Perhaps the old heads have been here before and will smile knowingly when I report my latest experience with this year’s, at times, infuriating game. Anyway, after weeks of disc out, disc in, try again, tonight I had a brainstorm and thought I’d try something radical to see how overwhelming the AI might be against the poor human player in any circumstance. I took one team from the PES league and reduced every single player to ‘1’ in every ability setting. To start, I let the game play them against themselves in top player mode. As you might imagine they were abysmal but I was struck by the fact they were abysmal fairly evenly across the pitch. I then reinstated their ability settings but left attack/defence awareness at 1/1 for everybody. Things were still a bit clunky and I then gave all R/L/A/CMFs a 2/1 setting favouring attack with DMFs given 1/2 setting favouring defence (all other positions remain 1/1). (Edit. forgot to mention, version 1.03) I sat back expecting/hoping for a more balanced experience if a bit rigid as far as positions were concerned. What I got was unexpected. As I hoped, the ‘10 in the box’ was gone and was anything from 2 to 6. However while the balance across the field was maintained you were as likely to find a DMF sniffing around the edge of the box as an AMF. With two teams on equal settings I then played as one. The game was an absolute blast. You can’t get away from the fact that at times the code serves up two clumps of players at either end of the pitch but it seemed to flow much more. I won the game 5-2 and when the AI had equalised to make it 1-1 I was almost out of my seat because it was scored with a header from two on two in the box. Most of the game saw ratios between 4-6 and 5-7 in each box with some examples of evenly matched numbers. Hell I even had a RMF running in on the blind side into the box in acres of space at one point. I’ll obviously have to give this a number more tries before editing and then it will be a case of fine-tuning along the lines of Chimps’ philosophy on ability spreads. Hopefully this isn’t a placebo but it would be helpful if somebody might also try it and say what they think.