Say hi to ‘Zero Passing Assistance’!

I play PES purely for fun. I’m not after trophies, ranking or such stuff. What gives me maximum fun in a football game is how close the game is to real football. That explains the countless hours I spend on editing the game.

As always I started playing this PES also on ‘professional’ difficulty level. I haven’t still mastered it and I think I’ll spend months on this level before graduating to ‘top player’ or ‘superstar’. While I like how the game moves and flows this year, I did notice that there are little animation scripts that kind force itself to run during the game. They are present. If you realise that there are moments in the game where you lose control of the player, that’s because of this. This kind of spoils the fun for me to even watch my player for a second or two knowing I can’t really control him during those moments.

And why does this happen? It happens because of passing assistance. I’m playing in full passing assistance which means when I make a slightly wrong pass, the game will connect the ball and the pass receiver and this has to happen through a forced piece of animation. The moment the ball enters a particular zone radius of the pass receiver the animation kicks in and you need to wait for a second or two for it to complete. If you make a perfect pass by yourself (despite having full passing assistance) the impact of this animation script will be none or low. Only when the game tries to correct your wrongs, such things will have to happen. Some people may not even notice it. It’s too subtle. For some people it might stick out like a sore thumb.

To remove this, I went to the other extreme – zero passing assistance. It was hard. Every time before I click the X button, I had very consciously to make sure that the direction and weight of the pass are correct. Which also means I need more focus and concentration. On the positive side, what it did was to completely remove the ‘player lock animation script’ and free the player from the ball and vice versa.

What I wanted from zero pass assistance was only the freedom from that ‘player lock animation script’ but what I also got in return was the real PES – as the game is meant to be played. Zero passing assistance meant that your and the opponent players movement will be even more because you can make a number of stray passes, over-hit passes and under-hit passes, just like real football. The possibilities that this zero passing assistance has created is immense. Some of my attacking plays are not unpredictable and most importantly unintended too. The game has really opened up a new layer for me.

Now a number of player attributes such as responsiveness and explosive power comes to the fore. When you pass to an open space (not a through pass), you will see which players react that situation quickly and who occupies the key spaces on the pitch (attributes like ‘attack’ and ‘defence’ put to test). You would also see opportunities for your central midfielder running towards a loose ball or an open ‘uncontrolled’ ball and blast it from 35 yards, which is very different from running with the ball and blasting it from 35 yards.

I’m still learning the passing with zero pass assistance. I don’t think I’ll ever master it. I would still make mistakes because it’s not just a matter of skill it’s also a matter of focus and concentration which normally doesn’t stay flat everyday. It’s like professional footballers making mistakes. Not that they don’t know how to pass – they just make mistakes. But this means, I can’t be playing ‘professional’ with zero pass assistance unless I’m a masochist.

I’ve dropped down to ‘regular’. For the first time in my PES/WE ‘career’, I’ve dropped to regular difficulty. Plus I’ve notched up the match time to 20 minutes because I need to carefully pass around and built the attack. I don’t want to be rushed when I’m playing with no pass assistance. And finally, all matches are on -2 gamespeed.

You should try this out. Be patient. Play as a strong team against a weak team if you want. Take your time, pass around and just don’t worry about the results. You will realise that you’re unearthing a new PES 2012.

This is probably how this game is meant to be played. I only wish Konami get a better PR team to talk about their game and educate us with the hidden treasures within the game. Until then community members like you and me will do the free service for Konami. Try ZPA (Zero Passing Assistance) and share your thoughts here. Cheers!

PES 2012 – How well are the games paced?

I’ve played some brilliant matches in PES 2012 so far. Interestingly, each match has truly played in a different style. In every match, players in different positions have turned out to be key players. Some have been pacy and some have been slow. Overall, everytime I start a match, I really don’t know what awaits me on the pitch.

Brazil vs Argentina: Having tweaked Brazil they are now stronger. Argentina had more pace upfront and were very dangerous on counterattacks. Brazil on the other hand kept the ball well in tight spaces and were constantly looking to break the tight Argentina defence. Good quality match but was on a hurry.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Way too fast and congested. The game played at 100m per hour and that meant not being able to get the best of the technically gifted players on the pitch. Didn’t enjoy it at all. I think the problem is that the players are too agile and that makes the game move very quickly. Some editing effort ahead.

Boca Juniors vs River Plate: Best match I’ve played on PES 2012! just awesome how the game played and developed. Both are technically good teams with not too much pace in them. Both teams created chances with some lovely build-up play. This was a top quality match with some excellent football on display.

Everton vs Aston Villa: Both teams had good players but no world class players. Again, players with lower agility and pace. And that meant a proper game of football. It’s no coincidence that I seem to like the match-ups between the tier 2 teams than the ones between European giants.

Traditionally in PES series, the games between the less pacy teams have always produced best football. It is the pace and agility of some teams that doesn’t get the best out of PES. Probably this is the reason why so many people love master league. Games are slow and tactical there.

I’m looking at some editing work on pace and agility so the game plays at a measured pace and plays a tactical game. I think I might have to start with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Why is Brazil so weak in PES 2012?

It’s official. My tactics project on PES 2012 has begun. Having applied a decent option file and having played numerous exhibition matches, a few tournaments and some BAL matches, time is ripe for the tactics project.

The most important thing in the tactics project is to understand the sliders and what Konami intended to do with those sliders. With no piggyback guide these days, we pretty much need to learn by trial and error, given the poor and insufficient in-game instructions from Konami.

Firstly, I’m out experiment with all the preset sliders and how they impact the progress on the pitch. It’s important to know the pros and cons of each preset and what kind of players would be needed for each preset. Plus this thing called the team style.

I played as Argentina against Brazil on professional difficulty where I was very easily able to deal with Brazil. They were no challenge while I was running riot. When I investigated further, I noticed two important factors (a) the team work stats of Brazilian players are much lower (b) Brazil’s default preset is “all out defence”!!!

I was sure that the preset needs to change but unsure if it should be ‘possession game’ or ‘all out attack’ or ‘quick counter’. It’s not how the real Brazil plays. It’s about how these sliders are implemented by Konami.

So far, in my experience, the ‘quick counter’ preset seems to be more balanced if you know how to defend well. When I set Brazil to ‘quick counter’, they were looking for counterattacks but as soon as I closed the channels and spaces, they started building the attack in a slightly more considerate fashion.

‘Possession game’ should achieve something similar but it’s not taking advantage of the very quick attackers in the Brazil frontline.

I’m still experimenting by playing against Brazil in different presets and will surely post here with my findings.

What’s been your experience so far? How have you understood the sliders in PES 2012?