It's that time again, as details start to emerge regarding this year’s deluge of sports games. The latest of which used to be a favourite of mine, Pro Evolution Soccer, but we won't talk about PES 2009.
According to Konami they have spent the last year re-organising, re-shuffling and re-developing the team and franchise, making improvements across the board. With the main improvements being made to the Gameplay, Visuals, Animations, Master League, Online and hopefully a few new licenses.
Full details of the improvements as listed on the official website are below.
-> Gameplay: PES 2010 focuses on enhancing the excitement of matches between players, making for a truly challenging experience that will constantly test the player. Intuitive zonal defending will cover spaces and players need to look constantly for new ways to attack. PES 2010 focuses on being a real football simulation, as it requires both strategic play and quick reactions, as in real life. In addition to key out-field elements, goalkeepers are more versatile and with abilities matching those of modern shot-stoppers. The game's referees have also been reworked, with smarter AI elements allowing them to make more balanced calls during matches.
-> Improved Visuals: PES 2010 has undergone a major visual revamp, with its celebrated player likenesses and animations now even closer to those of real-life players - including live player expressions to be depicted with an improved lighting system which differentiates between various conditions! Stadium detail is also massively improved, with the grass and other in-stadium elements finely depicted.
-> All-new animation and moves: Animations now dovetail into each other seamlessly, with dribbling and shots on goals worked into dribbling animations. More individual skills are also on show, including new flicks and tricks that have a definite showing on the way a game flows. Several elements have been completely reworked, with the dribbling, turning and kicking animations greatly enhanced, while there is a noticeable change in pace when a player passes a ball from a standing position than from within a run.
-> Match-Day Atmosphere: Crowd reactions to the on-field action are now more varied, with all new chants and cheers. The subtle difference between Home and Away matches will be reproduced, and the crowd will react spontaneously to specific situations in a game, showing their disdain or pleasure as fouls are committed and goals scored. Likewise, the commentary has been altered to offer a fresher, more concise overview of the game.
-> Enhanced Master League: Master League has been thoroughly renewed with the enhancement of managerial aspects, which enables users to enjoy managing a team for a longer career lifespan. Seen by many as a key contributor to the series' success, the Master League elements in PES 2010 have been bolstered by far-ranging and vital new additions, dedicated to enriching the mode. Further details will be announced shortly.
-> AI: The Tokyo team has worked to improve the AI of the game, with Teamvision 2.0 implemented. Midfielders and defenders now work together to cover open space and close down attacks, meaning that cover can be provided for lower-ranked defenders. This also has the additional effect of removing soft goals, thus returning PES 2010 to its simulation roots. In terms of attacking, players can also now move several players once, sending them into different areas, opening up more goal-scoring possibilities than ever before. As such, PES 2010 necessitates a new level of control from the player. Strategic thinking is as important as quick passing, but the new system greatly opens the way the player oversees control of the team. In free kick scenarios, for instance, players can now instigate the runs of the players awaiting the ball in the penalty area.
-> Individual Play Characteristics: In previous PES games, the team formation has determined the movements of the players. PES 2010 introduces a new system wherein the individual attacking and defending nature of the players is integral to the way they play. Each player enjoys unique AI tied into their best abilities, and is reflected in the actions of their team mates - i.e. if a player who is known to be a good crosser of the ball is in possession, more players will flood the penalty area to receive it. Similarly, if a player is known to be good with close control, defenders will work to cover their stronger side, while lone strikers will be automatically supported by midfielders on receipt of the ball.
-> Strategy Use: A new power gauge system allows users to balance their strategy in a quick, but wide-ranging way before a match. Every element - pass frequency, movement, the line of defence, width of play, or the position of the front line - can be altered to match those of a favoured club: Juventus Turin are a dangerous side on the counter-attack, for instance, while FC Barcelona use width in their attack. These formulations can be altered at any point, too, with Home and Away matches forcing different circumstances on the user, as does the rigours of a Master League season.
-> Penalties: An all-new system has been implemented, offering greater control, placing and accuracy.
-> Enhanced Online: A new dedicated section of the Tokyo team is committed to improving the online side of PES 2010. More downloadable content is also planned. Konami has supported PES 2009 with the release of new licensed teams, transfer updates, etc, and this support will grow for PES 2010. Team and content updates are planned throughout the game's lifespan. These will make the game even more bespoke to the player's match day needs.
Pro Evo 2010 is set be released this Autumn most likely in it's annual October slot. Hopefully this will be the biggest come back since the Liverpool vs. AC Milan 2005 Champions League final. Please let it be so.