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Simply the best PES yet
on 1 October 2012
I am an unashamed fan of PES, as many people reading this review will also be. What you may be asking yourself is "have Konami actually done anything we wanted them to do to improve PES this time around??" - and the simple answer is "yes".
I have to say I was taken by surprise, given Konami's history in giving with one hand and taking away with the other. All too often we have witnessed some improvements in certain game play aspects, whilst others have been left to languish or have been tweaked for the worse. Here is a brief review of the core game aspects:
Aspects which were already ok:
Graphics - players seem a bit more solid - animations tweaked for the better. Larger number of nicely detailed Stadia.
Passing - great range of passing, through balls nicer, though defence splitting passes need good skill and good timing
Gameplay - still the best - and with the tactical systems unchanged form last year it still plays very well when setting up for a 4-5-1 quick counter away from home (hint). The tempo is also very good, offering some good option to either build up play slowly or go for a rapid attack down the wings.
R1 control is good.
Aspects which needed improving:
Shooting - great variety of shooting, and this year your shots aim for where they were intended. Chips/lobs are better to look at but still tricky to pull off. Controlled finishes are still useful when appropriate.
Goalkeeping - more saves are parried out for corners rather than directly in front of forwards
Tackling - 2 simple but effective additions are the "shadow" function to track back in front of the attacker, and the double tap function which turns the "pressure" button into a tackle - sorely needed and fun to use. Timing is still critical but you are rewarded with more tackles won, compared with giving fouls away over the years (though sliding in still risks a booking).
ML Training - we are taken back to the concept of allocating focus points against training types. I personally prefer this. There is also the addition of a "shop" where you can use XP to buy "upgrades". It sounds a bit iffy - but I think it freshens things up a bit in Master League, with either a training boost to one of your players stats, or the addition of new boots for better pace, shooting etc.
Music (sorry) is better, with the annoying techno bleeps now an optional addition from the system menu!
MOMENTUM - amazingly it seems harder for defenders to tag on and rip the ball away, but it's also harder (in general) to dribble past them. Challenges and barges seem to be more fairly doled out.
The menus are fine, the commentary is fine, and the Master League environment is also fine. Player signings are well played out and the daft cut scenes and coach comments are retained.
Finally! Thank you Konami. The peripheral components are almost irrelevant to the argument now (who cares about strip editing or name editing) - and the reason for this is that the core game is simply the best that there has ever been. It still has the atmosphere and the ability to thrill and frustrate, but the key to success in PES is getting the tactics right, and now there is better shooting, tackling and graphics to boot. It feels more of an entertaining and rewarding experience, but with the best on pitch action to date.
NB apologies to anybody who lacks the attention span to read all of this review. I designed the title with you in mind.