Last year’s PES divided more opinion than little broken Michael Owen signing for Man United. While it maintained its hugely addictive, slick arcade action, it was a bit ugly, unfair and, at times, broken. But now, with PES 2010 playable at Gamescom, and preview code arriving in our offices earlier in the week, we can tell you all about the series' Man City-style revolution. Say goodbye to dodgy animation, Master League moon money and 8 directional dribbling. PES has been working its socks off in pre-season and now it’s ready to challenge for the title.
360 degree dribbling!
It was Konami’s big surprise, but now we can finally let the Cantona out of the bag. Eight directional dribbling was probably PES' biggest fault. No more, though. Dribbling is now much more realistic, with a far greater, more organic turning circle. OK, so it still feels a bit angular, but there's no doubt it looks a lot more like actual football.
The system also makes it much easier to steer your men around the pitch with added precision and finesse. Players raised on skinning full-backs through twinkled-toed runs courtesy of some nimble D-pad control might be disappointed. It’s now much harder to beat your man. The pay-off? It now feels way more rewarding when you actually do.
Passing the ball no longer feels like playing Subbuteo
In PES 2009 the cow’s hide felt a little too light (like it had been pumped full of helium) . With no real weight behind the ball, passing was always quick, but not that true to life. Thank the footballing gods the PES team, obviously realising this flaw, have done significant work on the match engine to make ball physics more realistic.
Passing now feels much more substantial than before, with a real sense of weight and momentum. Because of this, it’s much easier to misplace short balls. So it’s now crucial you place your passes by pointing in the precise direction with the analogue stick.
It looks slick as an Arsenal counter attack
If last year’s PES was fugly like Wayne Rooney, then this year's version is dreamy like Fernando Torres . We might as well tell you why it looks so much better, while we try to pick up the shattered remains of our tattered manhood. More than the improved player models, which now have more realistic physiques, it's the drastically revamped lighting system that catches the eye.
Whether you’ve playing in an evening game with warm, gentle rays illumining the teams or squinting during a daytime match, as harsh sunlight actually obscures your view of the goal, the new lighting gives the game a graphical fidelity and believability like never before. And we don’t fancy Torres that much. Honestly.