The Emperor’s New Patch

Superstar has started kicking my arse good and proper, and I love it. That’s the current league table up there. I’ve lost and drawn league matches that I would have won easily on Professional. The League is looking dodgy.

Oh, and I’ve been knocked out of the Champions League—so the Treble is definitely gone for another season. I find that I don’t really mind.

I’m not ready for the Treble yet. When it comes , I hope it’ll come on Superstar, but that’s not certain.

Superstar has got a lot going for it. The CPU defences play a bit higher up. When I played on Professional and the game did its super-dribble, wonder-goal stuff on me, I usually sulked, and often moaned about its wicked ways. When Superstar does it, although it’s just as maddening, I somehow put up with it a bit better.

I’d like to believe I’m on Superstar for good now, but my skill level is still low. I’ll give it to the end of the season and decide then.

I played West Ham away in the league, and I lost 2-0. That defeat would simply never have happened on Professional. A draw would have been my worst-possible result back then, and even then I’d have had to play really carelessly.

I played very well against West Ham on Superstar, but after I went 1-0 down I went chasing a goal and I shouldn’t have. I simply shouldn’t have. I started all-out attacking in the 40th minute. No, no, no. Big mistake.

The CPU made hay with a crushing second goal just before the break, on the counter-attack when I stupidly had all my players upfield for a corner.

All through the second half the Hammers gleefully snuffed out all my attacks, secure in their 2-0 lead. I think I managed 4 shots. I hit the post once. It was so eerily realistic—an example of a big team going to a supposed minnow and being intimidated and outplayed. PES2012’s AI has been much-maligned (often by me), but credit where credit’s due.

This result and others saw me slip further back in the race for the League title. It was followed by a calamitous 1-3 defeat by Real Madrid at home in the Champions League.

Again my tactical approach was all wrong. Madrid scored after 15 minutes and I reacted as if it was a personal insult to be 1-0 down. Again I over-committed too much when I didn’t need to (again with the 40th minute all-out attack…), and got punished.

My goal in this 1-3 defeat (at home! the pain, the humiliation…) was a nice long-range free kick from John Barnes. I don’t score many free kicks in PES2012. I always feel that I should get more. When I do score one it’s a special occasion for me.

So that was nice.

That defeat left me needing to beat Bayern Munich, at Bayern Munich, to progress to the knockouts.

I lost 2-0. And I did the thing—the silly chasing-the-game-early thing—again. I was out of the Champions League. The final group table:

At least I go straight into the Europa League. Now I can concentrate on winning a trophy I don’t believe I’ve ever won in PES before.

What a weird and wonderful year this is turning out to be.

Ruggeri started moaning during my bad run. His yellow face soon became the angriest red face ever seen, after I only managed to draw 2-2 at Cardiff. (Again, this fixture would have been another almost guaranteed 3 points under the old Professional regime.)

I arrested the slide with a stunning away win over Manchester City. I dropped Reyes and played Roberto Mancini as a right-sided AMF. I moved Barnes even further out to the other wing. I tinkered with the tactical sliders pre-match, turning everything up to Wide.

I was rewarded with two headed goals from crosses and a 2-1 halftime lead. One of the goals was from Roberto Mancini. In the second half I squeezed another in with Forlan to make the game safe and take the sting out of City.

The result leapfrogged us over Manchester City back into the top 4, still 6 points behind the leaders Arsenal, but only halfway through the season. Mancini was quoted in a press conference afterwards as saying the title race was over.

As I head into the second half of season 12, I feel confident enough to declare this definitely my best Master League experience since PES2010, and arguably my best since PES5. I’m starting up the game and playing at very unusual times for me—late at night. I usually never play at that time, but recently I find myself playing PES2012 until 2am, marvelling at its discovered complexity.

I should briefly mention patch 1.06, which I installed late Saturday night. I wasn’t going to, but the hysteria on the forums infected me. I got very curious. Surely the Internet couldn’t be wrong about something…?

I’ve played 1.06 a good bit now, and so far I don’t see or feel any changes to the ball physics, player animations, shooting, passing, tackling, or any other major gameplay component. The game speed seems a touch faster, which I’m not happy about, but a drop down to -2 speed soon cured that problem.

Otherwise, I have to say right now that 1.06 isn’t wearing any clothes. But I’ll keep playing (of course) and keep trying to feel the differences, if they’re there.

I also have the PC version of the game. One day soon I’m going to mod the hell out of it. I’ll install all the extra turfs and nets that make it look so gorgeous. I’ll play 1.03 on that and compare the two versions side-by-side. That’s if I can tear myself away from the PS3 for long enough, of course…

69 Comments

  1. leroy getz—cheers for the reminder about Ashley Younging, will be trying that out very very soon. But how long before I just forget again…?

  2. Grilled Seabass—that’s right, whatever happened to Honda? He seemed to disappear for you after a while. Was he outstripped as your squad got better?

  3. Leroy – Cheers for the info, i do use Link feints and have 1 assigned to each direction on the RS, only use them sparingly in game though, think I have the rainbow flick, inside bounce, and roulette assigned, just didnt know the dive was an option, will try that tonight.

    Since patch 1.06 I am struggling. My free scoring forwards cant score for toffee now, I went out of the Champs League qualifiers to Roma, after conceding a 118th minute Extra Time goal with the scores level on Agg. Dumped into the Europa league now.
    The move up to Top Player is certainly proving tough, lets hope i can keep patience with it long enough, the games at the moment are a chore.

  4. uncle turf—that’s why I’ll never restart ML on PES2012 with the Defaults, and I’ll think very carefully before starting PES2013 with the Defaults. Those early seasons, as documented on the blog here, were among the least inspiring, least enjoyable seasons I’ve ever played on PES and contributed most to the negative feelings I had about the game early on. In particular, of course, the shooting.

  5. Paul—after much initial scepticism I’m coming round to the view that 1.06 did implement changes. NOT because I can see and feel any changes from moment-to-moment (apart from the speed), but because I too am experiencing a bit of a goal famine. If you look at the goals scored column in today’s post later on you’ll see me dropping behind the leaders. Or… maybe it’s all to do with Superstar. Maybe your own goal famine is to do with Top Player?

  6. NG – I couldnt Imagine a New ML Campaign without having to swear at the defaults, although grating in the early stages, would you enjoy or appreciate PES as much today if you hadnt had to labour on through the hard times with them?
    I guess a compromise would be editing a fairly weak team up and starting as them.

  7. Grilled Seabass

    nG – It’s funny you should mention Honda. I just finished my 10th season (won the league, well chuffed) and a message popped up saying that Honda will retire this season. He’s 35 now and only makes a few starts a season. His rating has hovered just under 80ovr, but he has a several skill cards and has been a useful squad player. He’ll have been at the club 10 seasons when he retires. Total legend.
    In other news, having won the league last year, I’m going all out to clinch the Champions League. Sibon and Anelka have somehow developed into 100ovr strikers, as well as having Del Piero I think I have a good enough strike force to win CL. The only position I’m lacking in is DMC – I’ve been making offers for Farinos & Heycory (as well as Riquelme) continuously for 3 years now.

  8. Paul—the Defaults question is a thorny one for me, as I do cleave to tradition and what has given me so much enjoyment over the years. I’ll see how I feel when PES2013 hits in October.

  9. Grilled Seabass (and all)—after 1.06 have you noticed hitting the post a lot more? I hit the post 6 times in two matches yesterday morning. Fine, I thought. Statistical fluke. Bound to happen in one session sooner or later.

    Now this morning, it’s happening again. I just hit the post 4 times in one match. Oh dear Konami?

  10. NG – do you not ever watch Liverpool, we hit the post on Average of 4 times per game.
    So not unresalistic.
    And no, havent noticed it myself, since 1.06 to get near the goal would be nice!!

  11. Paul—I knew somebody would mention the Liverpool thing, but it’s good to hear you haven’t noticed it.

  12. I’ll also be very reluctant to start with the defaults if PES 2013 is anything like 2012. What a slog that was. I still have Irjescu and Ettori in my squad after 9 seasons though.

    And big news – I have a shiny new PS3 Slim! I traded in FIFA 12, an old ice hockey game and a FIFA 9 I found down behind the telly and got more than £30 back as part of Game’s current offer. Apparently they have had LOADS of old PES and FIFA games brought in and can’t even give them away. Took a nice chunk off the £170 for my new slim though.

    Tonight I will be nervously reloading my PES data but I never did get all the kits saved – not that it’s vital. Does anyone know a good site to find individual team imports? I figured I might do that rather than mess about with a whole option file.

  13. John—as long as you’re signed into your new PS3 on your same PSN account you won’t have any trouble loading up your old save. If your Edit file is out of whack on the new account you might see some weirdness, but your own core ML club save—where you are, what you’ve done, transfers etc.—won’t be affected.

    As for a site where you can grab individual kits etc., I’m sure PESUltra could help for one or two. I bet the full Option Files available from all the usual places are pretty shiny by this time of the year.

    And you’re going full-on with PES2012, trading in FIFA12, eh?!

  14. NG – Yes, I have come to love this PES and I really didn’t see it coming. In fact with such limited time for gaming (and I might regret saying this) I’m going to do my best to ignore FIFA 13 and save all that to and fro next year. It does my head in. I always end up back with PES – the next one will only need to improve slightly to hook me in again.

  15. John—I didn’t see the newfound love for PES2012 coming either. In fact it took the prospect of going away from it to bring me back to it—and back to my senses, really. There’s nothing like Master League.

  16. NG – if you don’t go with the defaults though you would never have that connection with the rest of the world. Sharing the frustration of Ettori, the power of Irjescu, the guile of Cinalton.

  17. uncle turf—the Defaults question for PES2013 will depend on how good or bad they play. If they’re like PES2012’s Defaults, I’m not sure I would want to go through that punishment again, regardless of how traditional or satisfying it is to start with them and then get rid of them. But I’m not really thinking about PES2013 at the moment. I’m happy with the PES we’ve got and there’s a lot of mileage left yet.

  18. You support Coventry City, surely with your familiarity to despair you should play with the defaults, on Super Star, with a man sent off in the first minute and your thumbs in splints…

  19. uncle turf—I was a regular at Highfield Road in the 80s and 90s and I know all about despair. But the Defaults in PES2012 were even worse than the worst CCFC display I ever saw. That’s saying a lot, believe me…

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