The True End of Summer

PES2012 is no more. It has ceased to be. As of right now (well, sometime yesterday morning, actually) I am a former PES2012 player.

Season 18 of my Master League career, playing as a made-up Coventry City in a bogus Premier League, has finally come to a close. With it has ended one of the most extraordinary PES gaming years of my long football gaming life.

The best ever? Possibly, just possibly. Or perhaps not. I don’t know. I’ll do a proper retrospective-with-perspective sometime in September. I always do an end-of-year review on the blog. This year will be no exception. It should be an interesting one.

Season 18 turned out to be quite a ride.

After a terrible opening third of the league season, I had clawed my way back up to a position where I was just 9 points behind the leaders. Master League traditionally is very generous to its human teams. The CPU teams tend to lose and draw just enough of the time to keep things interesting.

And so it proved. Here is the table after 28 matches:

Yup, after being pretty much out of it earlier this season, I was now right back in it. With loads of matches remaining.

I fancied my chances, needless to say.

I lost one and drew two of my remaining 10 matches. Sadly, that one defeat was to Manchester City, at home. It was a six-pointer that I knew I had to win. They walloped me 1-4. Considering I was 0-4 down after 25 minutes(!), I felt lucky to get off lightly.

Manchester City drew one and won eight of their outstanding matches.

So I missed out on a final League title, but I was proud of my team’s form in the second part of the campaign. It would have been title-winning form in any other season.

Here’s the final table:

I loved my goal-scoring too. 92 is my best tally for a while. I really found my shooting boots this season.

In the FA Cup, I got to the Final. Where I met… Manchester City.

I started the match really well, thanks in part to having the kick-off. That always helps. I controlled the game for the entire first half, having about 10 shots, many on-target. I think Man City had one feeble effort. It was a world away from their recent shellacking of me in the league.

Straight from their second half kick-off, they scored. Sigh. Never mind. I had the whole half left to get the equaliser and then the winner, right?

Nope. The match ended 1-0 to Manchester City.

That’s them wearing sky blue in the picture. I was in my black away kit for this one.

So. No League and no FA Cup for me.

The Champions League was my sole chance of silverware in my last ever season on PES2012.

I battled my way to the final, easing past AC Milan in the quarters by 2-0 on aggregate. FC Lorient were my semi-final opponents—predictably, the toughest nut to crack yet. I squeezed past them 2-2 on aggregate, with away goals helping me out.

Real Madrid were the Champions League Final opponents. Yes, the picture at the top of the post kind of gives it all away. I WON. My last ever match on PES2012 ended in me winning the only tournament that I’d yet to win on Superstar. Not the Treble, nor even any kind of Double, but a satisfying sense of closure nevertheless.

The game itself wasn’t at all memorable. Very few such Finals actually are, so in this respect PES is totally realistic.

I was annoyed not to see a proper trophy presentation. (Or did I press through it?)

And so to the post-match, post-season, post-PES2012 wrapping up.

The FA Cup team of the year was packed with my players:

As was the League team of the year:

Forlan and Rooney did very well this season, getting a good chunk of my goal tally between them:

Before I quit PES2012 for the very last time, there was one other bit of business I had to deal with in the Main Menu.

I went along to Track Record, and checked my vital statistics.

994 matches played. Some people would deliberately play another 6 matches just to get it up to the magic 1000 mark. But not me. I’ve really had enough of PES2012 now. I don’t even want to play one more match.

In another Track Record screen I discovered that I’ve had just 13 penalties across all 994 matches. That’s not good at all for a game that aspires to simulate the game it’s based on.

Here’s the screen that really counts—the true tale of the tape:

430 hours played. 421 of those hours on Master League.

(Not even a single minute of playing squeeze-yer-controller online. Tee-hee!)

PES2013 has got a tough act to follow. For now, I will move onto other things—other football games, and other games. PES2012 is firmly in the rearview mirror.

Class of 2012—dismissed.


  1. Lloyd

    The hardest game so far was against Norwich where i was hanging on

    Master League in a nutshell. This is why the items-boosting thing is neither here nor there. The mode is already twisted in so many ways.

  2. Lloyd – Norwich turned out strangely difficult for me too. When I played on Pro it was always Fulham, but SStar it was Norwich and sometimes Wigan – a very close pressing game and lethal counter attacking. I started wondering if some clubs are pre-programmed to get better or if it is random transfer activity that gives them a boost. Everton were always the easiest game of the season but I don’t know anyone else ever found that.

  3. Played Fifa 12 today with my Newcastle UTD career mode (I live in the Midlands so it was random choice) played Wigan where I won 3-0 two from Ba and 1 from Jon Taylor. Then I played Stoke and won 2-1 also beat Birmingham 3-1 in the Capital One Cup 4th round thanks to L. Piazon, (Who now plays for Chelsea in real life:)) Simpson and a rocket from Best
    Unfortunately Kagawa, who is my top scorer on 6 goals and my top assists with 4, has dropped in form. Currently 2nd and chasing Chelsea down

  4. Is it just me or has anyone noticed from the demos that the faces seem to have taken a big step backwards in terms of quality and design? I realise that its only a demo and graphical sacrifices have been made but the faces seem very strange this year, especially when compared to the same faces from the last few games, pes 2010 in particular. Of course faces are by no means a significant part of the game, but there definitely does seem to be some decline

  5. Whew, you take your eyes off the internet for a few days, and look what happens…

    Firstly congrats on reaching a satisfactory conclusion in 2012 ML, Not-Greg! That’s good value for money you’ve got from the game to say the least.

    Super-boots and injury recovery power-ups in 2013 don’t surprise me at all, it fits in with the direction Konami are going with ML since the introduction of the ‘new’ ML in 2012. It’s another layer of cheese. Even if these new features weren’t introduced, I wouldn’t have been happy unless ML reverted to how it used to be, or changed to something actually, you know, realistic. After initially enjoying the novelty value of the new ML back in October, I’ve grown to really resent what they’ve done. My favourite ever game mode crumbling into a farce. My real life football team give me enough heartache, I can do without PES giving me more. I’ve been toying with the idea of not getting PES on release day, and giving FIFA a bit of a go to start with, I’ve liked what I’ve heard about what they’re doing with career mode. Shame, because I really liked the PES demos.

    Just to reinforce; I’m not overeacting to the new ML developments, I’ve been thinking this way for a few months, and I’ve not made my final decision yet. Ideally I’d get PES and FIFA on release, but I can’t afford two new games a matter of weeks apart.

  6. Adam—it does a lot of good to have a break from PES to do anything, and I’m loving my FIFA12 sessions right now. Could I play Career Mode for months on end like I did ML? Not sure about that, but I’m just enjoying it for the moment for what it is.

  7. Danny—not noticed that myself, but I never pay deliberate attention to the player faces. If I see one in passing as it were, I’ll admire the likeness or not as the case may be, but it’s never something I go looking for.

  8. Filbert—I think that’s a fairer basis to be against the items-boosting. I am pretty sure that the system will ‘work’ under its own terms. (I.e. your own players will not be turned into Supermen, and the CPU players are already Supermen anyway, so it’ll make no difference there.) The problem is really about the direction it signals for ML. A mode that was never really about ‘simulation’, now most certainly isn’t.

  9. Halfway point in season and still unbeaten, but have dropped to 2nd, W13 D6. 1 point behind Chelsea.

  10. Pele has arrived to team up with Owen. PES6 all over again….. Memories

  11. Lost my first game on 23 January 🙁

  12. Filbert – I’m in the same boat. I can’t afford both games off the bat so FIFA it is for me in September (we still don’t even have a release date in the UK do we?). Even more of a concern beyond the boot furore is that I get the impression nothing else has been changed from 2012 so it’s just one more little step backwards from Konami. It’s an absolute fecker that Konami keep on removing ML brick by brick at a time when it should be have been perfected on this generation of consoles but the proof will be in the pudding – I’ll just have to let other people do the tasting. For me, excessive scripting has been the biggest problem in ML – it’s an absolute immersion killer and utterly frustrating. My biggest worry is that nothing has changed in this regard. (Whether the gameplay has actually improved and made the scripting more obvious or whether I’m more aware of it, I don’t know).

  13. Chris – I don’t have a clue on any release dates yet, I haven’t even played a FIFA demo yet, so I’m jumping the gun a bit declaring that I’ll get FIFA first, especially as I’ve traditionally struggled to get into FIFA gameplay. It’s just the way I feel, I fancy a complete change this year. I WILL get PES at some point, just might not be straight away. As you say, the main problem for me is that there are no core changes in ML, and then we get this boot thing on top. I personally can’t take any more cut scenes with my top rated left back declaring himself surprised at playing 90 minutes after every match, international matches the day before my most important games of the season and, worst of all, the lack of transparency and input into player development. I suppose you could argue that the buying training equipment thing might improve control of player development, I don’t know.

  14. LLoyd—try Pele and Platini (PES4 for me) 😉

  15. Chris—still no release date, nope. I really doubt I’ll have time to book the week off work now, so I’m NOT happy about this. Forget the boots thing. The release date is the big scandal.

    Scripting in ML2013 will be just as bad as in any other. The boots is a red herring—CPU players always have been supermen and still will be, regardless of boots.

  16. Filbert—focus training is back in ML2013. And the equipment slots betoken a level of player customisation not seen since PES2010. We might think it a rather undignified method, but it’s there. And I for one believe this WILL ‘work’ in its own way. But yes, it’s pretty much the death knell for realism. It’s a balls-on-the-wall gameified game mode, now. Which it always has been anyway.

  17. Morning all, good weekend I Hope.
    Ive taken time to sleep on and digest the ML scandal for PES13 and conclude that natural player growrth HAS to be in there somewhere, otherwise a youth starting at 60OVR even if boosted by boots by +10 pts in every category, will never develop anything beyond 70ish. SO it HAS to be there with the Boots adding as a micro boos, like a power up if you will, Pokemnon style, i think its this departure from reality that caused sop much initial fuss.
    So Im not quite as distraught as I was Friday.

    Filbert/Chris – FIFA 13’s demo is out on 11th Sept and full release on 28th, no idea still about PES, no confirmation as of yet.
    Will get FIFA and PES as always.

    I just wasnt feeling my FIFA CM with LA Galaxy, didnt really care about the players and every team feels the same, so this late in the year, I’ve started a new Master League .,….. On PES6 on the XBOX360.

    Nedver actually played PES6 for more than an hour back when it was out so this is all kinda new to me.
    I can see what an amazing game it must have been back then and still plays a very addictive enjoyable game today but, for those that say PES5/6 were better than PES11/12 – Really?
    Frantic pace, wayward passing, very direct on rails to passes and dribbling, 8 directional running, no 360 yet, BUT, the GFX are actually decent, much better camera angles and its just solid.
    No bugs or issues that Ive found apart from the frame slowdown when there is a packed penalty box.

    Im finding it mega hard though, playing on Regular as PES United (Cant even edit team names!!!) and ive scored 1 goal in 6 matches, i just cant even get into a goalscoring position, 80% of all my passes go to a CPU player, the defaults are horrible, but it has that one more game feel and its very addictive so will keep me going for a few days.

  18. Paul—it was confirmed late on Friday by (WENB)Adam that, yes, normal player growth is still in ML, and that the items are just micro-boosters (i.e. no Joey Barton-Messi thing). That news hasn’t really got through yet. The forums are still hyperventilating. I think when the smoke clears that the crux of the argument will be that this new system is a bit undignified, if that’s the right word. Something aimed at a different demographic from ‘us’ (long-term ML players of any age). I’m working on today’s post all about this issue and how I feel (thumbnail: it will ‘work’, but it sounds silly). Maybe discuss it then. Forum-watching has been hilarious this weekend.

    This is sacrilege to many, I know, but I never loved PES6. Those who claim it as the best PES ever are on about the PS2/PC version, which to me was the start of the series’ decline. PES6 on PS2 was the first PES where I got a Treble in 5 seasons and was more or less done with the game by January. It was a fast and arcadey edition. It took the series years to start recovering from PES6.

    PES6 on 360, now (a totally different game, of course), is arguably (amazingly) the best raw gameplay we’ve seen on next-gen. I’d put PES2012 and PES2010 ahead of it, but the point is an arguable one.

    And yes, it is rather amusing not to be able eve to edit team names. At some point over the next few weeks I’ll be busting out my old save too.

  19. Ahh Thanks for the update, had a quick scan of the forums before posting here but all I saw was more Jon Murphy hate tweets and BootGate rage.
    Thats alright then, its a bad bad idea still and a departure from authenticity and ultimately a step in the wrong direction, but if normal growth is in, then ML is pretty much ‘saved’ – apart from the aesthetics of everyone having plain black boots.

    Is worrying for the future though, will PES14 carry on the tradition of this ML idea or revert back to glory days of old on the new engine?!

  20. Paul—(WENB)Adam believes that Konami are already spooked enough by the reaction for there to be a rethink in PES2014. Without having had hands-on with the new system yet myself, I’m cautious about greeting that as a good thing. I am 99% sure the items system will ‘work’ on its own terms and NOT unbalance gameplay, which is the main thing. But will it look and feel a bit silly? I rather think it will. We shall see.

  21. Played Everton and both Manchester clubs in my Newcastle CM. Lost 3-1 to Everton thanks to an Anichebe hat trick then again lost 4-1 to Man. City this time Tevez hitting a hat trick
    But then, we absolutely thrashed Man U 5-1 with a Ben Arfa hattrick as well as Ba and Kagawa goals.
    Dropped to 3rd

  22. Only played one game in my last season of non-magic-shoes ML this weekend – a thumping 5-1 against Chelsea. The treble is still on.

    I feel less bothered about all the fuss about PES 2013 now the dust has settled but I still can’t help being more excited about the revamped FIFA career mode right now but that is largley down to PES fatigue. When I ran the marathon I also didn’t relish doing another.

  23. Adam—hang on, I thought you were doing a big exam this week?!

  24. John—I felt I had to address the ML news last week, and that required talking about WENB and WENB’s Adam. As you might surmise from the commment count on this post, the main reason I refuse to engage in discussion about them on this blog is that I don’t have time to deal with the storm that inevitably follows.

    I’ve been okay with it this weekend because really we’ve been discussing the issue raised rather than personalities.

    So in that spirit, sorry, I had to take out your last paragraph. It would just take this whole thing down a route I don’t want to go down.

    After today’s post, I’m reverting to my policy of strictly no WENB at all. Which again, I’ll reiterate, is not because I necessarily have a problem with that site or anybody writing there. I just haven’t got the time or patience to deal with the blowback.

  25. N-G – No problem. It felt good to write what I said and it’s served a purpose at least in showing the way for this week.

  26. Yes, that was my final session until Sunday.

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