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PES2012 : Mapping Success

Oh, WEP team, why can’t you make it easy for both yourselves and everybody else?

It’s been a while since my last editorial. As we patiently await the release – or just news – of the data pack for PES2012, while also starting to consider the future of the series in the form of PES2013, the only thing to do of late has been to actually play the football games offered up by Konami and EA in 2011.

Over the course of the last week in particular my playing time on PES2012 and FIFA12 has really picked up, quite a feat, considering the game that has been taking up most of my time of late has been the fantastic NBA2K12. Trust me when I say any other sports game, especially either of the football games from 2011, can feel like a pretty hefty step down. If you have a passing interest in the sport of basketball or want to see what can be achieved in a sports game in this generation, I strongly recommend taking a look at either it or 2010’s NBA2K11. These games are not perfect, as a lurk over that franchises various communities will confirm, but they do hit more than they miss and also offer a level of user customisation that both footy games should be taking note of. The game really has acted as an inspirational document for my good self – a huge football fan and football video game fan – in amongst all that fun in actually playing the game.

Anyway, enough of the NBA2K love-in (must…resist…urge…to…talk…more!) so let’s talk PES and what has inspired this latest editorial for your consideration.

Having grown weary of trying to get FIFA12 to play in a way that is both demanding but realistic via the games slider set (I plan to post my findings on Fifa Soccer Blog’s forums shortly), I turned back to PES2012 and in spite of me experiencing a upsurge in enjoyment of late, there were still a few too many little things that niggled away and stopped me feeling completely at ease with the game.

If you have been reading our forums (and others) you will see how absolutely bloody infuriating that horrible side-step animation and the resultant lock was proving for me. At the risk of sounding a tad melodramatic, it can make an otherwise damned good, deeply tactical PES game an absolute chore to play with moves breaking down or any immersion being broken thanks to your wee on-screen player entering into this bizarre, painfully rigid, move that looks more looped OAP line-dance step than athletic exertion. This has to go, WEP/Konami. Such is its ill fit it makes what the less than spectacular but otherwise functional animations that surround it look even worse. I don’t think I need to go into how damaging that is.

It is not only the poor choice, implementation and execution of the odd animation which can make the game incredibly frustrating, however. PES2012, for me, is the most demanding PES title ever with regards to the use Super Cancel. Seasoned PES players like myself are well aware of the merits of Super Cancel and thus it has been part of our arsenal for years. The actual mapping of Super Cancel on the controller (R1 + R2) for PES2012 has not changed but in previous years where that hasn’t been a problem, this year, due to the demands put upon the player to use it more than ever, it is and then some. When you add in the new burst moves that are also key to this year’s game of which some are also mapped to R1 + R2, what was once an input that was used sparingly but effectively has now become the rule as opposed to the exception. It felt like there were just too many barriers to truly enjoy this PES, then.

Liberation!

Gutted. I could enjoy the game in small bursts but this combination of the awkward(it’s so ugly!) and all too intrusive side-step move, combined with the new demands of the control scheme which felt all too counter intuitive had me faced with a defensive line I couldn’t penetrate in more ways than one.

During one of my rounds of the various community sites and their forum discussion I happened across a conversation on Evo-Web which users were commenting on how vital R2 (Special Controls) is to success in the game, be it dribbling (shudders at thought of side-step move), passing or shooting. In amongst various posts paying testament to this fact, an up until then wholly unconvinced user by the name of Ern Dog chimed in with how a return to the game with the advice offered has changed the game completely for him and that he was now enjoying the game or at least turned a pretty massive corner with it. I myself followed up with how much more I was enjoying the game of late but was compelled to point out the barriers I was facing, with the side-step dribble being one and how I thought PES could do with taking a leaf out of FIFA’s book and map Super Cancel to L2 + R2.

Shortly after my post, Ern Dog replied and advised that he had re-mapped the controls so as R2 (Special Controls) was shifted over L2 (Manual Modifier) and that he then swapped Manual Modifier (now assigned to R2) with R1 (Sprint). The result being here that Super Cancel was now mapped to L2 + R2. Are you mad? Ditching well over 10yrs of muscle memory for the sake of fixing one inconvenience? Well, I have moaned about it and a solution has been offered so it would be ignorant not to give it a try…

One hour later…

Good god, that was magnificent! Suddenly, the game feels all the better to play; far more liberated within the confines of what the game can offer and most importantly the control set-up feels al the more intuitive. Having Super Cancel now mapped to the triggers means that the demand the game puts on you to use it as frequently as it does isn’t as tortuous as was found previous before the switch. I started to have more joy in my passing game as I could make the necessary re-adjustments far more easily and frequently; it served as a corrective function, if required, to just about every pass I was making thus making the game a less frustrating as a whole.

The improvements to my game did not end there. With this change-up to the layout the Speed Burst moves are now also performed by pressing both the triggers, so now comes an extra injection of pace to my dribbling game meaning taking on an opposition player(s) is a joy now with every possession crying out ‘’opportunity!’’. As for the defensive side of things, re-adjustments to positioning are far simpler – more responsive – as I can now feather R2 (now Sprint) while using the hold-up function (L2, or L2 and X of you are tracking a player in possession) so the benefits are not restricted the on-ball game exclusively. Cons? Manual Modifier is now assigned to R1 and at the moment can feel fiddly but I reckon time will see this become less of an issue than it is currently.

This is great, w..why in the hell is not like this out of the box or at least a preset?!

This is what I am talking about when I say the developers sometimes don’t make it easy for themselves or the games players. I can respect that they are keen to please – to not rock the boat too much in what can be considered a transitional period for the franchise. However, sometimes you have to say to hell with tradition and take any initial negative feedback on the chin. Since performing this ‘ol switcheroo to the controls it strikes me that this would serve as the best default set-up considering how the gameplay is now constructed and what it asks from the player. Yes, it is all about preference at the end of the day but I can’t help but think that something as simple as how the controls are mapped can go some way to impacting on how a player takes to a game or how willing they are to stick with it for a longer period of time at the very least.

Veteran players know what we want and know what we are used to but that doesn’t mean everybody thinks similarly or that change from tradition is a change for the worse. Maybe instead of the developers looking to please the hardcore with everything they do, such desire to please that base should be found in the games gameplay merits, while making it that little easier for newcomers to get on board and something like making the control map more familiar or more intuitive to a newcomer would help expand the target audience in the long run. If you build it (right), they will come and it isn’t always about the technical/aesthetic values when it comes to videogames, though that is not me underestimating the importance of such assets.

The Perfect Football Environment

So, how does one set up the game up with these ‘’new alternate’’ controls? Simply head in to your profile and select Button Configuration. There you will see Type 1, Type 2 and the Custom option. Click on Custom and once in there perform the switch arounds previously detailed and you are off and running. I do want to share a few other recommendations for setting up the game before I close, though. These are as follows :

Edit File : Chimps – with – Quiffs superb gameplay edit file that compliments the fantastic Goalgerd/Klashman European Club Soccer Option File. Read this post for more info on the benefits of Chimps work to the game for PS3 users.

Skill Level : Top Player. All about preference of course but you should find that once you get used to the new controller map that Top Player (or beyond) is worth playing against and isn’t as ‘’cheaty’’ thanks to the tools available at your disposal being more intuitive. Also, Chimps file is designed to offer the best possible experience on Top Player.

Match Length : 15mins. Maybe it is just me but I feel the game is reigned in a bit further regards pace and flow when you increase the duration of matches. Prepare for some epic matches or… a few severe beatings!

Game Speed : I have it set to -2. I think it is perfect for these longer duration matches as both the clock and game speed are on your side for patient build-up play.

Passing Assistance : 0 bar. With the game speed being down to it’s slowest  and the match duration being 15mins, it really does make perfect sense to take the stabilisers off.

Team Mate Controls : Assisted. Keeps off the ball run commands nice and simple. Only graduate on to Manual once the rest of your ”in possession” game is sound.

Stadium : Select a favourite arena to play. Unfortunately this is not just about it being your favourite stadium and you have to consider how the game performs/looks in some stadiums as this varies going from one to another. Camp Nou, Allianz Arena, Amsterdam Arena in daytime are personal favourites along with the San Siro in afternoon.

Tactics/Strategy/Formation : Get these sorted unless you want to get into a bar fight of a game with the CPU. A bar fight you will take a hefty beating in more often than not I should add, especially with the longer duration matches being in place. Set up tactics and formation for every possibility and use attack/defence emphasis frequently during a match. Set Offside Trap to Auto – Trigger under Tactical Settings; amazing how much help this is in your defensive duties and curbs the CPU always seemingly cutting through your defensive line at will.

Special Controls : Now on L2 if you have done the re-map, Special Controls use is the key to everything. Have it pressed down as you make a pass to increase accuracy; use it dribble in tight situations, use it for defensive positioning and even use to set your player before taking a strike on goal. You will be surprised as to how much of an impact setting yourself with Special Controls before unleashing a strike a goal can have on getting desired placement. All relative to the players body position and ability, of course.

Off – Ball Defence : Switch your focus to off ball defensive duties. Team mate AI is friendly if you set it up to be so. Enter the Edit Personal Data menu and then head into Player Assistance. Set Clear to ON and Auto Sliding to Hard. These options are here for a reason and they do work. It might go against many a players purist instincts but the help this offers is worth any players consideration, particularly if you are taking the game on at higher skill levels. The AI will put in a challenge and shadow a player in possession rather effectively if these adjustments are made, allowing you to concentrate on marking duties and closing out passing opportunities. The positive upshot here is that this can result in the CPU opposition slowing its own game down and making more passes in build-up; not all the time but more often than will be found if you engage the ball carrier directly all the time. of course, having the offside trap triggered for you by the AI as advised previously is only going to help further. trust me, this changes the flow of matches and will make you feel that little more secure at the back.

I hope all or even some of these tips can come in useful and hope that this latest article raises some points worthy of discussion within the community. Thanks again to those out there who have helped me appreciate the game that little bit more due to their playing advice and control recommendations. All this doesn’t completely eradicate some of the problems PES2012 has and it is safe to say that other well documented issues won’t be addressed in this game and we have to look ahead to PES2013 for potential solutions.

Stay tuned for more news and comment on PES2012 in the very near future and hopefully we can start talking PES2013 soon.

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