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Coming to PS4 (reviewed), PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360
PES 2015 release date - November 13
Three months is obviously a long time in game development, because from E3 to GamesCom PES 2015 has come along leaps and bounds.
When we saw PES 2015 back in June (with what was apparently a demo created in May), it was looking far from the FIFA 15 rival it should be striving to be. But, now Konami’s latest edition of the football simulator might just live up to its previous chart topping fame.
It’s been a good five years since PES was able to step out from the shadows behind FIFA. Even Konamic admitted it had taken its eye off the ball. Too many years focused on fairly insignificant enhancements such as accurate fabric graphic and faces meant that ultimately the gameplay lost out - something that kept the fans consistently coming back.
What we played at E3 was absolutely nothing like what the Japanese developer had on show at GamesCom. Running on the FOX engine, the same graphics engine as Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and the new Silent Hill, PES 2015 looks slick, animated and more than anything, dynamic.
PES has definitely got its crispness back, with next-gen visuals making pitch and players look far more realistic than previous iterations. That’s something that was there at E3, as well as enhanced player emotions and more animated stadiums. It helped build the overall atmosphere of games in the stadiums, but we were worried there weren’t quite enough gameplay improvements to celebrate its next-gen debut.
In the latest build, PES has picked up one of FIFA 15’s key features and that’s the degrading pitch. As players slide tackle, scuff their boots and otherwise mark the turf during play, those actions are mirrored on the pitch. Just as with FIFA 15, the pitch visibly degrades over the course of a match.
This alone is a massive step towards achieving parity with FIFA and makes a big difference to the overall realism.
The lighting has also been tweaked. Time of day really makes a difference to the way the pitch is lit and will eventually affect the player’s shadows and those of the stadium. Currently, the shadows are still looking a bit static, but hopefully this will be fixed by the final build.
As with our E3 gameplay, the new ‘jinking run’ still stole the show in terms of gameplay. Although its traditionally a very American expression, it adds a layer of precision to PES 2015 tactics. By keeping the ball close to the players’ bodies, the jinking run lets you sidestep defenders and perform passes with a little more skill.
Of course, thanks to the jinking run’s shorter strides, you are slower across the pitch, which makes your more susceptible to tackles and other attacks. However, it’s something that we found ourselves interspersing it with sprinting runs for a little more control when required.
In comparison to the E3 demo, the gameplay interrupting cut scenes have also been turned down. Previously, you’d have to skip through endless amounts of replays and celebrations after every goal or near miss, but this time round it’s a slightly less tedious affair. Yes, they’re still there, but are a lot more manageable than during our E3 preview.
Aside from gameplay, PES 2015 has a great new feature that feed real-life game results into the performance of players in game. Say Robin van Persie is having a particularly great week and has scored multiple times. Well, thanks to a weekly update to PES 2015, his good performance will make the in-game version of him play better as well. Of course, this works both ways, so true football fans will use this to their advantage.
There are also extra leagues coming to PES 2015. You’ll get a version of the Championship and Premiership leagues as well as others when the game comes out in November.
Impressions from GamesCom
From what we got to play at GamesCom, it looks like PES 2015 is going to be more on a par with FIFA 15 than we originally predicted. PES now has the same degrading pitch, updated lighting and enhanced gameplay as its rival, so it'll be interesting to see how the two compare on the charts when they are both released in the autumn.
Read more: Best games 2014