For many years, Pro Evolution Soccer was the untouchable king of soccer games. However, slowly and steadily EA's FIFA franchise has made strides in the right direction to the point where last year's game surpassed Konami's series hands down. The Japanese publisher is fighting back, and this year's update offers several new features. Konami unveiled the first trailer for PES 2010 at E3 2009, and we sat down with our friends at Konami Europe to find out more.
One of the biggest changes this year is in PES's presentation. This year's iteration features improved animations as well as more detailed player models. Skin textures, blemishes, sweat, and even forearm hair have been added or improved to add to the realism of being one of the world's greatest footballers. Apparently the graphics will even show the detail of different weaves in team uniforms. The quality of instant replays has also been improved to reflect those visual updates. The E3 trailer features PES regular and Barcelona winger Lionel Messi and is part of the game's opening sequence.
According to Konami, the development team has gone back to the proverbial drawing board to respond to some of the criticism of previous years. We're promised improved AI, an overhauled, more intuitive online mode, and fewer tacky J-pop tracks for Western audiences this year. The Master League and Be a Legend modes, new additions to the series in recent years, will again return for 2010. Master League has also been extended to allow you to manage a team over a longer period than before.
Also making a return in PES 2010 are official licences for the UEFA Champions League and Europa League (formerly UEFA Cup). There's currently no word on which English Premier League teams will make an appearance or if last year's top-tier licences--Manchester United and Liverpool--will return again. With their performance in this season's Premier League and Champions League, it certainly wouldn't be unexpected, although Chelsea would also make a sensible option.
Lastly the new Power Gauge, as seen in the trailer, allows you to manually set certain tactics on a sliding scale, such as the amount of pressure, the defensive line, and receiving positions. Categories will let players change their overall style of play, strategies for players in possession, the frequency with which players change position, and defensive pressure. We're keen to find out more about PES 2010, and the new changes look like a step in the right direction for the series. Check back in the coming weeks and months as we learn more about the game ahead of its October release.