Central to its total freedom of play, PES 2011 introduces a power bar for each player that allows the user to determine the exact strength and placement of every pass and shot. Balls can now be spread absolutely anywhere with utter precision, with long balls into space, short passes to feet and intricate one-twos allowing the player to dictate play and control the tempo of a match.
This freedom of play is also extended via new AI routines designed to place every move and decision in the player’s hands. No longer will assisted AI intervene during matches; users will now need to sense and react to threats; and passes will not automatically reach the nearest player. Instead, all-new routines facilitate complete control both of the player and their chosen actions in every respect to give the player sublime control over every movement.
“It was time for PES to transform, and PES 2011 represents the most ambitious redesign in the series’ history,” commented Jon Murphy, European PES Team Leader for Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH. “We’ve continued to work closely with the fans to pinpoint what it is about football that PES didn’t do. Total freedom was the priority and all-new animation a must. PES 2011 does both – indeed, they are directly linked to each other – and while the new game is recognisably PES at its heart, it is also the most radically improved version ever.”
Key to PES 2011’s new approach is a specially-designed control system that allows total control over every element of play. The triangulation of passes and making space using clever runs becomes paramount, and build-up play is everything. Likewise, dribbling and close control are tougher to master, and the days of making streaking runs through the centre of the park are over, as PES mirrors the real-life football.
The result is the most complete and realistic PES to date. PES 2011 delivers an evolved experience that still has the key PES ehthos of skill and realism at its core. Likewise, every other aspect of the game has been totally reworked, including:
- Total Control: PES Productions has enhanced the 360-degree passing ratio, offering unprecedented levels of control over every pass, shot, throw-in, through ball and lofted through balls. This allows users to pass the ball into space, and move their play with total freedom. Players must precisely weight their passes and second-guess the runs of their team-mates and exploit their movement. Players even can apply pressure on opponents to force them off the ball.
- Shot & Stamina Gauge: In addition to the generic power gauge, the Shot & Stamina meter details the player’s exact level of fitness. Constantly sprinting will affect the player’s movements and will have an adverse affect on his stats, with passes going awry and a loss of pace.
- New Defender AI: Defenders now hold their positions naturally, no longer chasing any ball that enters their area; preferring to close down the attacker and force them into a mistake.
- Animation and Player Physics: PES Productions has totally reworked every element of in-game animation. These additions will become clear before even kick-off, with the players enjoying fluid, natural movements, with more realistic acceleration and inertia than ever before. The physicality between players is also improved, which was a priority requested in PES forums. Jostling and blocking now looks stunning, while there is a larger variety of convincing tackling styles. Ambient animation also adds immensely to the in-game atmosphere, as players behave realistically when off the ball, and walk and run with a variety of individual styles.
- Speed of Play: The new level of control means that PES 2011 enjoys a more considered pace of play, which varies dependent on situations. The game will burst into life as counter-attacks come into play, but players can dictate the pace via slow build up or exploiting available space to surge forward. It is harder to make long runs from midfield, and successful play will depend on making quick passes to make room.
- Aesthetics: PES 2010 showcased the best likenesses in a football game, and PES 2011 ups the ante further. Facial animation has been enhanced, but the key advances are over 1000 all-new animations which have been recreated from the ground up using over 100 hours of motion captured footage. Every aspect of player movement has been reworked, with more organic runs, turns, throw-ins, tackles, and interaction. The way players speed up and slow down is also more natural, while replays display elements of motion blur that bring your saved goals to vivid life.
- Tactical and Strategy: The sheer number of options available in the PES series has established it as a remarkably flexible simulation, allowing players to stamp their playing style on each match. The PES Productions team has implemented an all new ‘Drag and Drop’ mechanism that can be used in every aspect of team management, not just substitutions or formation changes. These settings are also animated to promote better understanding of the plays that have been altered.
- Feint settings: PES has always offered a wide range of subtle skills, feints and turns, but PES 2011 allows users to map their favourite move sequences to the right stick, making them more accessible than ever before.
- Master League Online: Master League will offer an all-new challenge, as users are invited to try their hand against other managers online. PES 2011 will mark the online debut for its much-loved Master League element, with players bidding against each other for the world’s best players, and attempting to build a squad that can compete with the best against online peers all over the globe.
PES 2011 also features a myriad of smaller additions, all designed to enhance the overall experience. The game’s difficulty level has been upped thanks to the greater control on offer, while new camera angles showcase the game’s stunning visuals and animation. Likewise, in accordance with the strong wishes of the fan base, both referees and goal keepers have been improved in both aesthetic and AI terms, while an all-new commentary process has been implemented that offers a better and less repetitive overview of the proceedings.
The game will also see the return of Lionel Messi – arguably the greatest player in the modern game – as its cover star, and the expansion of its UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League elements, and the addition of the Copa Liberadores, South America’s most influential and important club-based competition.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg for PES 2011,” concluded Murphy. “We have some significant announcements still to come regarding game modes and gameplay functions. The first footage of the new game perfectly showcases the new animation and freedom elements that beat at the heart of the new game. We are confident that PES 2011 will both surprise and delight football fans. They are going to have to relearn how they play, as this is a very different game, but I am confident it will blow them all away.”
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