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PES2012 : The WENB Starter Guide


PES2012 is now readily available for all with many already having no doubt racked up hours upon hours of play, but maybe there are some things that have went unnoticed, untouched or simply unexplained. With that in mind we at WENB thought a starters guide of sorts would help out new players and veterans alike, so allow us to present you our tips and advice that will help set you on your way or hopefully prove useful to your existing game.

Difficulty Select

On first boot, the game will ask you to select difficulty and it is here where we advise all players to swallow their pride and plump for Professional. Sure, you might be able to compete on Top Player but it is demanding (as is Professional to be fair) and might not let you learn the game and enhance your skill. The game already demands you learn by doing and the Training Challenge mode only gives so much away so go easy on yourself and graduate through to higher difficulties over time. Maybe play a couple of exhibition games each session on Top Player between sticking with Professional for competitive game modes in order to gauge your progress. Remember, the AI ups its game in competitive play so even getting comfortable with a skill level in Exhibition mode isn’t giving away everything regards the games challenge.

When playing exhibition matches to hone your skills, look to play in summer daytime with fine weather conditions as the game looks sharper visually and flows far better. The Saitama Stadium 2002(especially!), Estadio Escorpiao, Old Trafford, Amsterdam Arena, Stadio Olimpico, Wembley, Burg Stadion, Royal London, Il Nuovo Stadio Della Juventus and the Nou Camp are all good locations. That is not to say afternoon and night conditions are not any good, along with playing matches in the rain, just that the visual highlights in the game tend to be found in standard daytime conditions.

System Settings

Always worth a look in here to optimise things as best possible to suit your needs. What follows are some handy little pointers.

Match Screen Settings :

Nothing to really alter here though it is worth setting the Stamina Gauge to ON in order to have an on screen reference to players condition during the match. Switching COM Controlled Player Name to OFF will remove some of the less desirable on screen clutter. If you feel the radar at the bottom of the screen is proving obtrusive, then set Radar Appearance to Bottom Translucent, though why on earth the option to have it fade in and out accordingly depending on area of play is not present is a mystery.

Game Speed Settings :

It’s all about preference at the end of the day regards match speed but -1 appears ideal for 10min matches with the control settings already suggested. It should be noted that if you are looking for a more truer, brutal simulation feel then setting the speed to -2 and having match length set a 15mins is worth a look and could well prove to be many players preferred setting over time, especially once the communities tactical guru’s delve into the games tactics and formations for teams present in the game. It can feel a little unresponsive to start but the extra time on the clock means you can be that little more patient and exacting with your play. Knocking down passing assistance to zero helps increase the simulation feel further in these 15min matches set at -2 speed. Credit to mancan for sharing this.

Adjust Screen :

Again, this is pure preference but we wouldn’t be doing you a service if we didn’t suggest the following.

  • By going into Adjust Colour and ramping up the in game Brightness to +6 you should see improved clarity in visuals and notice that it is easier on the eye when entering into shadowed areas of some stadia. there has been much positive feedback regards this tweak and if you feel that colours look washed out as a result, don’t be scared to ramp up RGB levels to your liking. It is recommended that you do your tinkering whilst in a match as the test pattern found in the main menu is pretty useless due to the four panes being very small.
  • Head into Screen and reduce the screen size using L1. The default seems to blown up beyond your screens resolution and reducing it helps sharpen things up. Don’t just adjust it to fit your screen perfectly as decreasing it further so that there is a small black border round the image helps matters further. You can even decrease it all the way so that a rather chunky black border frames the image and this would appear to be the games native resolution.

Personal Data

This year sees the introduction of a more user friendly profile manager that enables your settings to stick with you across all game modes locally and beyond as the handy export function allows you to take your data on the move should you have mates whom you visit and play with or against.

Here are some settings that might be worth using to get you warmed up.

Cursor Settings :

  • Set Change Cursor to Semi Assisted
  • Have Cursor Name set to wireless controller number as this removes some further on screen clutter during gameplay. You might wish to keep this on when playing with a team in which you are not familiar with to identify players…and maybe potential signings.
  • Pass Support set to two bars is ideal for starting off. More on this later.

Button Configuration :

  • Ensure Player Movement is set to either stick or D-pad only. In the case of setting it to stick (L) it means all tactics and strategy can be controlled by D-Pad prompts. Very handy indeed.
  • Teammate Controls setting is really how you want it to be. If all you want is players to make forward runs, then Assisted is your best bet, where as Manual is for the more dexterous player who would like that little more command over the selected off-the-ball runner.

Player Assistance :

In PES2012 there are four levels of assistance that can be enabled and while these have had a less than desirable effect in PES’ past, this year two are pretty useful and worthy of consideration when starting off initially; particularly while you get used to the demands of the defensive game.

  • By activating Clear to the ON setting this goes some way to helping your defensive game when it comes to cross balls. The AI is far more helpful than found before in this regard and this allows you to concentrate on pressing the player on the ball, cutting off passing angles or simply marking up on another player. Also, they do not randomnly clear all over the pitch and appear to make the right decision. Yeah, it might not be the purists solution but trust us when we say you won’t be thinking that when your AI team mate gets you out of danger!
  • Auto Sliding set to Hard is arguably even more helpful while you are looking to get to grips with defending and possibly for when you have finally developed a great understanding of the defensive mechanics as well. The thought of Auto Sliding sends shivers down the spine of many veteran PES players but in PES2012 it is a bit of a godsend as it doesn’t do exactly what it says on the tin so to speak. Instead of being reckless in the tackle your AI team mate will make good use of containing and putting a foot in along with not being too shabby in the slide tackle if needs must. A great help that allows you to just get on with mastering the controls knowing the AI will do a job for you without being too intrusive. User oppyeunome deserves the thanks for this find

It is recommended that once you have set your profile up that you go into the Personal Data menu from the main menu and export your settings as in a a rather bizarre design quirk, if you press square on your profile in this menu it deletes the profile meaning you have to build your avatar and settings from scratch. Bizarre in that when you press square on the controller select screen it takes you into your profile and I have made the mistake of pressing square in the personal data menu only to scrub all my settings. Prevent any frustration by exporting asap.

Gameplay Tips

Okay, we are all set to take the field so let us offer you some gameplay tips. As with every PES, there is that element of mystery to control born out of devilish programming and poor translation.

Passing :

  • User nobleknight91 is quick to point out that holding R2 before you pass the ball increases accuracy. Completely logical when you think about it as close control would surely equate to greater accuracy and it is something veteran players can easily forget. Absolutely key this to building play confidently and with composure.
  • Using the two bars passing assistance setting does not mean you can be reckless with your passing placement. All passing settings carry an element of unwelcome ambiguity and playing without precision is only going to frustrate you further. In order to ensure a feeling of maximum control, always push the directional stick to it’s farthest point then rotate into position before powering up your pass.
  • When powering up, err on the side of almost feeling as though you are overpowering your pass. This is especially the case with any pass that is intended for a target 10yds or further in distance away from the player making the pass.
  • Don’t be afraid to sprinkle your short passing game with deft little lobbed passes.
  • As unwelcome as it is, you need to get used to using Super Cancel when it comes to meeting through balls. Thankfully, it appears the need to continue to hold super cancel is not as much of a requirement as was aparent in previous games. It’s a shame it need be like this considering the freedom of movement elsewhere.
  • Manual Modifier (performed via L2 and any of the passing commands) usage is risky but ultimately rewarding once you get to grips with it. Use exhibition matches to really hone your skill and hard code yourself into looking to use it for lay-offs, early crosses and  both grounded and high through ball variants. Remember that in the case of high passes the R2 modifier that adds more loft/backspin still applies and can be great for dropping a ball into space that will hold up on the turf.
  • Grimm from the WENB discussion forums mentioned that pressing and holding L2 + R2 when performing through balls sees the recipient appear to get more joy in latching onto them. After some testing it would appear he may be onto something here. There is that mystique emerging once again! Try it and see if it improves your passing game any.
  • Ball retention is absolutely key to getting the most out of the active AI, so play with patience and precision and never be scared to play lateral cross field balls in your build up to switch play. This is made that little easier thanks to it being almost impossible to over hit a cross field ball which isn’t necessarily a good thing but you can at least rest easy that the ball should reach it’s intended target…providing an opposition player is not between you and your team mate.
  • Run prompts are now a feature in PES, yet shouldn’t be relied upon with any great frequency. Use the manual method so as you are able to drop a striker deep or make a midfielder come short. It’s use as a decoy is far more worthy than it’s use as a means to engineer a chance by running the player forward.
  • In order to engineer more movement, make use of pressing R2 immediately after performing a ground pass and also make good use of the one-two function (standard pass whilst holding L1) with you not always having to return the ball to the player making the run which can prove useful for catching opposition defences off guard. Also take advantage of the four preset formations available on the fly as this too can convert into further movement.

Dribbling :

  • Standard dribble using the left stick is far more responsive but beware that not all player possess particularly quick feet when shifting the ball or when performing sharper turns.
  • R2 dribble should not be used for turns at 90 degrees…unless you want to see your player lock into a side-step that can prove a little troublesome to break out of if your player does not have the sidestepping index card or excellent dribble speed/accuracy. Try to use taps of R2 as opposed to holding it down when in tight situations.
  • R2 does come into it’s own for standing players up before performing a Burst or Speed burst, with the games more talented and technical players using these moments to perform feints. This is ideal for either beating your man or teeing up a strike on goal.
  • Speed Burst, which is performed by holding R1 + R2 and pushing the stick in the direction the player is facing or by pushing it 45 degrees to either side in which the player is facing, can see them perform a nutmeg. Timing and players explosive stat are key here but it never gets old when you pull it off.
  • After performing the Burst move when in close proximity to an opposition player(s) look to make a subtle direction change  very quickly and then hold sprint. This can see the more talented dribblers shift through the gears and beat that second marker with ease. Master this and chain other direction changes and Burst moves together and you will be doing what seemed impossible before.
  • L2 and standard dribble via the left stick acts as a dribbler modifier. It isn’t in the manual or on any control sheets that are available on the net but it does seem to make your player take more precise touches and feels almost like FIFA’s pace control that is assigned to the same button. Added to this there is a feeling that players turn through more axis. Yep, more mystique but rest assured you will feel a difference.
  • Make liberal use of quick stop performed via pressing R1 with the stick in a neutral position and quickly change direction as this is great for wrong footing your marker. Through further play it would seem that certain players can perform the burst move when you look to sprint out from a stationary position.
  • Regards sprinting, pressing R1 2-3 times between touches will see your player knock the ball on but pressing R1 +R2 and pushing either up, down or diagonally in the direction your player is facing will see them open up even more and reach their top dribbling speed.

Defending :

There are actually many ways to be effective at defending in this years game but the following tips revolve around having Auto – Slide set to Hard and Clear set to ON. There is still much to learn for all players regards the art of defence and more tips and techniques are sure to emerge over time.

  • R2 acts as a tackle if in close enough proximity and can often result in a cleaner take than using pressure via the X button. Tricky but it does work.
  • Use X to home into the vicinity of the player on the ball and quickly change player. Should you time your player change input correctly this will see the AI take over and actively engage the ball carrier. Should the player you switched to also be in close proximity, either use the same technique again (risky), initiate contain or simply look to mark up or block space using standard stick movements or R2. If a secondary AI controlled player is close by use the secondary press command (square) to add more pressure if desired.
  • When it looks as though your opponent is opting to take the ball down the wing, look to get in front of them and then use contain to slow them up. Simply holding contain to home in is not enough.
  • Do not be scared to press and hold X if your defender is close to an intended recipient of a pass in midfield. When in your own final third show a little more caution by using the standard R2 jockey or stick movement to position but do not rule out going for the ball completely.
  • Slide tackles are all about timing and when you get that timing right they are very, very effective as players with good defending attributes can perform hook slide tackles (which may also be impacted by preferred foot) that can see them take the ball very cleanly indeed.
  • Sometimes you just need to tackle the ball to safety or just away from a player and abandon any notion of a clean take and this is where developing a good understanding of when to slide is key. Don’t shirk from using them in 50-50 situations in other words.
  • Foul if you need to. It happens in the real sport and you can be damn sure that if needs must in PES2012 you better be ready to explore the nastier side of the game.

Shooting :

Shooting is proving to be a bit of a headache in PES2012 when it comes to placement and logic but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help improve your chances of scoring. Admittedly, there is a level of uncertainty to shooting and some of these tips are more suggestions than sure-fire methods.

  • Think of placement as pressing up to aim for the far post and pressing down for near post. Pick your desired shot destination immediately before powering up to strike. sometimes your player will take a touch to open up and sometimes he won’t but it seems the best method.
  • R2 shooting is indeed back and it is here where placement can prove pretty straight forward. The key is using Burst or Speed Burst to open up before taking a placed R2 modified strike on goal. However, simply opening up using standard dribble controls is also effective and should you position your player so that he is moving parallel to goal and with his preferred foot being farthest away from goal you can make those curling, placed strikes happen.
  • R2 shooting does not equate to finesse or curled strikes exclusively and you can get some power on these strikes on goal.
  • The L1 special chip shot that is performed in the same way as PES’ past (run parallel to goal) is another effective way to ensure correct placement and again is not lacking in power. Be mindful that only certain players can get the required action on the ball. Messi for example excels at this type of shot. Kenny Miller not so much.
  • By using Manual Modifier passing for lay-offs for strikes at goal by a team mate, this also increases the chances of getting the desired placement so long as you time your input correctly. Power isn’t an issue here as players tend to really put their foot through the ball when it is tee’d up for them, so no need to really power up your strike in quite the same way as when you are doing so with a player who has the ball at his feet. Note also that the ball has a tendency to sit up off the turf when it is laid off and this also results in more power.
  • Like R2 shooting, use of Burst and Speed Burst will help you power up shot and placement, as will sprinting with R1
  • Does L2 impact on shooting? Inconclusive currently but maybe. no harm in trying I guess!
  • User _anderson advises holding R1 before, during and after powering up (but not before selecting placement) your strike.
  • Grimm : ”L2 and quick double tap of the SQUARE button seems to be the recipe for that dipping shoot, granted if the player has the ability. Even though it’s not registered on them, Maxi, Gerrard and Adam of Liverpool FC can pull it off.How to: with enough space in front of you, either simply run or kick the ball further in front of you (like you would do when you setup a long range shoot), press and hold L2 and execute a quick double tap of the SQUARE. Double tap should be quick and brief as you don’t want to charge the power bar too much. Why?When the shoot is performed from a long distance, 30+ meters from the goal, the ball dips in front of the keeper and bounces off the ground making it extremely hard to catch, which gives you a 2nd chance at scoring if you have a goal poacher around.”

General Tips :

  • Always check player condition arrows before kicking off. Player condition has a higher impact on performance than arguably any other PES before.
  • Master using Offside Trap ( Left on the d-pad) to squeeze the game and close out easy through balls. Liberal but well timed use is key to sound defending. It is risky but practice, practice, practice as it is again arguably more useful than it has been in any football game that has come before given the strength of the AI.
  • Manual Keeper use is worth experimenting with for 1 v.1’s, positioning on crosses or simply trying to ”read” a shot on goal before it happens. It’s tricky, very tricky indeed (activated by pressing L1 and right stick) but can prove effective.
  • Don’t hold triangle to rush the keeper all the way to the ball carrier in a 1v.1 and instead use quick presses. Some players have reported that pushing up or down on the stick as the player shoots improves keepers success. Uncertain is this indeed the case but why not see what happens.
  • Make use of attack defence emphasis (L2 + up/down on d-pad) especially when you have just taken the lead or are protecting a lead in the dying minutes against the COM. They will go for it and look to even things up.
  • Make use of your subs.
  • Take time to re-adjust formation in accordance with opposition and look to experiment with tactical sliders.
  • Assign man-marking.
  • Make use of all four presets that are available on the fly and look to customise them to suit the task at hand.
  • Try the Copa libertadores and Champions League stand-alone modes as they are pretty epic, with the Copa proving an almighty challenge in particular.
  • Be patient. It isn’t all going to click immediately and if you find yourself getting frustrated take a break. Long sessions are great when it all goes well but you sometimes need to put the controller down and take a breather and come back fresh. The game is demanding, especially in defence and if you are not fully focused you will get swept aside by the COM.
  • Get yourself an Option File!

So there we have WENB’s PES2012 starter guide. All that detailed above is just some advice on getting things set right before heading off on your Football Life be that as player or manager…or club boss. It has to be conceded that there is much that remains unknown about certain aspects of gameplay but experimentation won’t do any harm. It is still very early days and there can be no doubt that the community will unravel more about the games complexities and mysteries in control as we progress, not to mention that Option Files should be amongst the finest yet in this generation regards flexibility, all thanks to the neat Import/Export feature. Also keep an eye out in the near future for some tactical advice thanks to some great work by folks in the wider community which is worth highlighting seeing as the game is something of a tactical sandbox and will enhance the experience for users over time.

If you have any additional tips or advice be sure to share them in the comments section below or better yet, join in on the discussion HERE.






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