Moving up to Top Player has brought a little bit of pain. Results have wobbled. I just completed three matches straight where I failed to score a goal. I’ve fallen off the pace at the top of the table, inevitably.
I’m delighted about it. I would have romped clear on Professional. Moving up to Top player has made every match matter. It’s deepened my relationship with my players. Including a certain Mr Friday:
The very next match after this menu-screen blurb appeared, Friday stopped scoring. It’s been about 6 matches since – still no goals.
It’s as if the game knows that real-life players go on these runs of not doing whatever they were formerly doing rather well (cf. the real-life Ibrahimovic, Stones, Schmeichel, et al).
Rice had 3 games off following a straight red card. He hasn’t felt quite the same since his return. Son Heung-min hasn’t been the force he was before his brief injury lay-off. I’m loving this aspect of this ML.
Also very welcome is playing against an AI that does unexpected things. They won a free kick about 20 yards out. I prepared myself for the customary shot on goal. Instead, the AI free kick taker chipped the ball horizontally to a team-mate, who proceeded to execute a lovely Le Tissier-style chest-and-volley. I was almost disappointed when my keeper caught the shot with ease.
So PES2017 is a roaring success, right? It’d be churlish to deny that it’s a great PES. I think it is.
But doubts linger.
The fouls issue is bugging me massively at the moment. For a couple of weeks, fouls have been in steady decline as I’ve got used to the game and my usual pass-and-move approach to PES has taken shape.
PES2017 has always been a low-fouls match for me, but I was prepared to accept that as an improvement on PES2016.
The sad outcome is that I get entire clusters of matches with no fouls at all. Like this one:
Seriously – I get two or three matches in a row where I have no free kicks at all. Not even PES2016 was guilty of that.
This was a supposed Rivals match, away to Birmingham. Look at the fouls/free kick count. Zero fouls against me and I only conceded one myself. That was with me playing a full-on thrash-metal style, a la PES2016. A horrible match, 1000mph, end-to-end crap. Everything that’s wrong with modern football gaming.
The annoying thing is that there were approximately 8 instances apiece that should have been fouls, but weren’t given as such. Had they been given, this shit match – and this was a proper shit match – would have been a great match.
The matches in PES2017 that have what I consider an acceptable amount of fouls — 4 per side or above is acceptable to me — are very, very rare now, in fact so rare that I cannot recall when I had the last one.
Fouls are not ‘fixed’ in PES2017. They never really have been.
Serious representations need to be made for the inclusion of an optional ‘Strict Referee’ setting in PES2018.
I want to see every single instance where a foul could be given, given.
Every. Single. One.
You often see the animation of a player holding out his arms in the universal ‘ref! ref!’ gesture. I want every one of these given as a foul and a free kick.
Yes, I know this would mean sometimes 8+ fouls per side per 10-minute match. That’s exactly what I want to see happen. I know exactly what I’m asking for, because that’s how things are in the greatest football game ever made, PES5.
If we have a Strict Referee setting in PES2018, there’ll be no need to discombobulate the online players. The current no-fouls model can still be the default setting. Those of us who want to actually play a football game, rather than a button-mashing rhythm-action game based on football, would have to go into a sub-menu and enable ‘Strict Referee’.
It could work very well. Everyone would get what they want. Us single-players would get proper matches properly punctuated with fouls and free kicks. The online players would still be able to enjoy their Real Munichelona cartoon blurs.
But it will never happen. Konami depends on shiteClub, as I wittily call it, to generate the kinds of extra revenue via microtransactions that probably make Pro Evolution Soccer viable as a commercial concern.
No shiteClub, no Pro Evo. And so there has to be the possibility that single-players will migrate to online play. Giving us single players a Strict Referee setting would probably seal most of us away from shiteClub forever, and Konami do not want that…
Everything bad that has ever happened in football gaming over the past 10 years can be laid at the door of online gaming.
- frantic end-to-end pace (retaining player interest: the ‘MTV principle’)
- the dumbing-down of player individuality (‘balancing’ for equally competitive online play)
- the neglect of single-player modes (seriously, just what happened to Master League after PES2011?)
- the gradual year-on-year reduction of fouls and free kicks (the fewer interruptions, the better)
- the omission of injuries from in-game play in Master League (because in-game injuries not only interrupt play, they force the player out to the Squad screen – a mega-interruption)
I hate online football gaming.
I really hate it. I really mean this. I don’t hate anything else in the world. I don’t hate injustice or disease or death or suffering or anything else of that nature. Those things are inescapable features of a phenomenal world and there’s little or nothing we can do about them.
I hate online football gaming. I bitterly resent its baleful influence on the football game series that I love.
It is time for PES online and PES offline to go their separate ways. If not in the form of wholly separate games, then in the form of a Strict Referees setting for PES2018.
It is time to make PES truly great again.