Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 Review

Developer Konami 

Publisher Konami

Platform PS3, Xbox360

Release Date 14th October 2011

Konami have been listening to the fans and it shows, you won’t see dramatic improvements to the overall game jumping right out at you but you will notice that the game plays really well. Also that the fluff has been trimmed down to give a striped down footballing experience for the purist.

The improvements included this year include a much improved gameplay for the players and far better AI for both your team and the opposition. The players read the game a lot better and the whole thing feels more natural for the person in control. It still has its moments though when you want to play a simple ten yard pass for a clear shot and your player passes it 20 yards behind your player to the opposition.   

The development in the AI stems around stopping the players from flocking to the ball and just chasing it around the pitch like a group of under 8’s. For the most part this works quite well although as an offset some ball watching can occur, but it’s quite rare that you are let down by your own team mates. On the offensive side your players will make intelligent runs, full backs get down the line a lot more, strikers look for the through ball at every opportunity meaning you can attack from either wing or down the middle with the same regularity. The whole experience just feels right, it feels like football should feel.

The off the ball controls are a new feature that can be used from set piece scenarios, throw ins, free kicks or corners. You can choose to control the player looking for the ball rather than the player taking the kick.  This lets you decide to make that dash to the near post or just come short to receive a pass, then trying to open up the attacking options like never before.

Referees have been my pain in the arse for a few years now, giving every slight touch as a free and dishing out the cards for the most innocuous of challenges. It is a very noticeable addition this year that they do like to let the game flow, the advantage rule is used quite brilliantly and it’s very rare to get called back for a free kick when you are in an attacking opportunity.

The biggest change to the career mode is the “Football Life” mode which is implemented in either the “master league” or the “Become a legend” modes. This allows you to become a player, a manager or even an owner. Being the boss mode puts you in charge of running a club from the financial aspect which I’m not too sure about to be honest is this kind of a limited role.

The biggest improvement though is to the flow of the game, everything from the start up menu’s to picking the team and even within the game itself has been streamlined so you get into the action faster and stay in game mode for longer. Simple things such as removing the animation for bringing on subs, a totally unnecessary frill has been chopped, and you are right back into playing the match instantly.

Not without its issues though to be fair, and goalkeepers do parry far too often from shots they really should be holding onto, I know the new ball is meant to move like a balloon but still weak 6 yard headers should be bread and butter for an international keeper.

Graphically the game looks pretty much as you expect, they won’t win any awards as the bigger players are recreated really well but once you get away from the very top tier there is a noticeable drop off in quality.

Overall : Perhaps going back to basics was a good move, people play Pro Evo for the on the pitch moments, everything else is only getting in the way. Getting to the game and being allowed to play it without distraction is very welcome. The game will still drive you potty at times but the balance and flow to the actual football is so natural and realistic that it is beginning to feel like Pro Evo again.

Firmly back from the wilderness. Pro Evo is football for the purist.

 

Score 9/10

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