PES 2011: Bouncebackability?

After a few years of disappointment, with titles recycling the same animations and commentary, I switched from PES to FIFA.

I documented the change at the time in several blogs, here and here. It was not a switch made with a light heart – after a decade with PES I’d lost heart and FIFA had essentially caught up.

Looking at the latest released gameplay trailer for PES 2011 it seems a lot of the problems I’d had with the game have now been rectified. Check it out:

The issues I had with the game were as follows:

– The computer deciding where I should pass instead of letting me do what I want.

– No control over the through balls.

– Poor, poor goalkeeper AI (repeatedly just pushing the ball into the path of the oncoming striker etc.)

– Bad referee AI

– same animations as last few versions

– The commentary

If they can fix these then perhaps a return to former glories is on the cards.

Now until we have a chance to actually play it I’ll be reserving judgement but the intial signs are very promising and with rumours of an online Master League (Linkage) also making an appearance might my defection to EA’s juggernaught be short lived?

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GregHorrorShow Game Awards 2009

2009 has, in my opinion, been one of the best years ever to be a gamer.

With so many great games arriving and with plenty of 2008’s hits (Bioshock/Fallout 3/GTA IV/Metal Gear Solid 4 etc) falling in price it’s a great time to own a PS3.

Throw the PSP resurgence into the mix and it adds up to one brilliant era for games.

Anyway, now onto the main event! The awards you’ve been waiting for…

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BEST DLC (Downloadable Content)

WINNER: Fallout 3 – Expansion Packs

 

Offering hours and hours more gameplay and an extended level cap to boot, the various DLC packs for Fallout 3 were well above anything else that arrived this year. Getting back into the Capital Wasteland never felt so good. 🙂

RUNNERS UP:

Killzone 2 – Maps

LittleBigPlanet – Various Costumes

Batman – Play as Joker Challenge Maps

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BEST GAME INNOVATION

WINNER: Killzone 2 (Changing Game Modes Within A Consistent Online Match)

Killzone brought the noise in more ways than one but the changing game types within one online game was pretty sweet. Meaning that just as you’d be capturing the flag (speaker) the game could switch to deathmatch (Body Count) or whatever which in turn means that no two rounds are ever the same – genius.

RUNNERS UP:

InFamous (Karma System Working Within Empire City)

Prototype (Running Up Buildings)

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Deathstreaks)

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BEST TRAILER

WINNER: Assassin’s Creed II

There were lots of amazing trailers in 2009 but for me the most impressive both visually and with respect to what the gameplay promised, was Assassin’s Creed II. A fantastic game that saw you playing through the 1400’s in Italy, the trailer showed off exactly what the game had to offer.

RUNNERS UP:

Uncharted 2

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

God Of War 3

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MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF 2010:

WINNER: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Heavy Rain was nailed on for this and while it’s still one of my most anticipated games of next year, playing through the beta of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has swayed me in favour of DICE’s first person shooter. With vehicles as well as guns this one looks set to rock it come March 2010.

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (SCORE)

WINNER: Killzone 2 (Joris De Man)

There have been plenty of great scores in the games of 2009 but Killzone 2’s is awesome. ‘Helgan Forever’, the main theme, will live long in the memory – mainly due to the fact that it is a fantastic, stirring, piece of music. Brilliant throughout the game, Joris De Man’s score is a great companion to a stunning game. 

RUNNERS UP:

Uncharted 2

Infamous

Prototype

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (LICENSED)

WINNER: Dirt 2

With a soundtrack featuring the might of Elbow, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Subways, Black Tide, Ladyhawke and Queens Of The Stone Age, Dirt 2 takes pole position in the soundtrack stakes. With a nice variety of styles it says a lot when you don’t get bored of the tracks after hearing them a few times and the inventive use of music through the menus and loading screens was a great touch.

RUNNERS UP:

Motorstorm: Arctic Edge (PSP)

Wet

Brutal Legend

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BEST VOICE ACTING

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Well, what can you say about the voice acting of Uncharted 2. It has to be one of the very best performances ever given in a game. I listened to an interview in which the cast compared the experience to theatre as they were all in the same room together for all of the voicing/motion capture and boy does it show. The chemistry between all the actors involved is apparent throughout and some of the ad libbed stuff is stunning.

RUNNERS UP:

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Wet

Batman: Arkham Ayslum

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BEST GRAPHICS

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Killzone 2 ran Uncharted 2 very, very close for this award but in the end Naughty Dog takes it on the variety of stunning locations they manage to fit into the game – especially the areas with some of the most realistic snow I’ve ever seen. The character models are superb and the animation is extremely well done. 

RUNNERS UP:

Killzone 2

Dirt 2

Batman: Arkham Asylum

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BEST SPORTS GAME

WINNER: FIFA 10

If you’d told me 18 months ago FIFA would be winning an award on my blog I would’ve thought you were insane. In tandom with the decline of PES, FIFA has risen to former glories and is now the definitive football (soccer) game. This game actually makes you think about the build up play well in advance and, even more importantly, lets you have full control over the action on the pitch.

RUNNERS UP:

Fight Night Round 4

Dirt 2

Madden 10

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BEST PSP GAME

WINNER: GTA Chinatown Wars

There have been some great titles for the PSP this year but GTA Chinatown Wars pips them all at the post for sheer volume. There is so much to do in Liberty City and while the missions are bite sized there are plenty of them to get stuck into. A cast of colourful characters (as usual) helps matters and this is a fitting entry into the GTA universe. 

RUNNERS UP:

Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines

Resistance: Retribution

LittleBigPlanet

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BEST STORYLINE

WINNER: InFamous

 

Infamous was a surprise hit for me as I was looking forward to Prototype a lot more. However Cole McGrath’s story of dealing with superpowers and finding out how the explosion happened was so great I played the game twice. With a few twists I didn’t see coming this game boasts a really great story. Uncharted 2 ran this close as it had a brilliant story but Infamous just pips it at the post.

RUNNERS UP:

Wet

Assassin’s Creed II

Uncharted 2

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SINGLE PLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Undoubtedly the best single player game for some time, Uncharted 2 makes you feel like the star of the best action movie ever. This is one of those games where all the pieces come together so well it’s a completely seamless experience. Brilliant.

RUNNERS UP:

Infamous

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Assassin’s Creed II

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MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Killzone 2

Is there a more satisfying sound that the ping of a kill on Killzone 2? 🙂 Giving the players more weight made the game feel heavier but seemingly fairer than a ‘twitch’ shooter like Modern Warfare 2. Killzone 2 is certainly the game I spent most time online with this year – clocking up in excess of 100 hours, which is a first for me. Great online fun.

RUNNERS UP:

Dirt 2

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Uncharted 2

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GAME OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Uncharted 2

Naughty Dog’s excellent Uncharted 2 is no surprise as game of the year. Having already seen it take the gong at Spike’s VGA Awards I am following suit and giving Uncharted 2 the Game Of The Year Award for 2009. A fantastic, deep gaming experience with a great multiplayer added to boot. Seriously I’d like to speak to someone who played this and didn’t like it. As a whole Uncharted 2 is the best game in years and a very worthy winner.

RUNNERS UP:

InFamous

Assassin’s Creed II

Killzone 2

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Wow, still struggling to believe we’re nearly done with 2009!

It says a lot about this year that a title as great as Batman: Arkham Asylum can be nominated for 4 awards and not win one. Quality titles abound.

It’s been an amazing year for gaming and the quality looks set to continue into 2010 with a host of great releases.

Let me know what your highlights were for 2009!

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FIFA 10 – Review (PS3)

FIFA 10 Main

As regular readers will know from my FIFA 10 and PES 2010 demo impressions blogs, FIFA 10 is my football game of choice for 2009/10.

After playing the game alone and with friends I am in a position to give the full game a review.

There are a wealth of options gameplay-wise which can be a little overwhelming to begin with but the first stop for everyone should be to create their virtual pro.

Once you’ve done this you can use him in any game type and level up your skills – yep, not just career mode people. Even friendlies contribute to your stats – and you can use your created pro online as well! 😎

FIFA 10 1

Obviously you have all the usual league/cup/friendly modes and alongside that there is the manager mode, which is a bit like a better version of PES’s master league (the main bonus being if you’re sacked it’s not game over you have to get another job).

FIFA 10 is quite tough (playing on World Class) and you really are punished for your mistakes. The positive from that is that, except for the odd goal here and there, you know it’s your error that has led to the goal being conceded. It’s a feeling I haven’t had for a long time in a football game.

Onto the match gameplay and the amount of freedom is wonderful. With power bars for goal kicks, throw in’s and through balls my gameplay prayers have been answered. Chuck in the fact the game doesn’t auto select the direction of through balls for you (which annoyed the hell out of me in the PES series) as well and my vision of total football is almost complete.

As I mentioned earlier this freedom is brilliant but it comes with a price – there is literally nowhere to hide if you make a mistake, especially in multi-player where your opponent will no doubt have a smile on his face in the seat next to you. 😆

FIFA 10 2

Online is fairly lag free with the odd small stutter here and there. Sometimes takes me a while to find a game but it’s not a big problem. There are plenty of different modes and you can even play 10v10 matches and join in lots of different online tournaments, which is cool.

FIFA 10 is a great game. It basically has everything I wanted fixed in PES and contains a lot less of the odd glitchy moments that Konami’s title still boasts.

FIFA has caught up and, in my opinion, slightly overtaken PES as the most realistic football sim out there. It’s time to switch to EA’s beautiful game people.

Rating: 9/10

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PES 2010 Demo Impressions (PS3)

PES 2010

As I’ve mentioned in plenty of previous blogs FIFA was the football game of choice for me from the release of FIFA International Soccer on the Mega Drive in 1994 right through to FIFA 2001 on the PS2 in 2000.

Then I discovered Pro Evolution Soccer and a near decade long relationship with the beautiful virtual game began.

But as I discussed previously (here) PES is a series that has been in decline since the switch to next gen consoles.

PES 2009 wasn’t a bad game as such – it was just annoying that the niggly issues hadn’t been resolved over time.

And having played the rather good FIFA 10 Demo I was prepared to switch back to EA’s juggernaut.

PES 2010 Gameplay 1

As I downloaded the PES 2010 demo last night I had a flicker of hope. That I would fire it up and Konami will have revamped the game engine or the controls… perhaps that’s why we’ve seen nothing of the game? Could Konami have just been waiting to blow us away!

The answer in a word was ‘no.’

Shooting appears to have lost it’s sting with shots seeming weaker than before.

The passing is terrible. Several times it passed the ball to the wrong player, especially on through balls – often trying to pass it to the far sided winger as opposed to the player running through. 😡

Having no control over throws or goal kicks is a little thing but being able to kick/throw as hard/soft as I want is something I’ve wanted in PES for ages. I don’t always want a goal kick to go all the way to the front man! 😕

Graphics are very good. Certainly as good if not a touch better than FIFA. Sadly that doesn’t stretch to any new animations – still the same ones from PES 2008 which is disappointing. 😦

PES 2010 Gameplay 2

The referees are appalling compared to FIFA – no play on’s even when I was through on goal and several players sent off for small challenges. Frustrating. 😡

That old PES favourite of inexplicable defending reared it’s ugly head. My defender, instead of leaving a ball for my outcoming keeper decided to flick it past him for their forward to score – without me pressing a button 😥 Several of these crazy moments occurred.

They didn’t even bother having commentary on the demo – so I suspect that’ll be more of the same again.

The CPU scored several cheap goals. One of the things I’ve noticed in FIFA is that I haven’t once felt cheated by a goal. Annoyed yes, but not cheated. Tonight I felt robbed by a few of the goals that came out of nowhere. A break away, plenty of defenders back but the forward still gets through, his shot hits a defender, he has another shot – it’s palmed by the keeper straight to their other forward who runs the ball into the goal. 😡 Same old PES. 😦

PES 2010 Gameplay 3

And that’s pretty much it.

Played 5 games, which I would say is enough to give it a chance.

It’s just a (very) pretty version of PES 2009 and for my money FIFA plays a better game.

The lack of control in PES is disturbing. At least when a through ball or pass is intercepted in FIFA I know it’s my own fault.

I’m afraid after a long period of injury time the referee has blown the final whistle on the 2010 football contest… it’s finished 1-0 to FIFA 10.

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FIFA 10 – Demo Impressions (PS3)

FIFA10

I’ve been a PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) player for several years but since the move to next gen consoles FIFA has made up more and more ground with every release. (See here for an article on the decline of PES)

It’s generally accepted that FIFA 09 was better than PES 09 but I stuck with Konami and the game was above average.

But little things began to grate – things that have been in the last few games without being fixed and so for the first time FIFA has looked like an option.

As I downloaded the FIFA demo I was quite excited to see what it offered as I’d heard good things.

Everything looks very nice and the practice arena returns, where you get to warm up between, and before, games – it’s a cool little feature which is good fun.

You don’t have a wealth of teams to choose from (5) but each are good enough to give you a feel for the game.

fifa10 2

The tackling took me a while to get used to and I conceded a LOT of fouls in my first few matches 🙂

Shooting feels natural and I seemed to have a lot more control over where the shot was actually going, which was great.

Passing was good and felt realistic, as did the refereeing decisions with some really clever play on choices displaying a great AI.

Overall I’m fairly sure this has done enough to switch my allegiance over to FIFA.

The fact is that FIFA has shown a lot of new features and got a persuasive demo out while PES has basically released a few videos about sliding tactical bars and a stat based card system.

FIFA has just taken a 1-0 lead in injury time at the end of extra time. It is going to take a heroic performance from the new PES to recover and pull this one back.

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