Blimey, it’s never straightforward, playing next-gen Pro Evolution Soccer, is it?
PES2012 has been out in the UK for a little over a week. Already there’s a community-wide kerfuffle over the merits of the gameplay—specifically, the merits of official Konami patch 1.01.
If you’re happily playing PES2012 and don’t know anything about the patch 1.00/1.01 debate, or about the shot-placement issue (which may or may not be related), you’d probably better stop reading about all football games on the Internet right now.
Remove all football gaming-related sites, including this one, from your Bookmarks and from your memory. Just play whatever game you like for the next solid year, and enjoy blissful ignorance of what other people think.
Remember how you wallowed in the early PES games on PS2, and how they were almost like great secrets that only you knew about?
Hardly anybody even had the Internet in those days, much less spent every spare second analysing the state of every last pixel on it.
So, yeah, pack up and bid adieu to the hive mind. Hold the door on your way out, because I might not be far behind you.
Having said all that… the shot-direction thing with PES2012 is a reality. I’m not sure personally about the patch thing and general gameplay, but there’s an impressive amount of anecdotal testimony about that side of things from others.
I’m carrying out a longer test on version 1.00 for a few days. The general gameplay seems a little more open to me currently, but I don’t discount the placebo factor, i.e. seeing what I expect to see/want to see. I never had a problem liking 1.01’s supposedly more ‘closed’ gameplay anyway.
It’s all about the shooting for me. I cannot emphasise this enough. Something seems to be very wrong with PES2012’s shooting, and it’s got me very worried.
I see no difference in the core shooting mechanic in 1.00. It’s still disturbingly eccentric and seemingly random in a way that PES shooting never has been before.
Shooting goes well a lot of the time, as seen below. Ordaz, free in the box, slots perfectly past the keeper into the far right corner of the net.
(That’s from version 1.01, by the way.)
The problem with PES2012’s shooting is that, for reasons unknown, aiming often doesn’t seem to work. You can be straight through on goal with no one else around you, exactly as seen above. You aim fully to the right of the keeper, but your player will put it straight down the middle, or worse, to the opposite side of the goal.
Going forward, one of these three scenarios will turn out to be the case:
1) Wonky shooting is a relatively trivial bug that Konami will patch very soon, possibly in the November patch for the 360’s stutter-run problem.
2) There’s a method to the madness and wonky shooting is something that I’m doing wrong, that we’re all doing wrong. Take the Ordaz clip above—why did that go right? Why? On too many previous, similar occasions, the shot’s gone centrally, or to the other side. So what did I do right here that I did wrong the other times?
I’ve got a tentative answer, and it’s to do with the timing of button presses. (I should note that I’m also talking about extensive Training mode sessions with high-rated and middle-rated players from various teams, not just the Master League Default donkeys.)
I believe that the game may be strictly enforcing a ‘zone of right function’. In other words, if the ball is farther out from your feet than is logical when you press shoot… if you try to ‘queue up’ a shot, as we’re used to being able to do in PES over the years… then a randomly factored degree of inaccuracy may result.
On the other hand, if you have the ball at your feet and a player fully in control, normal PES shooting discipline applies and you can expect good results as in the clip above.
The flaw in this theory is that I know for certain that I’ve had the ball at my feet and been ideally positioned for shooting, and the ball’s still gone astray.
But it’s a start!
3) This is the possibility that I fear the most, because if it’s true, it’s the end of PES2012 for me. I fear that PES2012’s shooting represents a new random seed element introduced by Konami for whatever inscrutable reason they may have. Placed shots will randomly go straight to the keeper, or even to the opposite side, and that’s all there is to it. We can talk about ‘over-aiming’ in order to compensate all we want, but that’s our own phantom solution, an only partly satisfactory workaround.
If this fearful possibility turns out to be the case—and it’ll only take me another week or so of play to decide exactly what the case is with this shooting malarkey—it’s very likely that I will abandon PES2012 even before the end of the calendar month of its release.
Let me be clear. To put things in perspective, wonky shooting doesn’t happen all the time. It doesn’t even happen much. PES2012 is a great game otherwise! But it happens enough for it to be a problem. I’m always braced for it to happen. I feel utterly wretched when it does happen. I feel weirdly embarrassed when it happens…
PES2012 is a great game until you pull the trigger, at which point it becomes a lottery.