What a difference a week makes

** WARNING - Long Post Alert **

It has been a few weeks since I last posted to this blog, and during that time I have played a fair bit, and have seen a huge swing in the fortunes of PES20 and its placing in my affections.

I'll cut to the chase, I am currently LOVING PES20, and I put this down to several possible factors. The first one being the patch, the second being me actually 'getting to grips' with the game mechanics properly, and lastly the Team Spirit Factor, I'll touch on each of these below.

The Patch.

We all know the patch didn't do a great deal really, but a couple of very important things it did do was vastly improve the player selection issue, and fix the gaping space between attack and defence, now midfield lines actually exist and you often have to play slow, probing passes to open up space in order to create yards for a shot or a chance generating pass. You, and the COM are not so freely able to just ping the ball straight out of defence into the feet of an attacker anymore, and this adds a whole new element to the game play and makes matches against various opposition with different setups varied enough to keep you interested.

Fouls of course haven't been touched and are still a bone of contention, we know they will never be 'fixed' due to the way games devs are now aligning their products with the online crowd, and the game still frustrates hugely in this area, the collision detection/refereeing logic is just pure broken, it often fails to identify a legitimate challenge from a foul, or even who's committed a foul, see below, a most ridiculous example of my player being fouls on a breakaway, only for the game to somehow give the decision against me.

Game play Mechanics

Only time hands-on with the game lets you really bed down with the controls of any new PES, even though they all pretty much have an identical control scheme, the intricacies and nuances of each individual game need learning, and I feel with just over 2 months of the full game under my belt, that I have now learnt the niggles and nuggets of PES 20's mechanics.

Shielding - is an extremely key focus in this years game, the COM seemingly can shield off multiple players at will, whereas your own players will often be smashed to the ground, but learning how this works can make it very manageable.

Don't Sprint, even the most astute, hardened, veteran PES player has a tendency to clamp that sprint button, its natural, but laying off it in this game pays dividends. when NOT sprinting your player will shield the ball automatically as long as you position him between the ball and the COM player, you can often hold off players just like the COM does by simply using the LS stick alone to dribble. On the flip side, when trying to muscle a COM player off the ball, using R2 (Special controls) and nudging into the player will often knock him off balance and allow you to take the ball, this is contextual based on stats, so might not work as well using Maddison to try to out muscle Van Dijk, but it gives you a much better chance of competing in physical tussles.

Usage of R2 (Special controls) is also key in other areas, use it for trapping, dummying, taking slight touches when dribbling and positioning players when the ball is in the air.

Below is a quick summary of inputs and features I have found most useful in making the game very playable for me:

R3 - Very useful when controlling air balls, press R3 just before receiving the ball when in the air to take a touch with either foot, thigh, chest, head etc, good for setting up chances.

R2 (Special Controls) - Trick Trap (opens up body away from incoming player) // Dummying, lets the ball roll past you to run on to // quick press R2 when dribbling to take tight close touches on the ball // use to pull the ball down out of the air // Press and hold when passing to play a slower but more accurate pass through tight spaces

L1 - Press & hold when receiving a pass to trap the ball and keep tighter possession // Hold L1 when dribbling to turn quicker and tighter

Player Support Settings >Auto Offside Trap ON - Setting this feature to On doesn't actually make your defensive line attempt the offside trap every time the COM attack, instead what it actually does is instructs your back line to play as a defensive unit rather than individually.

previously my defence would often be left wandering, and leaving COM players totally unmarked, with this setting enabled my back 4 move up and down in a cohesive unit and are much more aware about players around them, it's made a world of difference.

Team Spirit

This I feel is a little broken in terms of how it is scaled, we all know TS massively affects the way your team performs, that's it's intention but I feel it needs refinement, anything from the 50's up to 80's and my team was often not making the runs I expected or wanted, even manual triggered runs were poor, but once my TS hit the 90's, its now upper 90's, the whole shape and dynamic of my play changed, I have multiple runners, players track back more, are more aware of their surroundings etc. It seems that the scale of TS needs smoothing out over the levels rather than the car crash of Sunday vets league team up util 80's TS, then 1970 Brazil from 90 TS onwards.

I just wanted to explain the factors that have helped me turn a corner with PES 20 and start enjoying the game much more, now that's all out of the way, how are the Dog & Duck doing?

I changed to a new and final camera angle, Zoom: 2 Height: 6 Angle: 6 which gives me a better view of runners and play going on around me as I found my broadcast style angle too restrictive at times, I really like it and I played all of season 5 with this camera.

The season objective was to finish in the top half, heading in to the final game of the season we were 5th, 1pt behind Man City in 4th, We needed a win and City to draw or lose to bag that last Champions League, we were up against already crowned champions, Liverpool:

Note that even after 5 seasons Liverpool's lineup remains virtually unchanged, this is due to Transfer Activity being set to Low, I have since changed it to normal from Season 6

So, a 2-1 win against Champions Liverpool, a very tame Liverpool performance disappointingly, but this meant we needed a result in the Man City match ......

It wasn't to be, City beat Villa 2-0 to claim 4th, so the Europa League next season it is.

Here is the final league table:

Overall quite happy, I was very pleased with our Goals for, finishing as the leagues top scorers, the goals against wasn't even that bad, having the second best goal difference, we just need to turn a few of those draws and defeats into wins.

The standout story of the season was the emergence of 2 players who have been in my squad since Season 4, but never really did anything of note, then hit a rich vein of form and have continued to be standout players this season.

Maolida (CF) signed for £36 million is a goal scoring powerhouse, he has the finishing and 'fox in the box' prowess of a prime Micheal Owen, but also the pace and power of a Drogba, and regen Quaresma (RMF) provides a ton of assists and chips in with a fair few goals himself. Strangely enough he never made it into the team of the season, but my other wide midfielder, Gomez, did.

Arcas also had a great season, finishing second top scorer with just as many assists, he and Maolida have formed a deadly partnership up top.

Maolida also took the Golden Boot, with 52 of our 67 goals coming from that front 3 of Maolida, Arcas and Quaresma. My first point of call pre-season was to tie them all down to long term contracts, which I managed to do, I also brought in regen Koscielny at CB and regen David Silva who has taken the AMF position ahead of Gerson, with Castledine now being 3rd choice.

A change of kits and sponsor heading into season 6, with European football to play and an objective of a UEFA CL place set by the board, all to play for.

Lastly, a small selection of Season 5 run-in goals.

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