Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 Review

Pro Evolution Soccer has one of the hardest year on year tasks in gaming. Every year it has to go up against the juggernaut which is FIFA. This challenges Pro Evolution Soccer to either try and beat EA Sports at their own game or use the same sport yet take a slightly different approach on it. That is exactly what happens and through years of improvements including some much needed ones this year, a solid fan base for this type of soccer has grown. Instead of fighting over areas such as the spread of teams available or the insane attention to realism that has grown in recent years, PES is all about making soccer fun and playable for every user out there. Certain aspects from the real sport have been slightly adjusted or the physics of players changed to make a more enjoyable game which will please the casual gamer that wants to receive more action than your standard soccer match.


This franchise was in danger of falling far behind other titles in terms of how realistic their player models and animations were. Last years huge jump as well as this years advancements provides some of the best and worst graphics in a sport game. The game has a sense of speed not seen in FIFA and the fluid nature of Pro Evolution Soccer makes it a joy to play. Player's facial features are generally outstanding for big name players, but as the popularity drops then a few basic generic models come into play to fill the rest of the rosters. The opening to matches is stunning and recreates the build up to real games, but the crowd is still something which looks poor on the screen especially when the standard has been lifted in every other part of the game.

Once the players take to the field the high level of graphical power continues. Player animations are spot on during the game and while not as precise as FIFA's new physics engine, collisions are lifelike and believable. Pro Evolution Soccer is a big fan of giving you replays of tackles and shots on goal and so it should. The slow motion replays look amazing for the most part, taking the crown over the fairly lacklustre approach seen earlier this year with the glitchy results of FIFA. Sometimes the player may appear to be running unaturally fast or having legs running 3 times faster than they should be, but these are small gripes. The game runs as smoothly as the cover athlete Cristiano Ronaldo and does a super job of shaping up as a generally beautiful package.

The sound in Pro Evolution Soccer is your standard crowd noises as well as commentary from two commentators. While there is nothing wrong with it, the commentary doesn't live up to the hefty standards created by other games. They seem to be lacking the enthusiasm and detail which brings the game alive for so many people. The game soundtrack is made up an array of electronic and pop music and sounds pretty good at the menus, while again presenting nothing special or game related like the NBA 2K series.


Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 has to follow last years title which made some really big improvements both under the hood and in terms of how the game played to really make it a true contendor again. This years title has been all about listening to user feedback and adding some of the features that people have demanded the most. The main changes in this years title focus on improving the playability, challenge and realism the game offers while also improving the amount of control the user has during the matches. It is great to see Konami matching FIFA in some of their main features such as Active AI and jostling while also keeping their unique playing style that attracts many fans to this franchise.

The most realistic features added to Pro Evolution Soccer advance the game to a whole new level thanks to the new and improved teammate AI. The new Active AI system means that players no longer flock to the ball and instead make smart leads and correct positioning to something you would see in a real game. The players will run into space and provide options for the user to pass to. Players can now highlight and control any player now with an improved system allowing switching players and directions them a lot easier. A new pass support system has been put in place to allow newcomers all the way up to veterans change the game to suit their experience level. You can now choose from 5 levels of 'difficulty' which goes from having lots of AI assistance with passing the ball all the way up to direction, weight and speed of every pass controlled by the user.

These new improvements really do make the game a lot better, while the faster pace of Pro Evolution Soccer has stayed. Realism has been entwined with fun and that is what really makes this a superb experience for those who are willing to look past the large head of FIFA. What ultimately lets the franchise down is the lack of teams available and the amount of game modes. This game is lacking a lot of the leagues and many major teams which are licensed to FIFA which ruins the diversity, especially for people who support one of the missing teams. None of the game modes have changed either this year, with dedications tournaments such as UEFA as well as Be A Legend which isn't as extensive as other sporting games attempts at taking one player through a sport. One new mode, Club Boss, has been added and is basically Manager mode and doesn't really offer anything we haven't had the chance to play for years now.


Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 is a good game that at the end of the day is hurt by the lack of choice available. The game is presented nicely with player animations and models which look superb. Playing soccer in Pro Evolution Soccer is fun and the mix of realism and strategy with the fun faster paced portion of gameplay makes it an excellent title for those who aren't hell bent on pure simulation and a defensive style game. As with every year, the lack of teams and leagues as well as a seemingly unchanged line-up of game modes doesn't offer as much to do as with FIFA. This game is certainly another step in the right direction and a focus on boosting the game modes will bring it closer next year.

Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 7/10
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Overall - 8/10