Fear and Trembling

Over the weekend a lot of lucky people got to play PES2012 and FIFA12. I won’t try to summarise what’s been said. The forums are full of their observations.

Suffice to say that their experiences have been encouraging, even positive—but not entirely so. We’re not all about to be taken up by a football gaming Rapture anytime soon. Which everybody already kind of knew anyway, one hopes.

The one thing I am very worried about is something I latched onto in several throwaway comments on the forums.

Several of those who’ve played retail PES2012 since Saturday allege that the final game’s AI pressure has been cranked up again, and that the stumble animation is back again.

I spent most of the last football game year deploring PES2011’s stumble animation mechanic. If I see anything like it in PES2012, at anything like the same level of frequency, PES2012 will go straight in the fucking bin, and this I swear most solemnly.

I wouldn’t even try to live with a PES2012 equivalent of last year’s stumble. That is a pledge I would have no trouble keeping.

For me, Konami’s track record of meddling with the game immediately before release is one of the most dismaying aspects of recent PES games.

I hope and expect that the forum comments I saw were from people with only a few hours on the full game. It takes many, many hours—about 10-20 hours, minimum—to get to know the true character of a new PES game, as we all know.


Back onto happier topics, by which I mean: PES5.

The old-school classic PES game has been keeping me entranced for the past 5 days or so. I just can’t get enough of the thing at the moment.

It’s all destined to end this week with the arrival of FIFA12 (probably), but it’s nice to know I’ve got options on the backburner.

Between PES5, PES6(360), and indeed WE9LE—with a new fan-patch incoming—my football gaming life doesn’t depend solely on the fate of the 2012 games.

One thing I will say about PES5: I’m taken aback by how much AI pressure there was in this game. It’s not how I remember it being in the roseate hue of memory. But that’s how it is. The AI puts you under intense, charging pressure nearly all the time. It shows that the more recent football games’ use (and abuse) of AI pressure as a difficulty-raising technique hasn’t come entirely out of the blue.

But PES5 provides the player with the tools needed to play football even while it lets the AI bear down constantly. It’s possible to play some lovely stuff—as in every PES game, to be fair.

I’ve played about another 10 matches, winning roughly half of them by narrow scorelines, drawing a few, and losing another few. I’ve not had a win or a loss by more than a single goal yet. My team, Coventry ‘PES United’ City, are 3rd in the Division 1 table.

I’m having a great time with the old-school PES and the old-school Master League. It’s the perfect tonic to steady the nerves in what will be a very anxious week or two. I might join many people of good sense and boycott the forums between now and October 12th.

Updated: 27th September 2011 — 16:41


  1. nOir_dEux—I’ve caught up now and am bemused by it all. It definitely won’t impact offline players (i.e. as-ordained-by-God players) but just when EA get rid of one way for online players to annoy each other…

  2. Paul—the image is definitely just a placeholder. I spent hours working on another theme completely and switched to this one almost at the last moment. I’ll be sprucing it up over the next day or two, and possibly not having an image at all—just a logo. I’ll see.

  3. Cool! look forward to seeing it!
    Still umm’ing and arrr’ing over whether to buy the EA Season ticket pass off XBL.
    £17 or 2000 Gamerpoints and you can download the FULL FIFA12 game right now, 8.6GB, so i could be playing in an hour….. what to do!?!?

  4. Paul—thanks for the effort, that’s a bit to close to a certain other PES-related site’s ‘coat of arms’ heraldic logo for me to use it as a main one though. I tell you what, though, I might use it to go in the space next to whatever monstrosity I cook up as a header image. I’ll need something professional-looking to distract the eye from my gargoyle-in-making.

    As for FIFA12 and the EA Season Ticket thing, you’d be buying into the whole of EA Sports’ catalogue—if there’s other games in there that you’d like early access to, plus whatever other goodies come with it, I’d say that’s good value. I’d get it myself but, ah, I’ve got other things on this week…

  5. does anyone know y pes 2012 is coming oit on the 14th for europe but is out now in america while fifa 2012 is out on friday for eaurope and today for america. y is pes coming so late to europe. i dnt understand this y cant it come out on friday same as fifa. y am i having to wait more than 2 weeks when its realeased in america. its not fair.

  6. ali—I think the answer is one word: marketing. Look at all the attention the American market is attracting due to their early release. The football game world is looking in their direction, generating publicity and sales and deepening the market for football (soccer) games over there, in the biggest consumer market in the world.

  7. not-greg – its just ridiculous its coming to europe 2 weeks after america. if i was 1 week than ok understandable but its more than 2 weeks. fifa is releasing 3 days after realeased in america. i think game companies are going to far. im sure many game companies can make great games but choose not to so they can release another game the following year only slightly better. now everthing is going online its even worse. overpriced DLC for minimum content, i remember the ps2 with san andreas and all the stuff you could do, gta iv sucked with the content it had and than they released little gamepacks (ballard of gay toni) than cod with map packs costing £10+. only a few examples. if only som1 decided to make a game with no dcl required as it would have everything in the CD which you paid nearlly £40 for. mayb one day

  8. Not Greg – I think you’ll really enjoy ML this year – the default players are pretty poor and it offers a real challenge. In my opinion it’s just on that sweet spot where frustrating and challenging intersects which keeps you wanting to just play one more game, and makes it so rewarding when you get your first half decent players. I’m absolutely delighted to be rock bottom of the league – played 18 w5 d2 L11 with a grand total of about 10 goals scored.

    I think a good test of any PES game is whether you can happily mess around in free training for hours on end, practicing shooting, etc and I spent 2 hours doing just that last night which says it all! Absolutely love it!!

  9. rafa’s evil beard – did you import a european version? Mine should be shipped today hopefully

  10. ali—we’re certainly in a different gaming era now. It’ll only be a year or two—5 years, tops—before physical DVDs in physical game boxes that you can buy from an actual shop in your local High Street will be a thing of the past. It’ll be 95% digital download ‘content’ for PC and console, and the remaining 5% will be online retailers. It must be a year since I physically bought a game in a shop.

    I’m sure the PES2012 delay for UK & Ireland is for marketing only.

  11. Rafa’s Evil Beard—that’s very good to hear. It’s always quite depressing at this time of year to hear about people zipping through Master League in a few seasons, even though that’s not ever been my experience. PES6 was my ‘softest’ ML, and even that took me 5 seasons to Treble up. What I want from PES2012 is at least the multi-season experience I had from PES2010, and ideally something open-ended that’d never feel completed.

  12. danny—it’s NOW that I wish I’d joined you in the European import club. I know I could still climb aboard, but I’m committed to the plan now. FIFA12 this week and next, while I go about my normal daily business. And then I’m off work for PES2012 release week, when it’ll happen for me.

  13. I’m dreading the victory of digital downloads – I’m a terrible cheapskate, and nearly always buy my games used then sell on. I can understand the move though and will just have to bite the bullet.

  14. not greg – my local indie gameshop has fifa 12 on sale today but i just cant bring myself to get it. Everything seems to hinge on pes 2012 this year. I will probably only consider fifa if konami do a pes 2011 on us.

  15. Grilled SeabassThe digital download games culture is pretty much already here from what I can tell. I love to buy the old Final Fantasys and Metal Gears and etc. on PSN and hoard them for some imagined future when I’ll have time to play them.

  16. danny—I’m so tempted. I could have PES2012 on PS3 for the weekend. I’m not really an Option Files guy anyway, and there’s bound to be at least a decent one for the US version anyway…Decisions, decisions.

  17. not-greg – i dnt no how successful the complete online thing will be. it failed on the psp. personally i prefer a CD for my playstation games. have you herd of onlive, it all online gaming. no cd no download no installing. looks like the online gaming is already here. wounder hoe it will do.

  18. “If I see anything like it in PES2012, at anything like the same level of frequency, PES2012 will go straight in the fucking bin, and this I swear most solemnly.”

    There’s no need to do that, you can sell it to me!

    Actually I am sticking to PES 2011 for now, too busy at work and the PC needs an upgrade too. The PC was already hitting its graphics limits running PES 2011.

  19. ali—digital downloads failed on the PSP Go in my view because the console was itself a total disaster. I loved and still love my phat PSP. My 2005 launch model still gives me solid value. (My name is down for a Vita.)

    For an example of a wildly successful digital download platform, just look at Steam on the PC (and Mac). I have Steam and a shedload of games to go with it. Something like Steam will be the way PS4 and XBox720 games are distrbuted—probably just an expansion of the current PSN/XBL Marketplace, making them akin to Apple’s app store. You can’t buy an iPhone app in a shop, but they sell millions.

    The drawback for us punters is the end of the second-hand games market. No more preowned bargains.

  20. LC—I’m already confident that whatever gremlins might crawl out of the PES2012 woodwork, a Stumble Animation Mark II won’t be one of them, and I am really very, very happy about that.

    I hated the stumble animation in PES2011 quite a bit, it’s fair to say.

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