Do not boil

Like every other PES-lovin’ PS3-owner, I grabbed Demo 1.0 of PES2012 this week. I’ve played it a bit over the past few days. Happily, the PC demo’s blurred graphics problem is absent. As ever, it’s a real pleasure to sit with a proper PlayStation controller in hand and play the game without worrying over v-sync tearing or what Windows Update might be doing. PC gaming has got a lot going for it, but when it comes to football games I’m firmly with the consoles.

So, how about PES2012—or how about this early demo, it’s more accurate to say.

What more is there to say? The first thing is that this is not PES2012. I have to smile when I see the demo spoken of in some places as being PES2012.

This is a demo, and a very early and rough-around-the-edges one at that. Have we ever had a demo with more than a week of August still to go? I don’t think we have.

The in-depth diagnostics of various gameplay mechanics that work/don’t really work/don’t work at all, is largely pointless, if impressively fine-grained in some cases.

I’m as disappointed as anyone that the assisted passing settings are borked and that the keepers are ludicrously bad. I’m as pleased as anyone with the general handling, the speed (-1 is my sweet spot), and the nimbleness of the players. I go along with the impression of great promise mingled with relatively minor concern.

The biggest change that’s leapt out at me has been shooting. PES2011’s shooting was characterised by a lightness that occasionally bordered on the absurd, with the gentlest of touches of the shoot button producing wayward, frequently skyward, shots.

PES2012 seems to have gone back to heavy shooting. The floatiness that some have seen is because they’re still using PES2011 muscle memory, and feathering the shoot button. You now have to really lay on the shoot button to get any power going.

I haven’t been able to score a good goal, or even a middling goal, to show off here. Not yet. I think I’ll play the demo for another few days before inevitably going back to my patchwork quilt of football games whilst waiting for Demo 2.0 to arrive.

This week’s WENB podcast makes for very interesting listening. It does seem as if Demo 1.0 (I’ll be calling it that from now on) represents the least best code of any that has surfaced over the summer. Apparently, if we think this demo is good, the second one will be a good deal better. As for the final game…

No! I won’t allow myself to believe that a great PES2012 is a done deal. I remember too well what happened with PES2011: a superb demo, the best one ever, but a criminally misconceived final game in so many aspects.

This demo is like a tasty spoonful that you take from the pot while the pot is still cooking. It’s nice and all, but there’s still another ten minutes’ cooking time to go. And you’ve got to be careful not to let it boil.

Updated: 26th August 2011 — 10:03


  1. I am now convinced that this is a piece of marketing genius by Konami, that will (potentially) be destroyed by the internets capacity to make everyone an expert at everything (WTF! YOU CANNOT reenergise a dilitithum crystal with a phaser LOL.) This is not a demo, it is a question, to wit, “Do you want a game like this”? The answer seems to be “yes but can you make it more like FIFA please, or “yes but the players need to be more like FIFA” OR “yes, but all the things I can do in FIFA I can’t do here”..For me the concept is proved I am trying to stop playing it but can’t help sometimes going back for just one more go at Santos and their intricate passing and Ganso and Neymars individual brilliance. Please Konami see out this vision, some will not get what you are asking but they probably think that Phantom menace had a decent plot!

  2. Stanley the Younger

    The Phantom Menace, haha!!! that reminded me of Spaced’s brilliant contempt of Lucas’s terrible recent offerings! (I guess abit like PES, remaking a classic badly an all that) Well Not Greg, good times, I managed to sneak 5 games in on the demo last night after all!!!! I scored two goals and lost 3 of the 5, still no wins, heres my 2nd goal this time with a monster from Zlatan! not usually a fan of Milan but this was nice, I went on to lose to Napoli due to Hamsik being just a little special. They’ve actually got a cracking little front line ol Napoli! Anyway as everybody says keepers are vbad and Im gonna need to retrain myself out of PES11 mode but I forsee good things. You know its gonna be an interesting year when the first goal you score is with Carrick!!! it is definitely a more interesting product this year, i’m liking the ability to use your midfield a little more rather than the snap and rush of last years effort. only time will tell!

  3. Ive only played with Man Utd once and scored an absolute belter with Carrick too, I bet fergies wishes he could do it in real life.
    My only concern with the PES12 demo being so responsive and players dribbling etc being so tight is that PES will lose that player individuality that has always set it apart for me, from the competition.
    I know in PES11 if im trailinga nd need a goal, which players I can bring on or give the ball to that can go on tight mazy runs, produce kilelrs passes, because theyre stats are so good or I have trained them in the Speed merchant skill card, either way, they have that different ‘feel’ to them, an individuality not shared by most other players.
    if PES 12 is like the speed merchant trait across the board then im concerned that every player will feel kinda the same, just like FIFA. which would not be cool.

    Im interested to see how the ML default players will perform under the new mechanics.

  4. I will reserve judgement on player individuality until the next demo/full game release, I do feel we have lost something in that dept, maybe to do with the assisted settings, maybe!? However what I do like is the triggered runs, especially when you use them as a decoy and suddenly there seems to be options every where. Also loving the fact you can’t just hold sprint, these new bursts can be devastating if timed right. The forums seem to be wanting this changed, I am assuming that these are the same people who have arshavin, messi, Ronaldo etal. Hope konami hold there nerve.

  5. on the subject of speed bursts, is it R2 + R1 ?
    And only certain players with the ‘explosive pace’ skill trait can do it ?

  6. Jay

    So many of the shrillest voices seem to be the people that make playing on-line in both Pes AND Fifa such a pain, they are committed it would seem to playing a”game” rather than playing a representation of a sport, in their world all you need is Usain Bolt and a ball and world domination is yours.They have been rewarded far to much this generation to the detrement of both football titles, just as FPS’s have been brought low by the selfish ME ME culture that is constantly rewarded, now is the time for change I think.

  7. Paul all players have a new attribute” explosive power” so all players can do speed bursts with varying affect, there are 2 different ways to do speed burst here is a link to the new controls

  8. nOir_dEux—I think the early demo was at least partly intended by Konami to show that we should dare to let ourselves believe. That and to get their towels on the beach before FIFA, of course.

  9. Stanley the Younger—it’s weird how many different views of the PES2012 demo people have. You find it more leisurely and better-paced, as I do, but the forums are groaning under the weight of people saying ‘too fast! too fast!’.

    I’ll have to take a look at your goal when I get home from work.

  10. Jay—I have long used one-twos as a decoy in football games, and I have also hit on the technique of triggering runs to make defenders remove themselves from my glorious path of ultimate victory. I predict a long happy future for PES’s trigger runs feature—providing it doesn’t fatally unbalance the gameplay in any way, of course.

  11. Paul—Carrick did have (still has?) a pretty useful long shot on him, so it’s fitting that he should bag a few long-rangers.

    I don’t share your concern about PES2012’s nimble players, but understand that it IS a critical question mark hanging over how the final game will play out. At this stage we can only wait and see. It’s way, way too late to change anything. PES2012 is going to sink or swim based on a few aspects, and this is one of them. If they get it wrong we’ll have a whole year to wallow in despair. Or if they get it right…

  12. wow this speed burst thing sounds realy good. i never new about it unitil mentioned now. i guess that could explain my terrible defeat to man utd. 5-0 :(. will defo have to test this out against a lower rated difficulty.
    its a shame these players have been left out of ML default team. i realy liked minanda, he was my top scorer in the first and second season in pes 2011. i wounder how there replacements will turn out to be. at least castolo and the rest have been put into the coaching staff.

  13. kingkralos—thank you for that wonderful news, the best news I have heard since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Forget Gadaffi, forget everything. Castolo is dead. Castolo is dead! Ding-dong, the Myth is dead… <<<Monday's post title.

  14. ali—I think you meant to type ‘it’s not a shame’, surely? I’ve been longing to see the back of Castolo for at least 4 years now. He won’t be missed by me. It’s disappointing that he’ll be still hanging around like a bad smell in the coaching staff. I know who I’ll be getting rid of as soon as humanly possible…

  15. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but due to the hype machine being slowly revved up I thought I’d better…… I like the demo not Greg, it’s a good starter for ten, I just hope they stick to having to think about how you score rather than people who want the mechanics geared to play online. The best part about the demo for me is the turning and possession when your on the ball, alot tighter and more realistic for my money……

  16. I’m sorry not-Greg, I was appalled at the PES 2011 demo, having played Fifa 11 beforehand… I actually tried it, played a couple games, and deleted it from my PS3. It was a mistake I would later realize when I gave it another whirl and persevered and appreciated it’s longer animation cycles, the gameplay rules that guided a nice footy experience, at which point I was convinced to get the full version for my brother’s birthday in April… I am passionately in love with the PES 2012 demo, so much so that I frown in disappointment at it not being released on PSN (USA) and that playing with the keyboard on PC is so irritating. Yet I am very encouraged by the monumental improvements in response times, the cleaning up and polish of Game Menus, the close attention to detail on the pitch, the maintenance of the Tactics Screen, and the accessibility of controls with Personal Profiles, giving you some great options like ‘Cursor Assistance,’ which the ‘Unassisted’ setting has now been fixed. And that is where I find my happy place.

    This ‘Unassisted’ gameplay option is the best kept secret in the next gen of Pro Evo. It actually first got introduced on the turn to current gen consoles with the PES 2008* version. It was previously called ‘Semi-Fix’ on the PS2 version, as I recall, and basically, it’s an intuitive tool to help you control the movement of the passer before switching to the receiver of the pass. It used to be marred with control conflicts such as that of triggering unintended give and go’s, and chip shots when switching back to the ball carrier right as the A.I. was conveniently attempting to take a shot at goal.

    I don’t mean to ramble for a long time, but trying out the demo has made it clear that this feature has been kept and tweaked with for my enjoyment. I will provide more feedback on my experience with it. Hopefully, it will stay my setting of choice for the large majority of PES 2012. (It was unplayable on PES 2011 because of cursor switching bugs, yet it was fun and bearable on PES 2008 PS2 in light of the above mentioned button conflicts). As things stand I am still mad that I am unable to play with the friggin’ keyboard and have a nearly impossible time installing a driver for my PS3 controller, but let that not dilute the excitement I’m getting from early developments of PES leading up to release.

  17. Batesy8—as you may have read me say a lot, I think there’s too much ‘contamination’ of the single-player game by the admittedly popular online multiplayer one. Over the past few years the mechanics have steadily become more rewarding of sprint-clamping and other associated ills. That’s not to say they were never present in the good old days, of course, when computers and consoles were linked together with bits of string, but is it a coincidence that football gaming’s decline has coincided with online multiplayer’s rise? This is just something I’m throwing out there that’s probably indefensible on a number of levels, but what the hell!

  18. Steph Wheeler—it’d be a straightforward matter for you to set up a UK account on PSN and download the PES2012 demo. It’s a widespread practice that Sony turn a bind eye to. I’ve got a US account that I used to use to grab demos in the days when the good ones were always out over there before they arrived over here. Get on your PS3 now and create another user with any name you like using any address you like. Pick Buckingham Palace if you want. Or something like 1 Every Street, London, E12 4DG (or anything made up). The PS3 demo is within your reach right now, go get it!

  19. Thank you not-Greg, I am downloading it now… I guess you don’t know how easy it is until you try :).

  20. I got it yeah! So excited. Thank you dawg :).

  21. Some of the passing moves you can do in this demo are just sublime. Not only the passing but because of the AI understanding who to mark and how to cut off passing lanes you are left with time and space to 1-up the AI with that killer pass. The difficulty lies in the fact that the AI immediately rushes to cover the line of sight of your player to block a passing angle in the same way your teammates pop out into open space to receive a pass.

    It is absolutely brilliant stuff if you watch your replays like I do. You get the feeling you can recreate anything you watch on tv because the virtual players react in a similar way real players do. Needless to say I’m certainly enjoying the demo, with even it being this raw.

  22. StephWheeler-–brilliant, hope you’re enjoying it. Like I say in the post, PC gaming has many pluses, but for me there’s still nothing like relaxing at a console with a controller in hand.

  23. Kingpen—my attitude to the demo is just that, i.e. it’s a demo. It’s a little worrying and amusing at the same time to see this demo treated by so many as PES2012. Having said that, I don’t expect the second demo and the final game to be too much different, just tightened up in some places. Keepers and assisted passing and other things, etc.

  24. the only issue i see in this demo is the fact that avg players have ths great ability to dribble and turn which spoils the realism…but yes its fun to play….but th u l always treat tha as a video game n not as a representation of sport u love

  25. As you would have probably guessed, I am hammering away at the demo. Now I feel closer to PES and am enjoying the demo very much at the moment. I do want to echo with the main issues raised about the keepers, whom I feel seem to be a split second late to react, although I do appreciate some nice new animation touches. Also the passing looks nice, tight, and flows well, but I am finding it hard to recreate a solid crisp passing game (note that I play with no assistance). However, I am board with the belief that PES has never felt freer and given the user such feeling of control, at least not in the most recent titles. I can only hope that the actual release will tighten things up and keep the game as fun as it is.

  26. Never mind Castolo, Ximelez is gone, praise be! Ximelez has been the bane of my master league defaults for too long! The left sided winger with a terrible left foot (and an even worse right one). And that clumping oaf Minanda too! Happy days!
    In terms of the demo, my thoughts reflect the general feeling on here, bits I like, bits I dislike, but it’s early days. I still keep forgetting that auto kick-offs are out, so at the start of every match and after conceding a goal I still sit just dumbly sit there for ages waiting for the kick-off.

  27. Jamies – That’s what I was worried about; I really don’t want PES to lose player individuality with over-responsiveness across the board.
    Not played it yet myself so can;t really comment but it is a concern.

  28. i dnt no y so many ppl dnt like cartolo he was fine 4 me. he ws way below average but i expect dat as it is ml default plaYers. im still enjoying the demo. the shooting imo has gttn still geting used to it, to used to pes 11 shooting. im just hoping jonami show a vid of ML. i hope theyve aded a bit mre detail to it in transfers

  29. jamie—even the most unskilled real-life football player can trap and turn with the ball to a reasonably high degree. PES2011 ended up annoying me with its artificially-engineered, glitchy-feeling gameplay based around awkwardness of trapping and turning. There has to be a better way and I trust that the final version of PES2012 will embody it. But it would be a mistake to go too far the other way.

  30. However, I am board with the belief that PES has never felt freer and given the user such feeling of control

    StephWheeler—did you mean to say you’re on board, or that you’re bored?! I think you meant to say on board, so assuming that to be the case, I’d only qualify it by saying that that’s true for next-gen PES. I’ve felt just as comfortable with old-school PES, and indeed with WE9LE. Which this PES2012 is reminiscent of, in spirit! Fingers crossed for the final release. The second demo should give us a good taster.

  31. Filbert—user-controlled kickoffs are a welcome return. It never mattered to me that it didn’t matter whether I pressed a button to kick off or the game did it for me. It was something taken out of my control, and it set the symbolic tone for so much that was wrong in PES2011 IMO.

    And, yeah, good riddance to Ximelez too!

  32. Chris—I’ve felt the PES player individuality magic, but as you may have seen here and on the forums, many are concerned. I think the die is cast and nothing anybody says now will alter the final game. It’s in the lap of the gods.

  33. ali—I’ve started banging in a few demo medium- and long-range goals now. I’ve got 2 replays for tomorrow’s post. PES2012 shooting really is all about not being shy with the powerbar. And picking your moment (and player to shoot with) carefully, of course.

    The thing with Castolo is that he was decent, yes, but nowhere near as good as he was believed to be. His reputation from PES6 onwards has vastly exceeded his actual capabilities. It was all based on his former appearances in PES, particularly when he was named Castello in the very early PES games.

  34. ‘On board’ as you rightly assumed :). I inadvertently omitted the preposition and did not catch it until after post. Btw, I have tried all the training challenges and found them to be reminiscent of the good old days. At first, I was skeptical of the whole idea of bringing them back, but was pleasantly surprised to find how useful they can be and how we can take for granted the so-called basics and fundamentals–which are achieved by the simplest of button presses–and this year more responsively than lasts at the very least. Curious to read your next post. Good morning, and have an exciting Monday!

  35. Wouldn’t surprise me if Cinalton is Castolo in all but name! Can you have a myth of Cinalton after one game?
    I’ll be interested to see if we get the super players coming through the youth team in the first couple of seasons as well… without doubt they’ve made me the number one ranked team in my current ML. Almost like a slow release advanced start mark 2

  36. StephWheeler—The training challenges reminded me of PES3 release day when I stayed up until 7am the next day playing the game, and the last 2 hours of that in training mode just practicing free kicks. The full story of that night will appear in the PES Chronicles book, a major theme of which is gradually emerging: a loss of innocence since those idyllic days of PS2 PES. (Discovering so many extra layers to write about is the main reason I’ve decided not to break my neck to get it out for October. I’ll take my time and make it a proper book, or at least as proper as I can manage.)

  37. Chris—I also have a feeling that the Ximenez/Ximelez and Castello/Castolo thing will be carried over, and the new players will be versions of the old. For all my Myth-bashing, I do kind of hope so. A young and hungry Castolo-esque striker in ML would be interesting.

  38. just played fifa 11 and being used to pro evo passing fifa looks terible, the defenders r so stupid in marking the oporing player and the player recieving the pass takes ages to turn around, he has to tke mre touches then needed, ive given up on fifa 11, now i cnt wait 4 pro evo to cme out.

  39. ali—I think we’re all just marking time now until PES2012 comes out (those of us who’ve been conditioned to see PES as the ‘normal’ approach to football gaming, anyway). I’ve only played two other football games since the PES2012 demo. I had a few games on PES5, and I played a good hour of PES6(360) this morning. Both felt cumbersome for different reasons, but at the same time both felt good. I hope PES2012 can have its own identity and not see us harking back to the glory days. That’s when we’ll know PES has finally arrived in the next-gen, when we stop saying it’s like this or that predecessor and we’re happy for it to be itself. Sigh. One day…

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