How to get better at PES on PC and beat the hell out of CPU on Superstar every time you get the chance? Here are some advices from a guy who doesn’t suck as bad as he did. I still suck, but not that much.
A few months after the first version of this article, I’m revising it to a 2nd edition with some new things added. Because, in the meantime, I’ve lost many more games and learnt something from it. I also broke my promise to myself I won’t play the damn game anymore.
(I’m writing this with the assumption that you know the basics of the game, including some of the more advanced controls (like placing shot, shooting lob, super cancel etc.)
1. Understand the physics of the game.
Just be reasonable. You know that the player can’t shoot with the same power if he’s running toward the byline being pushed by the defender like when he’s running directly towards the keeper with no one to stop him. You will cross much better if your player isn’t in full sprint and runs diagonally towards the goal line than if you’re in full sprint, running vertically towards the goal line. It’s really just common sense. Imagine you’re watching real football – if it doesn’t seem physically possible, just don’t do it. Or at least avoid it.
2. Tactics is really important.
If you don’t use different formations when you have and when you don’t have the ball, you won’t be successful. Push those full backs up when you’ve got the ball and back when you don’t. Make one of your two attackers fall deeper when defending. Make your central midfielder an attacking midfielder when on the ball. And so on. You can also use fluid tactics to change formations and tactics easily. I don’t (mostly because I play on keyboard and for some reason the controls don’t allow it).
3. Learn how to play defence.
Two things are crucial – positioning (which is also related to your formation and tactics) and anticipating the ball. In the beginning, it’s pretty hard to take the ball from an attacking player. It can be REALLY frustrating. You’ll just have to learn how to do it by pressing X twice. In the beginning, the double X will get you lots of yellow cards which will translate into many red cards, especially because of the late starts. But once you get the grip of pressing X twice at just the right time and in the right position, you’ll stop the likes of Ibrahimovic as easy as you’d like. Combine it with team pressure for best results, but don’t overdo it and use it when appropriate. (For example, if the CPU goes on counter attack 2 on 2, you won’t call the additional player to put a pressure on the one with the ball because the other attacking player will remain unmarked.)
As for the sliding tackle, you’ll also have to learn when and where to use it. If you recklessly throw yourself at your opponent’s feet, you’ll be booked. On most occasions it’ll be a red card. The one situation I find the sliding tackle most useful is when the attacker prepares to shoot inside (or just outside) my box and I’m controlling the defender near him. Throw yourself in front of the shot to stop it.
In the end, always expect the worst reaction possible from your defenders and/or the way CPU changes your players. Your defenders WILL miss easy headers, tackles, they will inevitably run in the wrong direction or slow down when you least expect it. It’s just how this game is, you have to accept it.
TIP: Learn how to change the player manually with the right analogue stick.
4. Score every time you’ve got the chance.
You won’t get much chances so use every one you get. If you’re bad at scoring, go to training and try going one on one with the keeper. Don’t always use pure force – try placing shots, lobbing the goalkeeper (the CPU will do it often enough to you if you rush with the keeper towards his attacker). Also, try long shots. For more details, look at my article about scoring in 1-on-1 situations.
5. Exploit the CPU’s weaknesses.
Hey, the CPU is doing it, why shouldn’t you? There are a few ways that work for me. The simplest one is cutting in from the flank and shooting with your player’s stronger foot (like Robben does in real life). The other one I don’t use because it’s too unreal – the rainbow flick. It’s really easy to get past the defender using it because the defender won’t be able to take the ball from you before the animation is finished (that’s FIFA 97 and 98 right there). It’s also too easy shooting the volley after it.
6. Learn how to pass.
Don’t force the pass in your own half if you’re not pretty sure you’ll get it right. CPU will anticipate it and you’ll end up in a lot of trouble. Don’t use the through pass on your own half too much cause it won’t get you far. When you’re winning and it’s late in the game, imagine you’re Barcelona and pass around till you get bored and then pass around some more. Sometimes you won’t like it, but when you concede as many late goals as I did…Well, you’ll see.
7. Play every game like it’s your last.
If you just defeated Manchester City, don’t get all cocky and play Leicester like you’re the best player out there. Play like you’re playing City – be scared of their attackers just like you’re scared of Aguero and Džeko. Respect their defenders. Some people complain that there’s no difference in playing weaker and stronger teams. I agree, but don’t think that’s unrealistic. It’s just how modern football is.
8. Be patient.
My first season on superstar level, I played with Porto. I didn’t win a single game in 38 league matches. I was angry, I uninstalled the game, but kept getting back to it because I thought it was worth learning it.
9. Try playing with weaker teams.
It’s widely known that people are more creative when they have limited resources. Playing with weaker teams will make you learn how to play like a team, not just run around with the likes of Messi, or score easy goals with Ronaldo or Bale. Try playing english Championship, there’s an interesting challenge. When you finish a few seasons with a weaker team, try playing with Real or Barca again, you’ll probably notice the difference.
10. Accept the game for what it is.
Once you realize that this game is not perfect and that playing defence can be as frustrating as you allow it to be, it’ll be easier for you to keep your nerves calm and not throw the computer out of the window the next time your defenders passes the ball straight to the opposition attacker.