Pro Evolution Jekyll and Hyde

Today’s Hagi goal, first of all.

Situation: away to Norwich, 85 minutes gone. The score is 0-0.

I’m down to 10 men. My right back was harshly sent off for a second yellow.

Norwich had pummelled me all match, even more so since the dismissal. I was trying just to hang on for a point.

I’d rejigged my formation, moving Hagi to the centre of midfield, where I hoped to get a long-range opportunity at the very least.

I got a throw-in on the right, in Norwich’s half. And this happened:

When that one went in, I sat up and yelled out loud—then stifled it, lest the neighbours start to think I’m even stranger than they already think I am.

I love a good long-distance thumper, as regular readers will know, and Georghe Hagi has certainly provided a few since his arrival. I keep saying that his latest one is the best of them all, but I genuinely think this one is. I’ve scored from further out with Hagi and will do so again, I hope, but in this case he’s running side-on to the goal. Possibly the clincher is his insouciant look-up at the keeper. Perhaps only his recent spectacular free kick tops this one for me.

I grimly held on for the victory, in the face of some shockingly transparent shenanigans from the CPU. They nearly auto-equalised straight from their kick-off. I had to defend two last-gasp corners. My defenders seemed unwilling to just hoof it upfield. But I held on somehow.

That win against Norwich was one of 4 league wins on the bounce that boosted me up to 3rd place at one stage. Then I lost a few and plunged back down to 7th, but at this stage of the season—only 8 matches have been played—a quick return to form should see me vaulting back up towards the top 4, where I want to be.

That’s easier said than done in PES2012, though. Since that purple patch, the game seems to be doing its best to stifle me and to direct my shots everywhere except where I want them to go.

I’m so frustrated with PES2012 sometimes. Not least because, when it works, it’s a great game of football. Everybody who has stuck with PES2012 past the first few weeks knows how good it can be.

But when it decides, for example, that it’s going to direct van Basten’s strongly-aimed corner shot right down the keeper’s throat—not just once, but several times in the same match—I despise the game only slightly less than I despise myself for persevering with it.

Once again, it all comes back to the shooting.

There’s a voice I hear occasionally, a voice that whispers in my ear: you only scored that great goal with Hagi, or anyone else, because the game decided to recognise your shooting aim on this occasion. That’s what it whispers to me, very quietly.

There has never been a more Jekyll-and-Hyde edition of Pro Evolution Soccer than PES2012. In all my long years of playing this franchise, I have never encountered such extremes between true greatness and utter garbage.

Yes, yes, yes. It’s a familiar refrain that’s pretty much old-hat now. Saying “PES2012 is eccentric” is like saying “water is wet”. What’s the point of saying it?

What I need is for the balance between Jekyll and Hyde to be at least 70/30 in Jekyll’s favour (Jekyll being the good one, of course). At the moment, it’s 50/50 at best.


  1. Another great Hagi goal there N-G and another example of the kind of frustrations swe ae all experiencing with this year’s PES.

    I’m back for another season of ML and have started with 1-0 win at Sunderland and two 1-1 draws, one of which was away to Spurs.

    I’m trying out th 4-5-1 formation as discussed on here. It does seem to contain the AI a little but chances are hard to come by. Of course this only highlights the dodgy shooting more. Do you play 4-5-1 with wingers or AMFs by the way?

  2. John—I have a few variations (attack/defence-oriented) of the 4-5-1 mapped to the strategy button and I switch to them as circumstances change in-game. My main one is fairly standard, and I have my two wide men as AMFs. I find careful use of the ATT/DEF levels is very effective, and can draw your men forward when required. 4-5-1 is also very CF-friendly. My van Basten’s goals have really started coming since he started playing up front on his own.

  3. Great goal. Again! I was on the verge of restarting my master league to include the classics when my assistant informed me off two talented additions to my youth team. One called berbatov and the other called bellamy. Sometimes i really love this damn game!

  4. Hey, what are the little stars next to players in master league for? Do captins have increaed abillities like in early pes games?

  5. Thats a good question, not sure myself. Have a query of my own guys. How do you add the copa liberatoras players to the other section in master league. Would love to get the fat ronaldo and adriano etc. Would be grateful if anyone knows how to do this

  6. Leroy Getz – i did this, go to create new players and base copy ronaldo and roberto carlos or who ever you want onto them.

    they should be in your masterleague straight away if i remember correctly.

    might be worth waiting a couple of years and get them as regens.


  7. cheers for that!

  8. leroy getz—you got Berbatov and Bellamy, I got Raul and Forlan. Others have also had similar superstar pairings (as raw teenagers, but still).

    I, too, will admit to loving this damn game, despite it all.

  9. Horse Toucher—it’s said the stars signify a player with the quick turn/first touch ability, i.e. they’ll handle a lot better and more intuitively than players without.

  10. gramswagon—cheers for the info, after all my Classics hi-jinks I think I’ve got plenty of top big-name players swirling around in my Master League. Chelsea turned up with the Rossi in their team today. He was amazing, in vintage 1982 form. I’m going in search of Paul Scholes…

  11. The stars next to a players name signifies that they have special skills. Ie long ranger, talisman, goal poacher etc.
    You can page through a players profile using R2 to see what they have.

    NG – any luck with the R2 shooting? It has transformed my game.

  12. That goal is a thing of beauty nG. Sometimes the graphics and animation in PES just look amazing.
    I haven’t had any great players come through my youth team yet, I think the maximum ovr rating has been 65 or so. How much do you guys invest in it?

  13. Paul—yesterday was a day off all gaming for me, not even allowed a quick game of Stickman Golf (the great iPhone golf game!) on my way to work. It’s a thing I’ve started doing to motivate me to do work on my OU stuff, and work on the book. I had to get to a certain point of the book by last night or not play anything again today either. I got there, so I’m playing. Trying the R2 shooting will be the first order of business.

  14. Grilled Seabass—my two superstar Youths, Forlan and Raul, have both appeared with OVR ratings of around 65 too, so it’s prmarily who they are that matters when you get these players. Definitely bright prospects for the future.

    My investment level was 3 out of 5 when Forlan appeared. Raul turned up a year later after I’d bumped it up to 4. There’s also a young Cudicini in my Youths whom I haven’t signed up as I have sufficient keeper cover right now.

  15. Cool, Thats very resilient of you.
    Do report back on how you find the R2 shooting, remember not a controlled shot but hold R2 STRAIGHT after you press shoot.

    I scored a couple of goals last night that i know 100% would not have gone in or even on target had i just pressed shoot. The ood thing about the R2 is that it seems to be contextual.
    You can use it when the ball is stuck under your fit to dig out a decent powerful shot by maxing the power bar, or you can use it in space to curl or whip one in.
    Liverpool battred me 6-2 last night, Andy “Andrew” Carroll is a beast, seriously everything he touches just goes in, if hes that good, i dont want to imagine what Ronaldo is like on professional or higher.

  16. Paul—just to clarify something, how is this use of R2 different from the controlled shot? The controlled shot in PES2012 (as in PES2011) is pressing R2 immediately after pressing shoot (while the shot gauge is charging, according to the manual). Are you saying that there’s a nanosecond of time between pressing shoot and the shot gauge starting to fill up when pressing R2 has a different effect from its usual controlled shot effect?

    I hardly got a chance to test either hypothesis out this morning, just a few matches with nothing really going on, few clearcut chances. All good games, though, as the first games after a day or two off always are.

  17. I wish I could report something positive on my first games back after my PES break. I’ve had an utterly misable time of it. I’ve had eight horrible games of which even the two I won felt crap. It’s been like an intense illustrtion of all that’s wrong with this game. I threw my controller down in disgust as Leicester pinged in a perfect winner inside the post after a Brazil-like passing move despite their crap squad and botton of the Prem standing.

    I’m starting to wish I had ticked the classic players setting when I started this ML because judging by many of your comments on here, you need superstars to play this game. My team are all mid-80 to high 90 but it makes no difference to he utter chore that playing this game has become. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

  18. The stars next to the players also take into account the position they are playing. For example Del Piero can have the mazing run card on when playing ss or amf, but it goes off when moved into another one of his positions such as lmf. If you press square on the players in the tactics screen, you can see by changing their position what cards apply and where……

  19. yeah batesy, its quality, really deep hiow players display different playhing traits depending on their role.
    My Seedorf is a long range shooter and talisman when playing AMF but only an enforced when played as a DMF. Quality.

    NG – The way I understand it, to pull off a controlled shot (FIFA Finesse Shot) you aim, press shoot and after the gauge has filled up, press and hold R2.
    The method i have started using isnt for a controlled shot as such, I aim, press shoot, and almost immediately hold R2 as well (I DONT hold R2 before powering up the shot), last night using this method i was able to score some cracking goals that definitely before just using standard shoot, have flown wildy over or gone central.
    Im not saying its a fix, just that it is definitely helping me.
    Last night i didnt count one single shot that didnt go where I wanted it to, over the course of a 2hr session. Not a single one.
    Apart from getting my ass handed to me by Premiership teams, the session was an absolute joy!

  20. afternoon all. As you know NG I have been wondering how Ribeiro develops – something I didn’t get to find out with my YLOD. Well at the end of my first new machine restart game he has scored 10 goals and 7 assists from 32 apps (about a third of them subs when Guttierez was a red arrow). Not bad (team total 41 – a miserable 12th position) when he is a 17yr old in this incarnation, with a response of 64, accuracy of 70 and speed of 74. Woeful stats but I think underlining his size advantage if I can get those up. I often paired him with El Hany just behind and he was great – 15 goals and 6 assists for a guy who is 170cm with a speed of 74. I might have a Crouch/Defoe thing going on if they continue to flourish.

  21. does anyone know or if you can turn skill cards off?

    my two SS have the trackback card and they keep ending up miles back in my own half.

    its my fault, i bought the promo copy wich came without the manual just so i could have it 3 days early.

    ill wait next time.

  22. Gramswagon – the manual doesnt even mention skill cards so its not as if you missed out

  23. John—it sounds like you have players who are good enough to replicate the experience of having Classics, so don’t get too hung up on ‘what ifs’. I know what you mean about the demoralising effect of coming upagainst players and teams who play like the proverbial [ace football team] on [drug of choice]. (E.g., Brazil 1970 on speed.)

    The curious thing is that I think the super-teams and super-dribblers can be defended against and then at other times, despite me doing the same things (jockeying, staying on feet, etc), they’re unstoppable. The game can ignore a perfectly good leg-breaking foul and pass through it as if it never happened.

  24. Paul—I thought controlled R2 shot was to press R2 as the gauge filled? In which case, I think your suggested new use of R2 is for situations in which we wouldn’t normally think to try an R2 shot. I.e. from further out, in crowd scenes etc. But I don’t know yet either way because, as I said earlier, this morning I got very little chance to try it. The one opportunity I got, yes, there did seem to be a different feel to the shot, and it did seem to go where I directed, but a heck of alot more testing is needed.

    My respect for the subtleties of PES2012 has gone up in recent weeks as my team has improved and been able to do more. This morning was just one of those maddening sessions, but still a pretty good one. Some days I think PES2012 really does replicate football very well, and today was one of those days.

  25. Batesy8—my Stoichkov is a great example of positional context and skill cards. He has the long ranger ability, but only when playing as an AMF. When playing as a CF (his usual position for me), the long ranger ability is greyed out. Which does make sense, in a slightly kooky Konami way.

    “Bring back PES2010’s & PES2011’s trainable skill cards”, needless to say.

  26. Uncle Turf—interesting stuff, and another testimonial to the individuality and tactical depth in PES2012. For all the praise that’s heaped upon FIFA12’s enormous strides in that direction (and rightly so IMO), it’s worth noting that PES has never lost what it always had. It’s still the kind of game where things like wanting to make your Ribeiro and El Hany a Crouch-Defoe combo-a-like actually makes sense. (I’ve been playing a lot of retro PES (and ISS) this week—for book-writin’ reasons—and this essential goodness of PES is on my mind right now.)

    It’s just a shame that Konami chose this year of all years to nerf so much of ML’s structural depth, when there are gameplay issues that have put so many off PES2012 as a whole, and a truly worthy competitor across the aisle in FIFA12.

  27. gramswagon—the only option is to go into Edit mode and remove those skill cards the dirty way, I’m afraid. And even then there’s some doubt as to whether the change would carry over into your saved game, but I think ti would have to carry over. Surely

  28. I always hold R2 before I shoot to get a powerful finess shot.

    Does any1 use the R1 shot method? After powering up a shot hold r1 and you get a manual shot. This method used to be in iss but can’t remember seeing it since. It’s effective for players that have a poor shot like ettori or my young BAL player. You can tell it works as the shoot animation kind of cancelles and the player appears to kick the ball twice. Obviously this only works outside the area otherwise it would be a chip shot. You can Make a really bad player shoot very hard using this technique I’ve scored a few screamers with players of only 60-65ovr.

    Also if u have a player with a very hard shot try the double square “knuckle ball” shot. From range run in a stright line of the direcction you want the shot to go press direction of shot and hold at maximum then just a tap of square 1/3 power max then just before the player strikes the ball a very quick stab of square again. If done correctly the ball will dip and swerve at very fast speed and is very satisfying to score. I have scored many 35m-half way line.

  29. P.s. It’s such a shame the individual training from last year has been excluded. I have managed to teach a new position to a player by playing him in that position for only 35mins per match for a season. Also players randomly learn new skill cards, it’s happened to two of my players.

  30. good to know that max. I retrained a cb to a rb but it backfired on me. The git went into a sulk and has had a purple arrow since. With regards to pauls comments about shooting is there anyone who can maybe video this method? And anyone curious about ribeiro, i can tell you he turns into a beast of a centre forward.Five seasons into my master league he is 80 overall and has a heading stat of 95! He is amazing from corners and freekicks, hes almost a certain goal in certain situations. Hes not a starter for me but gets 15 goals a season easy. His shot power is shite however. Does setting training to physical improve your players shot power?

  31. Max—the problem is that the PES2012 manual clearly and unambiguously states that pressing R2 after pressing the shoot button, while the shot gauge is displayed and while shoot is still being pressed, is the finesse (or ‘controlled’) shot (p. 19). I thought that R2 was pressed after shoot was released to make a controlled shot, so I’ve been wrong about that one since forever. I’m utterly confused about this now. I’d just like to tell everyone that over the coming days I’ll be trying every variation in a variety of conditions and will report back as and when results come in. I think I’ll take it out onto the training pitch.

  32. NG- when i was young i used to love paolo rossi for those three goals against brazil. he was of the same mould as lineker who is my favourite striker of all time (the hazy sun of mexico 86.)

    im trying to find my lineker of pes 2012. someone who does nothing but be there at the right time. any suggestions are most welcome.

  33. leroy getz—focusing training on physical might improve one player’s stats in one area, but degrade so many other players’ stats in other areas that it wouldn’t be worth it. I’ve not experimented extensively with training though, beyond focusing on Condition in the run-up to tough matches.

  34. gramswagon—remember how Rossi did pretty much nothing else in his career after the 1982 tournament? A true legend nevertheless, though. That World Cup had a huge formative influence on me.

    My van Basten does little else but put the ball in the net, regularly and reliably, but I’m not the most dynamic player of PES so that could be just my play-style. If you’re after a non-Classic candidate, I’m out of ideas.

  35. NG- maybe chicarito would fill that role. he does does sod all but score goals……

  36. I had no idea players could learn skill cards or positions. I’ll have to keep a closer eye on things from now on.
    I’m also a believer in pressing R2 after shooting. I saw a great video about it at the start of the season, I’ll have to dig it out later.

  37. Gramswagon – Fillipo Inzaghi on a regen, lazy as fuck but boy can he finish.

  38. gramswagon—the thing is, in PES2012 a player needs the kind of stats that would have made him a god in previous editions just to be average. I’ve got Stoichkov, and he’s impressively statted, but he’s almost totally anonymous. I think formation and tactics are as/more important than players this year.

  39. Grilled Seabass—let’s see that video if you can find it please, as I remain terminally confused about R2.

  40. Batesy8—I endorse this message based solely on past Inzaghi experience. In PES2012 I imagine he’s cut in the same mould.

  41. Can’t find that video anywhere! I’ll post it if I can find it.
    Meanwhile, I now love the mid-season transfer window! Regen Day (or January 1st) is the most exciting day of the year. This year Raul and Pablo Aimar appeared in my Youth team, as well as a player hotly tipped by my coach going by the name of Ruskin…
    Also picked up 96ovr Chigrat. Not a bad transfer window!

  42. Grilled Seabass—my Raul has been very ordinary so far, but it’s very early days for him. I want some of that Chigrat stuff, buy only Voichelurd (sp?) has popped up again.

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