The competition between EA's Fifa and Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer series is fascinating; the pair see-sawing in the popularity stakes every single year as new features and philosophies enter the fray. In recent years, Fifa has emerged as top dog, which seems to have a lit a fire underneath Konami, billing PES 2012 as the biggest reinvention of the long-running franchise since its inception. For example, the new Teammate Control system adds an unprecedented amount of control to the game, allowing you to control two players at once, the dribbler and the runner.
It's very simple, really; while carrying the ball, simply push the right analogue stick in the direction of the player who you wish to take control of, and direct them accordingly. Konami claim you can pull off shuttle runs into space, run onto through balls or lose dogged markers. Teammate Control comes in two flavors: Assissted and Manual. The former, as you might expect, does a lot of the leg-work for you; the latter, however, gives you direct control, and is sure to delight hardcore PES fans.
"The addition of Teammate Control is something we have been working on for a while now, and we are delighted that it will make its debut in PES 2012," reveals Jon Murphy, European PES Team Leader for Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH. "We have been building to create a control system that truly lets the player do whatever they like on field, and the ability to manually control a second player while simultaneously running with the ball opens all kinds of attacking options. Coupled with the Active AI advancements that ensure supporting players make shuttle run and find space, and I think we have made a huge step towards producing the most advanced football title to date."
Along with the Teammate Control system, PES 2012 boasts the newfangled Off The Ball control, where every single player on your team can be controlled directly whilst taking - or defending - a free-kick. Shooting has been improved, with Konami factoring in variables such as timing, the pace of the ball and the striker's position in regards to the goal.
They're not skimping on the visuals, either. You can expect players to sweat and glisten under the new lighting engine which casts dynamic shadows in real-time. The facial tech was been improved, with players now much more emotive and animated. Additionally, the animation system has been completely overhauled, redundant cycles trashed and replaced with a more streamlined approach which factors in every jostle, bump and collision.
"This is the start of a major new era for PES," boasts Murphy. Expect another momentous footballing clash at the end of the year.