Mugshot in the dark

At some point this year, I will have to acquire some custom-made PES2012 memorabilia. It’ll probably be something like the mug pictured on the left. You don’t have to Google very hard to come across plenty of websites ready and willing to make ’em. Pick your image and upload it to the site—although I wonder how they’ll feel about dealing in trademarked logos.

I’ll wait a bit, though, before ordering. In the year of PES2010 I bought the t-shirt. This year, so far, there hasn’t yet been that one single player of Capuano-type stature. Although, with potentially another 5-6 months to go, anything can happen. Georghe Hagi is retiring this season and when he Regens…

In all the excitement about moving up a few difficulty levels to Superstar, I neglected to post on my squad and transfer dealings prior to season 12. The situation was simple: there weren’t any. I got rid of a few players and went down to a squad of 23, which feels very manageable. My First XI and squad in its entirety is visible here.

Doolin and Falcao both departed. I put them up for sale, then simply released them after nobody came in for them. That was disappointing, as they’re both still great players. I suppose this is one of the side-effects of unleashing all the Classic players on the ML world. Everyone’s already stocked up with great players.

That’s my new formation on display up there as well. I’ve withdrawn my central attacking midfielder in favour of going with a DMF and a deep-lying CMF. Neeskens and Farinos together there are pretty bloody great. Not much gets through down my centre now, unless I lose focus (which does happen a lot still).

I have the old uber-attacking formation on an alt-formation, and switch to it when I’m goal-hunting. Happily, I don’t seem to need it much.

Superstar is hurting me in some respects, but goals are surprisingly easy to come by. I attribute this to the CPU teams being less prone to parking the bus. Here’s the current table after 11 matches:

Im keeping pace with the top scorers for once. Shame about the two defeats, but I am playing with the big boys now.

Playing a good session the other morning, I scored a goal that, on the face of it, isn’t that remarkable—but subjectively, with my hands on the controller, I was howling out loud with glee. Here it is:

Forlan plays a give-and-go, runs onto the through-ball, and smashes it in off the keeper with his wrong foot. So what?

Well, it meant a great deal in context. It was in the FA Cup, against Sunderland, and I was 0-1 down at the time. And when the through-ball was approaching Forlan, I took an unusual decision to hit it first-time. I would normally stop, check back, and then either square it to a team-mate or get the ball on Forlan’s right foot, and try to shoot across the keeper to the other side.

Here I knew it was on his wrong foot, and consciously chose to take the shot first time with that wrong foot, and just blast it at the keeper. Take him by surprise, so to speak. And it worked.

Pro Evolution Soccer has always excelled at making the mundane seem remarkable and thrilling, and—for me—this goal was an instance of that.

I won that match by the skin of my teeth, in extra time. The Treble is still on.

The dodgiest-looking element of the Treble right now is the Champions League. My opening day victory over Real Madrid has been followed by two draws and a defeat, leaving this rather precarious table:

Real and Bayern are up next.

I can’t afford to lose again, clearly. A win and a draw should see me through. On Superstar, though, these games are tough. Lokomotiv Moscow gave me one of the hardest matches I’ve ever played on PES2012. An unlikely first-time Superstar Treble is still on, but it’s going to be a tall order.


  1. General consensus seems to be no.

    I’ve decided to give the Champs Lge another shot this year and regardless of the outcome I’m starting again, starting on Super Star and opting for Newcastle with the genuine lineup. Whilst this has been a very nice voyage of discovery (and I’d like to go out with the treble) I’d like to start from scratch building a new team knowing everything I’ve learned on here. I quite like the idea of seeing if Ribeiro can come good again, going with my preferred formation from the off, trying to keep a settled side with fewer internationals (so no Venezuelans or Qataris, etc) and not buying too many youth players in the hope they come good. There’s something about the construction process appeals but bloody hell I’d like to get the Chigrat-Kmou-De Kaam defence again…

  2. uncle turf—that’s a brave decision to take after such a substantial time investment on your current career. Make sure you keep the save file in a safe place. (Back it up to USB and store it online, if you’re not already doing that. Dropbox, Google Drive, or just zip and email to yourself.)

    With 5-6 months left you’ve definitely got time to start again and have a full, complete career. It’ll be interesting to hear how you get on with not repeating your mistakes from the first time around. Bear in mind that there seems to be a random die-roll for the young players who pop up in your Youths in season 1. Good Call it the good Schwarz/bad Schwarz effect. You might end up with a weak Ribeiro and an awesome Camacho.

    And watch out for Superstar. Wow, when it decides to teach you a lesson… Gulp. I’ll tell all tomorrow.

  3. Gents, thanks for the advice! Unfortunately, I’m not having enough fun playing against Superstar to learn how to play, and the other difficulties are either too tame or otherwise annoying. Fun becomes a real requisite for me when my free time is as sparse as it’s become.

    You’re right though, that the Superstar AI seems to be a lot better, and if I was any good at 2012 I think I’d enjoy it!

    The last straw for me was a goal where an opponent dribbler rated 70-something slalomed through 4 of my defenders (all 85-95 rated center backs and/or defensive midfielders), fired a snap-shot at my 92-rated keeper which he parried toward another ace center back who didn’t react, was struck in the face by the ball, and (along with his other 4 compatriots standing around in the box) watched it roll 8 yards into the corner of the net. Hard to take, that goal.

    It was like one of those horrible shows where they put together the worst defending mistakes of the last 10 years and set it to cartoon sound effects and the announcer sets up each clip with a bad pun. “A legend during his time with Real Madrid, on this night, Fernando wasn’t much of a Hierro . . .” (wah, wah, waaaaaaaaah)

  4. ck—Superstar difficulty is the worst for trying to get reacquainted/acquainted with PES2012. You might want to play on Regular and start from there, although on Regular you’ll face the camping AI, so there’s downsides wherever you look. PES2012 is often a grim wall that you have to climb, from the top of which you see a golden land of PESness that harks back, IMO, to the glory days of the mid-2000s. I always remember you comparing PES2012 with PES5 back in the gap between NA release and UK release. That comparison stacks up, it just takes time to scale PES2012’s formidable wall.

    On a related note, how has FIFA12 been? I remain curious about that game, and would like to get back to it for a spell at some point this year, although that seems less and less likely the deeper I get into PES2012’s labyrinth. As soon as I got a whiff of the spirit of PES5 in my nostrils, there was only ever going to be one footy game for me.

  5. Just updated to v1.06 – dont notice anything stand out but the gane does feel a bit ‘zipper’ as in passes etc, slightly more responsive, maybe thats just the sway of the PES feeling from session to session though.

    Whilst i absolutely love PES12, there are a few things that blatantly let it down which need fixing for PES13.

    firstly, the scheduling, Look at this:

    An international that featured 16 of my players on the 31st, then THE VERY NEXT DAY, an FA Cup semi final against the best team in the game, on Superstar Level, Liverpool.
    I hardly had a team to pick from.
    I put in a massive performance, really concentrating on just defending and trying to nick a goal. Liverpool get a very dodgy Penalty, I save it, game still on!!
    Then Late in the game Liverpool attack, they hit a shot that bounces off my defender, back onto the CF, back onto my defenders shoulder and proceeds to trickle at snails pass uncontested into the far corner of my goal.
    I Lose 1-0. FA Cup Semi Final.
    Then2 days later I have yet another match on the 2nd.
    Its ridiculous.

    Also, I play with 1 bar pass assist and no matter what level you have it on, first time through balls (triangle) DO NOT Work.
    Here I am 1-0 down in a game, i get a counter attack, Seedorf has the ball in the centre of the pitch, DiVaio is hanging off the last defenders shoulder ready to make a run, a first time through ball will set him loose on goal.
    However, as first time through balls dont work, Seedorf just instead, does a stupid stepover that I never even told him to do, and passes the ball 2 yards in front of him, as seen in this clip:

    ON superstar level these things really matter, they need addressing in PES13.

  6. Paul are sure you didt accidently tap r2 to do a stepover in that seedorf clip? Ive never had a problem with through balls in that position. Quick question for everyone, ive not see any new players in my youth team for two years. Any way to clear out the youth team and reseed it? Dont want to give them all pro contracts and then release them

  7. No i didnt Leroy, its when you try and play a first time through ball, ie the ball is lose and run onto it and press triangle, it just does not work.

  8. Not trying to wind you up mate just that what it looked like. Do you ever succeed with through balls in that situation? Im playing with zero pass assistance and have no problems with either aerial through balls or ones on the ground

  9. PAUL – I’ve had that same through-ball fiasco too. I play one-bar as well. It really is infuriating.

    On the 1.06 thing. I too have updated and it does feel like certain tweaks have been made but any proper analysis has been wrecked for me since I have also upped to Superstar level. Generally though my experience so far is that PES 2012 on Superstar and 1.06 is quite possible the best PES ever and therefore the best footy game ever. MAYBE!

  10. After updating and playing for a good bit today i think the only change is an increase in ball weight. To me it feels slightly heavier. Its just baffling that konami dont release patch notes.

  11. Paul—I ” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>recently had that same scheduling thing, infuriating and silly. In my darkest moments, I think it’s a quite deliberate act by whoever designed this year’s ML, to make it harder. And it does make things harder. The only thing I can advise is to still pick your best team no matter what. I only rest players if they’ve popped up moaning in a post-match menu. Otherwise, my best players are playing even if they’ve only got half a stamina bar.

    That CPU goal you posted looks stunning and is a good example of one of PES2012’s ‘circus act’ goals as I call them. I was confused at first and thought it was your goal and wondered what you were talking about. Then watched it again. I get a few of those tangled animations as well, usually when I’m button mashing. I’ve seen the game’s unwillingness to allow first-time through-balls too. As you say, it’s one of a few things they’ve got to fix for PES2013, which’ll probably be the last PES game before the next next-gen consoles hit.

  12. leroy getz—I really don’t know how the turnover in the Youth team works. I’ve had a slow few seasons as well, possibly related to me not picking up any new Youths for the first team—? Who knows. I do know that I’ve got 20-year-olds in my Youth team right now, and can’t wait for them to leave.

  13. John—I also think that my still-recent arrival on Superstar has affected how I see the 1.06 experience. All I can say for sure is that the game has felt faster for me since I updated. I was playing on -1, and am now on -2, and it’s fine. And I have to say, as much as Superstar is challenging me now, I’m loving the football game it plays. The margin between glorious victory and shattering defeat is wafer thin at times (this is a positive IMO). You have to play so well to get anything.

  14. Paul I had exactly the same schedule problem. FA Cup semi against United, 16 internationals. I took it to penalties and lost in sudden death. Devastating.

  15. Its Abysmal, if in fact it was a concious decision by a Konami Dev to structure the fixtures like that then they need sitting down and waterboarding until their head explodes.

    Im also undecided about v1.06.
    Its definitely faster, for the first time last night i had to notch the game speed down to -2, which felt too slow so im back to -1, but can definitely notice the pace change.
    Also shooting seems to be ‘nerfed’ a bit, im not scoring nowhere near as many goals, with the CPU GK’s pulling off some unbelievable saves.

  16. Grilled Seabass—how are you finding the pens this year? I remember you really struggling with ’em last year—wasn’t there a right-stick fiasco of some kind?! The system now seems more old-school, but still a bit weird.

  17. Paul—considering that the ML creators consistently got the International scheduling spot-on for a decade, I’d say it’s likely that the sudden change could only be deliberate, adding another facet of difficulty to an already complex landscape.

    The speed is a definite, and to me pretty unwelcome, change. I’m on -2 and staying there, it’s closer to the pre-patch -1. I’m okay with that. I haven’t noticed any other changes. Give your shooting a few sessions to stabilise.

    I didn’t want the game to change, so I’m happy with 1.06 (speed increase excepted).

    Superstar is kicking my arse!

  18. Penalties are weird. the CPU GK saves the majority of them, often the best method is just to hammer it down the middle, quite unsatisfactory though.

    Maybe -2 just felt slow because of the noticeable increase after the patch, might give it another try.

    Im moving down to Professional, purely because im in my 13th ML season, i havent won a single trophy yet and playing on regular so long, Ive got my team to a point where i should now be challenging for trophies, jumping from Regular to superstar, although the gameplay is better most of the time (Not all), its a leap too far, its akin to resetting all my progression throughout those 13 seasons, on Superstar im back to the point where Im struggling and wont win anything for ages.
    So Professional it is, for now, which iks still hard and a little pressure abusive for my liking but at least i can challenge and will be challenged, may move to Top Player after a season, depending on how I get on.

    I have to play the game to enjoy it, i dont have time to waste experimenting and although Superstar does play more realistically, some teams are just pure unbeatable, and a little too scripted in the way they go about it.

  19. Paul—after all my time on Professional I’m slightly ahead on the curve and having a better time on Superstar. Very few matches have been unplayable. I can usually put my finger on a certain point in a defeat and say I lost it here or there due to over-eagerness and naivete. But I will still review matters at the end of the season and a drop down to Top Player or even back to Professional isn’t out of the question for me. As you say, ML is too substantial a time-investment to risk on experiments. I think after you’ve really put a few seasons in on Professional and won things, Superstar will be more suited to you. Maybe me too. I’m only about 60/40 sure I’ll stay on Superstar.

  20. NG – i agree, i dont think im at a point to fully cope with Superstar yet, although i do like the increased freedom of gameplay on that level.

    The final straw really was in a defeat that I absolutely dominated 68% posession, more chances etc and a CPU CF was able to stroll through 5 of my players, avoid tackles, mainatin balance after being nudged, avoid slide tackles and still rocket off a shot froma ridiculous angle that went in.

    Havent got time for that.

  21. NG penalties are too easy to save this year IMO. In my shootout we both missed 5 in a row. Just push right and you’ll save almost any shot that goes right, high or low. It is possible to score unsaveable penalties but you need to get the power just right. I personally liked the last gen penalty system.

  22. Paul—I’m probably not ready to cope with Superstar yet either, but I sure am enjoying it. It was probably a mistake for you to try going almost straight from Regular to Superstar(!). I hope you can salvage your season, and believe me when you eventually win something on Professional, it’s sweet. Professional is the new Top Player, really. It’s generally renowned as the best-balanced difficulty for a reason. I’ll possibly be back on it for season 13.

  23. Grilled Seabass—I had a PK shootout the other morning and just sent them all down the middle. I saved loads of the CPU kicks. I think Konami should either go with a PES2010/11-style system (i.e. the one nobody understood), or revert all the way to old-school kicks. No halfway house.

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