Down the rubbish shoot

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.

Last year, I’d already abandoned my Master League in PES2011 and was embarked on a brief spell of Become A Legend. I was bemoaning “the most technically poor PES game since PES2008(PS3)” and drooling over my new big TV, which temporarily gave PES2011 a new lease of life.

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.


  1. I’d go as far as to say that the super dribbling/impossible defending is the worst thing about the game – followed by the central/opposite shooting. It’s at the point where I’m doing well but I’m not looking forward to playing it anymore.

    I’m toying with the idea of going back to 2010 or 2011 (not by time travel, but with PES discs). Shame really, I always have really high hopes. It takes a lot for me not to want to play a Pro Evo game, but this one has managed it. I’ll probably struggle on until the Treble or a few season in BaL – but it’s not as absorbing or “fun”.

  2. after spending 14 christmas enforced days away from pes 2012…the longest for 4 years…i sat with renewed hope yesterday but nope the shooting has destroyed it for me.

    im now waiting as we speak for pes 2010 to drop through the door…the one next gen pes i havent played.

    bring on a hopefully deeper master league and nice weighty shooting!!!

  3. Liam—it’s very surprising to hear that you’re still struggling to warm up to PES2012. Of all the people! You’re almost the Jimmy G-Force of the commenters here: come rain or shine, you’re always pro-PES. All I can say is, if it’s that bad, just quit PES2012 and don’t have any qualms about doing so. My own breaking point is still a long way off, hopefully, but if/when it comes I’ll just walk away too.

    Don’t let habit, or a bogus sense of identity—your memory and ongoing perception of yourself as a ‘PES man’ (you know what I mean)—force you to play a game you’re not enjoying.

  4. gramswagon—after my two days off, the first game this morning was the kind of game that might have made me quit PES2012 if I hadn’t had those two days off. I crafted 10 chances in the match, good chances, with my front 3—all decent players, all with great stats—and all shot centrally each and every time. Then, the 10th chance, I did nothing different from the previous 9, but this time the game permitted the shot to go where I wanted: the corner. Goal! But it felt really lame. I didn’t feel celebratory at all. Like I said, if I hadn’t had the 2 days off I would have been snarling.

    In the next game, clean through with Samassa for a rare 1-on-1, I aimed to the keeper’s left, and the ball went to the opposite side and in the net. A damn stupid ‘wrong-side’ goal. Another smile.

    Re. your imminent PES2010 play, you’re in for a shock. I and all others who loved PES2010 experienced it and loved it in chronological order. I.e. after pES2009 and before PES2011! I wonder if it’s possible to go back from PES2011/PES2012 style movement and passing, to the olde worlde feel of PES2010, and enjoy it as much? Good luck. All I’ll say is, if you can go back successfully, PES2010’s Master League is the best one ever in my view.

  5. Yeah, I think they’re fair points! It won’t be sentimentality keeping me playing, just stubbornness to “complete” it before throwing in the towel.

  6. not-greg a belated merry christmas and an early happy new year. I havent posted much lately for 2 reasons.

    First i’ve been kept very busy with end of semester uni exams. Being a mature full time student and balancing a family life can get quite chaotic at times.

    Second i have simply stopped playing football games. Since i last posted i have gone back to pes 2012 several times, each time worse than the previous. I’ve come to the conclusion that the shooting problem in this years game is the worst thing to ever appear in any pes game. ever. I simply cannot play around it and refuse to ignore it. Quite simply it is the ultimate game breaker.

    I can understand you continuing to play through master league because, well hey its master league and its damn addictive. But with no satisfaction coming from the actual playing of the games i just cant do it.

    Fifa 12 starts off great and seems like a brilliant breath of fresh air when compared to the problems from pes 2012 but really when you’re a few months deep into that game it badly comes apart at the seams, for many reasons different from the pes 2012 issues, reasons i wont get into here as this post has gone on long enough.

    So basically i gave up both games in disgust. I can’t put my finger on what’s going on here. Year after year the disappointment gets worse and worse. Maybe it’s not the games, crazy as that may sound. Every year i want my football games to give me what i got from pes 5 and every year i’m let down, badly! I realise now that it will never happen, both games are evolving in different ways, and neither is going in my direction. Would pes 2012 be the ideal game if the shooting were fixed? Lets face it, it still wouldnt be close. The other niggles and problems have come to the fore and the game is just barely ahead of pes 2011.

    So anyway thats it for me, instead of popping in pes 6 like i do every year when the new games start to suck, i’ve decided to call it a day and stop living in the past. A glorious past it was, and one that will never return

  7. Liam—fair enough, and don’t neglect the older PES games also. PES5, WE9LE (has it had the latest update yet?), and even PES6 (not my favourite, but still a bona fide old school classic). A large part of what’s keeping me playing PES2012 is Master League habit. As I’ve been quite up-front in saying a few times, PES is Master League for me. I can forgive a lot and overlook a lot for its sake.

  8. I wasn’t a fan of PES10 – bad AI, no pens and clunky movement. 2011 was much better.

    As for 2012, I’ve settled with what it is – a good but lazily produced game. I’ve resorted to playing 15min matches to make up for the wonky shooting although better players does seem to help.

    I’ve flitted back and forth between PES and FIFA this year and PES just edges it for the fun of building your team in master league. Weirdly the shooting in FIFA is super accurate but because of this you score the same finess far post curler again and again.

    I don’t blame some for giving up on Footy games after this year. Is it any wonder that retro gaming is now huge? I have my ps2 set up in the shed and have been picking up fantastic games for a quid! PES5 and 6 are ther on the shelf of course.

    I’m rambling now but things were so much more simple back in the days before patches and on line modes. A game HAD to be finished before it was released then.

  9. 2012 its better than 11 but not as good as 10 for me too cut scenes are just a press x move on now terrible execution of what should be the Corrie factor of PES. Today I won the Premier league in ML on TP I was elated can see the prop with the shooting but wit better players it does become less of an issue.So for me now a treble I think will still be a few seasons away I am enjoying the game 10 fold more than last year where at this point my treble was over and I was off on a BAL career I just wish they would get it right stop breaking what was fine last year just massage out the PES that I know they can again.
    Happy New Year to all,.

  10. danny—what you say about ‘playing around it’—‘it’ being the shooting issue—just about sums up my approach to PES2012. It’s such a shame after all the anticipation you had before release, that I remember so well.

    Master League is doing me proud. Even in a flawed PES, and even with key features from last year and the year before so mysteriously removed, Master League is carrying everything.

    It’ll certainly be interesting (for me at least) to see how FIFA12 does eventually hold up to Master League-style daily play over a period of months.

    As you hint, maybe your time of being involved with football games has come to a natural end, who knows? The clock could have counted down to zero. There’s no guarantee that the things which moved us a decade ago will go on moving us for the years and decades to come. I’ve been taking days at a time away from footy gaming over the past few weeks and haven’t felt bad about it at all. The other morning I had a good book to finish reading and didn’t even think twice about skipping my gaming session. (Like yourself, I’ve got studenty things to do that need attention.)

    Instead of trying to recapture the spirit of PES5, why not play PES5?

    PES5 still plays very well IMO. I’ve played probably 20 hours of PES5 in total over the past 5 months (before PES2012 came out, and then for odd matches since it came out). If you can’t face the 360 version of PES6 again, I hear that the old Xbox version of PES5 plays very well on the 360. A quick look on Amazon tells me that it’s available for as little as £1.99. I bet it’s cheaper on ebay. If I didn’t already have it on PC I’d have snagged my copy long ago. I’ve refrained from getting a copy because I have that PC installation and don’t really need another version. Also, I don’t think it’s possible to install classic Xbox games to the 360 hard drive (or is it?) and I hate the vacuum cleaner noise made by a 360 spinning a disc.

  11. John—I’m looking forward to my FIFA12 period this year. At the same time, I’m not wishing the time away—PES2012 will still have a full and natural lifespan, and FIFA12 will just have to wait until I get to it, even if that’s not until Spring or later. There’s a long, long 9 months ahead of us to September 2012.

  12. well, some interesting views here today. I guess for many of us football gaming peaked in the PES02-06 era. I reckon that, amongst all the gaming genres, football saw the most spectacular pick up in quality and immersion as technology advanced, partly thanks to an amazing burst of creativity at Konami. Since then it’s all been a bit of an anti-climax, I personally find it hard to imagine there could ever be as an exciting a game as PES3, which I literally played all year

    Maybe we should downplay our expectations, and view the current gen footy games as a pretty good bet in terms of immersion and value for money (e.g. not-greg your 160 hours on PES12 compared to the maybe 8 hours it would take to play through Uncharted 3)

  13. Gary—Happy new year and apologies for the belated reply, I’ve spent the past 36 hours mostly web-free (and PES-free). Very refreshing, everybody should try it.

    I had a few matches this morning and the game felt fresh and enticing again. It seems this will be the way forward for me. The days when PES was a daily nourishment are gone, but hopefully not forever.

  14. abbeyhill—indeed, it might be best not to measure PES (or FIFA) against our mid-2000s-bred expectations of what a football game should be. Back then, I don’t recall there being a hundred other great games to dilute the pool of attention. We pretty much just had PES and little else. Metal Gear and so on, but not much else.

    This football game year is still very young. If this football game year was a person, and if it had the traditional threescore-years-and-ten lifespan, it’d still be just a teenager.

    I can’t wait to see if my loathing of the PES2012 shooting system finds some kind of stability, and if I get to ‘finish’ Master League for the first time in 2 years. And will FIFA12 live up to its billing as one of the best (or the best) footy games of the console generation? There’s still a heck of a lot to play for. Don’t let my day-to-day and week-to-week blogging ups and downs make you think otherwise.

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