Category: PES Chronicles

No fun intended

7 League matches left in my final PES2018 season, and look what might be happening:

4 points off the lead, with an inferior goal difference granted, but considering where I was just a few instalments ago…. good old ML table scripting, working hard to get me up that table.

As I have said and felt all along, I will be there or thereabouts when the final tally is made at the end of the season.

It takes proportionally longer to get through the seasons when you’re still in 2 Cups, which I am, so the end – of the season, of PES2018, and of all nuPES games – still feels like a long way off.

I’m in the FA Cup semis, and now I’m in the Champions League quarters. Don’t know who I’ve got in the FA Cup, but it’ll be Leipzig in the CL. I dispatched Shakhtar Donetsk in the Round of 16, 1-0 on aggregate. They were surprisingly tough.

I’ve been trying out a new corner routine lately. For the longest time in PES I have swapped between two or three familiar corner routines: picking out a player in the box, going short, just blasting it randomly into the melee, etc. etc.. None of these familiar routines have proven optimal in PES2018 for me.

Interestingly, ‘real life’ football confirms that corners are far from worth getting excited about. Stats show that corners lead to a goal approximately 3% (THREE PERCENT) of the time. So that’s only 1 goal for every 33.33 corners. But the fans still roar and all stand up every time there is one.

Tired of a similar rate of return in PES2018, I’ve started L1+R-selecting a player on the edge of the box and sneaking him into Paul Scholes territory for a spectacular volley. Might as well. It amuses me, and it’s a nice mini-game of its own. Half the time the AI annoyingly insta-deploys a player to cover my L1+R selected player at the moment I press the buttons. This shouldn’t happen, because the AI is not supposed to ‘know’ what buttons I’ve just pressed, is it?

But half the time it doesn’t do that, and if the player I L1+R-select is so ridiculously far outside the box that he’s almost closer to the halfway line, I can get away with it easily.

When it’s all set up, I loft a circle pass to the selected player, and hopefully let fly with a spectacularly dipping volley into the postage-stamp corner of the net. Except that hasn’t happened so far. By the time the ball travels from the corner to my selected player, the AI has usually raced to block any volley – and half the time I get the timing wrong and/or the game messes it up for me, and my player tries to take a touch first.

Still, I have got goals from this method, by various means (usually playing a one-two for a regular sort of goal, etc.) These pseudo-corner goals come at roughly the same amount – 1 in 33 attempts. I ‘have fun’ doing it, and of course ‘having fun’ is what PES has always been about, right? Right? That’s what PES has always been about, yes? Having fun. That’s what everyone says now, so it is therefore the truth. Yes, having fun is what PES has always been all about. Many was the time in my 40+ seasons of PES5 back in the day – and in my 10+ seasons of PES2010, PES2011, and PES2012 – knee-deep in full-on PES immersion, experiencing a kind of rapt absorption that could only be compared to watching the best movie, reading the best book, or tasting the best food, when I exclaimed to heaven: ‘This near-transcendental state that I’m having now can only ever be described as FUN!’ When I’m watching Breaking Bad or Blade Runner, the only way to describe my enjoyment of them is with the word ‘fun’, too, which only a true churl would disagree with. How wonderful that this fun has been deified in the form of the myClub experience, which is, like, fun squared, or something. Yes, the having of fun is definitely what PES is now, and always has been, about.

Bit sidetracked there. Anyway, the corner routine: yes, it works sometimes, and here’s an example of it working. Not the greatest possible goal it could produce, but it’s something different.

Watch for GURPEGUI’s name tag appearing at the bottom of the screen, and watch me slow-walking him into position. The goal comes about as the result of a deflection, yes, but they all count.

The Pest from the West

A few big matches against the big teams, with lots at stake, and results worked hard for, and I’m in a good place with PES2018 in its final season.

A match versus Liverpool, at Liverpool, saw me put into place my new ‘Arsenal rule’ for playing against big clubs in PES2018.

I know it’s more like the Myth of Arsenal these days, but if you let them have the ball in PES2018, they’ll keep it and you will make yourself unhappy while trying to get it back. So my ‘Arsenal rule’ is that I keep the ball. That’s it. Even if I’m not really doing anything with it. Squandering possession on daring raids and speculative through-balls and crosses is a no-no against the Arsenals of PES2018.

I observed the Arsenal rule against Liverpool in this match, and ran out an easy 4-1 winner, with a hat-trick from my Classic Ronaldo (the Brazilian one, who gloriously looks nothing like the original).

A few posts ago it looked like the title was way out of reach, but a few results for me means that the teams above me have slipped – of course they have – and now look at this table. I’m 7 points behind. With 10 matches to go I could easily overhaul the leaders. Will the game let me do it?

It might, you know. The situation is complicated by the fact that I’ve played the key 6-pointer against Man City, and it only ended 1-1, so there’s no opportunity for me to put a dent in their armour.

If I can keep my current form going, I stand a chance, that’s all I know.

And I am still in the FA Cup and of course the Champions League.  I’m in the semi-final of the FA Cup, Shakhtar Donetsk are first up in the knockout round of the Champions League. A very unlikely Treble might be on. I’ll be disappointed not to win something in my final season.

I’ve decided to do my End of Year Review of PES2018 immediately after I finish up Season 8. It makes sense, as there are no more Years for me in PES. August/September time will be just like any other time.

In my End of Year review of PES2018 I’ll be giving the game two separate scores. One score will consider the game as the generic, market-friendly, Western-facing, FIFA-style football game that it undoubtedly is, and it will be a pretty good score. The second score will consider it as a PES game, and will be a pretty low score. The second score will of course be PES2018’s real score, but I’m not churlish enough to deny that the first score still means something. Times change, and PES has changed with them. I’ve accepted it.

When will the end come? With 10 league matches remaining, and still being in two Cups, I’m thinking it’ll be closer to mid-March now.

I Kane think of a title for this one

The impending end of PES2018 threatens to colour everything I do on it. In a good way. Knowing that it’s my last season on this PES game and all nuPES games, forever, makes PES2018 seem more like what it is: just a good football game.

For all the moaning about PES2018, here and across the wider fandom, it should be borne in mind that it gets criticised for being a poor shadow of historical PES. But it achieves exactly what it sets out to do in the here and now, which is to be a decent FIFA-style football game (with PES flavouring) of the second decade of the 21st century.

There’s just enough of that PES nougaty goodness for me to kid myself that it’s still PES. Having the name ‘PES’ on the box got me through 8 full seasons, and a similar amount last year and the year before, which is a pretty remarkable feat of habit and self-hypnosis.

So PES2018 is ticking through its last matches in good form. My sampler of PES2011 last weekend was a substantial shock to the system. PES2011’s slow player turns, coupled with the immediately apparent sense of player individuality… no way are any kids playing anything like PES2011 online nowadays. It was like grappling with War and Peace in the era of Buzzfeed and ten-second attention spans. No wonder Konami changed everything.

Back to Season 8. I have passed through the mid-season transfer window and picked up 3 new players. AMBROSINI up front. BERGE at DMF. And JAGIELKA at the back

Ambrosini feels exactly like nearly every other striker I’ve had in the game. Lacazette, Stepinski, Raya, Boia, and many more – they’ve all been basically identical to one another. Only Veldwijk stood out in those early seasons, and Harry Kane too for a brief couple of sessions (not seasons, sessions).

Berge and Jagielka are both a bit more interesting, being involved more in build-up play. The way Konami have streamlined the game to shorten the travelling time from goalmouth-to-goalmouth has perhaps accounted for a good chunk of the reduction in PES individuality.

The table isn’t what I wanted it to be at this stage. A few ruinous draws have now made it very unlikely I’ll overhaul the leaders.

I’ll do very, very well to get anywhere near the title from here. I think I’d have to literally win every match between now and the end of the season, and as we all know, that just isn’t allowed.

Still, I will give it a good go.

I’ve had a couple of matches versus Stoke and Everton that felt authentically stodgy and unpleasant.

At this stage of PES history, when I am about to hop into my time machine and never come back (pending a drastic change of philosophy on Konami’s side that simply won’t happen), it’s a moot point for me to be looking for the positives and chewing over, for the umpteenth time, the negatives.

There’s just over a third of the season left – all the league matches, and I’m still in both Cups, domestic and European – so I’m going to be playing PES2018 for a while yet. I think my prediction of March for PES2011 will come true.

And that will bring to an end an unbroken annual PES tradition that stretches back 17 years to PES2. There are football gamers aged 17 who have never heard of PES, unless someone like me tells them about it. ‘There used to be a game that was so unlike FIFA, you wouldn’t believe…’

I Kane stand it no more

Today is positively the last Harry Kane-themed post title. I was desperately hoping that he could become a key figure for me in PES2018. I really wanted him to emerge as a classic PES individual in my ML team.

One of the canaries in the coalmine that betrays how PES has changed in recent years is the fact that I naturally assumed Kane would come to dominate and be a character in my Master League side, in the way that his various predecessors over the years – the Bergkamps, the Schwarzes, the Vieris, the Stoitchkovs, the list is endless – always did.

After a magical first session or two from Kane, he might as well now be called Generic nuPES Striker 9321 or something like that.

Okay, of course that’s an exaggeration. Things have not got quite that bad with nuPES just yet.

But it’s not much of an exaggeration. I’d argue until the end of time that the most individualistic player in PES2018 is markedly less of an individual than the least individualistic player of oldPES – truPES.

Another exaggeration, there (I love them more than I love life itself – see?), but again, not much of an exaggeration.

I’m back on Top Player in the game and loving it. This will almost certainly now be my last season. Over the weekend I blew a thick layer of dust off my PS3 and its controllers, plugged everything in, and checked that I will be able to play PES2011 without trouble, when the time comes. All went well.

Playtesting PES2011 almost distracted me enough that I had to force myself back to PES2018. Where I revelled in the ease of the PS4’s environment. Boy, I will miss the PS4’s screenshot and replay features. I will be back on the PS4 at some point in the form of FIFA17, but there’s hopefully a lot of PES2011 before that point. I would like to be still playing PES2011 around the time of PES2019’s release. Won’t that be fun?

Back in PES2018, my league form hasn’t picked up on Top Player in the way I thought it might.

Hmmm. Even ML league table scripting will have to go some to get me up that table from here. But I Have Faith.

Next is a slightly different mini-compilation of ‘moments’ from a single session in the game.

First, an extraordinary sequence of me blasting the AI goal with a sequence of headers and outrageous shots that cannon off the woodwork and/or keeper.

Then an AI free kick goal that hilariously fools my GK all ends up. It looks like a deflection, but I can’t see that it does get a deflection. It seems to be a random computer-gamey glitch.

Finally, in that same match, a nice little moment from Harry Kane that’s very evocative of this goal from PES2011 that I posted in comments over the weekend. Almost as if PES2018 is saying ‘hey! I can do that too! Don’t go…’

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