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Dribbling & Defending In PES 2011


In my 100+ hours of playing the game, the first 5 hours was the most brutal. The learning curve of playing PES 2011 is a steep one, and something that will require great patience. Playing this years game the same as PES 2010, or any before it, will result in complete failure, as PES 2011 is on a different planet.

The two biggest elements of the game that will require re-learning (besides passing) will be dribbling and defending. Check out a brief explanation of both after the jump.

Defending In PES 2011

When Seabass detailed that the defensive nature of PES was getting an overhaul, I should have been much more wary when trying to tackle when playing PES 2011 for the first time. Without question, almost without thinking, you will start playing PES the same way as you always have done. Especially for the guys who have been into the series for so long.

Not since PES3 have I felt a need to change the way I play, and further more not since PES5 have I felt the need to learn to defend. PES 2011 brings in this new 3-way defending system, and the quicker you realise it’s there for a reason, the faster you’ll understand this side of the game. Playing the same as always, you’ll soon find opposing players walking past you despite your best efforts. This had me thinking more than once that the defence system was broken/buggy.

This was amplified when, playing as Milan vs Barca, players like Iniesta and Messi were almost impossible to dispossess. Wave after wave of attacks, I came out of the game lucky to lose just 3-0. Deciding to then play as Barca against Sevilla, I realised this air of invincibility could be felt by all, not just the CPU. After being able to avoid tackles and escape challenges, it hit me. This is real life football.

I sat the controller down, and started to think about it all. How would you, if you were a manager of an average team, play against the likes of Barcelona? Containment. Look back at Inter Milan’s performance at the Camp Nou in this year’s semi-final, and you get what I mean. It’s not a case of tackling the player, but more limiting their influence and ability to get past you.

This is PES 2011.

First off, let’s talk about this new defensive system, and just how it needs to be used to work in the game. First of all we have holding X and pushing the stick back towards your own goal. It’s a key feature against the very skilful and quick players in the game. The ability to avoid challenges with intricate precision is available to every player with decent technique, meaning rushing in will be punished, so this manoeuvre becomes very key when playing. Accompanying this with Square to bring a teammate over works very well.

The second defence manoeuvre is called tracking, and is done by just holding X. Now here’s the big change that takes the most time getting used to: holding X does not tackle! That’s right, all this does now is track the player closely, without committing to a challenge, or even committing to try and intercept a pass or dribbling path.

The final manoeuvre is actually tackling and committing, and that’s done by holding X and pushing the stick towards the opposition player in possession of the ball. This is the key point to fully comprehend and understand. And while all are easy to take in, all 3 take hours of practice to master.

When you think about it, this new system is pure genius, and brings out this core simulation aspect PES has been missing for so long. The complexity isn’t rocket science, but the implementation is done in such a way that so much of real football is represented in the game. No matter how good you are as a gamer, people like Messi and Iniesta will be able to walk past you if you dive in without any thought – as they would in real life. Sure the better defenders are able to combat lesser attackers, individuality will always be king in PES, but players with high technique and dribbling stats will always be able to make room for themselves. It’s up to you to limit that room to less damaging areas of the pitch.

Dribbling In PES 2011

Like to shout it out loud and clear, PES 2011 has 360 degree dribbling in the game. And it’s been implemented exactly the way everyone would expect it to in a PES game. Each intricate movement is key, and is influential into what happens on the pitch.

One of the key reasons I feel Seabass did bring in this new defensive system is down to the new dribbling system and freedom for movement for the highly skilled players. He has always wanted every players strengths and abilities to shine through, and for this a lot of work has gone into dribbling with high technique players.

Iniesta and Messi have a fantastic feeling when in possession of the ball, keeping the ball close and being able to move into any direction in an instant. Even when faced with a number of defenders around you, the ability to manoeuvre in between them is possible, if they all commit to try and tackle you. If they don’t, the ability to move away from danger and find a team mate with a pass is always an option.

This ability at first made the game’s defensive side feel broken, as trying to rush in and muscle the player off the ball (ala FIFA) is impossible to do if they are in full control of the ball. The idea is to back off until an excessive movement is made to beat you, giving you the opportunity to tackle. Again, just like real life.

This new dribbling representation is more about technique, rather than dribbling accuracy, so even the slower classy midfielders can avoid congested areas and pressure by turning quickly away and spraying a pass.

It was fully understanding dribbling that actual made me get defending in the game, respecting a high technique player is key to learning in how to dribbling, and how to defend against them.

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