Tag: league table

Low-BATT-oh? Luh-BATT-oo? Low-BART-oh? Luh-BART-oo?


I have high hopes that PES2017 could be the PES we’ve been waiting for, collectively, since at least PES2011, and arguably since the hallowed PS2 days themselves. (I would offer up the patched PES2014 as a strong candidate to be PES’s Golden Child, but I won’t get into that sticky nest of vipers’ eggs here.)

PES2016 wasn’t terrible, but it was the most un-PESlike PES game since PES2008, or arguably ever. It was a definite sideways step for the series that left me deeply mistrustful of where the people who make PES wish to take it. I’m still very mistrustful, even now, but it’s time to say that I think PES2017 is so far proving a wonderful surprise. I’m very hopeful of what it means for the football gaming year ahead.

Problems remain, but there are always problems. The greatest PES game ever made (PES5), and the greatest football game ever made (PES5 again), and what is surely the greatest computer game ever made (that’ll be PES5 again) – had its own parcel of problems. Nothing at all is perfect.


I got to the end of Season 1 with a goals-scored record of just 23 in 46. That’s exactly 0.5 per match. I haven’t had a Season 1 like it since the old days of Ordaz & co.


I nominated Rice as my next My Favourite Player. I picked Hettich last year and promptly sold him, so we’ll see what happens to Rice now. The poor man’s Joey Barton, I off-handedly called him a few weeks ago…

The actual Joey Barton appeared in my Youths as a 70-rated 16-year-old. I passed him over in favour of the irresistible Lobato. Yes, I have finally taken a good hearty swig of the Lobato Kool Aid.


Jut a few matches of Season 2 played and he’s done nothing yet. His stamina levels are atrocious and he hasn’t finished a match. Everybody is saying that PES2017 is a very cross/header/big man-friendly PES, but I’ve yet to find that.

I also grabbed Stewart Downing from the Youths. This is a PES where the killer pass is paramount, more than ever. Creative Playmakers are in.

I love PES2017’s twin nerfs: the speed nerf and the distance-shooting nerf. I want to get a long-ranger eventually, and believe I will. The forums are saying it has to be with a player with Shooting Power stat greater than 80.

The twin nerfs combine to produce a heavy, thoughtful game that is very much to my taste. PES2016’s lighter-than-air, 100mph, frantic style is a receding memory.

I’ll say again that it’s a bloody shame that high-fouls matches aren’t the norm in PES2017. Maybe 1 match in 5, I’ll get more than a token few fouls per side. It’s a shame because the high-fouls matches are by far the highest quality matches that PES2017 has to offer.


My squad still isn’t great, but I don’t necessarily want them to be.

With the very generous finances provided at the end of the season/start of the next, I probably could have done a bit better.

As well as Lobato and Downing, I got Speroni to be a reserve GK from the Youths.

Bielek(CB) and Brugman(DMF) both came on free transfers.

I was very tempted to cash in on Yankov, but decided to wait and see. I’m happy starting Season 2 on Professional difficulty with this squad. I don’t play PES to ‘beat the game’ as they say. I enjoy ‘beating the game’ when it happens. But not too quickly.

PES2017 is coming into its own. With some more time to play coming up, I intend to see exactly what it’s made of.

And for the record, I say Luh-BART-oh.

Somewhere In Added Time

FIFA16 Season 2 After 10

My FIFA16 Career Mode is back on. I’m back playing as Coventry City, safely ensconced in the Championship.

I had fallen foul of the board expectations, which, as several commenters pointed out, were indeed too stringent: win the league, it turned out, was the culprit.

Having ‘only’ achieved promotion via the playoffs, the board dismissed me. Not something that would happen in reality, but as I often say, football gaming is superior to reality.

I overturned the verdict thanks to my PlayStation+ subscription. I never play anything online, so the annual subscription has to earn its keep through the free monthly games and the automatic online backups of savegame files. Worth every penny.

I resumed with about 3 matches left of Season 1 in League 1. I fiddled about with simming at first, but that didn’t work out, so I had to play some of the matches. I left it on Professional difficulty for honour’s sake.

In the last match of the season, with the last kick of the ball, in the last seconds of added-on time, I scored the goal that won me second spot and automatic promotion.

But would it be enough to satisfy the board?

The board wasn’t happy, but I kept my job.

Post-season, I had to say goodbye to my star loanee, Marcus Rashford. He’s a promising youngster in FIFA16.

I tried to buy him outright, but couldn’t afford the £5m asking fee. I signed him on another year-long loan.

BIG screenshot of my First XI and squad:

FIFA16 Season 2 squad

I haven’t played enough of FIFA to know if this is a good or bad squad for a season n the Championship on Professional difficulty. My record indicates that I’ll have a tricky season sometimes, but it should be OK overall. I am considering making a move up to World Class.

The board target for this season: mid-table finish.

Alan Smith strikes again

Season 1 of Career Mode in FIFA16 isn’t quite at an end yet. Disappointingly, my swashbuckling surge towards the top of the League just failed to carry me into the final promotion spots. A costly couple of nil-nils left me stranded in 3rd at the final reckoning:

FIFA16 Season 1 final table

Which meant a playoff final for promotion to the Championship.

For all my long years of Master League and occasional forays into FIFA, I’ve not played in many play-offs. Master League has rarely featured them, When play-offs have been included (which edition?), I’ve rarely had to participate to my recollection. I haven’t played enough FIFA to have been in playoffs. So this here playoff might be only my second or third such experience in all my footy-gaming years.

I did feel the weight of pressure. A long season and a lot of matches all coming down to this.

My opponents were Southend. One of the teams who’d held me to one of the nil-nils that’d proved so costly in the run-in. I didn’t bear a grudge.

I won the first leg, away, 1-0. It was fairly comfortable.

The home leg was all very sedate until early in the second half, when Southend scored to level things up on aggregate. Then they cheekily got another to make it 0-2 to them. 1-2 on aggregate.

Getting back into matches isn’t even nearly as straightforward in FIFA16 as it almost always is in PES2016. So this was Big Trouble.

Here is the rest of that match, from the 56th minute all the way to the close of business:

Phew. Probably the best single match I’ve had on FIFA16 so far. Not because the play was particularly fine. But because of what it meant, and the way events panned out.

I scored the aggregate equaliser with the last kick of the ninety minutes. 2-2. Alan Smith’s instant remark about me needing another because of Southend’s extra away goal made me frown, as I was pretty sure that away goals only count double after extra time. And so it proved.

I got my winner so early in extra time that I was hanging on for the rest of it.

So I am through to the final. Which I have yet to play at the time of writing (Monday evening).

I’ve already decided that if I don’t win, I won’t persist with this Career Mode career. I don’t think there’s time between now and PES2017 for more than 3 or 4 seasons.

I’m toying with the idea of recording and posting the whole match on Friday, but as ever I’m firmly convinced that watching other people play football games is one of the dullest things that can be done. So I won’t do that. It’ll be some sort of highlights again.

If Alan Smith says left corner when it’s actually right corner, or vice versa, just one more time…

FIFA16 Season 1 after 32

I’ve spent so much quality time playing FIFA16 this week that I don’t have time for a very long post today.

Up there is the very latest table. With 42 of 46 league matches played in a very long season, I’m just outside the automatic promotion spaces. A playoff place is all but certain.

My plan was to get promotion in Season 1 and then switch to World Class difficulty for Season 2 in the Championship. This looks like it’s going to happen.

Here’s a highlights reel of my last few sessions. In this video you may see that the game has started to come together for me.

Quite a variety of moments on show there. My pick of them is the ‘pass with purpose’ straight into Rashford’s feet at around 1:20. His first touch is poor and the ball bobbles up, and of course with my shooting predilections I went straight for the volley…

I’m really loving FIFA16’s long aerial through-balls, or Hail Marys as I think of them. Great when they come off, as two of them do in the above compilation.

The game on Professional has clicked to the extent that I’m not trying (so much) to play it as if it’s PES.

For one thing, the slide tackles. Slide-tackles are a hideously overpowered monstrosity in PES2016.

In PES2016, the slide tackle makes your defensive strategy simple: sprint your players until they’re in position to slide, and then slide, slide, slide, slide, slide, until you get the ball back. After hundreds of matches of PES2016, slide-tackling is baked so deeply into my muscle memory that I wonder if I’ll ever get rid of it now.

Hopefully I will re-educate myself to defend properly. Slide-tackling is barely anything at all in FIFA16. Sliding’s range is short and its effectiveness very low. Maybe one slide-tackle per match will come off, and then that’s usually a toe-ender by a defender that concedes a corner.

On the negative side I’ve noticed some very obvious scripting shenanigans.

It’s very noticeable that when I’m winning, it becomes incredibly difficult to keep possession. There are blatant instances of my players passing the ball out of play for no reason at all, and that sort of thing.

I’m familiar enough with this football game by now to know when I’ve blundered and when the invisible hand of scripting is in play.

Scripting is a necessary evil in footy gaming. It’s what makes football games great. But some degree of subtlety is advised. FIFA16’s scripting is surprisingly unsubtle.

By Tuesday I’ll have played the last few matches of the season, and hopefully won promotion.

I was toying with the idea of live-streaming the decisive match(es), but doing so would affect my style of play too much and ruin the experience for me. This is why the players in the imminent Gamescom vids are almost universally terrible. Everybody tries to play the way they think other people will approve of.

Football gaming is entirely a private pastime for me and always will be. Everything great in football gaming is based around a single player sitting alone in a room.