The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Pro Evolution Soccer has always done it the hard way. The franchise
is known for its complex controls, minutia of player attributes, and the
fact that it has fewer licensed teams and players than rival FIFA.
Regardless, I love the series because it allows me to create beautiful
soccer seemingly out of thin air. PES 2012 is no different – warts and
Nothing typifies the series’ hard-won philosophy more than
the new off-the-ball controls that let you prompt teammates to make
offensive runs while you have the ball. You can either pick which player
you want to make a run with the flick of a right analog stick (simliar
to FIFA’s “Make a Run” button), or you can actually control an
off-the-ball player directly (It’s like controlling a WR while you’re
the QB). These controls can be difficult to execute, but the sublime
moments of offensive brilliance they can create are awesome. They are
especially useful on set pieces.
You also get a boost from your AI
teammates, even if you aren’t controlling them. They generally do a
good job of cutting out opponents’ passes on defense and making
offensive runs on their own. AI teams vary their attacks from each
other, particularly in their effective use of the long ball to dissect
your back line. Defenders will get caught gawking at the ball and the
player selection isn’t great, but I can overlook these issues in light
of the overall quality of the play.
The umbrella Football Life
mode now houses the Master League career mode, Become a Legend
individual player mode, and the dry, boardroom-based Club Boss mode.
Konami breathed new life into these modes with cutscenes that try to
keep you on task and even discuss strategy. Try as The Football Life
might, though some depth is naturally lost by the lack of team/player
licenses.This cuts down the number of divisions available, and it also
doesn’t help that you aren’t offered contracts by other teams. I also
wish player info and strategy were better presented, as the career modes
still lack an allure to match their substance.
This year’s PES title won’t change anyone’s mind about the
series. It hasn’t gotten any less complex, but it also hasn’t lost any
of its brilliance. In that sense, its success is all its own.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.