Category: PES2012

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PES2012 Hagi at 18

Today was nearly a completely football-game-free post. In fact, I toyed with the idea of there being no post at all.

But this very Wednesday morning, with a spare twenty minutes, I powered up the PS3 and played one match of the game currently in the tray: PES2012. Hurrah!

That’s a picture of Regen Hagi at the top. He’s still only 18, but closing in on 80OVR and starting to develop some ‘whip’ in that left foot.

PES2012 season 19 squad

My current First XI and squad on the left here. It’s a bit threadbare, like this post.

20 players only, now. I had to get rid of Barnes and Sibon and Neeskens and others. Finance reasons.

While walking along the street the other day I had a fantastic idea for a football game in the spirit of New Star Soccer. Like NSS, it’d be browser/smartphone-level only. The idea I had hasn’t been done before, from what I can see. Time to dust down my Sinclair BASIC.

I’m still not greatly attracted to going back to any structured daily football gaming.

I can feel football gaming slipping further away from me day by day.

It could be that what happened to many footy gamers years ago, when PES2008 on next-gen landed with such a sickening thud—i.e., a ‘gradually sudden’ estrangement from football gaming—is happening to me now.

I no longer feel nauseous at the thought of playing a football game. Instead I just feel nothing at all. Neither attraction nor repulsion. I suppose it’s an improvement. Isn’t it?

Not playing has let me see how the other half live—how people who actually get to read books and watch films and play other games that they want to play (currently Civilization, in my case) must feel, i.e. fulfilled and happy that they’ve put their free time to good use.

Perhaps we all have an Expiry date for the things we like to do. A date that we’re ticking inexorably towards every day, like death.

I’ve previously used the example of ‘going out’ (i.e. pubbing and clubbing it).

For most of my late teens and twenties and early thirties, there I was, boozing and carousing with the best of them.

Then suddenly, BLAMMO. Door slammed. No more pubbing and clubbing. Suddenly just didn’t want to go. Had enough of it. Seen and done and felt everything I was ever going to see and do and feel, hundreds if not thousands of times over. Didn’t need it—whatever it was—any more.

Maybe I’ve hit a similar stage in football gaming.

After making 50,000 passes, after scoring 20,000 goals, or whatever it’s all been, maybe my time as a football gamer is simply up.

Civilization Chronicles

And still there’s nothing really happening. Well, there has been some PES activity… details at the end of the post.

But generally, for the first time in… however many years I’ve been playing football games, I don’t want to play any football games.

I do still want to play Football Manager, and NSS, but they don’t count. When I talk football games, I don’t mean any game that features football in some form. I mean football games.

For the first time in probably 20 years, the thought of holding a controller, and pressing X to pass, Square to shoot, doesn’t attract me.

I watched MOTD on Saturday night with a bit more zest than usual. And I’m looking forward to the Manchester derby tonight (even though it’s unlikely to be anything but a 4-5-1-versus-4-5-1 tactical bore, like 90% of all such overhyped ‘clashes’). So it’s not necessarily a football thing.

I played some Civilization V. This is what I needed! Civilization is one of my Most Beloved game series (along with PES, Metal Gear, and Final Fantasy).

I’m halfway through a good game on a small Terra map. It takes roughly as long to play a full game of Civilization as it does to get through a Master League season.

Civ V game 2013

Two years ago, Civilization V had the dodgiest launch ever—probably even dodgier than PES2008 on next-gen. It just wasn’t fit for release, but now after numerous patches and an expansion, Civilization V has become a very good game indeed. I play the game on a 4-year-old iMac via the magic of OnLive.

The strategy is strong now. Note the position of Istanbul on that sticky-out bit of land, and those hills on the borders with my territory. The city is in a unique geographical position that effectively protects it from invasion, as I’ve discovered to my cost.

Three times I’ve thrown everything I have at Istanbul, and three times I’ve failed to do anything more than get my entire army almost annihilated.

My error was to neglect building a navy. I went for elite land units. I have superb land units, but I just can’t get them close enough to Istanbul to take the city. What I needed to do was clear the waters of enemy ships. Then I might have had a chance.

The AI is very good, and just parks its ships in the waters around the city and bombards my units as they approach. Also, those hills mean that it’s tough to get my units up close and personal quickly. (Only one unit per tile in Civ V.) The city’s bombard defences wreak havoc.

I should have picked on somebody with landlocked cities, but Istanbul was such a tempting prize…

This is my game of the moment. I don’t need PES or FIFA or indeed any other game

And PES? Gathering dust, figuratively as well as literally.

FIFA? I did jump ship rather quickly, and I’ve thought about using FIFA13 as at least a back-door route back into football gaming… But I can’t be bothered putting in the time right now.

Okay, so I DID start up one football game. It was yesterday morning, Sunday, and I had a spare half-hour. I went with a few matches on PES2012, last year’s epic.

I played three and won three on Superstar in my old ML save. And enjoyed myself… but was I instantly re-converted to the magic? Nope.

I did see this one peculiar thing that I thought worthy of recording. It was a free kick. I called another player to stand over the ball, but then I forgot the buttons to press to take my preferred free kick (second player lays the ball off a few yards, first player shoots). I pressed at random, more or less, and this happened:

Schweinsteiger, standing over the ball, taps it forward a few inches. The defensive wall distintegrates, and Forlan smashes the ball into the net through the gap they leave behind.

I forgot the second-man controls and pressed, I think, L1+Shoot, causing the effect seen. I’ve never seen that before in PES. A slight tap of the ball making a defensive wall scatter in that way is completely new to me.

I turned off after this game and got back to Civ V.

More study required

So I spent most of Sunday morning playing PES2010 and PES2012.

I didn’t have time to write a proper post about it, so here’s a 5-minute video with voiceover from me. All recorded, edited, and uploaded via iMovie on the iPhone.

The audio quality varies throughout. I freestyled the voiceover, starting a new audio track whenever I flubbed. I didn’t work from a script, but I should have done. If I do this again, I will work from a proper script.

For those who can’t access the video, or who can’t quite follow my whispering middle-of-the-Midlands lilt, here’s what happened: I enjoyed both games, with the sense that PES2012 in particular was like opening a favourite old book. Alarmingly, I find myself liking both games and wanting to play both games, which I have always deemed impossible. Or at least so impractical as to make it very unwise. And my conclusion is, as the title says, more study required.

The video barely scratches the surface of the experience. It was a total pleasure to play some of my old ML careers yesterday morning. But I’ll be carrying on with FIFA for now. I’ll be happy to discuss any PES-FIFA stuff in comments.

A different League

It’s release week. Bloody hell—it’s release week. Again.

“Another year flies by,” as Master League would say.

It seems like only yesterday that I was putting together the header image for last year’s blog template. Goodbye, last year’s blog template…

Just a few days to go, and the PES2013 scares and controversies keep on coming. The latest one, which bubbled up over the weekend, is the apparent removal of League Mode from PES2013.

I say ‘apparent’ because there’s some chatter about it possibly being restored via DLC at some point. Which sounds a bit sketchy to me.

Which doesn’t mean it’s impossible, of course. One thing we have learned about Konami in this generation of football games is that they are capable of taking bizarre decisions that make no sense.

PES in this generation is very much like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. You never really know what you’re going to get. Until you get it.

Which is why, for all that I anticipate Magic Master League Bootgate-o-rama (or whatever the hysterical PES forumites are calling it now) being pretty much okay, I still nervously wait to see it in action for myself.

As for League Mode, I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I don’t play it and haven’t played it for 10 years.

League Mode was all I ever played on ISS and early PES games, in the days before Master League established itself.

But on the other hand I agree with the prevailing view on the forums that League Mode’s apparent removal is a disgrace. Such a mode is—or should be—a staple part of any football video game. Only a truly batshit insane football game developer would ever remove a cornerstone of the genre.

Which makes me kind of confident that a DLC solution will happen. We’ll see.

All the fuss made me think about League Mode for the first time in a long time. I decided to give PES2012 one last whirl in my PS3, and have a few matches in a League Mode career.

In truth, I have missed PES2012 a lot since quitting my mammoth Master League career a few weeks ago. So I wanted to take one last look.

I also had another motivation. Having taken a shine to zero-bar passing on the PES2013 demo, I wanted to play with that setting for a longer period back on PES2012. I’m thinking of playing all of PES2013 with zero-bar passing.

I started in Serie A, playing as Fiorentina—a decent middling sort of team, with a few good players.

I set the difficulty on Top Player, and knocked the passing assistance down to 0 bar.

Now, I don’t know if it was the effect of me being away from the game for a few weeks, or the 0-bar passing, or a change of difficulty between mode, or what. Probably a combination of all of ’em.

I found it very hard to make anything happen. I played 5 matches and lost 4, drew 1, scoring only two goals.

Playing with a just-above-average side on PES2012 was very tough. It really brought home to me just how much of an advantage my stellar squad gave me in Master League.

I scored one goal that made me smile and cheer. Great goals in PES make you want to put the controller down and give a round of applause (to the game, not to yourself).

I was struggling to put three passes together, and found myself playing very cautiously, never going for the risky pass. I carved this chance painfully, as if chipping away at a stone block:

After that short session, I took the PES2012 disc out and put it away. Barring a PES2013 catastrophe, I might not ever play it again. Maybe in a year or two when I’m on one of my nostalgia trips.

While I’m here, I’ll just wrap up some other business. It’s a look back at my top 3 goals scored across all of PES2012.

In reverse order:

Goal number 3—FORLAN—a classic PES boomer across the keeper from the corner of the penalty box:

Goal number 2—HAGI—a close contender for number 1, this goal gave me a true scoregasm at the time:

Goal number 1—HAGI—it simply had to be. I only scored a few free-kicks in PES2012. This was the best of them, and also my favourite goal of the whole year:

And with that, I really am done with PES2012. It is now an artifact of the past.

PES2013, your time is at hand. A hungry (next) generation has been waiting for you. Don’t tread us down.

Three more sleeps to go.