Master League: CPU's mad attacking strategy in big European games


16 October 2020
My issue with PES 2020: In European knockout games in Master League, the CPU plays with the attack/defence level on maximum, all out attack. Best example: winning 1- 0 versus PSG in the CL final, Thiago Silva turns centre forward on 60 minutes, allowing me to easily counter and win 5-1.

As you probably know, there's five levels in the attack/defence level bar, from very defensive (bottom, blue) to very attacking (top, red) where the centre-back turns striker for a last gasp effort. What's crazy is that even with the aggregate score tied in the second leg, the CPU goes all out attack from 60-65 minutes on! This happens in CL and EL knockout games both, ending with a bunch of cheap goals for me on the counter.

In the domestic leagues the CPU uses the attack/defence levels correctly, making for good games. Only on 80 minutes they go at you with everything and when winning late they drop everyone back. I played at least 20 ML seasons in four countries (Smoke Patch, superstar level, no pass assist). The same formula repeated: domestic league and European group stages were realistic, European knockout games and domestic cups were mad runarounds and weirdness.

The CL quarter final first leg is especially strange because there's an international break just before, the season schedule has been the same since at least PES 2013 I think. But this is no ordinary break with a little fatigue, the international players' fatigue bars are way down making reserve players better choices. Playing the quarter final feels like playing on beginner level, it's like the game gives you an easier match to maybe help with player fatigue, making one of the biggest games of the season a walkover.

There's been a few times the CPU hasn't gone all out attack, but even then the big European teams, Bayern, Barca, Man City were easier to beat with my solid but not world class Krasnodar team than the top Russian sides.

People complain about scripting/momentum, losing a late goal and such but for me, this is the worst kind of script where a whole segment of a season seems predetermined to give me "thrilling" end-to-end games and "joy" of winning in Europe (years ago I noticed a pattern in FIFA 11 and 12 where the early season was tough and the late season easy so you could always climb from fourth-fifth place to win the title, aimed at pleasing the player I suppose).

There's something fishy about domestic cups too, though they're smaller competitions in stature so it bothers me less. All teams seem to play all domestic cup games with the scale on attacking or very attacking, all the time, regardless of the score. I'm certain too that the lower league teams get a boost because I've lost to them in the first round, often.

I wish this was a fixable tactics issue but there is no setting for the attack/defence levels in the tactics screen. This is something coded into the CPU's behavior specifically in knockout games, perhaps specifically in ML.

I've tried turning the skill level to legendary but then I need 30 shots to score a goal. I also dislike the idea of having to switch to a higher difficulty when I play Barcelona, it doesn't make any sense. A workaround I tried was using Sider and making player two my opponent in coach mode. On the side select screen in ML it appears you can do this but after kickoff there's no response to the controller. I figured if I could get two opposing users the game could not use its funny-logic. I'd love to be able to try this.

So what's left? Try and not make it into Europe, play European ties with original teams in Exhibition mode, play with such a bad team there's no chance anyway...

This was the reason I stopped playing a while ago. Anyone notice these things and/or have ways to somehow play around these flaws?

edit: You CAN coach an opponent with a spare controller while playing with your side! Go into Participant Settings with Sider active in ML and press Confirm instead of going back to the main ML menu like an ass!
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