As a player of the series since PES 4 and having played the (offline) Master Leagues on Top level ever since, I consider myself a PES Veteran.
I have to make this review very short due to lack of time. I only played in offline Modus (Exhibition matches and Master League) on Top level.
- The offense behaviour of CPU teammates is improved compared to PES 2011. That means many more intelligent runs, and less such things as sudden stops during counterattacks.
- At the same time, the opponent defensive AI is improved, too. My 2011 standard goal, the low cross (3x tap long pass button) from near the corner flag is getting caught by defenders or the goalie much more often. Generally, your attacking player with the ball is covered better, and less space is given for you to exploit.
- I personally have not used it, but if the new feature of sending your teammates to a certain direction via the "R"-stick really works, this should give even more flexibility and freedom on the attack. And a big challenge in learning it, I suppose.
Trouble is, I will hardly bother with this new feature, because of the massive
- Defense: On a regular basis, my CPU teammates are being run through by attackers, and I mean that literally. Same issue as with PES 2011 really.
- The ball can be as close as one or two inches to a defender's foot and a foot or two away from the opponent's: Guess who will get the ball? Unfortunately again, this is hardly an exaggeration. My CPU teammates can just not be bothered with the ball. They sometimes have even problems to pick it up when no opponent is around.
- Ball Physics: I have two issues with that: First, often the ball bounces off my players in a weird angle, and way too far and fast. Also, when I build the game slowly up from behind and pass the ball around between my defense players, the ball seems to be slowed down a lot. When I tap the short pass button only quickly, the ball will slowly, slooooowly, move and just about reach the 5 yard distance before it stops. It is then getting picked up by an opponent attacker, or, if I am lucky, one of my teammates just about gets there first, under extreme pressure from a CPU opponent's striker, of course. The simplest of passes thus often become a real challenge. Main issue here is that it is not consistent: In other situations (mainly in the opponent's half, I have the feeling), a quick tap can mean a quite fast pass to a player up to 30 yards away!
- Change of defender: A great new feature that you can choose the defender you get via the "R"-stick. In theory. In practice, most of the time you get the defender closest to the ball only with a lag of a second or two. But hey: Once the attacker in possesion passed your defence line, you can get the chosen one, and witness the goal from up close!
Well, CPU Opponents going THROUGH players and keeping posession, passes bouncing off players in awkward angles and ridiculously fast, slowed down passes (especially in your own half!?!), CPU teammates who cannot be bothered with the ball and well-positioned defenders I cannot choose:
The game has HUGE potential, the attacking play I find really good and much improved, but with these most basic screw-ups in the defense it is just another big letdown by Konami. What a pity!
Edit: Just started another Master League. After Matchday one, my best player comes to "my office" and tells me he feels too fatigued to keep playing regularly.
Anybody interested in Konami's PES 2012 (PC version)? I got one spare!