E3 2011: Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 preview

Once the premium soccer game on the market, Pro Evolution Soccer has since turned over that title to FIFA. But every season is a new shot at the championship, and Konami is determined to make a comeback on the scene with PES 2012.

By and large the biggest problems in the last few PES installments have been the AI not reacting naturally, if at all, to the game going on around them. Often, computer-controlled players would stand around while balls whizzed past them, or would give up on a play quickly after an opponent made a steal. They also didn’t defend well, often leaving massive open lanes to the goal.

Thankfully Konami’s main changes displayed at our closed-door presentation were geared toward improving computer-controlled players. The AI is more active now and will never be spotted simply standing around watching a play. Instead, AI players are constantly moving with the ball, anticipating a possible play or defense. They will also pursue loose balls now on their own, without prompting.

Goal kicks, corner kicks, and throw-ins have also been retuned, and you can now choose specifically which player you want to target, creating much less frustration and screaming at your players’ decision to kick it to an opposing player. We used this to great effect to snag a picture-perfect header goal off a corner kick.

Konami is dedicated to responding to fan feedback and improving their overall gameplay experience. They aren’t, as they stated, going to respond to competitors (read: FIFA) or try to make a game for anyone but their fanbase. Regardless, it would be nice to see more competition in the soccer arena, and pending a hinted at 2K Sports title, PES and FIFA are the only show in town.

Jun 15, 2011