Master League Online – Impressions

It feels a bit weird to post impressions on the game, firstly I know because these impressions are obsolete now as there is obviously newer code out there which people have played and commented on, secondly the purpose of the Beta was not to test gameplay but to test how the network was responding, but since I was lucky enough to be selected I thought I should pass on what I have found.

The Master League Online Mode

Just to outline so far what this does, you pick a team and you can rename it to whatever you wish, you then start out with the default Master League players, Espimas, Castolo, Stremer et all.

You start out with a set amount of small cash and you have three options:

Quick Match – Player vs Player – you pay an entrance fee which if you win the prize money is greater, if you lose you generally lose money and even if you draw depending on how many star players on high wages you have can descrease as well.

Quick Match (Coach Mode) – Think Football Manager, you watch the match and make the necessary changes.

Competition – At set times of the day there are competitions combining both the above modes, you win a lot more money in Gate Receipts from the competitions even if you lose, so they are worth entering despite the higher cost of the entrance fee.

There are 5 divisions which then calculate you points won seemingly every 24 hours and decides if you are promoted, relegated or stay in that division.

You can sell your default players (but you must have 16 members in your squad at all times) to raise funds for other players, the more people buy players their value raises with their popularity, Rooney for example started at around 5.5 million and is now valued at the time of writing just below the 10 million pounds mark.

Tactically you have seen the grid which is very much like Football Manager or the Wii PES, where you drag and drop players onto any position on the pitch, what I didn’t realise was the Role of that player (CMF, LMF, DMF) can be selected by pressing the X (360) and you can see what rating they have in those positions, I have still not found how to set the attacking mindedness of the players, so if it does exist please let me know, also I am unable to drag and drop any of the new preset tricks.

Then you are ready to play!

Camera

The new broadcast style camera follows the action from the point of view as if you are watching an actual game on tv, so instead of staying centered at all time it has an isometric type angle when you are in the final third, the default Normal Long camera is too close to the action so you can change this in settings to Wide, which I did.

This works very well and seems natural at first that some may not even notice this if they have been away from PES for a while, sadly sometimes though if a ball is cleared quickly (and it does move very quick) the camera can struggle to keep up with the this, so if you are defending sometimes the ball will land at a defender you didn’t realise was there until it practically hit him.

Another issue for me is when the ball is in the final third the camera zooms in closer to the action, the problem with this is when attacking the far side of the pitch you cannot see somebody further than the post closest to the screen, so picking out a run can be tricky.

It may be fixed now with new code but I would like to see the old wide camera angle from previous games making a return or less zoom in on the current camera.

Passing

It is pretty immediate how different the passing is, you can still aim the ball in the general direction of the player and tap the pass button and it will arrive at the player fine in most cases, when applying more power this can replace the through ball function in certain situations, I found myself able to carve open a lot of scoring opportunities just by spotting an early run and threading the ball through, long passing seems a little less a bullet now with a bit more loft in the ball, this can lead to an opponent able to run onto the ball and run clear of the defence, so better to use sparingly, the manual pass works as it should, but hard to pull off when under constant pressure from the opposition which the aim of winning at all costs that online play brings, offline in the demo will be excellent to test this fully.

Some issues with passing and also cursor confusion when trying to pass in small spaces between more than two players, sometimes the ball will hit a player as the cursor did not change, leading to losing possession.

Players also do not seem to have situation awareness, ie when they are near a touch-line there is no extra effort to keep this in play, they just stroll along unaware, same when the goalkeeper makes a mistake, the lack of urgency can lead to a forward who is way behind you able to sneak in and score.

At the moment as well the ball does seem to have a little bit of ball to foot trajectory about it when using a simple pass, like it is a remote control car.

Crossing does feel very floaty at the moment, it feels like it takes an age whether using middle or low cross to arrive at the attacker in the centre, high cross seems to have too much height and due to the camera issue that I have can lead to you just blindly pressing the shoot button in the hope that someone is there.

Overall though I am very pleased so far with the changes made and believe this will add newer ways of playing the game once mastered.

Defending

I would love somebody to physically show me the new system for tracking the player because at the moment I am trying this but the attackers seem to sprint past me, it has probably cost me most of my goals trying it out, it would be something I would need to test more thoroughly in offline mode, at the moment everyone online is just sprint pressuring at the moment which is a shame.

Shooting

I have always loved the shooting on older PES games due to how the logic was worked out, tending to favour the players correct foot so you would be better slowing down and finding the better angle to ensure this is hit with the correct foot, or else if hit with the wrong foot it would trickle along the ground, the same seems true in this one as well, players open up when one on one situations with the goalkeeper and side footing the ball home.

One animation which I don’t like is the toe poke, it feels over powered and unrealistic, when I am 25 yards out there is no way I would want to to poke a ball, I would want all my weight behind the ball, now the issue I have is if it is a toe poke it should be underpowered but it seems to fly off the foot, mostly this is seen when faced with an open goal, rather than a calm side foot finish it aims a rash stab at goal which when combined with the reactive net physics just for me makes it feel unrealistic.

Other than that gripe the shooting in general is highly powered and looks like it have more curl in air,  players can sometimes try a scissor kick from 30 yards rather than staying ground for more accuracy, this may be due to holding the shoot button at wrong moment though.

In general positive again but I would love the toe poke to be reworked, it should only come into play when stretching for the ball ahead of a rushing goalkeeper, just my opinion.

Dribbling

When you start with the default players you feel forced to pass constantly because of the lack of confidence in the close control of those players, first thing I had to do was buy Mikel Arteta, now he is a dream to control, looking for the pass if none is available you feel confident enough to turn your back to play which offers more shielding from the constant pressure and you can calmly turn your way out of trouble, the default RT dribble offers better control for those better players in turning and fooling defenders if you have a skillful attacker, Theo Walcott is very effective when moving at different angles with this held down.

With the normal dribbling there is still a little bit slowness when trying to turn, improved with the better players but still slightly slower than I would have liked.

Skill dribbling using LT and right analogue stick works as it should and feels responsive enough, I don’t feel confident using this online yet though due to constant pressuring of the opposition and lag/slowdown concerns when attacking in some games, it would really be something to try on a lower difficulty level or in Practice Mode to see how this can be added to your game.

Goalkeepers

I think you all know now from reading other impressions that the standard ranges from the ridiculous to the sublime, they can save some shots that you cannot believe would be possible and allow goals the same way.

They appear to leave their goal line easily for none pressure situations, ie a stray punt down field while staying on their line when the situation is more urgent.

What I hope is fixed however is the amount of near post goals they allow, even weak shots lead to them looking like they have been asked to divide 1,247, 321 by 12.7 and they either allow the ball to squirm under them, push the ball out or into the net.

I would also like to see less goals where the keeper has got a full strong hand on the ball only to loop over their back, you feel embarrassed when it should be saved or the keeper has enough time to get up and dive on the ball before crossing the line.

Referee

Well, he is a typical referee, he misses the obvious fouls, calls for fouls that were not there, in fact there is a set list of comments you can trade with your opponent when a replay has occurred, the one usually traded when replaying a foul is “NO WAY”.

You do get penalties now though!

It is clear they are very early in development.

Lag

It feels very stable so far, only had around 3 disconnection in 60+ matches and you sometimes don’t realise you are online, there is noticeable 5 second lag after either player has entered the pause menu to change tactics and sometimes at odd moments of the game but if there is too much the game seems to recognise and stops the match not punishing the player either.

I would say 80% of the time I have been untroubled to the point of noticing and feeling frustrated.

Overall Impressions

Now I know I have listed some bugs and also a lot of negatives with the above but in truth I could not be happier at the moment that the series we all love now is finally something that can be loved again, especially if we have had an affair with another.

No game has made me feel as angry and as happy as this has in the last five days, I have assembled a very good team at the moment thanks to the cost of winning a competition I was able to afford Fabregas and build from there, when the game is smooth network wise I can play some amazing one touch passing and movement, there is no feeling like it, other times there can be games which the opponent presses you all the way and you simply cannot play the game you want so you may have to go more direct or sometimes I have been very thankful for the draw.

The thing is as well I am not an online player, I want to use the game as usual for offline Master League but this seems a mode that I could easily become involved in, maybe if private leagues are allowed too it would be excellent for the community.

I am hoping to visit Konami very soon for a play on recent code so will update the blog then, as I said at the beginning due to the older code being employed in this Beta my impressions are out of date but it would be good to read back and see which issues have been resolved.

I can say with some confidence if my queries so far have been resolved and it plays a tough, competitive match with the same randomness and freshness each game it will be played up until the next release, from where the game has been to where it is now is a massive leap.

Thanks for reading

Follow me on twitter @PES_EVOLVES

 

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One Response to Master League Online – Impressions

  1. The Dribbler says:

    Master League Online is a good addition to the PES franchise. I have had a few games in this mode, but to be honest, starting out about a month after the release of the game left me quite a bit behind. Players that you can buy for your team can be hard to purchase because of the increasing fluctuations within the game. Ronaldo for instance (at the time of this comment) is around 20 million to buy. If you take into account that when you play a game and lose, you may make about 10 – 20k profit. A win may net you 100k. A draw against a higher division player may make you 140+, but the moral of the story is that you have to play a lot of games to even think about purchasing such a player. Or at least start as soon as the game is released. I am still undeterred an plodding along with my Online ML. It may be some time, but I know one day I will get there.

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