PES2012, you magnificent bastard

MASSIVE winds of change are blowing at PES Chronicles.

I have prepared a 5-minute video that tells the full story.

Switch to 720p playback for best quality—and Turn Up The Volume:

What it tells is the total truth. The shocking, incredible truth.

I have gone back to playing PES2012 full-time, and I love it. At the time of writing, I have played about two thirds of season 9 in Master League since my ‘abandonment’ on 22nd February.

For over two weeks, and ever since I switched to FIFA12, I’ve been having daily secret PES2012 sessions.

To the point where I am now engrossed and enraptured in PES2012 to an extent that I never would’ve thought possible.

The past 20 days or so, playing PES2012 in secret, have been the greatest of my football gaming life at least since PES2010. Probably since PES5.

I love PES2012, and believe I will love it for a long time to come.

The most diehard PES forumistas say of PES2012 that it’s one of the greatest in the series. That it’s the best since PES5. That it’s misunderstood and neglected.

I now believe all that too. Part of me thinks I’ve gone mad. Another part of me doesn’t care.

Yet another part of me can’t stop giggling about it all. PES2012 is wonderful!

Oh, I still believe that PES2012’s shooting is a problem. It’s a wrinkle that doesn’t completely go away.

But I have it in a whole new perspective. Now, the shooting is a thorny bush on the side of the mountain; previously, it was the mountain.

I am deadly serious. I have undergone a total, near-Damascene conversion.

My ‘secret sessions’, as outlined in the video, were at first just half an hour here and an hour there.

Then they turned into two or three hours. I was all: “What the–? Can it be–? Is this the same game–?”

And so it snowballed.

On Monday just gone I played PES2012 for a total of 6 hours (spread throughout the day).

I am dizzy with PES, drunk on its wine.

For the record, I stand by everything positive I have said about FIFA12. I haven’t stopped playing FIFA12 because FIFA12 is a bad game, or because Career Mode is unattractive.

FIFA12 is a great game. Career Mode is very enticing this year. I hope its time will come again for me.

(I’m really not keen on seeing any PES-vs-FIFA stuff in the comments. That isn’t what this is all about.)

The way I feel about PES2012 right now, I could play it until October.

This is no flash in the pan. I’ve waited until now to reveal it all on the blog, to be sure.

It’s far more than just the lure of Master League that has pulled me back.

In my secret sessions on the game over the past two weeks, I have discovered a depth and subtlety to PES2012 that only the most PES-crazed forumites would dare to assert.

I believe I have found a mountain of gold, and I have set up camp on its slopes.

I have seen things I wouldn’t have believed. Player individuality like nothing seen before in PES, ever. Passages of play like nothing seen since the Golden Age of PES. Stormships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter…


Granted, you have to accept a fantasy football universe in which Stephen Ireland can occasionally dribble like Messi, and where the likes of Stoke City can pretty much play like Brazil 1970 on crystal meth.

Once those conditions are accepted, glory is there to be tasted.

I do feel a bit embarrassed about returning to PES2012 after the song-and-dance routine I made a few weeks ago.

But I have to be honest on this blog. It’s a journal of my football gaming life. It’s not some kind of public policy document. I’m not a spokesman for anything, or an advocate of this or that.

I’m playing PES2012 and that is all. I’ve never shied away from speaking my heart on the blog, and this is what I feel.

My next few posts will bring everything up to date. Friday will be all about the Secret Sessions—as they must be called, in my personal PES folklore at least.

A lot’s happened. Big changes! Master League is more exciting and compelling than ever. The Treble is on.

Then it’ll be as if the past three weeks never happened. And I think it’s safe to say that, three weeks from now, there won’t be a huge ‘Secret FIFA12 Sessions’ post.

The way I feel now about PES2012, and have felt for the past week or so, I could play PES2012 for the rest of the year, easy.

PES2012 is a misunderstood creature. It took me a staggering 250 hours to appreciate it. I don’t blame anyone who walked away after 25 hours, or less.

I’ll wait to see if I cool down on PES2012. Will I start feeling cranky about things again?

No sign of it yet. It’s all good here.

I’ll end with a personal observation.

Last October, as I started to play PES2012, I was talking to a good friend who is also a regular reader of the blog.

My friend was then, and still is, totally crazy about FIFA12. Says it’s the best footy game he has ever played.

Like many of us, he is an ISS/PES veteran of at least 15 years. His adoration of FIFA12 is nothing to be sniffed at.

I told him that FIFA12 interested me. But I wanted to play Master League, and that I’d get round to FIFA12 probably in the spring.

He shook his head and smirked knowingly. He told me that I would never be able to set aside PES and Master League for very long.

I scoffed, and pooh-poohed the very idea.

Wherever he may be reading this now, all I have to say is: you were right, my friend, you were completely right.


  1. Mate, I swear to god, this really has been a bizarre week for me and PES 2012 too. Something in the air??

    Reading your post, I nearly choked on my dinner! I write the odd article for pesgaming charting my ML progress and I was a little freaked out with the similarities between our posts! I was getting frustrated with ML and decided Tuesday evening to completely change my style.

    I never had a problem with the shooting, mostly the AI. 10 men behind the ball etc. My problem was trying to play the same way as I did online. All out speed. After 3 games, I started to dominate. I had a cracker with West Brom and then scored one of my best ever goals. I’ll leave a link, it’s at the 2.25 mark and I think you will like it!



    I agree that PES 2012 is seriously underrated, and if it continues,I reckon could be my favourite of all time. Has COD and such really ruined gaming nowadays? People just want to be excellent at the game without learning how to play. There is serious depth in PES 2012

  2. Barry—I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what’s changed and ‘clicked’ for me. It really is a puzzle, because prior to the current phase I had very little time for PES2012. Playing it was a total chore. Now? Now, I’m almost with the most PES-addled forumite in thinking it one of the best of the whole series.

    I’m at work currently and will have to check your goal out later at home.

    But I also have come to see PES2012 as having depth and subtlety that its detractors (including me, up to 2 weeks ago) never dreamed was there.

    And it’s all due to not trying to copy the CPU’s fast direct style. Playing FIFA12 for a few weeks must have something to do with reverse-conditioning me from that mindset.

    Interesting thought about modern-day games and their user-friendliness perhaps conditioning us to expect instant rewards—or, more exactly, to perceive the game that we see after 10 hours (or 100 hours) as the only game it could possibly be.

  3. Barry—just read your article on PES Gaming. Now, I’m pretty sure I’m not you, but yes, that is spooky. Only the MLO Online thing is a dead giveaway that I’m not you. I never play online, partly due to time considerations, but mainly because I thoroughly dislike the kind of football gaming played online, which only seems to have two gears: fast and furious, and then faster and furiouser—the very antithesis of the bulk of good PES2012 play IMO.

  4. Wow. This is just as good as a Hollywood romantic drama not-greg. Almost brings a tear to the eye!!

  5. abbeyhill—I promise it’s not some kind of ‘Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence’ thing. It’s real and genuine and I can’t believe it myself. Every day since it kicked in (about 10 days ago, full-on) I’ve waited for the bubble to burst. But no, I really have got that PES5-vibe from this game now. FIFA12’s time is yet to come, but it’s partly responsible for de-conditioning me from the fast and furious approach that PES2012 does tend to encourage at first.

  6. Barry aka the midnite kid that leon best goal was bloody bonkers. Im envious lol. Been following your master league online adventures on youtube and your the main reason im addicted to it. Your other articles on mlo have been hugely helpful so cheers for that. Its great to see such love for pes2012 from two of the best pes sites on the net. Keep up the good work not greg and barry, lovin it

  7. Just seen creme freiches comments lol.I bought skyrim on launch day and its still in its wrapper. When it gets patched to an acceptable level i’ll play it. Ive seen two bugs in pes2012 after 300 hours of play and both those are mickey mouse compared to skyrims gamebreakers. Another thing the pes bashers dont consider is just how difficult it must have been for the staff at konami to develop the game after the tsunami devasted the country. Food for thought creme

  8. not-greg – look forward to reading more about it. I’m just about to make my own switch to PES2012 after many excellent months on FIFA12, and posts like this certainly whet the appetite! I doubt the shooting will be a concern but I must admit I am a bit worried about the scripting, as this is probably the main PES feature which has turned me away from ML over the last few years
    If you were starting again in your ML career are there any changes to settings, league set-up, approach etc you’d make? Just looking for some advice about how to get the best out of it

  9. I know mate, and my friend has had simlar sessions with PES yesterday and today. He rang me about two hours ago, I thought he was after winning the lotto. He scraped a champions league spot in the last month, winning 6 games in a row and just having unreal games.

    MLO is terrible and gave me horrible habits. My xbox live is gone now I am just gonna play Master League. I agree that PES does encourage ping pong play and speed, but if you want to be good, you need to play smart

  10. btw – thanks to those who suggested I enable auto-save on the options to try and work round my GP issue. I pretty much enabled everything and whacked the game on my HDD and it has started saving them for me. Still non-plussed as to why they weren’t though – I should have nearly a thousand on this new game instead of the handful of unlocks I can buy.

    NG – yes, first ever keeper goal – helped that he was Romo, a 197cm monster – shorter guy wouldn’t have been able to stretch his leg that far. I suspect an aerial cross would have failed as his heading would have been too weak.

  11. Thanks Leroy, appreciate that. Glad to see I have at least one regular, viewer lol! I’m sure not-greg will be appalled at the comparison though! I am only starting out but always read this site. No bullshit, just real fans.


    The scripting is part of the attraction though! If you get addicted to ML, god help your other games though. Whats this Mass Effect I hear about?? 🙂

  12. leroy getz—I think that the tsunami was more psychologically disruptive to Tokyo that practically so—and I now think PES2012 is a complete game anyway, and doesn’t need any excuse. The one aspect where I look at it and still think ‘they ran out of time’ is Master League. The cut scenes and new training system just don’t really cohere with the rest of the mode in any really satisfying way. It’s about 30% of a good idea.

  13. im really looking forward to tommorrows post. find out what inspired such a turnaround.

    when i read wednesdays post the sun had just come out, i had remastered revolver in the cd player, playing taxman.

    a good day all round i think.

    there were some pes players with grins on their faces im sure.

  14. abbeyhill—I wonder how you’ll find it now—if you’re horrified, you must say so. But I hope you give it a while at least. And hey, it’s Master League, the greatest made-up footy world ever.

    I recommend enabling Classic PLayers but not unlocking them from the main menu until such time as you want them unleashed. That way you can choose to bring them into your ML world at any time.

    Choose to negotiate directly and to manage the financial aspects of your club. I think they’re both ON by default so you shouldn’t go wrong there.

    Oh, and consider very carefully before starting with the Defaults. If I knew back in October what I know now, I’d have started with the original PES United squad at the very least. If you want to start with original squads you have to unlock the option first from the Extras section in the main menu, for which you’d need some of the in-game currency earned via playing matches. A few tournaments should sort that out.

  15. Barry—6 hours on PES2012 the other day is probably the most played in one day, for me, since PES6, when I was at the tail-end of an unemployed year and could easily spend 6 hours on one thing just like that. 6 hours on a game nowadays is unheard-of for me. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing and feeling unfold before me. And this after 5 months and 250 hours already. Where will it end?

  16. uncle turf—the unlock system is pretty generous anyway so it won’t be too long before you have enough to get what you want.

    You may recall I got my first-ever bicycle kick goal in PES, after 10 years of playing the series, a few weeks before my attempted abandonment of the game.

    Now I have to score one with the keeper. Should only take another ten years…

  17. That falcao goal is a cracker greg. Any tips on finishing for us? A tutorial video perhaps? And its a shame your not on xbox live anymore barry, did you ever get past 12th in the overall rankings in master league online? ive made it to division 3 myself but the pato/ronaldo/mphela brigade are doing my head in lol

  18. gramswagon—I’ll have to spread out the tale over tomorrow’s and Monday’s posts. It’s too huge for one. Tomorrow will cover the start of season 9 (the season that was never meant to be) and the first stirrings of a strange feeling that this was not the game I thought it was.

  19. leroy getz—that Falcao goal came early on in the new phase and left me stunned for a few seconds. Eh…? that shot actually went in? – that kind of feeling. I think all that’s needed to shoot from distance in any game is the willingness to keep trying. Your fingers learn the positions and moves eventually. If you keep buying a ticket…

  20. cheers for the advice not-greg. I’m intrigued to play with the defaults having read so many opinions on here about the likes of Ettori, Ordaz et al but suspect it might be better to start with a real team. Evian looks appealing – some weak players but a really nice kit! I’m also tempted to go straight into D1 so the first season is probably a dramatic(ally unsuccessful) relegation struggle. Several seasons toiling near the bottom of D2 is less attractive these days, now that we have to play full 38+ match seasons.

    Barry – oh I know all about ML addiction, having spent most of 2002-8 playing it, at the expense of a myriad of non-footy games. Not sure about Mass Effect though, I bought ME2 but it all seemed like a bit too much hard work. Love your videos by the way

  21. I’m finding top player really difficult. On Pro I won the league two seasons in a row and won the UEFA cup, and was finding it all too easy. This season, on Top Player, after 9 games I’m languishing in 14th, been dumped out the cup by a div2 team and am struggling in my Champions League group. It’s going to take some adjusting! TP is just like Pro but with more of the same difficulties. I’m pretty blind when it comes to scripting, I would just say its more of the same.

  22. abbeyhill—that’s a tough call to make, but yes, given the length of the seasons nowadays, if you’re at all pressed for time you might as well start in the top flight. I think the important thing is to see the best side of PES2012 early enough to let it beguile you. It’s a big ask, though. FIFA12 may have spoiled you for PES2012 for good.

  23. Grilled Seabass—at its basic level, scripting is when you’re leading, and the CPU team goes nuts while your team strangely wilts. Your defenders act as though suddenly drugged. This has been an intrinsic part of all football games for 7 years at least. I first noticed it in PES5.

    I’m still a long way off Top Player anyway. I doubt I’ll ever get there. And if Professional remains a nicely balanced level for me, I’d be happy to stay on it.

  24. Hey not-greg. Its been a while since I checked in here. A combination of uni work and a much needed trial separation from all football gaming for a few months. I see that you persevered with pes 2012 for a whole lot longer than I did, and have now come back to it with renewed passion after your stint with fifa 12. I hope that it stays with you. I too have returned to football gaming with fresh receptors and a welcome return of enthusiasm, however the game is not pes 2012 nor is it fifa 12. Its none other than pes 2010. Speaking solely for myself here pes 2010 offers me the best of the various incarnations of pes. Its like a hybrid of old school gameplay with new hd graphics. And it has an amazing master league. Im in its vice grip again and I dont see it letting gone anytime soon. Its good to be back

  25. Danny—you don’t have to convince me of the merits of PES2010. At this moment I’d still say it’s the best all-round ML experience of any PES game, ever. I’d pay another forty quid right now to have the PES2010 ML in PES2012.

    Gameplay-wise, PES2012 is getting up there for me now. But at the time of writing PES2010 is probably still the most satisfying of next-gen PESes (PES6(360) aside). I can’t handle its speed nowadays, though.

  26. My return to PES 2012 has brought me three wins and three draws and no defeats. I had a sensational 3-2 win Vs Fulham last night which had me jumping off the sofa in one of those silent late night celebrations only gamers with kids and a sleeping missus know about.

    Oh, and I tried -2 speed and couldn’t quite get used to it. I can see why some sing its praises but the ball speed seems a bit odd. I’m on -1 again and loving it. The tactical side of the game is really opening up.

    Still only 10th after a dozen games but aiming for a Euro spot.

  27. @abbeyhill

    Thanks man, I missed out on some cracking games over the years too. I have yet to play ME3, Skyrim, AC, MGS HD, Kingdoms of Amular etc.. Are you going to start ML with the defaults? I recommend a decent premier legaue team. I chose Newcastle and it has been a great season

  28. John—I think -2 is something that has to be got used to. After so long on -1 it’d take me a while to adjust down, and I can’t afford to spend a few matches on experiments right now. Maybe during my next pre-season Training Matches.

  29. Right on man. Glad you’re enjoying PES again. I haven’t taken a break yet. Every month or so it seems I fall in love with EVO all over again.

    Shooting? I’m still not convinced it’s a flaw with the game…just that it’s too complex for my monkey brain to comprehend. I’m right around the corner from figuring it all out! I’ll let you know…heh.

  30. PESJunky—I don’t think I’ll ever be convinced about the shooting, but never say never and all that 😉

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