So I spent most of Sunday morning playing PES2010 and PES2012.
I didn’t have time to write a proper post about it, so here’s a 5-minute video with voiceover from me. All recorded, edited, and uploaded via iMovie on the iPhone.
The audio quality varies throughout. I freestyled the voiceover, starting a new audio track whenever I flubbed. I didn’t work from a script, but I should have done. If I do this again, I will work from a proper script.
For those who can’t access the video, or who can’t quite follow my whispering middle-of-the-Midlands lilt, here’s what happened: I enjoyed both games, with the sense that PES2012 in particular was like opening a favourite old book. Alarmingly, I find myself liking both games and wanting to play both games, which I have always deemed impossible. Or at least so impractical as to make it very unwise. And my conclusion is, as the title says, more study required.
The video barely scratches the surface of the experience. It was a total pleasure to play some of my old ML careers yesterday morning. But I’ll be carrying on with FIFA for now. I’ll be happy to discuss any PES-FIFA stuff in comments.
But I’m already playing a new PES game, or it feels like it. That new PES game is called PES2010.
Okay, so the gameplay is somewhat… rigid in comparison to what we’ve got used to. But it flows nevertheless. Oh how it flows.
And it helps that PES2010 came packaged with an edition of Master League that I regard as the highest peak that the mode has ever reached. The acme of delight. The pinnacle of wonder. The apex of–
You get the idea. PES2010 brought with it a Master League that has never been bettered, one that Konami started to dismantle almost immediately in PES2011, and then removed pretty much all traces of in PES2012. Wouldn’t you love to know what that was all about? I certainly would.
One rainy day a few years ago, I installed a sumptuous PES2010 Option File that created the nPower Championship, as it then was, in wonderful depth and detail. My poor benighted (and soon-to-be relegated) Coventry City were one of those teams. At some point I must have made a start with a new Master League playing as that Coventry City, because this week I found a save-game with 10 matches played of season 1.
I’ve resumed that save, and played on well past mid-season. Comically, I keep forgetting that PES2010 doesn’t permit tight player turns as a matter of course. Time and again I lose the ball through trying to turn inside an approaching defender.
The atmosphere and playing environment of Master League in PES2010 is utterly brilliant.
Poking around in its menus is heartbreaking when you see the richness on offer here. I’m talking about the player training options, of course.
I was able to tweak my 62OVR, no-name defender, James McPake (sorry, James, if you’re reading this), in order to focus on his dribbling, passing, and overall defending; I reduced his shooting training to zilch. If I wanted, I could spend some cash (a lot of cash) and train him with a skill card over the space of six months or so. People often say this system was easily abused, but I only remember having the cash and the time to do it twice in many seasons on my original Master League save two years ago.
PES2010’s training possibilities weren’t endless by any means, but in comparison to PES2012’s training, they were as good as.
Here are two goals from my most recent session, both of them interesting in their own ways.
First, that man again—Aron Gunnarrsson, my player of the moment—scoring a daisycutter from a Scholes-type corner.
Second a bizarre own-goal, later in the same match, that doesn’t show PES in a good light at all, but which I include for novelty value:
I might have to force myself to stop playing PES2010. It’ll do no good to get too attached with PES2013 out just next week.
But, looking forward, this game could be my new PES6(360)—something that I’ll fondly think of and return to for a couple of weeks every summer over the next few years. And also something that’s always there in case of disaster. If PES2013 should do a PES2011/PES2008 (my two least favourite next-gen PES games), I would not return to PES2012. I’m full up when it comes to PES2012; I couldn’t eat another bite. Instead, I’d return to PES2010.
I think I will say goodbye to PES2010, before I get too attached. Just one more session, though…
In Friday’s post: my end-of-year review of PES2012.
With much regret, I have allowed FIFA12 to slip away into the night. Right game, wrong time for me. Maybe if PES2013 was an October game after all, things would be different. But PES2013 is, like, next week. There’s no space for FIFA12 to take root.
In truth, there is a certain sterility to FIFA12’s overall gameplay, sometimes, that does not appeal to me.
I do only feel it from time to time. But when I do feel it, it’s like a sudden chilling wind on a pleasant sunny day. With the time factor, it’s enough to give me that little extra push away. I’ll only ever come back to FIFA12 now, I suspect, if PES2013 turns out to be a dog for whatever reason. And even then I’d probably go for FIFA13—or (more likely) back to a previous PES.
Over the past few days I’ve played several sessions on PES6(360) and PES2010(PS3).
I’ve been playing the same PES6(360) save for a few weeks every summer since 2009. Alas, this is the first year when the game seems to have dropped below my threshold of playability.
Oh, it’s all still there. PES6(360) still has all the magic of great PES gameplay that I saw before. If there was nothing else for me to play, I’d play this game for a good long while. As is (I hope) well known, PES6 on the Xbox360 was a totally different game from PES6 on the PS2/Xbox/PC. I liked PES6 on the PS2, but never loved it, and in fact would pinpoint it as the start of PES’s decline from its unassailable heights. Controversial I know, but it’s what I felt all through that year.
PES6 on the 360, on the other hand, plays a different game. It’s just a shame it’s hampered by some extremely shoddy packaging. You can’t change team names in Master League. You can’t even save goals to hard drive (even though the button to do so is displayed right there on-screen).
It’s gameplay that makes and breaks football games, and PES6(360)’s is pretty darn awesome. For me now, though, it’s just a bit too fast and scrappy. The camera angles feel hampered. There’s a peculiar jumpiness about transitions between play and cutscenes. It feels very much like a last-gen game now.
I have much better feelings about PES2010 on the PS3, which I have played two longer-than-planned sessions on—yesterday morning and just now, this morning (Monday). In fact I have that session on Pause while I put the finishing touches to this post. I’m going back to play it right now.
My old Master League save—the one with Sazi and Capuano and co.; the one I made this movie in celebration of—still exists, but alas, one of my final acts with PES2010, back in 2010, was to install a new patch that mucked up all the teams and leagues.
But at some point back then I installed an amazing patch and started a save with Coventry City in a very slick-looking nPower Championship. I have continued that save over the past few sessions.
PES2010: great shooting. That’s the first thing to say. Second thing to say: that slow player turning animation! It was hated and loved in equal measure by many. I approve. You have to be so careful with your passing and possession and forward-thinking. Spoiled by PES2011 and PES2012, you think you’ve got time to hold the ball and turn inside the approaching defender, but no, he’s taken the ball off you while your player is still in mid-turn.
I like it. It forces a more careful approach amongst the rather dizzying speed of the game overall.
And I also like seeing a PES AI passing the ball sideways and backwards before launching an attack.
All in all, PES2010 still gets a huge thumbs-up from me. Before PES2012 sprang into life for me (not until February of this year), PES2010 was the highpoint of next-gen PES for me, full stop. I’m glad that it’s not too hard to remind myself why that was.
Here are two goals scored in this morning’s session. The first from Isaac Osbourne, a typical PES2010 one-timer, ice hockey-style. The second with Aron Gunnarsson—after a switch of play from wing to wing, I found myself in space, and went for it. A delicious top-corner PES2010 goal. If scoring goals like that makes me shallow, then so be it.
After PES6(360) and PES2010(PS3), it should be the turn of PES5 and WE9LE on the PC. I will try to check in with them before Wednesday’s post. But who knows, I might still be playing PES2010.
At the time of writing—Friday morning—I haven’t played PES2012 for two days. I intend to play after putting this post to bed. I am still committed to playing on in my Master League. So PES2012 continues.
It’s just very hard to continue sometimes. I’ve found that having these short breaks from the game helps me not hate it.
I can put up with just about every one of PES2012’s foibles. I only really hate PES2012 when its shooting misbehaves.
Yes, I know all about the alternate shooting method—“shoot first, aim later”—which I disbelieve in. Sorry to all those who have helpfully suggested I try it.
I believe that it can seem to work, just as the other alternate shooting method—previously known as “over-aiming” on this blog—can also seem to work. PES2012’s shooting is so screwed up that you could abandon all aiming whatsoever, and it would still seem to work enough of the time to be a plausible alternate system.
I know that many people don’t seem to have a problem with PES2012’s shooting at all, and this talk is all a bit bewildering. Lucky them.
So shooting is the primary sin of PES2012. There are others, some of them serious ones, but shooting is the main one.
It’s peculiarly dispiriting to work the ball into prime position and aim to put it low to the keeper’s side, only to see the ball bang tamely into the keeper’s midriff. Or line up a 25-yarder into the top right corner, only to see the ball zip towards the top left corner. (And when those ‘wrong side shots’ actually go in, the disgust is worse than anything I’ve ever known in PES. It’s a truly dangerous disgust.)
Fortunately, with better players in my team, and with experience of playing the game, I can minimise the wonky shooting moments. But never eliminate them fully, and that is a problem for the near future.
Life on Regular difficulty for me in the Premier League is tough.
Here’s the table after 8 games:
I’ve played most of the 8 matches on Regular. The top teams can still really punish me on this level. It’s a measure of PES2012’s boosted AI and my own averageness at the game overall.
(Having said that, if it wasn’t for the shooting issue, most of my matches would end 7-0 or 6-4 or or thereabouts. By crippling the shooting in the way it does, PES2012 artificially hobbles the player and keeps scorelines relatively low. It’s a dirty trick all right.)
The supercharged, super-dribbling players are a little annoying, and of course wholly unrealistic, but it’s a game, I accept that. Adapting myself to defend better against them is one of the attractions of this PES.
I do get annoyed by the super-AI conjuring itself up a goal from nothing, but it’s barely 1% of the annoyance factor caused by the shooting issue.
At this time of year, my thoughts naturally turn to where I was in previous next-gen PES games at the same time.
The previous year—the best year—I was in season 7 on PES2010, still in Division 2, and in my own words,”shaping up for an epic career” in a game I loved. I would go on to play 20+ seasons in what remains the best year of PES’s next-gen life for me. Say what you like about PES2010, but at least its shooting mechanism worked.
As for the year of PES2009, I was still playing at this time of the year, and it seems enjoying myself, having just signed Orellano.
The year before that, I was still playing PES2008, but only just. I was already onto my second Master League career, and hating the high-scoring matches.
So PES2012 is still in relatively good shape compared to my PES2008 and PES2011 experiences. And as I sit here typing this, I’m really looking forward to putting the game on and trying to wrestle some kind of result.
Happy New Year to all. Here’s hoping that PES2012 lasts until well into its titular year.