E3 2010: Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 PreviewBy Sterling McGarvey - Posted Jun 21, 2010
What We Already Know:
Konami has sent out press releases promising that this year's PES will deliver vast improvements over the previous year with new features, a revamped passing system, smarter AI, and... stop me if you're heard this before.
What We're Seeing Now:
Konami delivering. After years of promising features, PES looks to have regained its footing again. PES 2010 was arguably the first good game in this console generation, and with PES 2011, it appears that the Tokyo-based team has finally made the adjustments that it will need to compete with FIFA.
Although there’s lots in store for the new game, the crux of the E3 presentation was to show off the number of gameplay refinements, and frankly, they’re the most dramatic I’ve seen in a soccer game since FIFA’s big transition three years ago. Konami showed off video footage of how things work in the current game, and how they’ll be revamped in PES 2011.
For one, there’s no more traditional power/stamina bar for your player. Instead, there’s a curved rainbow that’s located below your player. It’s everything you need to play.
It looks like both of this year’s soccer games are getting overhauls to their passing game. FIFA 11 is introducing a new passing style to prevent online pinball passing, while PES is throwing out all of its old techniques for something far riskier. Rather than focusing solely on the player, the degree that you mash the pass button determines minute details. You can pass the ball to a player’s stronger or weaker foot depending on how you set it up. You can also pass the ball out into space, and your teammate will make a run for it. The same goes for aerial passes, where you can pass across to the wings to widen the attack. It took me some getting used to -- and I’ll still be adjusting in the next demo -- but it totally changes the tactics how I’m used to passing. It looks like you’ll never need to use a through pass again when you can just pass a longer ball out into space. And it affects throw-ins, too.
On defense, Konami is changing the way you pressure an attacker. Instead of just pressing, you can hold up play. The idea isn’t to trap the ball as much as it is to slow his momentum and force a pass, or better, let you close him down. You can now hold down a button, and once you’re got the right amount of defensive push, you can snap the stick toward him and commit to the tackle to win it clean. In addition, the physics have been changed so that in jostling for air balls, players realistically bounce off one another.
Arguably the coolest things I saw was the revised trick system. Instead of rather uniform stepovers, which you can still do with the right stick, you can pre-program a set of special moves and chain them together. So, for example, you can set up a feint into a rainbow flick and your player will string the move together. An arsenal of cool-looking, but very useful moves could go a long way if this system works. It’s no longer about being flashy and showing off now.
And that’s all Konami’s showing for now. I’ve been promised that Konami will roll out more as the summer marches on (mostly likely at GamesCom) on other new refinements like Online Master Modes, Become a Legend, big Edit Mode news, and some big license announcements. With PES 2011’s new adjustments, I’d say that the war between soccer franchises has heated up again. From the look of it, we’ve got an arms race this year.