Konami has patched Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 and released some free DLC in the process.
The freebie bits are three new balls and 10 new boots.
The rest of the patch "makes it even easier to use the game's comprehensive formation settings, and also adds icons to show the connectivity status of online players".
Over the past couple of months we've been banging on about how FIFA 10 is the undisputed king of footy games on PS3 and Xbox 360, how it's the most realistic and complete virtual rendition of the beautiful game your cash can buy. Pro Evo has remained the more forgiving, free-flowing choice for those with a penchant for pitch-long dribbles and 40-yard scorchers into the top corner, though the series' lack of innovation in recent years has been a concern. But that's the story on PS3 and 360. What we have on Wii is an almost complete role reversal for the two franchises.
So let's kick off with Pro Evolution Soccer 2010, a game that siphons all that was best from last year's version and sadly does precious little to build on the series' innovative core. For those of you yet to experience PES on Wii, the key selling point is the ability to direct play by pointing the Wii remote where you want to pass the ball and your team-mates to run. This results in an immersive action experience married with a top-notch strategic centre that allows you to simultaneously control the player in possession while orchestrating the movements of your team. It takes some getting used to, but once you've mastered it you'll soon find yourself enjoying console-based footy action in a completely new way.
PES 2010 kicks off with the series' usual collection of veteran and newcomer tutorials, the latter of which introduces you to the game's smattering of nuances. These include the ability to bend a free-kick like a Brazilian maestro. With a little practice you're soon firing shots over the opposition wall with enough curl to make a boomerang feel inadequate. You're also given control of positioning your goalkeeper before set plays, usually resulting in a smug I-told-you-so sense of self satisfaction as he palms away a scorcher or red-cheeked shame as he flaps impotently at a ball. In general, net minders are slightly more dependable than their somewhat butter-fingered counterparts from PES 2009, while pulling off skill moves also feels a little easier. However, a few irritants do rear their heads, such as passes going to the wrong player (again) and defenders going AWOL during key moments.
In what's likely to be the last Face-Off of 2009, Digital Foundry does a little housekeeping, sifting through the teetering piles of code dotted around the office, picking out the most intriguing games we've yet to cover, and combining those with the definitive word on one of the year's biggest releases - BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins.
As is the norm, the feature is crammed with the media that matters. One of our TrueHD workstations is pretty much full to the brim with lossless digital dumps of the HDMI ports of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, giving us access to the very best 24-bit RGB comparison shots and untouchable video assets, presented to you in pristine h264 video, manually encoded on a per-game basis for ultimate quality.
Onto the all-important line-up, then. Just the five releases covered this time, but all of them with an interesting story to tell, plus some bonus PC action included too.
Konami has alerted us to an upcoming and free bout of DLC for the Wii version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2010.
Simply, the update brings all player stats and data in-line with the real world. So, imagine a crazy universe where Robin Van Persie had been injured during international duty - if that was the case the game would reflect it. You might even find he was out of the Arsenal squad for six weeks! Just imagine.
We expect Konami will issue a few of these data refreshers as the season goes on.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 has topped the Japanese chart for the week ending 8th November 2009.
Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 has overturned a rampant FIFA 10 to take the UK all-formats top 40 crown. The PS3 had the lion's share (66 per cent) of the sales.
For a football game that once lived or died on the pitch, it's surprising to discover that PES 2010's most dramatic changes are to be found in the menus. Or at least it would be surprising, except nowadays we live in a world where dogs and cats play together, the FIFA games are recognised for their football simulation, and Robinho may be surplus to requirements because of Craig Bellamy.
Between them, Team Style, Player Cards, and a change in the way player skills are represented on the line-up screen, sound about as exciting as Wayne Rooney's haircut. But they rip the lid off a lot of PES voodoo. Back in the old days, squeezing the most out of 11 players meant studying endless statistics and being able to decipher skills pentagons at a glance. Withdrawing the pentagons in favour of numbers may seem regressive (and it would be nice to see the former brought back as an optional extra), but it does mean you can spot tactical errors and players out of position in a split second while surveying the whole team.
Player Cards, meanwhile, let you burrow down and uncover a particular player's unique attributes, like pinpoint passing, or poaching, and you can even toggle certain behaviours, expanding your range of tactical options considerably. Team Style, for its part, lets you adjust the team as a whole, most helpfully in how much it keeps its shape and its response to common situations. For people who have played PES forever, it's a useful trio of changes, which makes it easier to perform complex surgery on your team quickly and at very little cost to the game as a whole. For inquisitive newcomers, it's a warm embrace.
PES 2010 is a big deal for Konami, and so it should be. Having been dethroned as the king of football games by FIFA 09 a year ago, there's an awful lot at stake. PES Productions entered a period of soul-searching as it began to understand where it had gone wrong - and how to put it right again.
Future instalments in the Pro Evolution Soccer series could work with new motion control technology such as Project Natal and the PS3 magic wand.
Konami has thumped a PES 2010 demo onto the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Marketplace.
Konami has announced that Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 will launch on 23rd October for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
A PSP version of the football game will follow on 6th November, before a Wii version shows up on 20th November.
We expect a demo will appear before then, too.
You have to feel for Konami. Even when it was the critics' favourite football game, Pro Evolution Soccer was still the plucky underdog - the Havant and Waterlooville of the games industry's FA Cup third round, scoring a couple of goals in front of the Kop and leaving with its head held high, even after getting pasted in the salesy second half. But things change, and they certainly have. PES 2009 was by no means a bad game, but its angular, sped-up one-dimensionality felt like a throwback next to the increased realism of EA's improving FIFA series, and the world gave it the hairdryer treatment. Back to the drawing board?
Konami has announced that PES 2010 producer Shingo "Seabass" Takatsuka, PES 2010 Wii producer Akiyoshi "Greyhound" Chosokabe and Metal Gear Solid's dad Hideo "Hideo Kojima" Kojima will all be at gamescom flogging their wares.
The contrast between the first showings of this season's instalments of FIFA and PES could not have been starker. The former was paraded with pomp, powerpoint and Peter Moore at the Emirates Stadium; meanwhile Konami kicked back in a swish hotel room in central London, set up the game on a bunch of screens, and let us settle down and just play.
Konami has said that Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 for Wii will be released this autumn soon after previously announced versions for PC, PS2, PS3, PSP and Xbox 360.
Konami has announced the next instalment in the Pro Evolution Soccer series for release on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and PSP this autumn.