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Konami promises big with PES 2010

Going back to "simulation roots".

Konami has announced the next instalment in the Pro Evolution Soccer series for release on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and PSP this autumn.

We're promised the biggest, best and most realistic Pro Evolution Soccer ever, of course. Immediately, swarms of buzz-words - "reworked", "revamped", "greatly enhanced" - surround the graphics and animations paragraphs. These are unlikely to mean creator Seabass has ditched the old engine in favour of a new one, however, and we won't really know the extent of the changes until we see the game in motion.

So, on we go, because underneath are changes worth noting. Konami has dedicated an entire team to improving online play in PES 2010 and bolstering downloadable content, for starters.

Plus, Konami wants PES 2010 to go back to the "simulation roots" of the series, which means removing "soft goals" and making defenders and midfielders cover space for each other to eliminate silly weak spots. Several players can be controlled at once, too, and runs can be triggered during set-pieces.

Formation-bossed player behaviour has been sidelined in favour of unique player behaviour based on their strengths and weaknesses. Good crossers will entice team-mates to flood the box, for example, while lone strikers will prompt quick support and skilled dribblers will scare the snot out of defenders.

That should reduce time spent formation fiddling, as should a new power gauge that quickly assesses formations and whether one will greatly overpower another. Perhaps a team with great width plays a narrow-minded opponent, let's say; in that case the gauge will favour the former.

A new penalty system requiring greater control and accuracy has been added. Also note the introduction of zonal defending, smarter referees (pigs can fly!) and more believable goalkeepers.

Konami promises "vital new additions" to the Master League, but won't say what, and Argentinian wonder-boy Lionel Messi will beam out from the PES 2010 box. Konami has exclusive UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) licence, as well.

"We aim to make PES 2010 a more user-friendly, immediate experience that places the emphasis on getting straight into the gameplay for which the series is famed. PES 2010 will look better, will play better, and will recreate real football as closely as the current hardware will allow," said Konami Japan's Naoya Hatsumi.

We'll see.