Not quite a PES 2012 review part one: Club Boss mode
- PES 2012
The first part of our PES 2012 review feature looks at the new Club Boss mode. Words: Nick Ellis.
Today’s the day the embargo lifts for PES 2012 reviews to appear online, so in theory I should be serving up my verdict for you to digest. But if I did that, I’d be feeding you a load of bullshit. How so? Well I’ve only had my copy since the start of this week, which means I’ve only had the chance to invest around a dozen hours in the game. Now you may think this is more than enough time to absorb everything the new PES has to offer, and considering you can rinse many an action game (or even two) in that time, you may have a point.
However, writing as someone who for many years has struggled with a serious PES addiction (like '200+ hours racked up on PES 2010’s Master League' serious), I just don’t think it’s fair. And then there’s the fact that none of the online elements (as detailed here) are currently functioning, so it’s not like I can play the full game anyway. So I’m not going to review PES 2012, I’m going to assess some of PES 2012, and then in a few days I’m going to assess a few more aspects of PES 2012, and then a few days after that a bit more until I’m happy to dish out a PES 2012 review score. The PES 2012 release date isn’t until 14 October after all.
Now, the buring question on every reviewer’s lips when it has come to reviewing the last three or four iterations of Pro Evo is “has PES done enough this year to fend off the challenge of FIFA?” Read the reviews of PES 2012 that are already out there online and you’ll see that question rearing its head. And the answer is of course it fucking hasn’t, don’t be so stupid and stop boring your readers stupid. If you’re going to buy FIFA then you’re going to buy FIFA and, frankly, I couldn’t give a toss whether it’s better than PES this year (or last year or the year before that) because I don’t play FIFA.
And just to qualify that, I don’t mean FIFA’s a bad game, far from it. But how would I know anyway when I don’t play it? And just so you don’t thing we’re ignoring EA’s going-to-be-top-of-the-charts-on-Monday footie game, Mr Rich Keith will be along shortly with a Made2Game FIFA 12 review.
Anyway, what I’m going to do is cease with the profanities and take a detailed look at all the different elements of PES 2012 over several articles. So I guess this is for the hardcore Pro Evolution Soccer fanbase. All six of us that are left. Hi! So where shall we start?
How about with game modes? Well you’ll be shocked to hear that they’re the same as last year – Champions League, Master League, Copa Libertadores, national leagues (all of which are official bar the Premiership) and international cups and Become A Legend. BUT WHAT’S THIS? THERE’S A NEW ONE? Yes there is. It’s called Club Boss and having spent around 4 hours with it today I can safely say that it’s spectacularly bad.
At least he doesn't look like Peter Ridsdale...
In Club Boss, which has to be unlocked in the extras menu first but is cheap, you take on the role of the Chairman. Once you’ve chosen your personal appearance and decided which team to own and your secretary has introduced you to the press (which is relayed in what could very loosely be described as a cutscene), it’s down to business. And business in this business is setting the club’s operating budget for the season (which is essentially the same as you’d find in the Master League, so staff and player salaries and the rest available as a transfer kitty) and also its marketing budget (which will tempt punters into the fan club and hence you’ll get more revenue from ticket sales), both of which come from your personal kitty – I had £90 million as Northluck C (Norwich City) chairman.
And if you’re a hands-off kind of chairman, that’s it.
No really, that’s it, although if you want to you can ‘attend’ matches and watch the game being played out (there’s an option to watch at double-speed, mercifully), or you could not attend, view the results via menus and do something more exciting like clean your ears or watch a 2001/02 season review of Macclesfield Town on DVD.
TINKER, TAYLOR, SOLDIER ON... WHY?
In what must be every manager’s worst nightmare, you can also start getting involved with the club’s tactics and transfers if you fancy being a bit more hands-on. You can suggest different formations, line-ups and team styles and risk the wrath of your manager, who may or may not bend to your meddling ways depending on their personality (there’s a list of managers to employ, each with various traits and, charmingly, they're named after former Master League ‘favourites’ such as Iouga and Ximenez. You remember them, right?).
These 'cutscenes' appear in both the Master League and Club Boss mode. Makes a change from the menus, I guess.
With transfers, you can hunt out a player you’d like to sign and set negotiations in motion. There are problems with this. Firstly, you can only conduct one negotiation at a time, rendering it massively frustrating if your target turns you down after a fortnight. Second, you can also opt to spend some of your own personal funds to sweeten the deal. How this works and what the cash is used for is anyone’s guess, but we doubt the FA would approve. Confusingly, the extra cash you put in at the ‘use funds’ screen doesn’t relate to how much you see on the negotiations screen. Put in a million and it says you’re only putting in £10K. I think they’ve cocked up the decimal placing but it might be a bug.
Now, compounding matters on the transfer front is that your manager seems totally adverse to buying anyone, yet is happy to let half your squad leave. I’ve played for three seasons and the three managers I’ve had (of varying personalities and salary levels) have bought one player between them despite me giving them tens of millions to spend at their discretion, yet at the same time they’ve flogged the squad so its down to its bare bones. Eh? It doesn’t make any sense and sackings took place following the inevitable relegation to Division 2.
There’s potential in Club Boss, for sure: tinkering with stadiums, negotiating sponsorship deals, trying to flog the land off to Tesco… just generally making it something more akin to a proper management mode but with the club-owner twist would go down very nicely. As it is, Club Boss in PES 2012 is a tacked on piece of nonsense that strips out the vast majority of the enjoyable and thoughtful non-playing elements of Master League.
That’s your lot for today, PES fans. Thanks to all six of you for reading and I’ll be back tomorrow or Friday with more.
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