Oh you Hamsun devil

Season 2 of my Master League career in PES2012 has begun. I’m finally catching up. I’m playing on patch version 1.02, on Regular difficulty. Professional difficulty suddenly got hard again in 1.02. Another period of consolidation and learning on the lower level is required.

It was a tight pre-season full of tension and worry over the financial situation. After all the to-ing and fro-ing, here’s the First XI and squad that I ended up with

I released Elegost after this photo was taken. I now have a squad of 23. Ruskin, out with a long-term injury, was just out of picture at the bottom of the squad list.

I picked up Camacho from the Youths, finally. He’s not as good as my previous Camacho—yet. I will start to develop him immediately. He’ll play in every game he can.

I got rid of Shimizu. Sold him for only £900,000—the best price offered after several weeks on the market. It was a wrench but I saw no other way to survive.

History has repeated itself—last year I did exactly the same thing for the same reason.

I squeaked through the financial window with £70,000 to spare.

I’d only bought one player outright. He was a replacement for Shimizu, a great RMF with a bit of height and bulk. James Morrison (West Brom) might be a minnow in the real-life Premier League, but he’s a giant in the oddball parallel reality of Master League.

First proper match of the season, away versus newly-relegated Norwich, and it was 1-1 heading into the last seconds of added-on time. I won a corner, and got my keeper to take it (in PES2012 the whistle always goes promptly after the added-on time, so there was no danger of a CPU counter-attack):

Morrison scoring the winner on his full debut, with an assist from my keeper. That was very satisfying. As can be seen, Morrison occupies the no. 10 shirt that was Shimizu’s.

Poor Shimizu. Maybe I’ll meet the little bastard again further down the line in this career. Or maybe I’ll see him next year.


I’m afraid something bad is on my mind with PES2012. It’s a great game full of PES-ish goodness. It’s one of the most satisfying football games I’ve ever played, in a number of aspects. Except one—and, alas, it’s a very important aspect.

Shooting. Something terrible happened in one of my pre-season Training matches. It happened before, once, but I ignored it as a one-off. It wasn’t a one-off.

Running parallel to the box with Hamsun, attacking the goal on the left of the screen, I took a shot aimed to the far post. It’s one of my favourite shooting methods in PES2012, but on this occasion it didn’t work. I was holding the analogue stick UP, in what has become the classic ‘over-aiming’ methodology of PES2012 shooting. So the ball should have gone to the right of goal, and to the extreme right at that.

The ball ripped into the top left corner. A picturebook curler, with the keeper’s straining gloves inches away but helpless to stop it. It was a most un-Hamsun-like goal. The net almost burst. What a goal…. but I wasn’t celebrating. Quite the opposite.

The remainder of the match almost vanished in a haze. I went through the motions, but I felt sick at the thought of what had just happened and what it represented. The other team equalised. I was glad they did.

I’ve been playing this series for a long time and something is very wrong with the shooting model in PES2012.

I believe Konami introduced a more pronounced degree of random error than ever before. One of the side-effects of this is that you’ll shoot straight at the keeper quite a bit, and miss the goal completely quite a lot too. Those outcomes are both fine. If that was all there was to the PES2012 random shooting error thing, I could live with it.

What I cannot live with, and could be a serious problem going forward, is when the random error effect makes me score goals.

I’m not happy with it at all. As PES2011 showed, I’m capable of being repulsed from perfectly good PES games by gameplay wrinkles that take on a disproportionate profile in my daily play. PES2011’s primary wrinkle, for me, was its stumble animation. PES2012’s wrinkle could be the shooting. It’s way too early to forecast anything so serious, though.


  1. I experienced the exact same instances. Ordaz scored some goals that ROCKETED in places I wasnt aiming. It feels like an arcade football game I played years ago.

    The truth about it is probably quite simple though; its an assist. Sometimes the game assists players to get a goal to make games more ‘exciting’. The same way the AI cheats (not a complaint, a necessity) to make the matches more even.

    Sorry NG, I dont think theres any solution to this one..

  2. Yeah, I have as well – though not enough to make me stop playing the game. No – I stopped playing the game last night in sheer disgust at how much I wasn’t enjoying it. This is normally step 2 of a new PES experience.

    Step 1: Love the new game and the little differences
    Step 2: Start to hate the game
    Step 3: Go back to a previous incarnation of the game
    Step 4: Realise that the new game is pretty good afterall
    Step 5: Play on long into the year ahead.

    I actually played PES2008 last night. It wasn’t through love of that game, I jsut decided to play a World Cup with each of the PS3 PES games. And I actually enjoyed it, The finishing is so much more satisfying, the passing is crisper, the dribbling is a bit over the top, but we knew that. If only it was a bit slower.

    Once I finish that, i’ll do the same with 2009, 2010, 2011 and hopefully come to Steps 4 & 5.

    Although it’s worrying that it’s this far into November already. What with 3 of my brothers all online with MW3, PES is facing it’s biggest test since I began playing ISS back on the Super Nintendo.

    PS – I hate Hamsum, he was always rubbish for me, then popped up for Leeds to score a last minute winner in a 4-3 classic against me.

  3. I am being tortured by this game. May quit and play FIFA. Patched to 1.02 and while I like the midfield play attacking and defending in this year are off to me. I turned it off last night in disgust when I did a beautiful dummy of the keeper and was clear on goal, to mysteriously have the shot miss completely with me and an empty net. The 18th ranked ipswich town then went on to score three goals in the last ten minutes. This has been happening a lot recenly where dumb things are happening during the most critical times, ensuring that I always finish the league in fourth place. Losing patience.

  4. Not Given—I think that’s the likeliest explanation, whatever they say on the forums. It’s a foolish decision by Konami to provide too much assistance under certain conditions. I hear that it affects players of all skills, not just teh default donkeys—but I also hear that those who have never played ML have never seen it, or at least not so bad. Hmmm.

    I took another look at the goal after I scored it, and noted that if it had gone where I was aiming, it would have been blocked by a clump of players. The game made it go in the only unimpeded direction to goal. That doesn’t make me hate it any less, just supports the theory that the game is lending too much of a hand.

  5. As Not-Given eluded to, I think the shooting whilst sometimes problematic, is designed in a way as to balance the games out.
    There will be times when you are in a clear shooting position, either one on one or from range and the ball goes straight at the keeper when you know you aimed to the corner, other times it is balanced by assisting your shot into a goal despite not going where you aimed.
    This is of course wrong as if you have a world class CF with high shooting stats then you would expect him to score lots of goals, putting the ball where he likes, its kinda like Konami admitting that there is an issue with their core engine which results in high scores, so to nullify it they nerf shooting.
    We can only speculate of course but there seems no method whereby we can improve shooting accuracy, if the game wants to re-direct a shot, it will.
    There are rumours of further patches, v1.03 perhaps, if this is true and Konami are going to continue to support PES ongoing then a shooting refinement NEEDS to happen, you need to be confident as a player that your input fully dictates what happens in the game.

  6. Liam—oh dear, that’s stern stuff coming from you. I’ve always gathered that you still have the same kind of relationship with PES that many of us last had pre-PES2008. All I can say is, I think you’ll work through your 5-step program and end up playing PES2012 and enjoying it again. Hey, there’s always WE9LE… Their next patch should be out about now, have you been keeping up with them?

  7. Fox—I know exactly the level of disgust, and almost embarrassment, that the PES2012 shooting can provoke. I really hate it, just as much as I love the rest of the game. And I really do love the rest of the game. It’s been a 9/10 experience for me so far, overall, but the shooting (when it goes wrong) drags the whole down to a sickening 4/10 at best. Shooting has always been one of the crown jewels of Pro Evolution Soccer. Why does there always have to be something smelly about next-gen?!

    Oh, and for some reason Ipswich are my total bogey side in my ML. I’m using the goalgerd OF. Ipswich, and particularly Jason Scotland, play like Brazil 1970 against me.

  8. don’t worry not-greg, the same thing happened to me playing 5-a-side last week – tried to curl it round the keeper but I scuffed it in at the near post!

    Fox – no shame in shipping 3 goals at Portman Road, there’s plenty of quality in the current Ipswich team

  9. I’m still feeling the lure of FIFA (especially after the new patch) but also still enjoying PES and the ML.

    I don’t have the time to bash both games so it’s PES for now.

    I agree the shooting is a bit random but I’ve not felt it a major issue.

    Switching to a 4-3-3 with a DMF and two CMFs has really helped my game. Finished season two on Pro with Brighton in the heady heights of third from bottom with a 2-0 win at home to the now Birmingham City and a 2-1 win against our arch rivals and bottom-placed Palace.

  10. I am really having a bad time with the game.One thing that annoyes me SO MUCH (and that as a problem in 2011 as well), is how successively attacking players can always drop back to press you. For Cpu teams, it seems that is not enough having one player already convering the ball carrier and forcing him to make a latera pass or even a bacckwards pass to a teammate, tere HAS to be ANOTHER player despotism to drop back to press the ball carrier at the back, ALWAYS, ALWAYS AND ALWAYS. Actualy The WHOLE CPU team does that, it seems to be a cheap stretagy, really. Because of this i end up my attackin plays in a cross. And the nigtmare counter attacks are also annoying, there’s aways a cpu team who pass so quickly to an unmarkes attacker, and he just need to shoot, it doesn’t feel natural and convincing for me. And it is aso still too easy having 70% ball possession.

  11. Finally got round to uploading these. As requested, these are the shirts (modelled by the handsome Camacho) and adboards made by Paul. Anyone who uses a custom team should definitely get Paul on the case to sort out your graphics! The stadium actually looks a lot like the local football ground here, complete with Mt Fuji in the background!

  12. Glad you’re pleased with the graphic files Seabass, thatsa tidy looking little ground there! tell Camacho to get his barnet chopped 😉

    I will upload some pics of my kits/stadium over the weekend, might even put together a little video, few goals and moves.

  13. abbeyhill—I’m getting suspicious about the Ipswich in my ML right now. They’re so markedly good that it’s just possible one of the OF-makers may be a Tractor or a Thresher Boy or whatever they’re called. Sorry if that’s Norwich.

  14. Having returned to PES after completion of Uncharted 3 and my on-going love affair with Dark Souls (game of the year in my opinion. I find that I still love it, my team Sporting Noir sit proudly atop the Pes League (with the default teams) I have cleared the hurdle of the Europa League group stages and I have a great squad (picked up the awesome Kagawa!in pre-season and Bebe in the jan window) the patch has for me improved some aspects of gameplay..Although opposition superkeepers still happen but it plays just the way I want it to, Duffy is now 80 Ovl and team captain, my youth team has given me an 81 CB and goalkeeper all is rosey in the Noir garden!

    I have still not managed to complete a single match on FIFA Ultimate team and this is with the new mega patch, wired or wireless the connection ALWAYS gets lost on the post-match screen..I have said this before but this may be the very LAST FIFA game that I purchase and with the exception of Mass Effect 3 possibly the last EA game!

  15. John—it’s not just time that stops me playing PES & FIFA but the different values for everything.

    Passing, shooting, general gameplay are so different. Trying to play both even on separate days is no way to enjoy either game IMO.

    I do have occasional one-off matches on FIFA12, to keep it ‘warm’ for the future. So far I haven’t been disappointed with FIFA12 even after the best sessions on PES2012. In fact, enjoying both is why I’m hopeful that 2011-12 will be the best footy gaming year since PES5.

    On the Internet there is a deep-seated (and childish) need for the games to stand in opposition to one another. There are PES players who think it brings some special superior status (maybe it used to, but no longer). I see the games as complementing one another.

  16. Jamie—what difficulty are you playing on? On Regular it’s not unusual for me to have 75% possession at half-time, usually around 65 by full time. On Professional, that comes down to about 70% at half-time/60% full time. I’d hope they come down again for Top Player & Superstar.

    I hate the way a cleared corner will go to the sole CPU player, who will spearhead a counter-attacking charge. I hate the way a cleared corner at my end will go straight to a CPU midfielder who’ll maintain the pressure. PES never changes—we’re still manipulated by it. As the years go by, the question becomes whether we like the story it tells us. I currently still do like it, very much. The shooting thing is like seeing the wires moving the scenery, though. It makes me unhappy.

  17. Grilled Seabass—all looking good there. But why does your Camacho look different from mine?!

  18. nOir_dEux—I haven’t been keeping up with the chatter on the FIFA forums so I don’t know how widespread your UT problem is. But ultimately, boycotting products and/or companies is just about the only power a consumer has. Even if it’s a pinprick on an elephant’s hide, it’s better than nothing.

    Skyrim arrived for me yesterday. I’ve got Dark Souls on the side, unplayed since release day (the game intimidates me—imagine a sub-average general gamer futzing about with that combat system, and imagine how many deaths I ran into). I’m hip-deep in Persona 3 on the PSP. I’ve got several books on the go, including one that I’m supposed to be actually writing. I work full time and am doing an OU course that I’m a few weeks behind on. And I still can’t stop thinking about bleedin’ PES2012’s shooting system…

  19. Paul—you’re quite right, all we have to go on is speculation re. the shooting issues. I doubt that Konami will ever publicly reveal just what it’s all about. Patch 1.03 won’t change the shooting, not with the danger of making the game too high-scoring. I’d love to be proved wrong about that.

    As you’ve often said, if the central shooting bias (or even wide misses) just keeps on at a certain low threshold, I think it’s acceptable. The opposite-side goals, though, are a whole other matter for me and if one of them occurs in a big game… I dunno, I just dunno.

    Having said that, I had a good shooting session this morning. Almost no instances of wonkiness, not even from the King of Wonky shooting, Mr Irjescu. Indeed, I was all but painting the corners with him.

  20. I was going to skip Skyrim but I’ve gone and watched some footage so I think I’m going to have get it! Dark Souls is a very hard game but not since Pes on the PS2 have I pumped my fist SO much when I finally deafeated the first MAJOR boss, a word of advice if I may AVOID the skeletons til you level up, choose the master key and when the raven drops you go down instead of up, steal from a dragon after walking past it but run very fast the way you came!

    I am curently re-reading Focaults Pedulum and the Illuminatus Trilogy, while looking after my twin five year old boys, if I didn’t work from home I doubt I would be playing games at all, so I understand your workload..and you forgot to mention that you write THE most entertaining football game blog on the planet!

  21. nOir_dEux—heh, I wouldn’t call my little list of timesinks a workload, as such, but cheers anyway. My point was that with everything else I’d like to be doing, over the years I somehow always end up sitting there playing some flavour of PES.

    Thanks for the tip about Dark Souls, although I did go down and got killed by the ghosts. I had the special sauce that makes them vulnerable, don’t worry, but I got careless.

  22. If you have the master key you can go up after you go down, the ghosts are worse than the skeletons!

  23. All the skyrim hype is getting to me. I am really thinking about picking it up, but I just hate having to commit hours to gaming. Best thing about footy games is I can play a few matches here and there and feel like I am making progress, where with traditional RPGs if I don’t commit a few hours in one sitting I feel lost.

  24. nOir_dEux—really? I actually got past the first wave of ghosts once. I never made it past even one skeleton. Once they chased me across the whole of that upper level in a most undignified fashion, and eventually caught up with me and dispatched me in 2 swipes.

  25. Fox—that’s exactly why I play football games almost exclusively. No buttons to remember, no story to remember, no “What was I doing last time?” to remember, none of that. I love grand strategy games with a passion equal to PES, but I know that unless I win the Lottery I’ll never again play one the way I want to play it, so I don’t play them at all.

    I’ve got Skyrim and I will play it over my weekend, but I know that I won’t play it during my working week, and the key test will be if I go back it the next weekend.

    I think this is the kind of thing that nags at all of us working gamers.

  26. This is truly a difficult time to be a gamer, as well as PES2012 right now there seems to be a golden period for gaming. Dark Souls, Uncharted 3, Skyrim, Zelda: Skyward Sword, Mario 3D, Arkham City, Forza 4, Rayman Origins all have garnered rave reviews. If you are unemployed because of the global recession, this is some consolation :p

  27. So, whos going to be sad enough to play as England vs Spain on superstar difficulty, to see what England may be up against tonight.

    Added ‘internet points’ for those who use a weakened team and still win.

  28. Grilled Seabass—there could be no more games released ever and I would have more than enough games to play for several lifetimes. And even if I had the infinite leisure I’d probably just play PES5 and moan about not having any time for the others.

    I caught myself looking at an Indie dungeon crawler called Din’s Curse this morning. I downloaded the demo and everything. Sigh. Back to PES2012….

  29. Not Given—I won’t be able to rise to the challenge—I’m at work currently—but having never played on Superstar (I think I’m saving it for my ML, as a surprise) I couldn’t even guess what the scoreline would be. Tonight’s real life match will be a 1-1 draw. I’ve got money on it.

  30. You will LOVE superstar. There are some goals scored which are absolutely scripted.

    Its not a whine, it was just a very obvious fact. I wish I could have filmed the evidence. There was no suspicions, the game simply loaded goals, and I saw it happen.

    Its one of those things I cannot explain with words, you have to experience it yourself.

    Watching the real match now. England playing defence well, but they really lack any talent. The Euros will be the same as the WC, I will have money on that!

  31. Unlucky NG. If Fabregas didnt have a purple arrow, you would have got your bet.

  32. Not Given—ach! And I thought Spain scoring was a certainty. If Spain had had to score in that second half, I’m sure they would have. My bet was only a fiver, and I’ve had a good few weeks betting on the footy otherwise, so I’m not too unhappy.

    My system, in case anyone’s interested, is to place small bets on highly likely outcomes. So I’ll put a fiver on 99% outcomes such as Man Utd beating Blackburn at home, and that kind of thing. Okay, so that sort of bet only wins a few quid, but repeat that a few times for similar fixtures and the small wins all soon add up. And you’re allowed one occasional long shot per weekend, where you’ll out a tenner, say, on something with better odds, that brings in more cash if it comes in. I never bet on accumulators or first scorers or half-time/full-time etc. Always on overall outcomes: home win/draw/away win.

    Sounds like a good, conservative, winning system, yes? Well, it would be, if I wasn’t prone to throwing it out the window and putting silly bets on every once in a while. That tends to cancel out all the good work I do in making small, 99% safe, incremental bets, but ah well. It makes the weekends more interesting.

  33. the last 30 minutes or so in the spain and england game was just like a game in my ML. i keep attacking and the other team put 10 men behind the ball with one attacker. really frustrating when your the attakcing team. i thought england played rubbish, hardly attacked in the last 30 mins. i predict england loosing their first match after qualiying and being knocked out. havnt played pro evo latly, been playing mw3. half way through season 2. on the road to getting promoted, im first by one point on regular difficulty and it feels to easy but i no going on professional i will loose every game. also after i won an away game, i ad a home game and most of the players were on blue and purple arrow. there on a in streak and the majority of my squad end up with blue arrows. realy annoying, ive slowly managed to stop people complaining about not getting enough starts. i have to change the lineup every match and use all my sbs every match.

  34. ali—I’ve gone up to Professional after acquiring a few new players (see the squad picture at the top of this post). The game has come to seem fantastic to me on this higher difficulty, as you really sweat the results out. Very often the CPU will magic itself a goal, but I have to say that currently I feel I defended poorly for 9/10 of the goals it scores. The CPU defence sits way too deep, still, I have to say.

    A colleague of mine took last week off to play CoD, and says it’s a bit easy compared to previous instalments. Is it? (Not that I would ever play it, just generally interested in whether there’s a possible epidemic of games being made ‘accessible’, i.e. easier than before.)

  35. not-greg – i dont find it easy, its really different gameplay wise. im getting a bit of lag online but im guessing its due to so many people playing. hope its fixed. played pes today and won all the games except 2, 1 loss one draw. i want to see how regualr will feel with the premier league players. im sure its going to be much harder.

  36. Was cleaning out some old cupboards yesterday and found my old PS2 console and a pile of games, including PES3, PES4, PES5 and PES6.
    Almost tempted to connect it up and play a few games just for the memories.

  37. ali—how’s your ML squad coming along? I think you’ll find that when you get a few good players, it’ll be time to move up a difficulty level.

  38. Paul—I thought you never played the older games? I could’ve sworn you said your first was PES6.

    I’ve just finished off today’s post, an 1100-word monster. Sorry! The tl;dr version is: I love PES2012 right now, shooting and all. Two different goals to show off in it too.

  39. @NG – No Mate, PES3 was my first foray into the world of PES, have been hooked since then, but only had limited playing time on PES5, and 6 and 10 due to playing FIFA mostly, Ive always bouyght and played Both games since PES3 though.

    I was just curious, as to how the Mythically magical PES5 on PS2 played all these years later… can’t help to hook it up for an hour… can it!?

    Excuse my thickness but whats ‘tl;dr’ version ?
    Sounds like a good read, will look forward to todays post when im done with my meetings after lunch. And LOVING the Shooting?! Progress!!!! 😉

  40. Paul—I think I remember now, it was in the summer when you tried WE9LE (the Korean PES5, with elements toned down by the fan-patch). Whilst trying it you said you disliked WE9LE’s shooting, which you thought was too powerful, and I just assumed from that that you’d never played PES5. I was sure that was yourself, apologies if not or if I misunderstood your remarks.

    And having played quite a bit of PES5 just until a few short weeks ago (I was playing PES5 in late September), I think it stands up. I’d never go back to it unless other games faded for me first though.

    Re. today’s PES2012 post, yes, even loving the shooting! (Although I reserve the right to moan about it next time.) I’m not saying I’ve got it sussed. Well, actually, yes, I am sort of saying that.

    tl;dr is popular Internet shorthand for written pieces that might be considered too long, and for which a ‘too long; didn’t read’ version might be required. It’s usually used pejoratively, but has come to be appropriated by those like myself who go on a bit too much, to apologise in advance. I’ve really got to get my blog post sizes under control this year. It’s just when I experience a burst of enthusiasm about the game(s), I like to splurge it all out there.

  41. Yes I did try WE9LE a few months back, cant really remember my thoughts or feelings on it comparitively against PES5 though.
    I would only ever give the older games a bash for curiosity sack, needless to play for any length when we are 6 or 7 years down the road and PES12 is a decent game in its own right.

    Thanks for the heads up on that abbreviation, I’d never heard of it, but must say, I do prefer the longer posts you write, i like detail and prefer to grasp the true feeling of someones thoughts thank just a quick summary.

    Very Intrigued about the shooting now, look forward to reading.

    Does anyone know if Game would still trade in old PS2 console and games, have the console and about 30 games and 3 controllers I need to get rid of.

  42. not-greg – my squad is decent ordaz and gutierez are on fire. oradaz scored in my last 4 matches and is top scorer and gutierez is 3rd in scorers list. luis garcia, maqulin(guy with red boots) and ximelez are my only decent midfielders. camacho cant shoot at all for me. every shot has no power and goeas wide. tempted to get rid of him. i dont think he has scored yet. a real let down from his pes 2011 version who was brilitant for me. all my CB are solid with decent ratings. shimizi has done nothing special but he gets the job done. can get past players which is fine for me. irjescu is still on a pueple arrow. hanst moved from it even after our 8 game win streak. he might go aswell. overall in my seond season and my team looks a bit better den yours form your picture:D in terms of ratings. might the last few games on professional and see how it is. i just dont wannt to be left in divison 2 for another season. only 1 point clear at the top.

  43. Paul—I remember you saying that you thought WE9LE’s shooting was overpowered, and I also clearly remember having the impression that you’d never played PES5 before that. I must’ve got the wrong end of the proverbial.

    I doubt that GAME would take the console, but they’d take the games, probably for a pound each or store credit. If you have a branch of Gamestation or CEX nearby, they’d definitely take the console and the games.

  44. ali—I meant how many OTHER players (not Default or Youth) you’d brought in. When you start bringing in experienced older players from elsewhere in the ML world, you’ll notice things start to feel better. Then you’ll be ready to move up to Professional. I still get battered on Professional (my defenders are all still Defaults/Youths), but I often grind out a result too, and it’s very rewarding.

  45. Have both Gamestation and CEX right next to eachother, so will take it there, just taking up space.
    such a shame the new PS3’s dont play PS2 games, would have kept the PES’s

  46. not-greg – well in that case its only the one. luis garcia. i have no money to get a decent player. i dnt think ill have enouhg at the end of this season. im -1million in expected ernings with 8 games to go.

  47. ali—even if you just get a couple of Free Agents, as long as you get a few new outside players in, it’ll make a difference very quickly. Some of the Defaults and Youths might look good on paper, but they’re generally very weak still.

    And we all have a different Camacho. My current Camacho (58OVR) wasn’t as good to start with as the one I had in my first abandoned ML career (65OVR), but he’s coming along nicely now.

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