Leave PES2012 alone!

PES2012 preview season has begun. Yesterday saw the release of WENB’s report and podcast following their playtest. PES2012 sounds absolutely mouth-watering. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be excited for this game.

Unfortunately, there was too little single-player talk for my liking. Listening to the WENB podcasts over the past few years, it has always seemed to me that neither Suff nor Adam are huge multiplayer football gamers. I could be mistaken, but the impression I get is that they mainly play single-player and always have done.

So it was deeply frustrating to hear their immediate focus upon multiplayer. This approach to previewing football games is now so familiar that it’s in danger of seeming normal and right. Single-player always seems to be an afterthought by the previewers, whoever they may be.

You can say that the true nature of a football game reveals itself in multiplayer, but you would be wrong. Multiplayer football gaming is a whole other kind of football gaming. Different rhythms, different techniques, different tactics.

For example, a week or two ago I played WE9LE online and enjoyed it a great deal. But I’ve also played it offline, and the two modes are like two distinct games.

I would never try to evaluate WE9LE or any other football game by how it plays in multiplayer. For me a football game is a single-player game first and a multiplayer game a long way second.

So, with that familiar moan out of the way, what can be gleaned about PES2012? Albeit through the distorted lens of multiplayer…

To summarise: PES2012 seems to be an improved PES2011, without any of the latter game’s most dismaying problems. If true, that would be a remarkable game indeed. As long as the final game is the same as the preview code, of course…

And there lies my very real concern. No matter how great PES2012 might seem to be this summer—or even in September’s demo—what guarantee do we have that the game we’ll play in October will be the same?

How do we know that the fiddlers and twiddlers at Konami won’t do again what they did with PES2011? We must never forget that the PES2011 we got last October was substantially different from the demo, and from the preview code.

Part of WENB’s preview article specifically references the introduction of the stumble animation. It’s a sobering fact that it wasn’t in any build of the game until the final build.

And that’s what stops me getting really excited for PES2012’s gameplay. What’s the point, when it could all be taken away with a last-minute twist of a dial somewhere in Konami HQ?

To understand my concern, you have to understand my very real hatred for PES2011’s stumble animation.

Partly, yes, I will admit to exaggerating it for comic effect. But mostly, I really do hate PES2011’s stumble animation.

Put it this way: I sometimes think I hate PES2011’s stumble animation more than I hate the whole of PES2008 on the PS3.

Whenever I think of PES2011 now or in years to come, I won’t think of its lovely animations, or its silky passing, or its complex and engrossing build-up play, or its fascinating and innovative shooting model.

I won’t think of the many great goals I have scored in PES2011.

I definitely won’t think of the absorbing Master League I played—because, for the first time in a decade, I didn’t play a Master League to completion. Disgust overwhelmed me and I could not continue.

When I think of PES2011, this is what I’ll think of:

Over and over and over and over and over and over again. That feckin’ stumble abomination.

That was just the headline issue for me.

The stumble was closely followed by the step-around animation, where players would do a little side-shuffle instead of collecting the ball straightforwardly.

The elephant touch, where the ball would rebound as from a brick wall.

Occasional player selection problems.

And of course the full-backs drifting up to play in the centre-forward position. God, that one’s infuriating.

But a PES2011 without any of those things—or even one just without the stumble abomination—would be a remarkable game indeed.

I know that PES2011 without issues could be great because I played PES2011 for over 200 hours anyway, despite the problems. I was playing it just yesterday on the PC, and I had a pretty good time.

So we wait to see what will happen. Roll on September and the PES2012 demo. I am very curious about this game. But however great it might seem now, or even at demo stage, the proof of PES2012’s pudding will be in the October eating.

17 Comments

  1. So I take it you’re not a fan of the stumble animation?
    I have to say I can’t help but be excited at the prospect of Konami building on their first proper next-gen game… we’re at the FIFA 08 stage and I actually have faith in Konami to not go the way of EA (poor deluded fool that I am).
    Mind you, PES 2011 is the first next gen footy game that I’ll still be playing in Sep/Oct so I’m pretty sure I’ll be chuffed with the next iteration.
    I think I have the Not-Greg PES 2010 effect in action i.e. my Master League has become so absorbing that I’m blind enough to the game engine’s faults to render them relatively unimportant in the scheme of things. Even the stumble-feck.

  2. “Biggest AI change in PES history” – sounds promising for the single player mode?

  3. Chris—I remember very well the allure of new ML. I don’t want to denigrate PES2011 too much, but the stumble and other matters pretty much destroy any lasting confidence in the game for me. As you rightly point out, PES2010 was afflicted by issues that I managed to overlook, wrapped up in the ML (which I still say was better than PES2011’s…).

    As I say in the post, whatever we hear about over the next few months and even end up playing in the demo, PES2012 is at the mercy of the same people who introduced so many last-minute damaging gameplay elements to PES2011.

  4. Liam—whenever you hear the summertime previewers talk about AI, they’re nearly always talking about teammate AI, as seen in their incessant 2-player matches—not the AI of the opponent in a 1-player encounter.

    With that said, there is a segment in the podcast (approx. 35 mins in) where they talk about a few single-player games they played (grudgingly, it seemed to me), and both are very enthusiastic. But how lasting is that impression be over 5, 10, or 20 single-player matches? That’s the acid test, and the one that we’re never, ever going to hear coming back from a preview session, because all they ever want to do is play against each other.

  5. Dear Not Greg, you have it exactly right about PES, I think I might have to storm the offices of Seabass Towers with an Elephant if they provide the same bumbling control problems! Not prone to violent outbursts I have at times felt the need to fly to Japan and shout in Seabass’s face before pummelling him with a wet fish after numerous stumbling penalty area ridiculousness, i dont suppose there was any talk of better collision detection, i.e. and this is a big i.e. not giving absolutely everything the COM’s way. Anyway needless to say I will follow the rest of us into the demo and then like it, place down the dollars needed for the full version and then wasted half my life frustrated and the other half fuming about it. Once I loved thee Pro Evo, now I am sober. I think its this year or bust for me, I may be hanging up the ol six axis and walking off down the road of middle age.

  6. Yeah, that’s a fair point I guess. I hope for your sanity’s sake that there isn’t something to rival the problems listed earlier.

    I can see it now – a few years down the line, waiting for the real proper PS4 version to be delivered after several false dawns! We’ll all be saying how they’re not as good as the PS3 games from the golden age!

  7. Rejoice and hallelujah! I’ve got WE9LE up and running properly. Turns out the problem was me being a complete f*ckwit.

    I didn’t realise the option file that I had slightly tinkered with on the faulty version had to be deleted from a separate folder outside of the Konami one.

    Played one game last night – starting a World Cup with England on 5 star. Versus Chile, I battled for a slender 1-0 win with Peter Crouch tapping in a rebound. Was a lot harder to create chances, but the physics and dribbling all seemed really good.

    One problem I had was slow down. I’m gonna check all my lap top settings and check the forum for the best fit – then once the World Cup is won, it’s on to Master League once more.

  8. Lordie Stanley—I think we’ll all still keep coming back based on the memory of those pre-PES2008 Golden Years. I know I will. Greatness has a very long half life.

  9. Liam—well done! I knew it’d be something like that. Delete everything, I kept saying. But does anybody listen to me? Hello? Hello…..? 😉

    To adjust graphics for your laptop and hopefully cure that slowdown, head into settings.exe inside the main folder, or indeed lodcfg.exe inside kitserver.

    If you pop over to weplaywe.pl you’ll be able to get a game online at any time, and they’d be delighted to see you.

    Crouch is weirdly brilliant in WE9LE! I played a tournament with England and he was the most potent striker I had. I think it’s because the patch tweaks to stats and abilities don’t really affect him, he was already at that lower level.

    Creating chances and taking them is what WE9LE’s all about. The distance shooting is really dampened down. I love distance shooting in football games so it’s surprising I like WE9LE so much, but maybe at this stage of the football game year I was hungering for something different.

  10. I did sort of listen to you, I just didn’t realise the option file was in a separate folder, and on the instructions, I was skipping steps 1-6. So really, I’m a victim……..right? It wasn’t until I got onto the forum and Luk pointed out step 4 that I realised.

    Hopefully will get a decent run on it tonight and sort the slowdown out. I’ll definitely get online soon enough.

  11. Liam—if you look back over our various communiques on this topic you’ll see I always specifically said to delete Documents>Konami (the one with the OF in), as well as the Program Files>Konami folder… Still, you’ve made it now, and it’s great to hear you’re already planning to play online. I’ve felt a bit guilty about retreating into my one-player shell since my few great games online against Luk. They really have the game optimised for online play, as you’ll soon see.

    Have a great evening on it later, I’m sure you’ll love it. Bump the graphics settings down to Medium or even Low and I think you’ll be fine.

    How about this for a challenge: play an ML with the existing West Ham squad, in WE9LE as it stands, with no transfers in allowed!

  12. Thanks again for the help by the way!

    That sounds like a challenge that I would take. I wonder how many seasons til ‘completion’. May take a while whilst I get the hang of it!

  13. Liam—you’re welcome, and I wish I’d put the instruction about deleting the two folders in the step-by-step instead of in the emails and comments here etc. where it was easily overlooked.

    I’m still paddling around in the shallow end of WE9LE and I must have put in about 20 hours now. Even taking into account my self-declared (and true!) averageness at football games, it’s taking a while to click. Still a lot of 0-0s in Master League. The chances end up coming, but they’re not as straightforward to convert as in other games.

  14. Grilled Seabass

    Yesterday I interviewed a new adult student at my English school. He worked on video games at Konami in Tokyo. His English is really low level, as is my Japanese, but needless to say I’m going to use him to get to Seabass. And I’ll tell him ‘leave PES2012 alone!’

  15. This could be like the Fiver’s ‘Stop Football’ campaign…

  16. Grilled Seabass—he must be Seabass’s son, or indeed he could be Seabass himself with a young person’s clothing on (one of them hoodie things, a baseball cap with the peak skewed to one side, and er, a ghetto blaster held on his shoulder).

    I meant for this meme-infested post’s title to have a double meaning in the sense of the meme ‘Leave Britney alone!’, i.e. aimed at all of us in the run-up to PES2012. ‘Leave PES2012 alone’ is then a meme-based endorsement of what I’ve heard so far. Hence my worry that Konami could tweak and twiddle all the life out of it.

  17. Chris—see my reply to Grilled Seabass above, I meant the post title in a few senses. But yes, mainly I want Konami to stop whatever they’re doing and not do anything else until release. PES2012 does sound good, just as PES2011 sounded good and played good in the demo.

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