PES2012 preview season has begun. Yesterday saw the release of WENB’s report and podcast following their playtest. PES2012 sounds absolutely mouth-watering. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be excited for this game.
Unfortunately, there was too little single-player talk for my liking. Listening to the WENB podcasts over the past few years, it has always seemed to me that neither Suff nor Adam are huge multiplayer football gamers. I could be mistaken, but the impression I get is that they mainly play single-player and always have done.
So it was deeply frustrating to hear their immediate focus upon multiplayer. This approach to previewing football games is now so familiar that it’s in danger of seeming normal and right. Single-player always seems to be an afterthought by the previewers, whoever they may be.
You can say that the true nature of a football game reveals itself in multiplayer, but you would be wrong. Multiplayer football gaming is a whole other kind of football gaming. Different rhythms, different techniques, different tactics.
For example, a week or two ago I played WE9LE online and enjoyed it a great deal. But I’ve also played it offline, and the two modes are like two distinct games.
I would never try to evaluate WE9LE or any other football game by how it plays in multiplayer. For me a football game is a single-player game first and a multiplayer game a long way second.
So, with that familiar moan out of the way, what can be gleaned about PES2012? Albeit through the distorted lens of multiplayer…
To summarise: PES2012 seems to be an improved PES2011, without any of the latter game’s most dismaying problems. If true, that would be a remarkable game indeed. As long as the final game is the same as the preview code, of course…
And there lies my very real concern. No matter how great PES2012 might seem to be this summer—or even in September’s demo—what guarantee do we have that the game we’ll play in October will be the same?
How do we know that the fiddlers and twiddlers at Konami won’t do again what they did with PES2011? We must never forget that the PES2011 we got last October was substantially different from the demo, and from the preview code.
Part of WENB’s preview article specifically references the introduction of the stumble animation. It’s a sobering fact that it wasn’t in any build of the game until the final build.
And that’s what stops me getting really excited for PES2012’s gameplay. What’s the point, when it could all be taken away with a last-minute twist of a dial somewhere in Konami HQ?
To understand my concern, you have to understand my very real hatred for PES2011’s stumble animation.
Partly, yes, I will admit to exaggerating it for comic effect. But mostly, I really do hate PES2011’s stumble animation.
Put it this way: I sometimes think I hate PES2011’s stumble animation more than I hate the whole of PES2008 on the PS3.
Whenever I think of PES2011 now or in years to come, I won’t think of its lovely animations, or its silky passing, or its complex and engrossing build-up play, or its fascinating and innovative shooting model.
I won’t think of the many great goals I have scored in PES2011.
I definitely won’t think of the absorbing Master League I played—because, for the first time in a decade, I didn’t play a Master League to completion. Disgust overwhelmed me and I could not continue.
When I think of PES2011, this is what I’ll think of:
Over and over and over and over and over and over again. That feckin’ stumble abomination.
That was just the headline issue for me.
The stumble was closely followed by the step-around animation, where players would do a little side-shuffle instead of collecting the ball straightforwardly.
The elephant touch, where the ball would rebound as from a brick wall.
Occasional player selection problems.
And of course the full-backs drifting up to play in the centre-forward position. God, that one’s infuriating.
But a PES2011 without any of those things—or even one just without the stumble abomination—would be a remarkable game indeed.
I know that PES2011 without issues could be great because I played PES2011 for over 200 hours anyway, despite the problems. I was playing it just yesterday on the PC, and I had a pretty good time.
So we wait to see what will happen. Roll on September and the PES2012 demo. I am very curious about this game. But however great it might seem now, or even at demo stage, the proof of PES2012’s pudding will be in the October eating.