I keep hearing that PES2012 sucks, as the prevailing transatlantic parlance puts it. And I keep acknowledging in my heart that on some levels, yes, PES2012 certainly does indeed suck. But somehow I keep on playing Master League and thoroughly enjoying it. In this aspect, PES2012 doesn’t suck. Quite the opposite. It feels pretty great, most of the time.
What can I say? It’s a true paradox, is what it is. A paradox that the spiritual sponsor of my past four posts, Mr Philip K Dick, might have appreciated. He’d probably have hallucinated himself into the game somehow. As it is, he would have loved the way the game explicitly addresses you as a game, when it seeks to advise you how to avoid a possible Game Over.
I’m starting season 3 of my Master League career. Pre-season, as ever, is the most important part of the early seasons of Master League. If you’re ever going to shake off the Defaults and start progressing towards that elusive promotion, here is where it starts to happen. It’s all about the players and staff that you sign and which ones you get rid of. Mess this up, and the coming season will likely be another write-off.
My first action was to sign RIBEIRO (CF, 61OVR) from the Youths. I was surprised to discover he was a classic English-style centre forward. There’s a prejudice that South American players have to be small and nippy in the Romario mould. A lanky, barrel-chested number 9 like Ribeiro just doesn’t fit the stereotype. (He scored on his full debut. There’s a clip further below.)
The finances looked hellish again. I had to cut my one staff upgrade—Atheltic Coach—back to basic. I put my weakest Defaults on the transfer market, incurring their wrath, but it was neceesary. Only Baumann had any takers. I managed to sell him for £140,000. A sizeable drop in the ocean. Sponsorship money came in and boosted the coffers.
I bought CLARKE (CF, 71OVR) for a few hundred thousand. DO PARADO (SMF/AMF, 75OVR) came on a Free thanks to the Advanced Search category that allows you to do to other clubs what they do to you, and tap up their contract rebel players.
My best outright buy was an experienced right-back, JANTSCHKE (SB/CB, 71OVR). He’s already displaced El Moubarki as first choice right-back, and is palpably different. Better, stronger, faster.
At the last minute I signed up a Youth CB to replace Baumann. MANDELLI (CB, 60OVR) may hardly get a game. Purely for cover.
Maqualao simply disappeared. Nobody bought him. He didn’t retire. He just ‘left the club’, a message said. Oh. Okay, then.
The comings and goings weren’t very well handled by me, I have to confess. I ended up with fewer players than I would have liked. A squad of 21 is still manageable and I should always be able to field a decent team, but a few more players wouldn’t have hurt.
With injuries and fluctuating form, it could be hairy at times over at least the first half of the coming season. And it’ll be at least another game-year before I’m truly competitive, I feel. Drat.
For a couple of games the situation was so bad that I had to play El Moubarki as an RMF. Another time, I had to play Camacho with a purple form arrow—almost unprecedented. I don’t even put purples on the bench, usually.
Opening the season on Regular, the gameplay felt very good. I am surprised at how tough Regular still feels. You do end up with at least 60% possession and around 20 shots per match, but the CPU is stubbornly resistant. I haven’t the appetite for repeated flirtations with the sack, so I’m sticking with Regular for now.
Gradually, a tried-and tested scoring method has emerged. The CPU packs its defences so tightly. Here is a typical example from a pre-season match against Bayern Munich. I was 2-0 up at the time. Against Bayern Munich. It was the 70th minute and they needed a goal urgently. I’d been using my emergency 5-4-1 formation for several game minutes. And here you see how they were lining up against my lone striker. 7 men behind the ball, against Ordaz. While they were 2-0 down. And they were Bayern pissing Munich.
It’s a constant recurring criticism of PES2012, and a justified one. It’s a cheap-ass way of keeping scorelines low, as indeed is the more pronounced random error in shooting. Must do better, Seabass.
Getting around these packed defences is tough, and you need goals to amass points and cash, so it’s not surprising that you need a reliable method of chance-creation. Mine is to play a fast ball to the feet of a striker, turn, and shoot.
As I get better players I’d expect to be able to play down the wings and score more reliably from other situations. At the moment, though, I’d estimate about two thirds of all my goals are variations on the turn-and-shoot theme.
Here’s an example—Ribeiro’s debut goal, which pleased me because of the placement into the opposite corner:
Overall, I’ve not scored many goals, but remain undefeated after several matches.
It’s too early to say that I’ll challenge for promotion. Not least because I might go back onto Professional difficulty if I can build up a nice cushion of Chairman trust. On Professional the AI is a bit more aggressive and threatening.