And that’s that—I have now finished with the demos for both games. There’ll be no more demo playing for me.
Between now and full release I might play the odd one or two demo matches here or there if I’m feeling frisky, but otherwise I am now officially waiting for the full releases. Both will be qualitatively different experiences from their demos, and the matches will mean something. I can only take so many Exhibition games.
I’m stunned by some of the demo exploits I’m seeing on the forums. People who have played hundreds of matches, and who will play hundreds more yet. How will they avoid demo fatigue, or even contempt? Perhaps they won’t avoid them.
I estimate that I’ve played about 50 matches on PES2012 (demo 2) and 20 matches on the FIFA12 demo. In both cases it’s been enough for me to like what I see. I’ll now wait for the full game(s). FIFA12 is just a week away; PES2012 won’t be much longer.
I was teetering on the brink of mail-ordering a Euro copy of PES2012, but I’ve decided I can wait after all.
Particularly if I’m able to get my hands on an early copy of the PC version.
I finally got to play the PC version of the PES2012 demo 2. It ran beautifully—a little better than PES2011 ever did, truth be told.
I made sure to play a couple of matches of the ‘vanilla’ version first, by way of orientation.
I enjoyed two of the best matches I’ve played on either of the PES2012 demos, period.
First I played Spurs vs Rangers, on Regular difficulty, with passing assistance set to 0. I also left the game speed on 0 for this one.
The game speed felt perfect, the passing was perfect, the gameplay was just perfect. I lost 0-2, not because I wasn’t trying—I certainly was trying—but because I underestimated the AI. I had chances galore but couldn’t finish.
The keepers were terrible again, mine in particular. Neither of Rangers’ goals were a result of his eccentricities, but it’s still more than a little demoralising.
That’s the word for PES2012’s keepers as they are now: demoralising.
The only reason I’m not throwing myself off a roof about the PES2012 goalkeepers is the prospect of them being fixed in the final game and/or in a Day Zero patch.
My second match was Inter vs Bayern. I cruised to victory 3-0, with the butterfingered Bayern keeper contributing two of my goals. Again it was an absorbing match. It was a pleasure just to knock the ball around, looking for openings.
After my two warm-up games I installed one of the Demo 2 expansion patches that increases the playing time and adds about a thousand extra teams. I used Jenky’s patch, obtained via EvoWeb forums.
I played Liverpool vs Man Utd, 15-minute halves, Professional difficulty.
As ever, it was a thrill to suddenly be playing PES2012 with different teams, and in a longer match.
Sadly, I had some technical problems that marred the experience. Graphics were juddery and, most distractingly, I had no sound at all.
After playing one half I quit to the desktop to investigate. For a few years I’ve been one of those nose-in-the-air Macintosh people, so my PC skills are rusty. But I still know enough to have a root around and try to fix common issues.
Could I restore sound to my PC? No, I could not.
I uninstalled the patch and the demo. Then after trying the most obvious fixes I went into device manager and attempted to reinstall the soundcard drivers. Somehow that went wrong. Not wanting to waste any more time, I decided to hit the nuclear button and went for a System Restore, which did the trick.
For the record, I’m not sure it was the PES2012 expansion that did it, although that’s the most likely culprit as the problems happened immediately after installation.
Bloody PC gaming. With its updates and endless technical wrinkles. It’d be the greatest gaming platform ever but for this kind of thing.
Before shutting down the PC I had to have a few matches on two other installed games: PES5 and WE9LE.
It’s always instructive to look back at the old games. See where we’ve come from, and where we’re going, and if it’s worth going there.
I played two matches of my ML career in PES5, and two of my ML career in WE9LE.
WE9LE is the better ‘pure’ game of football, no doubt in my mind, but on this occasion, I enjoyed PES5 more.
PES5 is plagued with incessant fouls, yes—picky fouls by later games’ standards—but wasn’t that very feature the making of PES5? Didn’t its fouls make players play with more restraint than in any other PES game? Producing a legendary game of football in the process.
Late last night I found myself firing up the PC for another sneaky few games of PES5.
It occurs to me that PES has been a successful, indeed legendary games franchise because of the self-expression that its gameplay encourages. You can paint pictures on a canvas and create majestic moments that lift you above yourself and the game. That’s the genius of PES, really.
So, what will I be doing between now and next week? Playing PES5(PC)—or maybe PES6(360)? Either or both of those will more than tide me over. This time next week, I’ll have FIFA12 (ShopTo and Royal Mail willing). I will be very interested to see what all the Career Mode buzz is about.