Roberto Baggio

Roberto Baggio
Il Divin Codino

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 - Demo 1 Impressions

The Good
  • PES 2011 was engineered for freedom and this year Konami have not only stuck to the slogan, the freedom available in the game is more pronounced and more accessible than before. In a sentence, play it your way. Target man, possession, counter attack, down the wings, down the middle. It is all about getting the best out of the players you got.
  • Stumbling animation is gone.
  • Switching system is a simple yet vital addition. Although it still works quite bad on Assisted.
  • Fewer loading times have lead to a more seamless gameplay.
  • Player response is very very good, but not in an unrealistic FIFA way i.e. ball sticking to the players feet. The momentum is still there, just much faster response time and therefore...
  • ...Dribbling has improved significantly. And my god, isn't it so much fun. In this category, it is the best football game to date in my opinion. However, there are currently too many players that can dribble past others quite easily despite not being good dribblers or controllers of the ball. Reminds me of PES 2009 a little, unfortunately.
  • Ball physic is also improved in passing, shooting and crossing. It feels right.
  • Referees are improved as well as collision detection. This was certainly needed as this year PES is also more physical and therefore in need of a decent refereeing system.
  • Player awareness is improved in defence and offence. Awareness of defensive positioning as well as forward runs are improved significantly.
  • Training mode is not only a way to learn to play the game, it helps in understanding the way Konami have implemented different features of the game and overall is a blast and a truly welcome re-addition.
  • Better anti-aliasing has given the PC version a smoother look.

The Bad
  • While the stumbling behaviour is gone, I sometimes feel the players are too good at getting back on their feet. Almost too aware of the situation while they are stumbling.
  • Player switching in general is still not satisfactory.
  • Players still seem to be walking on a fixed rail in certain situations and you can't change their direction.
  • The CPU sometimes decides to play the pass to a wrong receiver, especially when the two players are slightly aligned with the pass direction.
  • Game feels a little too fast on 0 (zero). This can discourage midfield play.
  • Advantage rule could be implemented better, although it has improved since 2011.
  • Dribbling (as stated in The Good)
  • Not a big fan of the new lighting system. It looks quite dark and gives PES an slight spooky/zombie feel, especially when you see Fletcher shouting.
  • In the sound department, PES is still lacking a lot. The sound effects, for example the ball hitting the bar, are quite bad. Also quality of sounds and effects are not as good the competitors. And what's up with Italian/Brazilian fans roaring 'Yeaaaah!' when their team scores?!
  • Ball physics can still be problematic where it has unrealistic rebounds (off the crossbar for example) or on long balls have too much spin on them and therefore take ages to travel.

The Ugly
  •  Player personality is not as pronounced as previous titles. While I was not a fan of elephant touches or the lacklustre shooting system in PES 2011, the majority of players are now too good at ball control, passing and shooting. These abilities and actions should be exclusive to special players with high ratings in the respective stats.
  • Passing is just too good. This was a major concern for me in 2011, and unfortunately you can still see FIFA 10-esque ping-pong passing. It might get better in longer matches, but that should not be used as an excuse since online matches aren't that long anyway. Flair passing also exists in abundance. This should be exclusive to certain players only.
  • Shooting is also a bit too good to be true. Maybe I am too used to 2011's system which was quite hard and took a long time to get the hang of the body shape and the floating ball physics, which by no means I think they were realistic or fun, but I at the same time 2012's shooting system is way too easy to pull off. You can almost shoot from any situation with a lot of them ending up at least on target, regardless of your balance, being pressured or surrounded by opposition defenders. Add this to terrible goalkeeping and I'm already seeing basketball-like scorelines.
  • Defender awareness could be improved a lot. It was quite a big deal in 2011 and unfortunately it is still there despite some improvements. I have witnessed there are still times where the defender fails to intercept or clear a ball just a yard away when he would have in real life, or at times the awareness of the player of the ball going out of play (throw-in, corner, goal kick and even goal-line) is still pretty much non existent, or the defender failing to track balls (especially chipped through balls) by suddenly stopping for no reason. I have lost count of the number of own goals conceded and scored already in the demo. On the other hand, I have seen some defenders trying to intercept balls that they really can't touch by sliding, therefore opening up space for the attackers and before the defender can get up it is already too late
  • Another problem with defending is lack of a physicality when stopping attackers. It can be said as of now, that the attackers can run through the defender at ease where in real life there would be a collision or an interception. I would like an improved jockeying/jostling system where by going into jockeying mode the defender can cover a larger radius in order to stop dribbles or to block shots or crosses.
  • Goalkeepers are in a very bad state right now, however Konami have promised to improve them big time until release so hopefully this won't be a major concern.
  • Unfortunately still a lot of weird, absurd, loose and ugly animations. Also need more variety in animations as they are currently very limited and for example, don't give you a good impression how a ball is hit at all. What happened to those PES 2010 mocaps?

    Saturday, 13 August 2011

    Adios Cesc Fábregas and the world's most tedious transfer saga ever

    The Arsenal skipper is finally on his way to Barcelona, ending two summers' worth of sickening and stupid sycophancy, mind-blowing hypocrisy, and tireless crowing from Catalonia

    The sun still comes up in the morning, the birds still chirp away, the government still taxes us, and cats and dogs still don't get along. In short, the world is exactly as it always was, which must come as something of a surprise to Arsenal fans who for the past two or three years have been wailing their arms in anger about the temerity of Barcelona wanting to buy Cesc Fábregas.

    Of course, however, they had a right to be narked off at the sanctimoniously melodramatic ways in which Barcelona players, managers, officials, sympathisers and assorted reprobates have tried to entice the little midfielder back home.

    Chief crower has been Xavi, who, when he isn't busy making his opponents dizzy by spinning the Barcelona passing carousel on the pitch, is flapping his face off about the unjustness of Arsenal keeping Fábregas, as though it was their fault that the Spanish side had not stumped up the necessary money to buy him time and time again.

    In July, Xavi fought back the tears to tell Barcelona's official website – who, rather than telling him that he was acting like a humongous doofus, published his thought fart – that the Arsenal skipper was "suffering" by being kept in London, conjuring up an image of Fabregas being incarcerated in a cage by day only to be released to play for 90 minutes every once in a while, rather than of a multi-millionaire footballer who was presumably not forced at gun point to sign a lucrative long-term contract only a couple of years ago.

    Xavi has since gone on to describe Fábregas as the last piece in the Barcelona puzzle, a sentiment echoed rather stupidly by winger Pedro, who said he would be thrilled to be in the same team as the 24-year-old. (Presumably he meant to say "I'd be dead happy to sit alongside him on the bench", because that's exactly where the two of them are likely to wind up next season given the Champions League winners have also splashed out big time on Alexis Sánchez this summer.) 

    A whole array of Catalan cretins have gotten all emotional about it, with the mayor of Fábregas's home town (sensibly Boris Johnson, the oafish toff who lauds it over London, has stayed quiet) saying the midfielder was "experiencing a kidnapping" because Arsenal weren't letting him leave. This feckless moron, like many other Camp Nou cronies, quite clearly doesn't seem to understand that a player under contract cannot just up sticks and leave as he wishes – there's the small matter of reaching a suitable financial agreement with the club that pays his significant wages and has turned him into a world-class player. If you want a Ferrari, you don't turn up at the dealership expecting to get a massive discount and then have a toddler-like strop when they rightly refuse not to give you one.

    But it's not just our Iberian friends who have acted like indignant buffoons throughout this most tedious of transfer sagas. Take Arsène Wenger, for instance. The French boss has banged on incessantly about Barcelona tapping Fábregas up by talking gibberish about him for the past two years, but the man at the helm at the Emirates has long talked about other club's players.

    While he's not quite reached Harry Redknapp levels of "I don't like talking about other managers' players, but…" hypocrisy, Wenger prattled on about Marouane Chamakh when he was still at Bordeaux (and what a fool he must feel now having seen the Moroccan snooze through the second half of last season).

    Le Professor also took the moral high ground when Arsenal and Barcelona clashed in the Champions League over the past two seasons, painting himself as some sort of paragon of virtue in the transfer market rather than the bane of academies the world over. 

    But the real villain in this pathetic episode is not Wènger, nor the Barcelona bores who haves blurted out inane overtures for the last two years, it's the man himself: the fabulously fatuous Fábregas. The man at the centre of what had for a long time appeared to be a painfully never-ending pursuit has mostly kept schtum for the last two summers, except to cover himself like a dithering politician keen not to lose voters by hinting – often at the same time – that he would like to return to his boyhood club but that he is honoured to be at Arsenal.

    The whole world knew that he wanted out of the Emirates to return to Barcelona, yet he failed to come out and say so openly, presumably to appear 'loyal' to Arsenal supporters.

    But he's taken those same fans for a ride with his gutlessness by not handing in a transfer request. Steven Gerrard did it in 2005 yet still remains a club icon, while Wayne Rooney has won over the fans he had fuming with his disgusting act of greed in October last year; therefore, Fabregas can't claim that he didn't want to hand in a transfer request out of loyalty to Arsenal supporters, who have hero-worshipped him throughout this sordid saga. 

    Quite clearly the impish schemer was thinking as much with his bank balance as he was with his heart, not wanting to walk away from the small fortune he'd be entitled to receive by being sold – ostensibly – against his wishes having not handed in a transfer request. Finally he did realise that to make his dream move come true he would have to fork into his own pocket, but in coming to his senses so late he has risked ruining the summer of the club he professes to love.

    Now though, finally, he's gone. Arsenal have a small fortune to spend (though knowing
    nger's spreadsheet ways, he might be happy to just add most of that to the profit margin) and should be strengthened, their fans can stop worrying about whether or not their skipper will be sold, and Xavi and Pedro and all the other morons will shut up once and for all.

    The world might not have stopped turning the day Fábregas finally got his wish, but by golly it's a less tedious one now.

    Oh, and Cesc, on the off chance that you read this: on behalf of all of those that have been bored stiff by you, please do not ever come back.

    Originally written by Nick Price

    Friday, 12 August 2011

    What will the future hold after Pastore's transfer to Paris Saint-Germain?

    It feels like as if it was ages ago. Palermo's president Maurizio Zamparini's talk about a transfer of his superstar Javier Pastore was one of the hot-topics (which later became a comedy) in transfer world during the past year. One day it was Barcelona offering €40 million for the Argentine, the next day it would be Madrid bidding €50 million. It was as if either Zamparini was trying to big up his player to get a big chunk of cash at the end of the season, or he truly believed in his young starlet. Whatever it was, Pastore did not join the Spanish giants, instead moving to be part of the new project of Paris Saint-Germain for €42 million, a plan which has already been started after the acquisition of the French club by the wealthy Qatar Investment Authority this June.

    Whether Pastore is worth this amount is another question however, and opinions about this can very from one to another. What can be said for sure is that there is no doubt in El Falco's ability, as it has been seen a countless of times in the last couple of season when Pastore carried his team to 5th place in his first season and 7th in 2010-11 with his outstanding playmaking skills and technical ability. However, there has been some doubts about his consistency; Pastore has underperformed against Italy's big guns, he is slightly slow and he is not known for being the most hard working player on the field. Nor he has shined for the national team, La Albiceleste in official matches, usually coming as a substitute or warming the bench for a whole night. Whether he will be a great signing for PSG, or whether he will be a flop remains to be seen.

    On the other hand, it may also look as if Pastore has taken a step down by deciding to playing a second tier European league after playing two years in Italian top flight, but knowing that PSG will have enough funds to attract big names, especially if they manage to reach Champions League next season, and having already signed plenty of good players such as Kévin Gameiro, Jérémy Ménez, Blaise Matuidi, Mohamed Sissoko and Pastore's former team-mate Salvatore Sirigu as well as hiring Inter's last season's coach, the Brazilian Leonardo, the future looks bright in the French capital, as well as for the Argentine youngster.

    For Palermo, it can be said that they sealed a great deal with PSG regarding Pastore's transfer. But life may be hard for Rosanero without him. Having gone on decline after a promising 2009-10 and losing their superstar and top scorer as well as their trusty goalkeeper, things may start to look questionable for Palermo and we haven't seen any star signings for Palermo to replace the voids yet. Whether the current Palermo team  can cope without the stars whom left, considering they would want to finish on top half of the table, remains to be seen. It can be confidently say that there task of scoring goals will be felt more than ever on shoulders of Abel Hernández and captain Fabrizio Miccoli.