Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 • Page 2

Open play.

We're shown gameplay clips from PES 2010 followed by this year's version to highlight changes and improvements. Defence, Seabass notes, "has changed massively". Using the dash button to close down and press the player with the ball has been replaced by a three-pronged system using the X button (it's all PS3 in Japan) and directional input.

Hold X while directing the stick towards your goal to hold up play, a relatively passive option that makes it difficult for the attacker to pass you. The second option is simply to hold X and release the stick entirely. This stops your player and, if timed correctly, will halt the advance of the guy charging at you with the ball.

Finally, moving the stick towards the opponent while holding X results in a more aggressive effort to retrieve the ball. This is familiar to PES, but with greater risk attached, says Seabass - if the attacker anticipates your lunge he can pass you more easily.

In tandem, physicality assumes greater significance on the field as players jostle for the ball, with the aim to make players consider more the attributes of the player they are controlling and the best tactics to employ during these encounters. The essence of PES 2011 for Seabass is found in these one-on-one moments. It's the feature he cites to distinguish the experience from its main rival.

"FIFA is probably simpler because they have the overall gameplay balance just like we used to have - but the basics of football are one-versus-one, the ball carrier versus the defender," he explains. "So if you really want to go in deep, which we have, I think you'll get a more realistic flavour of this basic football element."

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This has implications for attacking too, with the feints system overhauled. These tricks can still be performed manually using button/stick combinations; but there's the option now to automate and chain moves together into combos.

"I always thought in all of our games like PES and FIFA, feints were just used to show off," Seabass says. "What I wanted to do in PES 2011 was to make the feints and dummies useful to the player. I didn't want to make the controls super-difficult. In PES 2011 I was able to make the user perform these feints quite easily. At the same time if you overuse it there's a high risk - so it's more fun when combined with the defending I described."

Feints, then, work by holding L1 and using the right stick, with different approaches mapped to up, down, left and right. Aiding and abetting is a reworked animation system, with Konami claiming some 1000 new animations in PES 2011, equating to over 100 hours of motion capture in the studio's on-site facility.

In response to criticism that last season's "360 degree control", er, wasn't (it was 16-way), Seabass illustrates improvements here with a video of 2010 Messi versus this season's thrusting goal genie.

"For unique players like Messi, R1 dash dribble has changed dramatically in PES 2011," he explains. "He is now able to go in any direction; you can also see small touches just like real life. It's never been implemented well in our games before. Now it's properly reproduced."

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Johnny Minkley

Johnny Minkley

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Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.

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