(The article below contains the opinions of the author and does not necessary represent those of PXL)
After receiving some pretty bad press last time round with the initially underwhelming Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, Konami had some serious arse-kicking to do if they wanted to win over football fans this year round.
And they may have just come up with something brilliant.
Premature it may be (rivals FIFA are holding everything until the last possible moment) but it really looks like EA Sports are going to have to unearth something magical to top Seabass & co. this year.
PES 2011 was a good game, but there were little niggles with the game, slight faults and shortcomings that had it fall just short of FIFA 11 in the minds of many fans and critics alike. The player intelligence wasn’t up to scratch, and whereas FIFA felt sluggish at times, PES was at the complete other end of the spectrum and felt too mechanical for casual players to truly enjoy.
But now it’s back. With a vengeance.
The gameplay is sharper and more intense without feeling mechanical and blocky; attacking feels fluid and team moves form around the way YOU play. The AI has been completely revamped, both team-mates and opposition players are constantly adapting to the play, making tactical adjustments, starting runs, changing directions the way they do in real life.
They’ve also thrown out their old statistics settings and revamped them to work better with the game engine. They’re separated into sections for Technicality, Physicality and Speed, similar to the near-flawless Football Manager system. And boy does it make a difference to the individual gameplay. Top class players are suddenly set apart from the run of the mill midfield trudgers and suddenly, players like Pato and Berbatov are more threatening than ever.
But even gameplay aside, the work and effort that has gone into this game is evident all around. The 3D model pitchside cameras follow the match as they would in real life. Stewards pace around behind the goals, the groundsmen go onto the pitch during intervals. Konami have really dug deep on this one.
It would seem that the much loved Master League is being replaced with a new mode called “Football Life” and there are Profiles in the game that allow you to tailor the game towards your own style of play, amongst lots of other new features to look forward to.
So in short: Gameplay massively overhauled, visuals taken to another level, skills tweaked and stats upgraded. It’s like they listened and everything.
When the full version is released in a few weeks, it’s going to be one hell of a game.
Fans of EA titles are notoriously hard to debate with, but if there was ever a game to sway their opinion, it would be this one.
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