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BaL : a closer look


After the bombardment of PES2011 gameplay impressions, video and screens which I’m sure got us all that more familiar with this years instalment of the PES franchise, it seems perhaps a good time to shift some focus on one of the few features of the game we are yet to get a great deal of information on, bar an announcement that it will undergo some improvements and the couple of screen shots that surfaced earlier this week. So I think it right to take a little look at what might await regards the games Become a Legend mode.

More after the jump!

Taking a look at the first of the BaL screens – which I think tells us more than initially meets the eye – we see a glimpse of the players virtual manager in the locker room, apparently giving specific instruction as to what he demands from the veteran ML default, Stremer. The first thing that jumped out for me in this screen was that the instruction was being given to a right full-back, so it would seem that this year the BaL mode has expanded with regards to what positions the user can play with defence now being an option. Then of course we have the instructions themselves, In the accompanying press release for these shots it is stated that :

In the locker room, the manager gives you clear instructions on tactics to be used, your tasks, expected play area on the pitch, and player you have to mark, etc. Instructions change depending on situation of your team.

The manager gives you feedback on your achievement of given tasks including play area and tactics for you after the match. And you will receive evaluation message and rating from the manager. In the Become a Legend mode, users will be able to play with clear objectives during the game this year. Users also will be able to recognise how much trust your manager has in you and level of your contribution to the team. This will make users have a sense of accomplishment after the match.

What this all suggests is that there will be welcome level of additional depth to the BaL experience. Particularly worthy of note is that it is mentioned that player instruction can alter depending on the situation of your team, which I would assume means that the scoreline in particular can dictate what is expected from the user in their role. This is quite significant as in theory this would mean that you are no longer just operating in a role in a generic fashion, which in turn would surely increase the sense of involvement you feel as an individual and give you a greater sense of contribution to the team effort as a whole.

Also welcome is the user being able to recognise the level of trust the virtual manager has in you. Providing it is implemented well and some variety is present when moving from club to club, I can see a many a falling out or even a sense of allegiance forming with a virtual Mourinho or Pep Guardiola-esque figures for example. This could even potentially act as a major contributing factor to the player deciding whether they should look to move on or stick it out. Imagine finally arriving at the club you really want to play for only for the manager to prove to be a bit of a ‘Domenech’ and finding yourself having to seriously think about your future. This is all speculation on my part of course that this is how it will play out with these new features but you have to admit the prospect does sound rather appealing and very involving.

I have to confess that Become a Legend and similar modes of it’s ilk present in other sports games have thus far failed pretty miserably in getting me hooked into their unique style of play and what they demand. My one issue has always been that of a feeling of disconnect between that of myself, my team mates (not helped by poor AI!), and club/manager, which as a result makes the whole experience feel incredibly shallow and unrewarding. These modes are not present in sports titles and loved by many without reason however and it is this, along with these proposed improvements being made to this style of play, that might well see me give BaL a little bit more TLC in PES2011.

It strikes me that Konami have looked at not only improving and refining the technical assets that drive the game but are at the same time looking to implement a higher quality of overall game design in all the games various modes, with Become a Legend not missing out in this approach in PES2011.

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