MASTER LEAGUE (ML)
Master League is a game mode since the first appearance of the game under the "Pro Evolution Soccer" title. Master League is a manager mode; it enables you to choose a team and proceed transforming the club.
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 3
The user gets to select one of the various clubs included in-game. The players are all generic and belong to the Master League Default Players section. The player plays in a random league and cup, first in the second division. There are four leagues; North, East, West and South. The player also participates in two international club competitions; UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League (then unlicensed). The primal transfer system, the low number of free spots for transfer targets and the ability to edit the clubs while playing Master League wasn't as fun as Konami thought...
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 4
Now the user has a new job; to create a club from scratch! The club (FC Cosmos) is just a typical generic, yet editable club. Now the user can replace the ML Default Squad with actual players. The format is a bit better than it used to be, but still has many opportunities for development... Yet again, there is a second division and four leagues (from A to D), as well as the two European club competitions mentioned in the previous format.
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 5
The format is absolutely better; new editable ML Default Team, fully customizable, lots of players to choose for the squad, new options (also available in PES Shop) and new Youth System. There is also a "revival" system, where players between 35 and 45 are forced to end their careers, their stats are completely changed (reduced) and they start again, without nationality and name change. For example, old man Paolo Maldini (aged 37 back then) will start again as Maldini, but with incredibly reduced abilities. Yet again, the player is forced to stick with the club chosen and the only way to stop this is by reducing the player number to <16 or due to bankruptcy. The league system has not changed, while the club competitions remain as they were. Now the player development is much better, the transfer system was revamped and the training mode gets some new features. Apart from that, by the end of the season the player can arrange some home friendlies against actual clubs or team selections (e.g. European Selection etc.) and also train the players individually with key fields (goalkeeping, shooting, passing etc.).
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 6
Slightly different from PES 5 format. In fact, the only actual difference is that there are several generic clubs to pick (if the player doesn't want to pick an actual club and keep the actual squad or start from point 0 with the ML Default players). The club names are;
- ML United (revived, with new logo)
- AC Maestore (MST logo similar to early Real Madrid logos)
- AS Victoire (logo resembling royal Spanish clubs)
- CA Especialista (Japanese-like logo)
- Bravona (a purple "b" with a yellow and a green stripe circling around it)
- A series of zodiac-sign clubs (FC Aries, FC Taurus, AC Gemini, AS Cancer, AC Leo, AS Virgo, Libra FC, Scorpio FC, FC Sagittarius, AS Capricorn, AC Aquarius and Pisces FC)
- WE Japan (taking the logo of the ex-ML United)
- All star teams (English All-stars, French All-stars, German All-stars, Italian All-stars, Dutch All-stars, Spanish All-stars, Argentinian All-stars and Brazilian All-stars)
- AS Mohican (A Mohican figure logo. Probably the coolest...)
- FC Mageiro (A weird logo with a head with long hair chasing a white ball on the crest)
- Longuedez (A rather funky and bizarre logo...)
- Bosedez (A golden logo showing what seems to be a "club boss" figure with rays emerging from behind his back)
- Maccingami FC (A Mount Rushmore-like logo, according to my eyes at least...)
- Wakame '73 (Another Japanese-like club)
- Waketenaze '91 (The last club on the list, again Japanese-like)
This was the last PES edition where the Youth Squad was available in this format.
(Note: From now on we will refer to PC and console versions, except for PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable (aka PSP), Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii).
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2008
A new version of Master League was developed, with the addition of cut scenes with player interviews, lots of pictures with fans etc. The development system was slightly changed, the interface underwent a serious makeover and, apart from that, the core system remained intact; same generic leagues, same European championships...
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009
Slightly altered characteristics and a new addition; the UEFA Champions League is now licensed for the first time (also a separate game mode), so the experience is a bit more attractive. The ML mode, though, had minimum changes, nothing too different to mention...
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2010
PES 2010 Master League re-development was absolutely TRAGIC... The main menu was kinda useless - I mean, it was really hard to get used to it! Weird player development and communication system, altered interface and a chaotic, labyrinth-like ML main menu; not something I ever adjusted to. Thanks to this rather bizarre 'innovation', ML was never going to be the same again - and thank god, it is so much better now! The only explanation I can give for it is that Konami was a bit ahead of its time and tried to really differentiate from
FIFA's manager mode... PES 2010 ML version was the last to use generic A-D leagues.
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2011
With the player communication surviving (and changing forms) and a brand new design and Youth System being introduced, PES 2011 ML was a state-of-the-art mode, with lots of new additions, such as sponsors, team personnel altering ability and many more. This was the base for something new and with the latest UEFA Europa League addition, the ML mode in this game was absolutely smashing! Once again, the player was not allowed to switch clubs.
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2012
Approximately the same ML format, no need to be upgraded. Same methods, similar interface and a really sophisticated piece of PES mode. PES 2012 ML mode was the only to be combined with the PES Shop additional "Club Boss" mode and also the last one to force the player to start from the second division. Last but not least, PES 2012 ML was the last to feature player communication as a duty.
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2013
New additions (power ups that could be bought, shoes for the players) and generally a pretty average experience. Now that Copa Libertadores could be combined with the Brazilian League, all the player had to do was to select between Europe and South America. For the first time, the player was able to choose between first and second division, without being forced to spend a season with low-quality generic clubs and small chances of good signings... PES 2013 was the only PES edition that enabled the user to customize the name of the ML Youth squad in Edit Mode. Unfortunately, this game mode was not going to continue, as PES would undergo complete changes in 2013...
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2014
A new day has come. New leagues, new generic leagues (PES League -> PEU League, PLA League *new* and PAS League *new*), the last version with the generic second division and the first with the addition of AFC Champions League. PES 2014 was not what someone could call a fine game, but the ML innovations were good enough to persuade the player to keep on playing. First of all, the transfer system was fixed - I mean, really fixed! Secondly, the interface was completely altered and now, a club friendly would be arranged with a random club before the season started. The background showed the home stadium of the club, with the camera spinning in circles. The manager's nationality now affects National Team call ups! That's right! PES 2014 innovation was the addition of National Team call-ups for the player, who could choose to abandon the club and join the national team! And now the part every player was waiting for; club change! Yes, national teams weren't the only to call you up, but the user can also switch continents! Additionally, a new salary cap was introduced to help the user stay in-budget while arranging transfers. In a nutshell; PES 2014 ML was clearly better organized than previous versions and more innovative.
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2015
PES 2015 Master League mode was a rebirth of the famous PES game mode! PES 2014 characteristics remained, but since there was the addition of second divisions from England, France, Italy and Spain, these leagues had the second division restriction comeback - no more top division starting! Once again, the club stadium is shown in the background. Now additional league usage (the three generic leagues) toggling is available! If the user chooses a club from the "Other Clubs" section, they are able to put the club in any league available. New cut scenes were introduced (in fact, PES 2014 cut scenes were improved), but unfortunately, the PC version lacked several cut scenes and a sider program was used to allow their appearance. The interface is a slightly better version from the PES 2014 one.
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2016
Konami really did a great job with this edition's Master League! The interface once again underwent some serious improvements! Player Roles were introduced, an assistant giving tips on transfers, new scouting system, a brand new, slightly improved way of signing since PES 2014, "news" section in the home menu and a more organized Master League in general. Once again (since PES 2014), no pauses between events can be made. New search options (such as in-budget players) can be found in the scouting settings. Some new bonuses were added, while now the offers from other clubs seem to be a little more frequent. PES 2016 is the last to include South American international club competitions...
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2017
Slightly altered from the PES 2016 version, with four specific upgrades. Firstly, the negotiation system. According to PES 2017 official website, significant changes were made according to the transfer system, with new dedicated budgets for transfer funds and player wages. There is more variety in negotiation, e.g. 6 month loans, and signing the player during his loan period (buying option). The time element has been added to the transfer windows deadline, adding excitement and tension to sign your players on the last day, just like in real life football. Additionally, directors will also play their role on giving advice to the player for negotiations. Secondly, team role which has been a popular addition since 2016 sees further enhancement with now 22 roles compared to 10 in PES 2016, with added roles such as 'Hero' and 'Bad Boy'. This allows for more character establishment for your team. Next, player growth; Player Growth system has been improved, with players now acquiring not just abilities as in PES 2016 but also skills. Some players may see a boost in their abilities while on loan! Training system has been further improved, with players now being able to learn skills and establish their play style through Training. In PES 2017 players can now learn their position, enabling you to further realize your ideal player and team. Last but not least, Konami has added real-life kick-off times! Now day and night match balancing throughout the season, taking into account real life kick off times.