Football games get a bad wrap when it comes to incremental yearly updates. Although it?s true that some iterations in a football game series are only filled minor tweaks and transfer updates, it?s not really fair to discount all the hard work that has got it to the point it is in its current state. I?ve also found that each purchase is completely justified when compared to the amount of hours I?ve put into each game.
When PES 2011
was released I was pleasantly surprised that the series was starting to pull its socks up. Although I still much preferred FIFA
, I?d crack out PES 2011
on the odd occasion. Over three years Konami have consistently improved the game to the point where many critics rate the series over its competition.
I was a little worried then when they announced that they planned to rebuild PES
on a completely new engine. It was a risky move after winning over so many fans but a commendable one. Although Konami have announced that this years iteration will not grace the next generation of consoles, they?re clearly preparing for next year.
The new Fox engine offers a lot of improvements for the series, but the first thing you?ll notice is the visual overhaul. It still has the series? distinct look but the colour palate has been brightened somewhat. It not longer looks like you?re playing in a sunday league game over the park on a dreary morning. Instead you?re kicking about on a bright crisp Saturday afternoon.
Stadia and the crowds that sit within them look fantastic. I?ve visited many grounds in my supporting life and even a quarter-full Ricoh Arena on a Tuesday night feels some what alive. Many fans around me described the place as ?dead?; if it was dead then the stadiums in videogames were fossilised. Here though they seem buzzing with movement and genuinely add to the atmosphere off the pitch.
From afar the in game action looks incredible. Players look real in build and movement and I had moments where I lost myself in the game completely. Players are recognisable instantly by stances, models and animation. It?s a huge improvement over the last few games and even challenges FIFA
But the old issue remains when you start looking at the detailing close up and although it doesn?t spoil the overall look while in game, it does through up some laughable imagery, especially with some of the player likenesses.
I?m also hoping with the new Metal Gear
game running on the same engine that it can handle cutscenes because it clearly cant here. Looking at the players line up in the tunnel is pretty impressive but completely spoiled by the terrible frame rate.
The stuttering visuals don?t stop there either and although they may be acceptable in the prematch build up scenes that are usually skipped, they?re not in the in game menu system.
Making substitutions is an absolute ball-ache as not only have Konami stuck by their terrible cursor-based system, they made said cursor move like Battlefield
on a 56k modem.
Even the radar can cause problems, blocking your view from time to time. It?s simple things like this that take the shine off of the game. They?ve been resolved elsewhere and didn?t cause a problem before but they?re evident here and it?s disappointing more than anything truly game breaking.
Animation has been given performance enhancing drugs and although slip into comedy mode once and a while, it?s rare and more often they not they add to the realism that the series has always offered.
If players make contact when struggling the keep balance they fall over in a realistic way, sometimes dropping to their knees and other times being flipped into the air as a two footed lunge hits home. It a player is clattered mid animation, it changes on the fly and doesn?t have the issue where it?ll either stop. the movement completely or plow through like it does in FIFA13
It?s a vast improvement for the series and although it?s not 100% effective, it shows what the engine does best and as Konami continue to work on it, it will only get better.
The Playing Game
So far so good, but lets talk about what really matters: How the game plays.
has always flown the flag for realistic football simulation. While others try to make a more balanced, fair and even arcady representation of the sport PES has always stood out as representing it in it?s true form - a scrappy slog where anything can happen.