Goalkeeping the faith

At last, at last. I have a couple of goals to show off. They’re not anything remarkable, but they at least show me scoring from outside the box. This can a problem in PES2012, at least to begin with.

Here are the goals, both scored whilst playing with Porto (my favourite demo team so far):

My favourite is actually the second one. A clipped type of shot, right in the far corner.

Again, neither is anything really special. As ever in PES, satisfaction is contextual and individual. It’s about the story of your session. These goals came along after a frustrating few matches of scoring either no goals at all or scrambled tap-ins.

Shooting in PES2012 is a hot topic. Essentially, Konami have once again pulled the ‘annual shooting weight switcharoo’ as I insist it now be called. Every year they reverse the previous year’s shooting mechanic. Light shooting years alternate with heavy shooting years. PES2012 is a heavy shooting year.

Or is it?

It’s risky to judge by a demo, particularly this one. Konami has a track record of changing fundamental aspects of the game between demo and full release, usually not for the better (cf. PES2010 and PES2011). And this year more than any other they have trumpeted the fact that Demo 1.0 is just a taster of the banquet to come.

But I’ll plough recklessly on and judge by the demo anyway. PES2011’s featherweight shooting model has been ditched, but elements of its shooting ball physics seem to remain. PES2012’s shoot button requires a heavier press, no question, but it retains some of PES2011’s floaty-feeling ball mechanics.

Meaning that shooting from distance is now critically (or fussily, you could say) dependent upon the traditional PES factors: time, space, opportunity, and the right player. It’s no good trying to blast a 30-yarder with your identikit right-back any more. To plant one in the onion bag from more than 20 yards, you need a Seedorf or a Schwarz (or indeed a Dzeko, or an Ashley Young).

That’s my take on it anyway. All is subject to change.

I’m not too worried about PES2012’s shooting. I think it’ll be fine. We’ll get used to it. I liked PES2011’s shooting, and if I can like that, I can like any shooting.

I’m most concerned about the goalkeepers. I really believe that if PES2012 emerges with keepers like the ones in the demo, it could spell trouble.

It’s simple. PES2012’s keepers need to catch balls that goalkeepers should catch. Not all the time, of course. Every keeper has lapses in concentration and moments of madness. But most of the time, real-life goalkeepers will catch balls that keepers should catch. Otherwise, they  wouldn’t be goalkepeers.

PES2012’s goalkeepers aren’t goalkeepers. They’re so bad that they can only be conceived of as a means to an end—the end being a football computer game designer’s wish to keep things ‘exciting’.

Low-powered shots straight at the goalkeeper or within easy catching range should NOT be routinely batted aside as if the ball is made of vomit. They should be caught, 99 times out of 100.

If it happens roughly once every two or three matches, yes, fine. That’s statistically probable. If it happens several times in every match, no, that won’t be fine.

In the PES2012 demo, bad goalkeeping is truly wretched. If it translates to the full game, it’ll damage PES2012’s credibility.

FIFA-style super-keepers are not required. All that is required is for the PES2012 goalkeepers to catch the balls that goalkeepers should bleedin’ well catch. Simple.

My fingers, as ever, are crossed.

Updated: 29th August 2011 — 11:31


  1. Hi Not Greg, just getting out of doing any work so have read the blog earlier than usual!!! you have hit the nail on the head with the keepers, in my brief experience with the demo I think my keeper has saved roughly 25% of all shots against him, this is dire! there are some promising signs there though, had an interesting thing happen whilst playing as AC v ManU, iwas chasing a long ball down the wing, when suddenly De Gea came rushing out to try to beat me to it, now if Id had someone slower than Pato he would have got there but I anticipated getting there first and did, hooking the ball past him now, he put out his arms and touched patos trailing leg, which knocked him off balance this was outside the box rgt handside and Pato stumbled but still remained in control and slotted it in to the empty net! it was brilliant, for two reasons firstly I have never seen that level of detail with a keeper and striker coming together and secondly Pato actually stumbled and regained his self control to then slot in! I believe the keepers will be sorted and hopefully we will have a game 85-90% of what we want, I think it has the potential to be really good fun, it is the first pes Ive played for a long while that had elements of the first couple of PES’s on the playstation so hopefully its a good year eh?
    oh and sorry i should have videoed the incident but my phone was a whole room away and i couldnt be bothered to get up!!

  2. Monsieur Stan—it’s not saves as such (although they’re important too), but the simple catches that I want them to make. The kind of slowly-moving, close-to-the-body aerial ball that keepers catch (not save: simply catch) 99 times out of 100 without even thinking. Far too often in the PES2012 demo when you shoot weakly from the edge of the area, say, and the shot drifts to the keeper at about 1mph, he’ll awkwardly palm it aside as if it’s a thunderbolt. This kind of thing has been a ‘feature’ of next-PES keepers since PES2008 [*spits*]. It happens far too often in the PES2012 demo, to the extent that it’s a genuine worry for me.

    I also believe the keepers will be sorted. I’d even accept PES2011-level keepers, i.e. they can still do the stupid batting-away thing, but just not so much.

    Re. phones being in another room and not being bothered to get up and get them… Because of exactly that, my best demo goal so far is lost forever—a sublime 35-yarder scored in my second demo match last Monday.

  3. not-greg, hopefully it’s not really the case that you need the ‘right player’, i.e. a top international, to score from more than 20 yards in PES2012. Otherwise games between moderate teams could be a bit FIFA09-esq. At all levels of football a moderate right back will (very) occasionally be able to conjure up a 30-yard screamer!

  4. Not sure if any of you use twitter or follow any of the winning eleven blog guys, suff, adam et al, but adam posted some interesting tweets over the last few days, saying the demo was the worst version of any code those guys have played since april, and that what he has seen from the latest code absolutely blows him away. Embargo lifts weds so will be a big day for PES 2012 news.
    Jon Murphy also states keepers are a priority and theyll be refining them all the way up until launch so promising signs.

  5. abbeyhill—I never meant to imply that and don’t think I did, I just meant that it seems PES2012’s demo is stricter than we might have come to expect over recent years. Since PES6 or so, the range of players who can routinely test keepers from distance has got broader. In PES6 I remember popping in 7 or 8 long-range goals per season with Zoro from right-back. That was one of the first indications, to me, that PES was turning in a different and not entirely welcome direction.

    PES2012 may be narrowing that ‘routine shot opportunity-taker’ group down to where your decent right-back might only get 1 shot on target every 10 matches instead of several, say. Anyway it’s all provisional and demo-related at this moment in time. I think we’ll know more by the end of September and Demo 2.0.

  6. Paul—I mentioned that issue on Friday’s blog (3rd paragraph from the end). Have a listen to the relevant WENB podcast if you haven’t already—Adam and Suff cover the disparity between demo code and every other version of the game that they’ve played.

    Looking forward to tomorrow and the news from everywhere of how preview code plays. And like I said yesterday, I’d be happy with PES2011-level keepers. The PES2012 demo keepers actually make them look good!

  7. Im halfway through the latest podcast mate. Interesting stuff.
    Those 2 goals in your video were both very nice indeed. i will upload a nice volley when i get home, could do it from my phone but over 3G youtube batters the quality too much. A nice dipping volley that you didnt really see in PES 11.
    Is it just me? but i dont find the supposedly amazing AI runs that great in the PES12 demo, i was expecting to see my forwards cleverly making runs in behind defenders etc but i often find myself wanting to use the trigger run method to get into better positions.
    Although admittedly it is 10 times better than PES 11, and at least your CF’s arent constantly offside in the demo as they always were in PES11.

    Im really itching for some in depth Master League news now.

  8. Paul—there’s an upload quality setting that I presume you’ve already found and switched to High. It defaults to Medium, so check it out if you haven’t already.

    Somebody else remarked that the diagonal runs we saw in one of the early Konami promo videos are conspicuously absent from this demo. It’s a worry, but like so much else I’d hope to see it in Demo 2 and the full game.

  9. that’s reassuring regarding long-range shooting not-greg, I was probably reading too much into your sentence ‘to plant one in the onion bag from more than 20 yards you need Seedorf/Schwarz etc’!

    Agreed that certain PESs, notably the PSP version, have devalued long-range shooting in making it too easy to score from any angle with any player. I’d also suggest that was the case with (next gen) PES10 and the way all 4 defenders would back off your advancing striker, making it pretty automatic to pop it in the net from 25 yards

  10. Hi Not greg, something peculiar going on? I have been playing the ps3 version of the demo and decided yesterday to give Santos a try now prior to this i was focused on the four euro clubs but decided to check out neymar and family, well after numerous matches I noticed very little trouble with the keepers and more interesting gameplay is there a chance the code is different here? I am a bit confused by the difference in experience? you will be delighted to know that it played brilliantly! plus Santos has these two Wing Backs which are awesome one guy called Jonathan or something like that is a monster down the right wing!

  11. abbeyhill—indeed, for all that I loved PES2010 it was about 80% the (then) all-new ML that I loved. Its gameplay, I will concede, was problematic to say the least.

  12. Stanley—I’d say that’s just session-to-session variance and not any change in the underlying code. Some people have had good keepers and better gameplay with the 4 main teams.

  13. To be honest Not Greg I think you are more than likely right, I have to admit that perhaps my defending itself has improved in my most recent session so thats probably helped. In terms of pes ‘feel’ i definitely am getting the idea that even with 70 average rated players PES has got back to a better more effective style an example would be santos having excellent full backs and ganso and neymar when you want things done these guys produce whilst their lower rated colleagues are less likely to hold things together, so i think individuality is still being nurtured by the PES game designers! i heard about Castolo is that true and if so who will i have to immortalise now, dare i say SCHWARZ!!!

  14. I have also been quite impressed by the physics in the demo. There was a moment when Rooney was tripped, stumbled (for just a moment) into the defender and knocked him over. Never seen that on PES before. Also I saw an off-the-ball collision between two players, sometimes happens IRL so great to see.
    I still haven’t had a player called back for a yellow card when play was allowed to continue. Frankly I’m surprised Konami are making such a big deal about it being in the game. It was in every version on last-gen, it’s embarrassing that it’s been absent next-gen.
    What is the Castolo news?

  15. Stanley—Castolo is dead and won’t be coming back, ever, if past ML player retirements are anything to go by. Yes! Schwarz is already an immortal PES player (see my post tomorrow for more on this).

  16. Grilled Seabass—“What is the Castolo news?” you ask? CASTOLO IS DEAD. That is the Castolo news, and it is marvellous in our eyes… No more having to put up with the faded embers of vanished greatness. In many ways, Castolo was a millstone around PES’s neck. The symbolic slaughter of the past enables a new beginning for all of us. Hmm. I should write propaganda for despotic regimes. I’m available.

  17. Castolo is dead, long live Cinalton

  18. I hope that’s the ‘royal we’ you’re using there not-Greg… Castolo did a great job for me early on in my 2011 ML and I’m hoping for more of the same from Cinalton this year!

    Still a bit gutted I’ve not been able to sample the demo yet, I guess the second one will be released in a couple of weeks so I shall await it’s arrival with extra excitement!

  19. Grilled Seabass—let’s see if this Cinalton character is a lookey-likey with braids and everything, only then can the pro-Castolo faction start to chortle…

  20. Chris—it was indeed the royal we—a biblical quotation (Psalms 118:23), made famous by Elizabeth I when she heard her rival for the English crown, Mary Queen of Scots, was dead and she was now Queen. Those of us who are somewhat north of 35 years old might remember Glenda Jackson playing her in a famous TV series, where she delivered the line with savage glee. “And it is MARVELLOUS in our eyes!!!” My delusions of grandeur know no bounds when it comes to vanquishing the Myth of Castolo.

  21. maybe just maybe he will become an unlockable player!

  22. Maybe it’s just my twisted mind but that’s conjured up images of Castolo’s guillotined head being held aloft by a triumphant not-Greg; corn rows dangling in the wind.
    Oh well, whatever gets me through the late shift I suppose.

  23. Castolo and pretty much all the old defaults are apprently now coaches or managers of the other fake teams!

  24. are there any of the old defaults we would unanimously agree were great? Cellini? Vorlander? Eddington?

  25. It always seems to be the fullbacks who last the longest in my teams so I’ll go with Eddington who, I guess, was Ruskin’s previous incarnation?

  26. Stanley—if Castolo becomes an unlockable player, my PES2012 disc is likely to become airborne. I suppose he could be easily modded into the PC version, though.

  27. Chris—if we’re staying in period, I picture a different method of execution for the braided one. Picture him laying his useless, faded-glory neck on the headsman’s block, as I swing the mighty axe and sever his head from his body with one clean stroke—or several dirty strokes with a deliberately blunted axe, if I want to be cruel to Castolo. Ahhh. Does me good to think on it, so it does…

  28. nOir_dEux—I know, I’ve been trying not to think about the news starting to come through of the ‘soap opera’ that ML may have become. If Castolo or anyone at all is constantly getting up in my face between matches and telling me things, I won’t be happy.

  29. abbeyhill—an old, old ML player called Castello was probably the best ever. Not many people remember him though. For some reason another player with a similar0-sounding name gets all the credit that was Castello’s, and only Castello’s, by right.

    Vorlander was a top defender. I remember playing with the sweeper system when he was around, as that was listed as his primary position.

    I can’t think of any others off the top of my head who I’d call ‘great’.

  30. Chris—I rate Ruskin above his predecessor. Like I say above, I wouldn’t call Ruskin or Eddington great, but they were both certainly aong the cream of the crop. I’d put Jaric and Gutierrez and just possibly Macco in that ‘pretty good, I suppose, yeah, not bad at all really’ camp too.

  31. The great thing about Eddington was that he seemed to have a distinct personality rather than just stats. The fiesty, diminutive, bald Scotsman who lacked quality on the ball but never gave up, he would keep snapping at his opponents’ heels all game

  32. Abbeyhill – I think you’ve just summed up PES’ allure in two sentences.

  33. abbeyhill—I agree but still say Ruskin would take the LB slot ahead of Eddington in an all-time Default XI. Eddington would be a sub, though. Good Default side-backs are very valuable.

  34. Chris—I often wonder if PES changed or we changed. ‘Both changed’ is the easy, obvious answer—but which one changed more? I say it was us.

  35. not-Greg – I know there’s been a ton of posts regarding this on your blog but I truly think the ever increasing forum/internet influence has a massive effect on how we perceive the game.
    Personally, I also used to almost exclusively play sports games whereas I now play a lot genres.
    Due to finances the other games I play are always the upper end of the quality scale whereas I will play PES/FIFA regardless of quality. Maybe this greater experience of gaming in general highlights when a PES or FIFA iteration is poor and bug ridden?
    To be honest, I normally wait for general online views before taking a punt on which footy game I’ll buy but I’ve become so disillusioned with the ‘community’ that I’ve decided to just preorder PES and avoid the forums at all costs upon release.
    I just find they suck the joy out of game playing too much for my liking (obviously when I say forums I don’t mean PES Chronicles).

  36. Chris—I do tend to like or love the new PES for a while regardless of how I come to feel about it around December time, so yes, the blog tends to be a bastion of positivity for at least a month or two.

    The forums at the moment have picked the demo to tiny little bits. People who loved it a week ago now hate it and are voluble as to exactly which type of animation is wrong. That kind of thing.

    Me, I played about 30 games and then stopped playing. I’ll play a few more next week when I install the PC demo expansion. Then I’ll wait for Demo 2 and play a bit of that, then the full game.

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