Dougie and I attended a private playtest of PES 2010 yesterday in London. Due to other commitments, I could only stay for an hour so I’ll publish my review of the game (as it stands) and you can wait for Dougie’s (possibly fuller) review to be published in his ‘Pes Off’ column on Thursday. It is important to point out that the code/game which we played was the 70% complete ‘press build.’ This means that a lot of details are still to be added, so don’t take this article as gospel – especially with regard to small features which I may discuss as not being in the 70% complete game we played. ‘Firsty First of the Firsters’ and a few other regulars had left a few clear questions for us which I took with me to the playtest, so the majority of these I will attempt to answer, even though I had limited time.
I started on the Playstation 3 version of Pes 2010. What was clear from the offset was that visually, the game was stunning. The sheer graphical content and attention to detail was incredible, and this was also evident on the Xbox 360 version as the most visually compelling edition yet. Mark Lawrenson was commentating, and although I didn’t take much notice of the commentary it seemed concise and to the point.
The menus are a lot clearer and much easier to navigate through; certainly less flashy than Pes 2009’s, and nicely stylised. The Champions League mode was not yet complete so I had a quick look at the training section. The regular ‘Free Training’, ‘Corners’ and ‘Free kicks’ sections were there as you’d expect on the training menu, and it will be interesting to see whether Konami implement customisable set pieces in Pes 2011 as they were clearly not in Pes 2010.
I then went on to play a quick exhibition match: Italy vs. Argentina. I can honestly say that the 360° movement has led to quite a big overhaul for Pes, and – wow – what a fantastic direction the series has taken! It is slightly hard to get used to the 360° movement, but this is a good thing. Dougie commented on the fact that this will lead to people having to almost re-learn the game, and that for the last couple of years Pro Evo has got to the point where people can play a new edition to quite a high standard from the offset. This version seemed as if one will need a bit of practice to become fully competent. I must point out at this point that the D-pad on the PS3 has 16-directional movement, whereas due to hardware limitations the Xbox 360’s D-pad still only has 8 directions.
So, the gameplay truly is great. No longer can you turn in four crazy directions within the space of a second, and one of the things I noticed was that the lofted through balls are magnificent (if executed well). Crosses into the box are now far more up to the player to direct in for the perfect ball. Once players master the art of crossing, I think there will be a plethora of fantastic headed goals coming their way! Lob shots are also much improved, and there was one point where I did a very well placed lob from outside the box, but Dougie’s goalkeeper dived backwards and pushed the ball just over the bar. The goalkeepers we didn’t really notice much difference with – we didn’t notice any silly mistakes and we saw a couple of brilliant saves, but as it was only a 70% version of the game, there’s still work to be done on the shot-stoppers! There were no handballs during the time I had with the game. We couldn’t play online as the servers aren’t up yet – although this is normal for a game which is still a good two months away from release, so don’t panic!
Time for a couple of small points which (as I mentioned) may or may not be in the final game. There are still invisible barriers for throw-ins, and the Goalkeeper still passes to the nearest defender from goal kicks no matter which direction you aim in; Paul however (who kindly set up the play test for us) said that there was a way to pass to a chosen defender from goal kicks – which brings me on to the ‘manual keeper control’. By pressing R3 (clicking in the right analogue stick), you can automatically take control of your goalkeeper for as long as you wish, at any point of the match during play, and sometimes even when the ball is out of play! Dougie selected his goalkeeper when I was about to take a goal kick, before the ball was kicked. Even if you have control of the ball in the opponent’s half, you can press the right analogue stick in and the computer will play for you, whilst your goalkeeper comes rushing up the field (well, if that’s what you chose to do!) We didn’t explore this so much whilst I was testing, but Dougie may well have had a look at the controls and so may have seen what you can do with the goalkeepers in manual control.
Penalties (during a game) are now viewed from a side-angle (well, just from the regular camera) which I found a quite strange. From a few tries I couldn’t understand how one would direct a penalty from a side-view, and I’m still none the wiser! Dougie said that when he played a penalty shoot-out, that the penalties were viewed being taken from the regular angle, so we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.
We also tried out a few fouls to see how lenient or strict the referee was. There were a couple of late tackles, and unlike Pes 2009, the referee would call a few of them back as fouls. Two terrible tackles from behind (in random areas of the pitch) resulted in two straight red cards, and this leads me onto the crowd noise. The crowds didn’t seem to shout or scream any louder for fouls on home players, but they DID cheer noticeably louder when the home team scored, as opposed to when the away team did. The crowds no longer chant anymore, which sounds a lot better.
With regards to edit mode, I’m afraid I didn’t have time to go into it. Dougie however, may have done, so watch this space!
Some quick final thoughts for you guys. Having been in the same boat as you for the last year with regard to the development of Pro Evolution Soccer 2010, I have to admit to having held myself back from getting overly excited about another edition of Pes which could lead to unfilled promises. I read with trepidation a few reviews of this press build that have been going around recently, and although they were all positive (some incredibly so) I tried to keep from being a little optimistic.
But I can honestly now say Pes is back on track. You guys are going to love it. I don’t get paid to write ITR – this is an honest review, and I can certainly say that this is the best Pes I’ve ever played.
I’d like to thank Steve for setting us up with the play test, and Dougie for inviting me to come along! They’re both thoroughly nice guys, and it was great to meet D even if only for an hour or so. I definitely hope to see them again at some point!
As always, comments on your preferences to what I talk about, whether you liked it, or just general comments on the article, are all very welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org