Ben from Prorevo kindly wrote an English version of his PES 2012 playtest impressions, which you can find below. Make sure you check out the original (German) version on their site.
A Dream Come True
It?s 10.07 in the morning, the sky is a bit cloudy but it?s warm. I stand in front of Konami of Europe HQ in Frankfurt (Main). It?s some kind of a special moment for me. For years, I have envied magazines and websites (like WENB) for getting early access to games and PES, especially. I wanted to be with them, play with them, discuss the game. Today, I?m going to do the same. I?m here to play an early version of PES 2012. Together with Marvin from prorevo, who has invited me. It?s a dream that has come true. But enough sentiments, let?s plunge into work (or should I say fun?).
Who Moved For Motion?
I was honoured with the role of the spectator in the ?rst match as Marvin played against a Konami employee. First thing that struck me was the motion on the pitch even before the players? entrance. A few groundsmen were walking over the ?eld and checked the grass. A few moments later, the view switched and you see the referees talking a bit, before they led the players out of the catacombs. Camera men, stewards, managers, all moving and looking great. They didn?t stop to move when the match started, no, you could see the managers walking up and down in the coaching area, the cameras tried to follow the ball, the stewards walked along the boundaries of the ?eld and the stewards were looking back onto the pitch from time to time; they normally look at the crowd. Just as they do in real life. Nice touch with regards to the crowd: they wore the kits of the home team, looked really cool. Moving to the on-the-?eld-event. There were many new animations for sliding, passing and shooting but for little things as well. For instance, when another defender was going to cover another attacker, he waved to his team mates that he?d take over from them. If a player realised, that he would not reach the ball with a kick, he pulled back. Wow. Oh, and when we played with national teams, volunteers were standing/sitting next to the teams, holding the particular national banner. Altogether, very eMOTIONal.
Can You Keep Up?
I think, that could have been the phrase Christiano Ronaldo said to Badstuber when he ran past him. I couldn?t. Germany conceded a goal. Doesn?t sound like PES 2011, does it? Well, it isn?t. PES 2012 manages to balance those two aspects, attacking and defending, that represent the core of football. Attackers can outsmart defenders and vice versa. Take that example from above. Ronaldo kept the ball close to his feet, fooled the defender by shifting to the left and passed him by on the other side. With no one left to block him, he could even outran Badstuber by a few meters and had enough time to place his shot. Would you like an example to prove the opposite? Marvin played against me with Messi. Messi went missing for 90 minutes. Say no more. The keepers keep you well in play, rest assured. They seemed to be more aggressive at corner kicks or free kicks and plucked the ball out of the air. They were more reliable and overall good. In 25 matches we had maybe one situation where we thought the keeper could have kept that ball.
That?s Not Fair!
Erm, it is. Why? Because the referee said so. And he was always right. You can say that referee?s are ?xed and much better than last year. Neither did they shed cards nor were they mean when it came to yellow-/red-carding. They acted just… right. We never felt as if we were betrayed by the referee. It was the same with offside. We had maybe three or four off side situations and they were all correct. At one point, Marvin stopped to play because he thought my player to be offside. However, the referee was right again. Too bad I missed my shot. A word (or two) concerning penalty kicks. As Adam already said, the camera is back to normal, behind the player who earned the penalty kick. It works, and it works great. It is fair.
That?s What I Call Intelligence.
I won?t go into detail here about player behaviour. Not yet, as I can?t at the moment. But I will tell you about that loss I tweeted earlier. The glorious 1-4 defeat. Yes, I lost against a lower rated team and I loved it. In PES 2011, if a player was near your goal, he tried to shoot, most of the time. In PES 2012, it is completely different. It feels alive. Let?s go:
0 – 1: Counter attack by my opponent, four defenders, three attackers, one in the middle, one on each side. I closed the center striker down and expected him to shoot. However, he played a high deadly pass to the left winger who slowed down the ball, took a short look and played a precise cross to the right outer corner of my box. To the right winger, of course, who then hit home volley. I was like: ?awwww? (eyes wide open).
0 – 2: Mistake by myself, I passed the ball to an attacker instead of kicking it away. He outsmarted my keeper! He feinted a shot, moved the ball out my keepers reach, ran a few yards and scored.
0 – 3: The best goal today. An attacker got the ball in my 18 yard area. However, he didn?t shoot instantly – what he would have done in PES 2011 – but laid the ball back for an attacker that was in a much better position to shoot – and to score, of course. He lifted his foot and played the ball with so much silkiness that I lowered the controller and stopped playing. My mouth copied the behaviour of my eyes. I think I replayed it 4 times? Needless to say that I had none but one chance to score in the ?rst 70 minutes – I hit the post.
0 – 4: Nice header after I mistimed the header of my defender. Timing is extremely important in this game. Not once did I have the feeling that the CPU cheated me. I always mistimed actions. And I knew that I failed.
1 – 4: 88 minute, regular goal, nothing special. Of course not, as it was I who scored.
I played that match with wide cam because this pitch side cam takes time to get used to. Furthermore, I used the “completely manual” setting for passes which was complicated enough. About an hour before we left, I tried to combine this setting with the new cam. Looks great, plays great, I got smashed. By the gameplay, by the AI.
So is it the perfect package?
Sadly, it isn?t. Two things are spoiling the party, at least a bit. One thing is shooting but that?s covered by Adam?s essay already.
The other thing is a bit weird to explain. When you pass the ball to or behind a team mate (deadly pass), that player runs towards the ball and then, all of a sudden, slows down and jogs towards the ball. Meanwhile, an opponent might run there and steal you the ball. It doesn?t happen all the time, but worryingly often. Something I will need to see how it changes through development.