Prorevo PES 2012 Playtest Impressions: Part 2

Published at 9:47 pm, Thursday, 14 July 2011
Author: Mike Harvey |

Last week, we brought you the first part of the prorevo impressions from their PES 2012 playtest.

You'll be pleased to hear, that now we bring you Part 2. Here it is.

Active AI
The AI is the step forward we were promised (and hoping for). The new system is called "Active AI" (Team vision, anyone? ;) ). Especially when playing the AI the new system really starts to shine. But the your team is acting cleverer as well. The Japanese development team focussed on this aspect of the game for a reason and their hard work pays off.

We're going to describe a few situations that highlight the changes of the AI in the game:
  • Freekicks: The AI does not blast the ball desperately over the goal any more, they cross the ball intelligently into the 18 yards box. Those crosses are much more effective and pay off. In PES 2011, those free kicks all too often went wide, missing friend and foe. Free kicks we caused by mistiming tackles always were very effective and dangerous.
  • Attacking AI: All offensive moves of the AI are much more individual and varied. Here are a few examples for their moves:
  • The AI is attacking with wingers more often. If an attacker sees a weak spot at the side line, he will cut into the 18 yards area. In last year's installment, he would have crossed the ball. All the time.
  • The AI is always looking for the best opportunity to score. In PES 2011, they fired their shots from every position, no matter how sharp the angle was. Now the ball is passed back in behind the defensive line, where another player comes running and slots home easily. However, if a striker has enough space, about 20-25 meters before the goal, he'll unleash a screamer.
  • The AI uses more high passes into the path of the strikers and sends players more often than last year.
  • Conclusion: The attacks vary and are difficult to defend. This variety in gameplay is especially welcome for offline modes and will boost the fun immensely.
Defending AI:
The AI acting as a team really does work hard together to stop danger. They hand over opposing players to better positioned team mates and adapt their behaviour to the particular players.

Cristiano Ronaldo is defended against much tighter than a "regular" player. They attack the striker even before he controls the ball and they'll fall back if the ball is crossed to the opposing side. It really looks and feels more professional.

Your team mates:
A common problem in PES 2011 is the fact that players stop their run after they have passed the ball. You can force players to continue to run with the one-two pass, though. But that's it. In this years version you have much more opportunities, as players are running on their own, without stopping or even walking back.

Combine this with sprints of other strikers into gaps in the defense or with players creating space by drawing defenders away, and you have a whole bunch of opportunities to shape your game. If the paths of players are fine tuned a bit, this will be a huge step forward.

We could only play on "Professional" when we had time with the game. In PES 2011, it was no real challenge to control and defeat your opponent on top player, at least for us. However, today we struggled to defeat Ghana with Germany.

Maybe we have to get used to the new individuality and the freedom of the game but the second highest level of difficulty will challenge even experienced players when they play against a team of a similar strength.

Off the ball control:
The big innovation that we announced is the "Off-the-ball control". The right analogue stick is dedicated to this feature, and you can do beautiful things with it. The following examples will give a summary of this new system:

Switching players with the right stick:
Alongside the L1 trigger, you can now switch players with the right stick. This is more precise and avoids mistakes when selecting players. But using L1 for the last couple of years, this variant needs getting used to. Hence, we used L1 most of the time.

If you play with completely manual player switching, you can, when you're attacking, switch to another striker and dart into a gap in the defense, waving your hand to call for the ball (as you can do in BaL). That's nothing new, basically, as you could already do this in PES 2011.

However, using the right analogue stick lets you instantly switch to the player you want to select, without mashing L1 ten times.

Off-the-ball in dead ball situations:
In dead ball situations, this feature really starts to shine. You can shape these situations more distinct than ever. At first, your player is positioned behind the ball as you know it from last year's game.

As soon as you flick the right analogue stick, the camera angle changes and you can now select a specific player (most probably the one you want to use ;-) ) and move him around with the left stick.

So you can set up opportunities to send your player, to feint or to dart into free space, even before the ball is played. It works like a charm and makes your play incalculable.

Here are some examples:
  • At a corner kick I select the player at the near post and move him towards the player at the corner. The defender follows suit because he expects a pass instead of a cross. Now I switch players again and select the one at the penalty spot and run towards the near post. While the player is running, I press the circle button to cross the ball. The player's path towards the post - and the now vacant space - matches the cross and the striker hits the crossbar with a massive header. Unlucky, maybe I'll score next time.
  • Long free kick from about 38 yards. Again, I'm spoilt for choice. I could run with a player towards a post and volley the ball at the penalty spot. I could feint a run into the middle and then turn towards the flank, bringing the high free kick under control and cross it into the box, as well.
  • Throw-in: You now have more options for throw-ins as well because you can select the player you want. You can break away from the opponent, resulting in throw-ins that are harder to defend. Furthermore, you can throw the ball into the path of your team mate.
  • Goal kick: Even here the right stick enables you to select the player where you want to play the ball to. Gone are the times, when your opponent intercepted your kick off.
The success of those situations depends on timing and the paths you run with the players. If you mistime the pass/cross or you play the ball predictably, the defenders will catch the ball.

Furthermore, the abilities of the players that take the free kick/corner kick are very important to play the ball as exactly as you want to. It's an immense enrichment for all dead ball situations and lets you create dangerous situations and suprise your opponent, without being overwhelmingly effective.

The only let-down is the fact that we could not play a long (low) pass in the path of a player past the wall.

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