of the FA Cup, 0-1, at the hands of… QPR.

It was one of those 0-1 Master League defeats against supposedly lesser opposition. They got the early goal, and then no goal of mine was ever going to happen.

I don’t need to describe in detail how it went down because, if you’re reading this, you’ve played a football game or two before and you know how things work.

It’s conceding the early goal that does the damage. The AI scoring an early goal triggers whatever script – yes, I said script, and I bloody mean it too – that’s working in the bowels of the game to frustrate your efforts. A moment’s loss of focus on your part, and it’s 0-1 to the other team, and if you don’t at least equalise by half-time then you’re nearly always as good as finished. The catenaccio vice closes, and the game’s over.

Season 13 Evra joins

Today’s post title is more than just a desperate recycling of an already tired joke that hardly anyone under the age of 35 really understands. Before the transfer window closed, I snapped up Evra.

He played in the ill-fated QPR match and missed a great chance late on that would have taken it to extra time. I had a shot that the keeper pushed out wide to Evra’s feet. From a tight angle, the goal was open and at his mercy… and the shot blazed against the side-netting. Today’s post title was chosen there and then.

Aged 25 Evra’s currently at his peak. He’s always struck me as a great attacking full back in real life, so we’ll see how his Pro Evo persona plays out.

But what of the main man of the previous post, one G HAGI esquire?

Things are going great. I made a few tweaks to his appearance, darkening his skin tone a shade or two, altering his body type and running style. (Such changes do carry over into an existing ML save that the created player has already joined, I can confirm.)

And I got a bloody free kick that I promptly swapped Hagi in to take, and promptly blasted into the keeper’s hands.

Homemade Hagi looks great

But look there – look at the distinctive Hagi-like stance. It’s him! It’s without any doubt the one and only Hagi… He plays like him too. (I scored a decent Hagi-esque goal with him that I’m saving for a longish compilation at the end of the season.)

Creating such a lifelike Hagi makes me feel proud, but I was working to a template from an online database. The credit must go the faithful online curators of PES stats going back years. Seriously, there’s a body of work out there that is almost staggering to contemplate. The well-known PC patches and console option files are arguably the tip of the iceberg of all the obsessive fan labour that goes into a typical edition of PES.

No wonder PES2015 has been something of a damp squib across the community. The PS4/XB1 version offered no way to permit the creators and curators to do what they want to do, which is edit the bejesus out of the game. PES2016 should remedy that. We’ll see.

Enough of my musings on The State of Pro Evo.

With the loss of the Treble chance this year, my focus has switched to the league title and the Champions League.

Securing even one of these would boost my team up into the top 10 rankings. Winning both would surely move me into the top 5.

Especially after I won the World Club Championship. I was surprised to find this competition was a tournament with four teams. My semi-final opponents were none other than WE United. It felt odd playing them, but I did and duly dispatched them, and then thumped Cruzeiro in the final:

Won the World Club

And then I was awarded the World Manager of the Year. So everything is falling my way except the darn Treble.

The League table after 28 matches:

Season 13 after 28

With 10 matches left, I fancy my chances of making up 7 points. Last season I was in a similar position and got sloppy. Every match will get maximum focus this time.

I saw off Napoli in the first knockout round of the Champs League. Next up, Bayern Munich. I’ve already used “I was happy in the haze of a Bayern Munchen hour” as a post title, back in 2009. So this coming Tuesday’s post title is not as predictable as you might think.

I was Hagi in the haze of a drunken hour

Hagi arrives

So I’ve only gone and got Hagi.

He’s not in PES2015 at all, as far as I know. I did it myself – added him myself – as a special treat for my final furlong on PES2015.

I created my own version of Hagi in the Editor, and signed him from the Created Players list within my ML save.

I found Hagi’s PES stats in one of the many online databases, deducted 5 points from each global stat, and fashioned a 20-year-old bizarro version of the man who ended up as a 91 OVR:

Hagi Edit

No, he doesn’t look anything like the original – his skin colour alone should be a shade or two darker. I haven’t quite got the stats right.  And that position coverage is wrong. He was an all-round attacking midfielder. I’ll be heading back into the Editor for another tinker before he actually kicks a ball for my side. Maybe I’ll bring that OVR rating down a few points.

No guilt. No worries about ‘purity of essence’. I did a similar thing in PES2012, when a stale Master League was revitalised by the injection of 5 or 6 Classic Players.

PES2015’s ML isn’t stale by any means, but it is winding its way to an end, if not this season then the next, or the one after that.

I devised a House Rule Consequence for getting Hagi: I had to release – not sell: release – one of my uber-superstar top players. Hagi would then be a replacement for that player.

I released Drogba. The former World Player of the Year. The out-and-out powerhouse. A 26-year-old at his 97OVR peak.

It was either him or Forlan, and I went for Drogba because he’s slightly the better player and the more frequent goalscorer by a long margin. He’s also a 97OVR player and releasing him hurts. I’ve never done anything like this is a Master League before and it feels strange.

Hagi won’t arrive until mid-season and I’m not actually there yet. Friday’s post should see him with a few matches under his belt and hopefully a goal or two. I’m excited about this.

I’d like to get a free kick or two to try him out. A free kick like this one, from PES2012:

I still haven’t scored a single free kick on PES2015, which isn’t surprising when you consider that in around 700 Master League matches I’ve had maybe 5 free kicks in shooting range. Literally. About FIVE free kicks.

It’s a disgrace, it’s wrong, and I hope it’s fixed for PES2016. It probably won’t be fixed. The online multiplayers don’t see it as a problem. Their hyper-aggressive style accumulates plenty of fouls already. Football games are calibrated to cater for online multiplayer as the first priority. Those of us who play solely against the AI (depending on playing style) see few fouls per match or – in my case – more often no fouls at all. An unintended side-effect of the focus on multiplayer, doubtless, but a very real side-effect nonetheless. No-fouls football gaming is here to stay, people.

I beat Barcelona in the last Champions League group stage to take the runner-up spot in our group.

Season 13 beating Barca

A dour, grinding win. I was deliberately holding on for the 0-0, denying possession to the CPU, which seems to work, and I snatched a goal for the win in classic fashion.

Season 13 CL group final table

In the league, I’m not as close on the leader’s shoulder as I’d like to be, but I’m still in the chasing pack. With just over half the season remaining, I’m confident I’ll be there or thereabouts. I’m still in the FA Cup, needless to say. This Treble is still very much on.

Season 13 after 18



Gone in 60 Minutes

The last time I tried my hand at any in-depth PES Editing, this picture here is what happened. Like something out of a horror film.

That was supposedly David N’Gog, at Bolton, back in PES2012. I cocked up that Option File installation, needless to say.

It’s been tempting to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in with some DIY Editing on PES2013. Plenty of others are working hard on stuff. Why should I sit back and wait for things to fall into my lap?

But I have no familiarity with the system and no time, really, to learn it. Back at work today. I’ll wait for the Championship Option File, and then see what I want to do when it turns up.

I’m warming to my Emergency Standby Master League. I’ve got the Brazilian giants in Division 2 with me. They really are all rather good, for the most part. My feeble Defaults are routinely battered by their pace and strength. I’m back down on Professional difficulty, and pondering Regular. My time on Top Player was hilariously brief.

The table after 8 matches:

Thanks to my first and so far only win of the season, I’m off the bottom—for now.

I’m still no further along, really, in getting to know these new Defaults. At the moment, most are just a capital letter followed by a stream of other letters.

I am starting to know a few, and warm to a few as well. Minandinho is the star striker. Castilis is a capable midfielder. Coynborough, my favourite, has the erratic first touch of pinball flippers—but I like him anyway.

On Monday I was about 95% sure that I’d be switching from this Master League to a more traditional-feeling one, like the one that served me so excellently in PES2012. I.e., one with a full and satisfying Championship component.

But now that I have slightly bedded down in this League, I’m only about 70% sure that I’ll be restarting.

I’m settling into the world, getting to know my team and my opponents. I met Ronaldinho at his new club, Atletico Mineiro, and coped pretty well with him. I can defend well in PES2013, but goal-scoring remains a problem. Take a look at the new-look Calendar:

That’s a 6-0 thrashing I took at the hands of Chelsea in the FA Cup on October 3rd. I was 4-0 down after 20 minutes. The final score could have been 10-0, but I decided not to humiliate myself and shut up shop after their sixth goal went in partway through the second half.

The other scores aren’t too clear on this picture of the calendar. Your own results are shown in bold, which shows up indistinct here. I only won one match, 2-1, on the 21st of the month. I got a draw on the 6th, and lost the others.

I have scored some good goals with the new Defaults. They tend to be satisfying goals in context, rather than spectacular ones in their own right. A Coynborough equaliser in a tough match. A Minandinho header to get my first win. Goals like that.

I have only scored one of my beloved long rangers in Master League so far, with… AAKOBJOERG? It’s the first goal on show in today’s special video… Brought to you in my own hosted video player—buffering takes a bit longer than usual, but it should be fine.

[jwplayer config=”Standard Size 2012″ mediaid=”11962″]

Ah, you’ve got to love that music.

(Please let me know if that vid doesn’t work at all in your browser or on your mobile device. Here’s an alternative link for viewing, if the player above hasn’t worked for you.)

And it’s true: the second goal was scored in Become A Legend. After Monday’s report about dabbling with Online, I have stepped across and sampled another of my disliked modes.

A regular commenter (thanks Liam) tipped me off that you could now play in BaL as an established Pro, and thus circumvent the awful, shocking, insulting periods when you have to watch CPU vs CPU action from the bench.

I’ve always enjoyed the core gameplay of BaL. In the past, though, I have always wound up hating it for frequently not letting me actually play the game. It simply cannot be tolerated, no way, ever.

I wanted to play as a good striker at a lesser team, feeling that I was guaranteed to stay on the pitch and actually play. I picked Pogrebnyak at Reading.

He’s a great player! You know what, he’s got one of the sweetest left foots in all of PES. I scored a hat trick with him in the pre-season Training Match. Most importantly, I stayed on the pitch for 90 minutes.

But then Pogrebnyak was called up for Russia, and I was subbed off after 60 minutes despite being the best player on the pitch.

I had to watch, fuming, while the x2 speed CPU-controlled players ran around for FAR TOO LONG.

This is why Become a Legend, in its current form, will never be for me.

I love the idea of it. When it lets me play, I get very involved and very satisfied at pulling things off—things like that goal above. (Could that be the best goal–or at least the sweetest long-ranger—I will ever score in PES2013?)

I played the next League match too, and stayed on the pitch for 70 minutes this time. I suppose you’d have to play as Messi or someone to stand a great chance of playing the full 90.

I tentatively started a ‘proper’ BaL career with a young player, an AMF starting out in the Dutch league. After being subbed off at 60 minutes in my opening Training Match, I quit BaL. I doubt I’ll be back in its current form.

Let me be clear: I understand that sometimes/often being on the bench and sometimes/often being subbed off is an intrinsic part of the BaL experience. I can accept that, embrace it even. But I cannot accept being forced to watch the CPU play against itself. That is what I have always hated about BaL.

When they let you skip the CPU vs CPU periods, that’s when I’ll be interested in BaL again.

I’ll tell you this, though—that Pogrebnyak really does have one sweet left foot. He reminded me of Schwarz from PES2011. If Pogrebnyak was a few years younger he’d be top of my shopping list for Master League.