Category: PES Chronicles

The only way is Jarvis

Season 3 has ended with the SkyBet Championship title and promotion to the Premier League. See the team posing for the now-traditional trophy-free photo.

I won the league at a canter, in the end. Top Player has proven quite tame for me. A 13-point margin of victory. And check my goals conceded column. I haven’t scored as many goals as I would have liked but the ones I have scored have been when it counted.I said it at the start and stand by it, even though I know other players are experiencing wildly different things: Top Player feels more like Professional+ this year to me.

We shall see how the Premier League treats me. I had a little taster of it when I met Liverpool in the FA Cup semi, and they were brilliant, exactly what I would want a top-rated top team to be. I only lost 1-0 but it could have been a hammering. The pace was extraordinary. I think I only created one chance, which of course I squandered.

I can’t wait to get my teeth into Superstar. I’ve already moved up, having played the last few meaningless matches of the season on it. A draw and a win. Both felt great.

I got quite a few players into the Team of the Season.Jarvis was the story of the latter half of the season. There was one six-game session in which he scored eight (8) goals, including an astounding first-half hat-trick vs Blackburn. It’s first up in the special Jarvis compilation:

Amazing. That scoring spurt shot Jarvis to the top of the top scorers’ list, where he remained until the end of the season, which quite rightly earned him a spot in the D2 Team of the Season.

Yes – a little peculiar to make top scorer with only 16 goals scored, but that’s Master League. It’s never shy to remind the player that he’s the only real person in its made-up world.

Jarvis only scored 1 goal in my last 7 fixtures, which proves – if proof were needed – that Master League is a massively session-based experience in which we are ‘managed’ based on the context. The game ‘knew’ I was romping to the title. I wasn’t allowed to score at all, with any player, for four matches in a row at one point.

PES2020 still isn’t really a PES of great and memorable goals for me – not as spectacles and things-in-themselves. I don’t think I’ve got to the end of Season 3 without scoring even 1 laces long-ranger in any PES before this one. And believe me I try them. PES2020’s goals are all about context-and-character (cf. Jarvis).

This goal was the best of my recent sessions and one of the best of PES2020 so far for me – another Castledine R2 curler from long range. What do I keep saying about that lucky brown kit? Great things happen in it.

And that’s me headed for the Premier. It took 3 seasons this year, on Top Player for almost all of it. How will the Premier treat me on Superstar? I’m soon going to find out.

Robin can Firsty

An enforced 3-day hiatus in my Master League progress saw me pick things up again on Monday with renewed appetite and zest.

I played a 9-match session. 5 matches in the morning, then (the console having been on standby) 4 in the evening.

I won them all. Conceding just 1 (ONE) goal in the process.

A 9-match winning streak is, I think, a first for me on any PES. I don’t believe I’ve ever been ‘allowed’ to win 9 matches in a row in any Master League before. We all know what should have happened around match 6 or so – a mysteriously inevitable draw or defeat – but it didn’t.

I powered off the PS4 late last night knowing that when I next switch it on, I’ll do well to win 2 matches in a row, never mind 9.

I’m still on Top Player – of course Superstar is not far away (and after it, Legend).

Which will almost certainly be in the Premier League, because this was the table towards the end of my winning run:This screenshot was taken before my last few matches. I’m top of the league by 5 points now. My eyes are on the title. The lottery of another Playoff round is something I will be very glad to skip this season.

I’m also in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, having seen off Wolves after Arsenal. Liverpool will be the semi-final opponents, with one of the Manchester teams waiting in the final should I make it that far.

Could I be in the Europa League in my maiden Premier season?

This is a slight concern. For me, the balance of PES2020 is slightly toward the generous side. I see signs of the hyper-obnoxious gameplay that others have seen in PES2020, but my pass and move play-style has pluses and minuses.

One big minus is that I commonly have matches in which there are few fouls and free kicks, or none at all.

But one big plus is that the AI rarely gets the chance to bring overbearing pressure on me, as I rarely hang onto the ball for long.I miss being automatically shown this screen at the end of every month. It is not quite the same with it tucked away out of sight. You have to make a conscious effort to go to its sub-sub-menu to look at it now. This is the first Team of the Month screen I’ve looked at all season and I might not look at another one. Master League lacks texture due to misguided decluttering decisions like this.

Here is the squad I have put together after the January transfer window – 16-year-old Robin van Persie is the headline new arrival, and there are a few journeyman Free Agents sprinkled in there too:

In the middle of midfield are two new signings that are great to play with. The essence of PES. Peter Drury calls RIQUI PUIG ‘Ricky Poochy’ and I love it every time he says the name. I’ve quietly got high hopes for this digital version of a real-life Barcelona B-team player.

My new DMF, Damonte, is a 24-year-old who was born to fill the Mathieu role in this ML. Which should include some great goals of course. Nothing from Damonte yet, although I keep trying.

That’s what I miss most in this PES – goals by a pouncing DMF from that famous ‘DMF hole’ around 30 yards out.

Every PES has had those goals, even PES2014 (example). PES2020, so far, has not had any. With nearly 3 full seasons played, I’m getting worried.

And so today’s 1m45s compilation is a compilation of notable ‘moments’ from recent sessions, rather than any great goals. Interesting rather than spectacular. PES2020 still awaits its ‘wow!’ goal.

You can see van Persie’s debut match goal – with his second touch, and his weaker foot, and his grey hair; plus a few interesting Jarvis moments; and check the moment I conceded a surefire penalty that turned out to be a free kick! Somewhere in a parallel reality there’s a disgruntled AI moaning on its blog ‘how is this not a penalty?!’

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



Not planning to chuck Berrio

In the transfer window before Season 3 I made a point of favouring players with a Speed stat of 80 or more. BERRIO is a 30-year-old Free Agent with pretty average stats in most areas – except Speed, which is a preposterous 91 at this stage of his imaginary career.

Berrio’s the type of player who usually vanishes from my squad and my mind following the first or second transfer window after promotion… or is he? I fancy something different this year in terms of the transfer merry-go-round. I might favour Journeymen, Youths, and Regens. Even though the game will clearly let me sign anyone I want no matter what, it’s palpably a better game and a better experience with lesser players. So Berrio might be here to stayio.

In his first match Berrio scored a hat trick. There he is above with the matchball. And this was his hat trick goal:

That searching aerial through-ball was supplied by my other big new signing, one D CROWLEY from Birmingham City. Only 72 for Speed, he makes up for it with a very Castledine-like silky feel about him. He cost me almost all of my £20m transfer budget and demanded the highest wage I’ve yet paid out – £1.1m a year.

I had other negotiations to do with contract renewals in the squad. It would be good if Crowley’s inflated wage prompted resentment and a desire for parity among my other players. But they were happy enough with the pittances I offered. Eventually. Rice caused a hairy moment when he turned me down at first.I went back with a slightly better offer and he was fine. The same happened with a few other players too. Including Beto, my very promising Youth promotee keeper whom I have decided to pick in place of the more experienced Begovic. There’s not much between them, and Beto could do with the games.

That very slight bit of trouble the game threw my way in contract negotiations with my own players was the first real sign of actual difficulty on my Hard Negotiations setting. Which I have otherwise found to be the EASIEST EVER.

My First XI (when all are fit and in form) and the rest of my squad:Ramirez at left back is a Youth player with 84 Speed. Salomonsson at RB (still on the bench for now) is another Youth, a Regen in this case, and has similar stats. Their pace really shows. Never again will I be caught out of position and done for pace at the back the way I was in the Playoff Final. It still hurts.

I’m light at central defence, so a decent CB with good pace is top of the shopping list for January.

After spending all my budget in pre-season, I have already (by December) accumulated £8m in transfer funds and about £4m salary budget. I am also on Small budget settings.

So this is life with a Small Budget and Hard Negotiations. One can only wonder what life is like with a Large Budget and Easy Negotiations!

Heading for mid-season of Season 3, I have a firm intention to win promotion outright. No more Playoff tension for me. A season in D2 is too much work for it to rest on the outcome of three matches. Automatic promotion is the only target.

Here is the table – very exciting:My goal-scoring needs to pick up. You have to go down to below mid-table to find a team that’s scored fewer than mine. But I easily have the best defensive record in the division.

Top Player is still giving me good matches most of the time, although matches in which the AI is curiously passive and doesn’t manage a single shot on goal are becoming a bit too numerous. Superstar might come along soon. Although I will probably wait for the Premier League.