In off the bah humbug

As we head into the festive period and towards the end of 2011, season 5 of Master League is almost over. Here’s where I currently am:

I was holding out faint hopes of a top 10 finish. But after 31 matches, the gap is too wide. I’ll do well to finish 12th, I think.

Mid-table is a lot higher than I would have been if I’d left the difficulty on Professional. I’d have been relegated by now, no question—not that I’d ever have got to that stage. I’d have had a Chairman-induced Game Over long before relegation. I’d never have been given the opportunity to go down with the club, rebuild the team, and come back up. This strikes me as a key flaw in PES2012’s Master League, one of sadly many this year.

It might seem wrong to say it at this time of year, but PES2012 is not a great game. It’s not a terrible game either, in my view. My current ranking of the next-gen PES games would go something like this:

1. PES2010
2. PES2009
3. PES2012
4. PES2011
5. PES2008

What, PES2009 at no. 2? What have I been smoking?! But there you go, it’s what I believe.

This is all just ‘in my view’, of course. There is probably no such thing as an objectively good or bad football game. Not even next-gen PES2008, which I loathed but many people liked, or even loved.

If PES2012 didn’t have Master League, I would have no reason at all to play it. And this Master League isn’t even one of the best versions of itself. It’s damned weak in many places. But it’s still good enough to save PES2012, so more power to it.

I had a few matches on FIFA12 the other day. I loved them. Some people hate FIFA12 because it’s not like Pro Evo. I love it because it is different. I love the heaviness of FIFA12. After a few matches, your fingers really know they’ve been doing some work. When you connect with the ball and let one rip, it’s satisfying in a way that PES2012’s shooting almost never is.

Ugh. I feel sick just thinking about PES2012’s shooting: easily the least satisfying shooting in any PES game, ever.

I cannot stand the sense of deflation and disappointment when I finally carve out that precious goal-scoring opportunity, only for the game to override my input and send the ball to the keeper—or worse, to the opposite side of the goal completely. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard all about the ‘shoot first, aim after’ technique. It doesn’t work.

As soon as I’m done with Master League, I’m done with PES2012. I’ll move on without looking back.

I’ll be honest: sometimes I feel like walking away from PES2012 right now, and Master League be damned. I did it last year. It was a wrench, but I did it. And I reserve the right to do it this year too, if I want to.

But I suppose familiarity can breed a lot of contempt. I’ve now played PES2012 for upward of 160 hours. Let’s see how I like FIFA12 after a similar amount of time, when its time comes.

In the meantime, I have a Premier League status to consolidate, players to sign, a team to build, and a Treble to work towards.


  1. I was really hesitant to even try fifa again after playing fifa 11. I was so much disappointed with that game. It was not football but a wrestling contest with a big exploit in the form lobbed through balls. Recently I noticed that a quite a few PES veterans mentioned that fifa12 is good. I did not believe it until I decided to try it and was blown away. The gameplay is balanced and shooting is amazing after pes12. The only little gripe I have is scoring valleys and headers. These seem to be a bit too hard in fifa. I guess the hardness level is comparable to scoring a valley/header in real life, but common this is a game. I want more spectacular finishes. Pes on the other hand is a little too easy with valleys and I prefer that.

    Not-Greg, your team is barely good enough for PL. You need more 80 players.

  2. Merry Christmas NG. That was an interesting post. I agree totally with your views on this Year’s game. Its just about good enough but only just. Not good in a year that was supposed to be the big one for next Gen PES. For the record I would put PES 2012 third behind 2011 and 2009.

  3. Merry christmas Not-Greg, I still havn’t played any ANY football games since the last time I posted and I think that says alot about this years crop, OK, but maybe the “magic” has gone!

  4. andy—I know I got into the Premier perhaps a season too early, maybe even two. But I’m building the team up and looking forward to next season, put it that way.

    FIFA12 is indeed a well-balanced, mature-feeling game of football. I could never take FIFA seriously over the past few years due to the homing-button pressure system, but I’m taking it seriously now.

    Volleys and headers are proportionally less common than in PES, but definitely there. It depends I suppose on the control scheme you use. If you stick with the out-of-the-box fully assisted controls, you’ll have an easier time. I recommend using at least a mixture of semi-assisted and manual, though, to get the full richness of the experience. On those settings, yes, you really have to be spot-on with passing, crossing, heading, and all timing thereof. The game’s still got its ‘dead zones’ like any other footy game, no question, but overall it’s a great simulation-style experience that makes PES2012 look bad, frankly.

  5. John—PES2012 is only ahead of PES2011 in my reckoning because its faults are less severe IMO than PES2011’s. All last year I moaned about PES2011’s stumble animation, which pretty much single-handedly wrecked the whole game for me. And that was just one of several gameplay issues I had with PES2011. Not a fan of that game at all.

  6. nOir_dEux—do we have to play football games because we’ve always played football games? Don’t force it if it’s not coming naturally, I believe. For me, football games mesh perfectly with my current lifestyle. A quick hour’s gaming every morning is perfect for football gaming with its familiar buttons and ‘storyline’ etc. The magic is still there for me, but it’s been rocked over the past 2 years by two very promising but, in different ways, not-quite-there PES games (IMO). People often talk about the famous ‘something missing’ in FIFA, but PES2012 has got that in spades too. I know what it is: shooting. PES2012 is missing a solid PES shooting experience. Floatiness I can handle. Directionlessness is unforgivable.

    All that said, yes, Happy Christmas to all, and here’s to 2012. Maybe this’ll be the year, eh 😉

  7. Happy Christmas not-greg! As always, your site has been compelling reading this year; the quality of posts & comments make it, for me, the most informed perspective on the state of PES.

    Also loving what I’ve read of the book so far

  8. hppy christmas to ever1 celebrating
    played a bit of pes today and the first 3 games were on superstar difficulty. i didnt realsie and gt thrashed 8-1 and 5-0. i was raging so bad thinking it was regualr difficutly. drew the last gme 0-0 after playeing super defensive. it was near the end of the season anyway so got on with it and strted looking for more strikers. released gutierez and lothar and sold ximeles and cinalton. upgraded staff. bought a new goali and striker. won the frist 2 games 2-0 and 4-0. the 4-0 win was against a newly promoted team so was fully expeting a big win. in the 4th season and my match earnigns shot up to $1 million :D. i dont think i will have money troubles any more. i hve chairman baking of 60%ish finished 8th in the league and am now in europa laegue whihc i dont like. have a really smll squad. other than that its looking all good for my 4th season. 2 great striker, a decent defense and a young 17 year old goali reated 83. all team retings are near the B mark. at the end of season 2 david luiz was football of the year. now its messi. pes has weird moments. looking forward to season 4. should score alot of goals.

  9. abbeyhill—cheers, and happy Christmas likewise to you & to all. Still on FIFA12? Sometime in February we’re likely to swap places on the two games.

  10. ali—well done on getting to the million-pounds-per-match stage. It really is a weight off your mind when that happens. I’m still suffering with the Chairman thanks to the bad start on Professional difficulty. I’m doing okay on Regular, but a defeat and a draw is enough to start the warnings coming.

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