The PES that didn’t bark in the nighttime

The PES2013 demo gets a big thumbs-up from me. It seems to have gone down well in general, if the forums are any guide (they’re not, of course, but if they were).

Which only begs the question: how much will Konami spoil the final game this year?

I first played the demo on the Xbox360—not my PES console of choice by any means. It was an eye-opener. I’ve always been a PlayStation man when it comes to ISS/PES, a tradition I have stuck to in the PS3 era.

How depressing, then, to see the 360’s pin-sharp graphics; its more vibrant colours and brightness; and its general air of vitality and next-gen pizzazz. Even PES2008 (*spit*) ran about 10% better and smoother on the 360, back in 2007. Incredibly, that graphical gap between the two consoles has persisted into the year 2012-2013. How? Why?

I saw the kerfuffle about the nighttime matches on PS3 and didn’t know what people were going on about—until I downloaded the PS3 demo and saw for myself. Ugh. You know, if I hadn’t seen the 360 version running so beautifully, it might not have been so bad.

No, PES has never been about graphics, but we’re entitled to expect at least some parity across platforms.

Things are much better in the daytime on PS3. It’s still blurrier than it has any right to be, but it’s acceptable.

I probably will stick with the PS3 for the final game. There’s the ease of applying Option Files, and I prefer the controller.

As for PES2013’s gameplay, I love the manual options.

The option to turn shooting all-manual looks very tempting. I loved playing next-gen FIFA with semi-assisted shooting. It adds a new dimension of difficulty, a new challenge. Can you imagine this: Default ML squad, Superstar difficulty, 0 bar passing, and manual shooting set to always-ON?! I would almost certainly never take up such a challenge, but I know of many who will…

My first PES2013 manual goal—for now anyway, I like using the big arrow. (Not pictured.)

Scott Parker, midway through my 4th or 5th match.

I also spotted many ‘PES2010 turns’. Those of us who played PES2010 will recall that some of the players executed an awkward-feeling ‘tanker turn’ when on the ball. A three-point animation that often lost the ball, or created trouble if you were careless.

It was stats-based, of course. PES’s famous player individuality in action. Players shouldn’t be able to turn on the proverbial sixpence. There should be the limitations of inertia. I like the glimpses I’ve seen of this feature making a comeback in PES2013.

Keepers seem identical to PES2012 v1.06. The same repertoire of saves and non-saves. And the frustrating long pause between them picking the ball up and throwing it out has not been rectified. Damn.

I’m not going to play the demo much more after this week. Maybe two more mini-sessions over the weekend, and I’ll be done.

I feel a growing hunger to get back into my unfinished PES2012 ML career, which I will be doing from Monday’s post onward. I do plan to ‘finish’ playing PES2012 about a week or two before PES2013’s arrival, to make sure I feel fresh for the new game.

So now the question is how much this glimpse of a great PES2013 will be watered down for final release. It’s absolutely guaranteed that it’ll be faster than the demo. I’d put a sizeable chunk of everything I own on that. It’s happened every year for the past three years, and it will happen again this year as surely as the sun rises and sets every day.

It’s frustrating, but it seems that whatever the game speed of a PES demo is, visualise it running 5-10% faster on each speed setting, and that’s what you’ll end up with in October. Prove me wrong, Konami, prove me wrong.


  1. The demo, whilst very good, is far off being releasable as is:
    a few things need addressing:

    Graphics – Night matches are horrendous. Bleached washed out look, void of any life, horrible.

    Referees – potential gamebreaker. every single tackle is punished, wether a great tackle oir not, 90% of tackles are yellow cards.

    CPU Free Kicks – unrealistic and far too effective, 8/10 are goals.

    On rails feel – still exists in places. especially when chasing a lofted through ball, your player seems glues to the defender thats tracking him.

    If they sort these points out then it will provide a solid base for the final release.

  2. Paul—the night match graphics are a PS3 thing, and as such, something we might end up having to live with. It would break your heart to see any PES game since PES2008 running on 360 compared to PS3, so best not look.

  3. That default challenge sounds like a…..challenge! Providing I learn to love PES 2013 in a way that I couldn’t love 2012, then I have no doubt that i’ll pick it up at some point. It’s a bit if though.

    I liked the demo, but have only managed 2 games so far, due to recent fatherhood. Promisiing signs though.

  4. Paul – referees is the real killer for me. If they went back to the card happy lunacy of previous times I would stick with 12. I haven’t picked up a single red this season showing how much I’ve changed my style – to think that I couldn’t get away with the odd slightly mistimed challenge, or worse still one of those awful delayed off the ball cursor events would be really depressing.

    7 points clear in 7th position with 4 games to go. Beat Swansea at home and I qualify for Europe, although tbh my season has rather petered out after my Cup semi final loss – I’ve been nailed on for Europe since Christmas and even had a thought I might qualify for the CL – too many draws since. Now it’s all about strengthening the squad in the summer.

  5. Liam—I think much more than 30 games on a demo and it starts being counter-productive. That won’t stop those who are already nearing a hundred games though.

  6. uncle turf—every season of Master League seems to have its own distinct rhythms and character. How you start is how you go on, and so on. It’ll be interesting to see how the game treats you next season. Be ready for a possible ambush in Game 1 no matter who you play. Carefully does it.

  7. Just don’t know what to think about PES2013 demo. It looks poor to me. Those animations, pinball in the penalty area, shooting without any feeling. In the PS2 times (PES3,PES5) I fell in love to Konami’s game from the very first kick. Now it just gives me creeps and turns my eyes to FIFA. What happened to this world…

  8. Im going to download the XBOX360 demo, just to witness the difference with my own eyes.
    Wont help though as if it does look far superior, I still wont be able to buy the final version on XBOX as i use the editing alot, and Option Files etc are just a hassle on the 360.

    In fact I might just delete the demo and finish my PES12 quest and forget about PES13 until I have a retail copy in my hands, then take it for what it is, and just pray ML & Gameplay is sorted.

  9. not-greg – interested to hear how much you like the full manual shooting, given that you’re not a fan of FIFA’s manual shooting. Is this is because it’s not really full manual, or because the big arrow makes it more playable?

    Liam – congrats on fatherhood! We’ve got our second (and final) one due any day now. Hope it doesn’t impact your gaming too much!

  10. Rebrov—I suppose it comes down to what you expect, what you’re used to already, and what you’re prepared to put up with to get to where you want to be. There’s no such thing as an objectively great football game. The trouble is, just 6 years or so ago, we all thought there was. And then next-gen happened.

  11. Paul—sounds like a wise policy. After this weekend I’ll abandon the demo as well. I’ll download Demo 2 and play that for a bit when it comes out.

    It’s a little worrying to see how much attention the demo is getting on the forums. By the time the game comes out there will be plenty of people already jaded, but I can understand anyone who more or less skipped PES2012 getting into the swing of PES2013.

  12. abbeyhill—the manual aiming ‘lozenge’ actually exists in PES2013’s manual shooting—that’s why I like it. If I aim left/right the ball goes that way. In FIFA, the aiming lozenge is too thin and left-right aiming is pretty much non-existent. I need to feel that my aim counts. It remains to be seen how much the player stats influence the success of the shot in PES2013’s manual shooting. My early feeling is that it’s actually somewhere between semi-assisted and manual (in FIFA terms).

    The big arrow is an amusing novelty to have early-doors, but one destined to be turned firmly OFF after a few matches on the full game.

  13. Paul – I only have a 360 and the editing really stinks to be honest (thanks to Microsoft, of course). It’s a good job that the community has built up a solid base to work with from the last couple of years so there’s a couple of tidy OF’s that come out quite quickly now but it’s never going to be anywhere near the PS3’s options. I hope that the 720 or whatever it’ll be called will eradicate the issue.
    Daymos’ basic 360 OF last year had all sorts of created players etc which I don’t really want as I’m always wary of the long term effects of an ML world that’s been tinkered with; as a result I play 2012 with 2011’s kits. Here’s hoping for a good basic 360 OF this year!

  14. abbeyhill – you have a little un, another imminent AND you play Superstar death rules?!?! I realised small people and trying to sneak a game don’t mix when I conceded a crucial goal due to my 2 yr old dive bombing me in the chair.

    Going to try and squeeze a couple of games in before the opening ceremony madness. Never did get the 2012 game, maybe in a week it’ll be in the bargain bin.

  15. Just about to play Europa final for a chance at my first trophy on Superstar. Sibon starts!!!

  16. turf – lol, yes my experience exactly! Given how obsessed my 2 year old is with ipads, games controllers, electronic screens in general and footballs, I’m harbouring a mad dream that I can train her up to be the first decent female player of PES in the world!

  17. actually apologies if that sounds quite sexist, I’m just under the assumption that women are completely uninterested in computer football. Although my wife sometimes enjoys trying to beat the keeper on the FIFA intro screen, naturally with manual shooting

  18. Lost. On penalties. 🙁

  19. Chris—if I went 360 for PES2013 I would perform a roll-back to my old policy of playing with NO option file at all, and hand-editing just the English team names and nothing else. Like I said though I’ll be sticking with PS3. Shame about the graphics though.

  20. uncle turf—it’ll be decent for them to drop the Olympics game in the bargain zone after the Paralympics end, whenever that is. I’m keeping an eye on OnLive, which doesn’t have a demo right now but should do eventually.

  21. Lloyd—commiserations, it’s the hardest tournament of all to win on Superstar. Well done for not reloading. Onto next season…

  22. abbeyhill—I’ve heard about women who play PES, but they’re very rare in my experience and will usually only do it to humour you. Reminds me of a story I’ve got for the book where [SECTION REDACTED], and then we ate the pizza and sent the vicar home!

  23. end of season 4 – this seems to have taken me a long time, combination of Civ, work and a bit of PES fatigue.

    I put my foot in it really after making claims of a honeymoon season – drew most of my last half dozen games and stayed 7th; w17 d12 l9 GF61 GA57 (obvious what I need to work on). Ribeiro top scorer in both league (25) and FA Cup, 3 players in team of the year.

    Team up to 70th in rankings – ludicrous chairman request to sign one of the players in the team of the year (apart from me it was Chelsea, Man U and Liverpool). Have shipped out my underdeveloping youth of Blake, Sazi and Zebina and brought in some squad players now I have 8 internationals. I now have £5m staff everywhere and £10m youth – hoping for some stars in Jan…notice Otam has retired…

  24. uncle turf—I got back in the saddle as well this morning and the game felt really fresh and enticing again. PES fatigue is easily cured with a few days away.

    A good few seasons ago now, I ignored my Chairman request to sign a Team of the Year player on the grounds that they were all ageing old knackers.

  25. NG – yes, even if they’d come to me (Neymar..Carroll…yeah right) the only possibilities are not as good as the likes of Chigrat, Kmou, Farinos, etc. Chigrat is now the best player in the world on 102 and I tend to agree – plays anywhere across the back four for me and could happily slip him into midfield as well. Lampard is about to retire and I imagine he might be a decent regen?

  26. uncle turf—Lampard would be great, but if he reappears as a 60-odd Youth, can you wait 5 seasons for him to become decent? After I splurged on all my youths 5 seasons ago now, they’re only just starting to come good. Never again!

    Also, I’m a bit disappointed in Farinos. He’s a great DMF, make no mistake—a proper busy terrier of a DMF—but I was expecting more of an attacking force.

    Chigrat and me just keep missing one another in recent PESes.

  27. NG – yes, agreed – won’t wait, there’s no point and can only really indulge one or two up and coming players, and likely only for half an hour if leading easily.

    Farinos is great for me, and I play him quite attacking. He is in as a CMF about an inch above the centre circle, to the right and he forms a great overlap/1-2 routine with my deep RMF. He is a decent free kick taker as well. Kick power of 85, top speed and explosive of 84, short pass 91 – admittedly shot accuracy of 80 but that seems bloody good overall to me!

  28. uncle turf—the Farinos factor probably comes down to PES2012’s favoured style in the end. I’m always looking for him to latch onto loose balls and wallop them in, but somehow he’s never there, and when he is he’s blocked off or slow to control/shoot.

    As for the youth conundrum, if it was possible to reliably loan them out for a season at a time I’d do it, but I’ve only once ever had the CPU take me up on the offer.

  29. NG – I find I rarely get any free space 35-40 yards out for anyone to whack them. Heycory has had maybe 10 shots since I got him, Farinos and Cocio (my CMFs) about 12-15. It must be the way the AI responds to my little trinagles through cb-mf-amf.

    I got a relatively easy start to season 5; 2 home games against yo-yo teams but then got Chelsea away. Classic ‘I know what is going to happen here but can do nothing to prevent it’ – sure enough after 85 minutes of solid defending with no real worries I was beaten by the walkabout defender/cross/goal. Decent draw in the Euro league though so hoping for knockout stages.

    Btw watching a lot of olympics – since when did China start winning the swimming as well? Going to end up just posting them all the medals before the 2016 events.

  30. uncle turf—I find I get loads of space frequently for the WRONG players. I still play with two DMFs for most games, and the loose balls fall to Neeskens more than Farinos (or Gerrard). It doesn’t matter where I play them, if I swap them etc.

    I noticed last night that OnLive have started offering a free 30-minute demo for the Olympics game. I was tempted to dabble, but I had a date with Civ V. If your connection is good enough (above 4MB, minimum), it’s a great way to sample games at the very least.

  31. aargh, went bankrupt again last night, so annoying. I was purposefully leaving it until the end of August to release players and adjust down staff levels, just in case any transfer bids came in for Shimizu. But as the calender slowly ticked to Aug 30th, 31st and I hammered the X button to interrupt it just kept going… Chairman approval rating back down to zero again as a consequence.

  32. abbeyhill—the interrupt isn’t reliable at all, as you’ve found. I press the button at least 2 days in advance of when I want to stop, and even then it often slips to the 3rd day after I’ve pressed. So who did the CPU sell to rectify the finances? And with a Chairman rating of 0, is that the sack?

  33. not-greg – not quite the sack, just triggering the ‘win (i.e. draw) the next game or you’re sacked’. Deficit was only 960k euros, so the CPU contented itself with generally reducing the staff levels from 2 to 1. I was hoping to sell Shimizu for a high price, as he made D2 team of the year in the first season, but no offers despite loads of teams ‘in contact’ all summer

    I would be a trifle cross to get sacked because of this, as the team is starting to come together – notably a decent pair of mid-70s CBs plus your old friend James Morrison

  34. abbeyhill – yes, as NG says it will sometimes stuff you over. I always use the skip to date whenever I’m doing transfers, etc as there have been times I have been on the verge of losing a sale because it hits the last day to decide.

    First game in Euro league – I only played in it once way back when so it’s not like greeting an old friend but playing in Europe felt so good. Won 3-2 in a ridiculous hell for leather game. Beat Arsenal 2-1 in the league with a Farinos free kick from 18 yards. I’m right back in the mood with this game.

  35. abbeyhill—as uncle turf recommends, the ‘skip to’ date option is your best bet when you’re trying to finesse something calendar-related in the finance month. Be careful not to overlook any transfer offers though.

    I think the confidence threshold is a good way above you now so you might have to actually win your next game—and then probably get another ‘must-win’ message.

    If you’d started on Regular/Professional you’d probably be many seasons into a perfectly satisfying ML career by now, and you’d be enjoying some great gameplay. Just saying….

  36. uncle turf—I’m back playing my regular PES2012 sessions again, back on track as well. I’ve even made an effort to get Farinos into shooting positions. The AI just loves to get that last-ditch foot-in…

  37. Had a few more sessions on the PES13 demo over the weekend. Must say it really is feeling nice in terms of freedom in gameplay.
    If they iron out a few issues then PES13 is looking very promising.

    I downloaded the XBOX360 demo after the reports of better graphics – didnt notice anything superior to PS3, night matches colouring was still ghastly, had to adjust the settings on my tv to bump up colours etc.

    Will deffo stick with PS3.

    Planning to resume my PES12 career too, hopefully wont feel too alien after the PES13 demo play, not looking forward to the pressure abuse from the CPU though.

  38. Paul—I’m surprised you didn’t at least notice a general bump up in sharpness and colour quality, for me that’s a long-running sore point with PES on the 360 and PS3.

    I’ve totally abandoned the PES2013 demo now. I’m not even going to bother getting the expanded version for my Windows laptop. While I’m into PES2012, there’s no point. Back in the saddle big-time.

  39. Nope, no difference, certainly no noteavble difference. Even did side by side comparisons and took high res screen captures…. didnt notice it at all.

  40. rewards scale proportionately to the challenge, not-greg, I thought that everyone knew that…

    just need to scrape a draw in this vital game (pretty certain that a draw will suffice, as I’ve been on zero approval before) and I think the current career might have some momentum. Even my 58 rated main CF, Zarate, is scoring some decent goals these days

  41. Paul—the difference is so startling to me that I now believe I must have my PS3 set up wrongly somehow. I know it’s not the TV as I’m a few TVs down the line in next-gen. On PS3, Ronaldo’s face on the demo title screen is dull and blurred and everything is slightly fuzzy, a bit like when you see a 1990s TV show today. On 360, though, Ronnie is pin-sharp and bright and Hi-def and properly 21st Century. That difference carries over into gameplay as well.

    I use a HDMI cable for the PS3 and the bundled leads for the 360, and the 360 looks better for most games and always has done for PES. I might have a fiddle with the PS3 settings later.

  42. abbeyhill—ah but there is such a thing as a sweet spot on the reward/challenge sliding scale, and you’re a long way off that sweet spot with your straight-to-Superstar challenge IMO. It’s your own time you’re wasting of course (how many goals do you score?! how much do you actually enjoy the matches?!) and there is still time before the end of the footy game season to get some momentum going.

  43. well you might well be right, not-greg, although surprisingly I don’t feel that far from the ‘sweet spot’, despite a lack of wins/goals – in the final game last night I had 60/40 possession in a 0-0, just need more of a cutting edge and consistent method of scoring goals now

    congrats by the way on your own return to form in today’s post! Do you think your temporary game fatigue last week was a come-down after the treble near miss the previous season, rather than too many months on the game per se?

  44. abbeyhill—I find the level of focus and effort needed to play well and get results on Superstar to be utterly draining over the course of a season. And this is with my elite squad. With the Defaults, it must be like trying to run a marathon in a deep sea diving suit. Do you ever see yourself winning 20 matches in a season, as you’d have to do to get promotion? You need to get that one magic player and keep him fit and in form, and get the next, and sloooowly lift the ship off the launchpad… Without being sacked. Rather you than me! Just doing that on Regular, back in the day, was almost too much for me.

    I’ll be forcing myself to take a regular break of one day mid-season and two-three days post-season from now on, whether I want to or not. It really does top up the energy levels and restore a cutting edge. That might make the difference between getting a Treble and missing out.

    And there’s so many great games and movies and books out there. The world doesn’t begin and end with PES, not really. The amount of great unplayed games, unwatched films, and unread books I have lying around is a shame.

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