To this end, PES 2012 continues Konami’s determination to work with fans of both the PES series and football in general, to create a truly realistic, immersive and utterly playable take on the modern game. Thus, the focus in PES 2012 is the instinctive way the game can be played and on teamwork in particular. Seabass and his Tokyo team have worked to recreate the very essence of top-level football, ensuring the new game’s AI engine has undergone a major overhaul and provide an experience akin to being part of a real team.
Konami has unleashed a huge raft of advances to the game’s many online modes and content. These have all been devised following extensive user feedback during the game’s development, and expand on the number of ways PES 2012 can be enjoyed.
The game’s Master League Online retains the competitive basis as users steer their club to glory against other like-mined users, but the popular option has been tailored to offer a more realistic experience. Team styles can now be altered to benefit the user’s favoured playing style, with options to choose from balanced play, physical, speed, technique, set-pieces and teamwork. The use of contract periods for players has also been introduced and players may have to be sold if their wage and improved contract demands cannot be met. Likewise, the fitness – even injuries – of players is more realistic, with more continuity between matches.
PES 2012 is a game designed to play with and against friends, and the game now offers matches for up to eight people via the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC versions. To complement this, Community Mode has been improved to give users access to a wider range of opponents. Community groups of up to 100 users can be joined, and there are Bulletin Boards for members to pass on messages to each other. Similarly, inter-community matches have been incorporated to add rivalry between the groups.
The general match-making elements of online play in PES 2012 have also been overhauled. Players are now more likely to be pitched against a rival whose manner resembles their own. Those disconnecting to thwart a defeat will also be blocked from competitions and players with poor reputations will be pitted against one another and the whole PES 2012 online system has been enhanced to offer a smoother experience.
Facebook functionality has also been added in the form of myPES, a special tool that allows users to invite friends into bespoke leagues and that will see match results being trackable via the myPES application. myPES is available as a free Facebook application when PES 2012 launches, and will enable users to share match results among friends via their Facebook walls. This service will then be extended in October, to allow people to invite friends into their own competitions, log their results and automatically update the league tables after online or offline matches among human players and unlock a range of special awards.
“Online is a key element to PES 2012 and we have worked hard to deliver options that enhance both the competitive edge of the game, and that bolster the solo modes in Master League Online,” commented Jon Murphy, European PES Team Leader for Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH. “Those that have previously exploited online loop holes will be punished, while the stunning Active AI will bring a real edge to online games – with the results logged into leagues of your friends and peers. PES 2012 is all about skill, playing a team’s strengths and flowing football – who wouldn’t want to share that with their mates!”
Attacking play is a cornerstone of PES 2012, and the new game benefits from a more open approach that allows users to dictate the pace of movement, with all-new AI elements incorporated so team mates make runs and offer support in one-on-one situations. Players make useful dummy runs to draw defenders, and this offers users greater options to move the ball around when they are being closed down. Thus, the team works together a more cohesive unit, reacting to the movements of the player with the ball, and working to force the opposing team into mistakes.
Zonal marking and positional defending are also massively enhanced; ensuring players are forced to work harder to split the opposition defense. Meanwhile a new cursor switching system has been implemented using the right analogue stick to switch to any player on the field. This allows users to pick a team mate anywhere on the pitch, thereby allowing players to react to threats faster, and to shut down attacks more quickly. Hold up play is being tweaked to give even greater control. AI defenders are able to hold a much tighter defensive line, position themselves better and track opponents more efficiently. The off-the-ball switching also extends to key set pieces, such as goal kicks, corners, free kicks and throw-ins, and allows users to target a specific player and send them on runs or to drag defenders out of position, and allows for quick breaks and space to be exploited more easily.
The physicality of top-level football is represented as PES 2012 extends the jostling system of its predecessor. Defenders rely on their strength and stature to force a player from the ball as strikers and play makers make use of unique attributes to beat their markers. Tighter, more accurate collisions see players tumbling dependent on how they are knocked off the ball. Crucially, control is not lost, allowing the stumbling player to be brought directly back under control.
The result is a game that, more than ever, truly represents the key attributes of the world’s greatest players, but without sacrificing balance and allowing single players to waltz undefended through a game. Coupled with heavily tweaked animation, more detailed lighting techniques, a wider variety of player styles, improved dead-ball situations, expanded tactics and a new customizable pass feature, means that PES 2012 truly captures the essence of top-flight football.
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