Now Wait For Next Year

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.

60 Comments

  1. andy—I played most of season 1 and 2 on Professional and rarely got a sniff out of this AI. I was mostly very impressed, just unable to cope with things using the Defaults. I’m not keen on restarting ML, so Regular it is for me until I have good players from front to back.

  2. ali—I believe in scripting too and always have (well, since PES5 when I first noticed it). It enrages me too how the CPU blatantly will hold onto the ball for a spell of pressure, making it always go to them, preventing your players from clearing or playing simple passes to a teammate. It’s a real phenomenon, all right. The question is: can we live with it, accept it, play with it? History of PES shows that it’s part of the game, the way Seabass & co. like to do things. To play any football game (any game at all) is to enter an implicit understanding with the game that we play within its rules and according to its constraints. That includes the unfairness of PES at times, I’m afraid. That’s how I like to see it anyway.

    As for the transfers thing, I’m not sure Seabass & co. care very much about each nation’s players’ loyalties, stopping them joining certain clubs etc. It might be something we have to do ourselves if we’re motivated to do so. Is it possible to ‘un-transfer’ players with use of Edit mode? Probably not, but I don’t see any other solution.

  3. I really don’t see the transfers as an issue. “Real” football is littered with examples of big players moving to rival clubs. You can’t expect your own blind club loyalty to be replicated by Konami or EA for that matter. Who’s to say Gerrard wouldn’t go to United?

    I’m between seasons on ML so had a dabble on Fifa. Why did I do it? The game was fluid, shots were varied and went where eI aimed them and if I worked hard I could force clear openings for my strikers. Here we go again…

    Oh and NG, I will spare a thought for you as Coventry run out at the Amex tomorrow Vs Brighton. Could be just as frustrating as a Top Player Pes 2012 match given both teams lack of goals of late.

  4. NG – No, I’m at the start of season 3 but have a tidy 4.5 mill in the bank to spend due to finishing 11th in the Prem and collaring a couple of good sponsorship deals. Del Piero’s currently showing at 800 grand so I’m working off the assumption that the formula for a transfer fee is approximately X 3 1/2 in the first few seasons before it suddenly jumps.

    Thanks for the tips Paul, I’ll check them out.
    I’m really struggling to find a quality forward to take me to the next level plus Gutierez is retiring this season at age 26, despite playing 16 games last season????

    Irritatingly, I’ve bought in some good young players this season and, prior to the first game of the season, I’ve had my team decimated by an ill-timed international and my ENTIRE squad being blue and purple arrowed despite playing at home with a coach whose speciality is form. Plus my current star striker, Helder Postiga, is injured for 3 weeks and has PLAYED in the sodding international leaving him complaining of fatigue as well as ankle/knee/nipple knack (what happened to telling us what kind of injury a player has?). As you can imagine, I’m very pissed off as my preseason plans have been thrown into utter chaos.

  5. John—I have to say that as I get more experienced with PES2012 and carve out more openings, seeing the shots go centrally or opposite-side is getting more wearying. I’ve tried all the solutions suggested on the forums. Aim first, then shoot. Shoot first, then aim. Release the analogue stick, shoot, aim. Aim, release the stick, shoot, press R2. All of that. None have worked. Shooting’s ballsed up and that’s all there is to it.

    Just now I was begging for a good chance but couldn’t get through. 1-0 down, last 10 minutes of match. Cinalton, on an orange form arrow, on fresh as a sub, gets the ball side-on to goal, on his favoured left foot. A clear space opens up, showing me the left side of the net. I aimed at 6 o’clock on the analogue stick, just to make damn sure, but the shot still went down the middle to the keeper.

    I’ve said it plain before and will do so again: FIFA12 has better overall gameplay than PES2012. That’s still my view today after 70+ hours on PES2012, hours which I am still mostly enjoying. I like both games, but would never try to deny that FIFA12 gets more of the basics right, and that feeds into the overall experiences. It’s not a popular view in the PESverse, as the many hissing catfights on the forums will attest.

  6. Chris—your woes read like a planned spanner in the works to add to the fun. Getting through periods like that with as many points as possible is just an extra bump in the road that the game is sending your way to see how you cope, and add to the experience. Me, I’m shitting myself after getting to mid-season this morning: Palmieri has ominously suspended contract negotiations. That probably means I’ll lose him at the end of the season, for no money. Gulp.

  7. The players just suspending contract talks and then inevitably leaving on a free is a pain in the ass!!
    That is where the player communication model proves to be unfinished or poorly implemented.
    We constantly have players whining about why theyre unhappy, so when a player suspends contract talks, we, as the manager should be able to apporoach them and ask for a reason why or try and negotiate, offer guaranteed improved playing time, better terms, more money etc…. there is none of that.

    On na slightly off-topic note but still football related, I played in a charity footy match last night, Karl Robinson the MK Dons Manager played for us, as did David Thompson, the ex Liverpool, Coventry, Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn player.
    It really is an eye opener playing with premiership level players, even ones who havent played for years, the class is just eye opening, always 2 steps ahead of every one else.
    Needless to say we won 10-3 and raised a shedload of money for a little lad with leukemia in the process, all good fun.

  8. Paul – Good for you. Great effort. I played in a charity game a few years back with Steve Foster (ex Brighton , Luton), Gary Stevens (the Brighton, Spurs one), Gerry Armstrong and Mick Harford. They were all getting on a bit but were amazing. Harford was on the oppo team and totally nutmegged me and left me on my butt at one point.

  9. Paul—I’ll be very interested which club Palmieri leaves for. I’ll make sure to check. He’s played in just about every match for me, so it can only because we’re still a lowly club in D2 and he seeks better fortunes elsewhere. If he leaves for a lower-placed D2 club in this league or any other I won’t be happy.

    David Thompson… Great player at his peak (and in my LMA Manager 2002 team!), and I think I read about that charity match in last night’s local paper. Well done.

  10. John—Mick Harford… another Coventry starlet of various times. Be afraid tomorrow of, er, Gael Bigirimana.

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