GAMERSYDE | X360, PS3, PC Tuesday, July 12, 2011 | 2:30 PM

First Look at PES 2012

First Look at PES 2012

Every year we get the same face to face between PES and Fifa and this year will be no exception to the rule. It can't be denied that EA Sports stole the throne from Konami's franchise this gen, so when we played Pro Evolution Soccer 2012, I must confess we had doubts they could reverse the situation. For a few years now, the famous Japanese series has tried hard to catch up, bringing change to each episode, but it has not been enough so far. What of this year's edition then? To find out, I did not hesitate to put on my Gamersyde jersey to try the game for the very first time. Details inside.



First half

Before we could play the game ourselves, we were presented with the new features of PES 2012 by Jon Murphy, PES Team Leader. They have put a lot of effort in making the game more realistic and immersive than ever before. The players' muscles react to their movements as well as their shorts and jerseys. You can also see beads of perspiration on their faces, all of which bringing a more true-to-life touch to the visuals. They did not stop at the graphics to make the game more believable though. The main improvement they have been working on is the AI, now called Active AI. And what better way to prove their point than to show us a comparative video of PES 2011 and 2012?

The first big change when it comes to AI is "overlap", which means your teammates will no longer stay put when you need them to give you solutions on the pitch. Recall, if you will, when a winger would not move a muscle and stay behind you instead of running forward? Well, those days are over as the whole team is always on the move. They will even be able to launch dummy runs to lure a defender and leave you more space. It is still a bit of a shame that you can't ask them to do it manually as in Fifa, but if the AI is set correctly it should not be much of a problem. Diagonal runs are also possible for your teammates too now, which means you should not see them lose some precious time anymore. The way players move on the pitch will then look a lot more realistic, finally.

Zonal defense and zone marking have also been much improved since last year, which leads to more realistic reactions and movement. The defenders should be a lot more careful not to leave too much space for the attackers to use. Overall, game flow should be more satisfying, with much improvement in button press and turns so latency is no longer an issue. It allows for very quick passes which adds more pace to the game itself. We have also been promised that the referees will be much more intelligent and above all more accurate. Last but not least, 'off the ball' control now gives you the possibility to select any player when there is a throw in, free kick, goal kick or corner kick, which then brings a new element to gameplay - finding space in order to create goal opportunities.



Second half

After playing the game a bit, I have to say it is a lot more pleasant than PES 2011. The bad collision system from last year is now gone, and though not everything looks as realistic as Fifa in that area, it looks a lot more like the real thing. Animations look less robotic, so protecting the ball and dribbling have become less awkward and, like I said before, there is more pace in passing, but paradoxically I found the players did not run very fast (that you could not really tell when they accelerated). Shooting seems to have gotten a bit trickier, as I never managed to take a successful powerful shot. All the shots I tried from afar ended up being somehow floaty, which seems to indicate players will need to re-learn how to play and get used to it before being able to “hit the target”.

Visually speaking, PES 2012 is rather close to its predecessor, with a clean and colorful look. As usual, the most famous players get very faithful character models while others look sometimes more like a sibling or a distant cousin. Facial animations make them a lot more human and though not everything is perfect, it looks nice overall. The pitch also looks great, even from up close, and the animations you can see around it from time to time – like the cameras or the stadium's security – give more credibility to the whole thing. Finally, let's say a word on the menus which let you see nice real life videos in the background. It is not much but it reminds a lot of what you can see on TV before a match. So again, the presentation is intended to render the real atmosphere of football.



Injury time


PES 2012 has indeed improved last year's formula, getting closer to what we should expect from such a great franchise. However, contrary to the previous games, while there is fun in playing the game immediately, there is no compromise for the advanced player. Will it be enough to convince Fifa players? Well, it is really hard to say as it also depends on what EA will deliver this year. That being said, PES 2012 could offer a nice alternative if you are not entirely satisfied with the Fifa series. The French winner of the PES League and his finalist sure seemed to enjoy this new installment, so my guess is that it will most definitely convince those who have not stopped playing the franchise. As for the others, we will have to wait a bit to find out. Our next rendez-vous with the game will be in Cologne in mid August, and be sure we will bring you back some nice gameplay videos. Until then, enjoy the summer break!
Again, kudos to PlumbDrumb for taking the time to check the article. :)

All comments

Commented on 2011-07-12 14:48:07
the eyes are the windows to the soul... they all look demonic
Commented on 2011-07-12 15:24:42
They look like zombies out of RE5, especially the one in the fifth pic.
Commented on 2011-07-12 15:35:03
Their eyes look pretty normal to me
Commented on 2011-07-12 16:34:16
I'd rather play a bad installment of the PES franchise than a good FIFA. FIFA 11 still didn't look and feel like real football to me. It felt more like the computer was in control with lots of automatic gameplay and the easy goals. PES 2011 definitely had its flaws, though. But I like the fact that every goal you score is more dependant on your own skill than on the current player's skill. PES may be hard for beginners who just want to have a quick success, but in the end is way more rewarding to me.

I really hope the new AI brings more realism and the few flaws of the predecessor are corrected with PES 2012.
Commented on 2011-07-12 16:55:45
pes = RE , cant believe the faces , OMG
Commented on 2011-07-12 17:07:39 In reply to Ragism
Posted by Ragism
I'd rather play a bad installment of the PES franchise than a good FIFA. FIFA 11 still didn't look and feel like real football to me. It felt more like the computer was in control with lots of automatic gameplay and the easy goals. PES 2011 definitely had its flaws, though. But I like the fact that every goal you score is more dependant on your own skill than on the current player's skill. PES may be hard for beginners who just want to have a quick success, but in the end is way more rewarding to me.

I really hope the new AI brings more realism and the few flaws of the predecessor are corrected with PES 2012.
You can turn off the computer assists for passing/goals etc and set it all to manual.
Commented on 2011-07-13 01:09:26
Is this a zombie football game? Weird
Commented on 2011-07-13 09:29:44
Their faces look terrible. Their teeth and eyes are awful.

Lol at bad PES being better than a good FIFA... Clearly biased.
Commented on 2011-07-13 11:41:33
PES10 had amazing faces, then PES11 had good but not as good as 10 faces and PES12 looks like having the worst faces ever in the history of PES

why are they going backwards?!?!??!
Commented on 2011-07-13 12:52:09
PES faces used to destroy Fifa faces Pre "next gen" consoles, then Fifa started actually 3d modelling the players and now PES is absolutely miles behind with their tech, the faces look horrific, always remind me in the scene in silence of the lambs where Hannibal Lecter slices off the paramedic's face to put over his own face so he can escape, that's what PES faces look like these days...
Commented on 2011-07-13 14:08:03
Sadly the series died a few years ago
Commented on 2011-07-14 19:08:05 In reply to DeadSaint
Posted by DeadSaint
Sadly the series died a few years ago
Yeah, the last good one was Winning Eleven 9 on ps2. All of the Current gen PES games are quite crappy.
Commented on 2011-07-14 21:38:53
LMFAO @ those faces. What are they even thinking!?
Commented on 2011-08-13 10:22:54
What about the faces of Maicon and Hamsik in the current stage of development:

http://www.pes-soccer.fr/Upload/images/annee2011/f...
http://www.pes-soccer.fr/Upload/images/annee2011/d...

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