No Evolution Soccer
FIFA has recently taken over the crown as the reigning champion of Football games, even for some long term PES supporters. That shouldn't really dictate the situation on iOS, but can Konami's PES find a platform to call home and strike back against a heavily defended EA?
Things look good from the start. The menu has a whole plethora of options to wade through, from the standard quick match mode to the challenges, League Cup and Super Challenge. Most important of all is that Multiplayer icon, an immediate improvement over FIFA's lack of online game.
Even when starting a match the stadiums impress with their detailed design and authentic muddy pitch. The licensing issue raises its head again as many of the big teams remain absent, only represented through parodies of their club names, but most PES players are used to this by now. Then the game begins and it all starts to go downhill. A Football game lives or dies on several things; the AI of the other team, the ability to acknowledge the rules of the sport and decent control over the ball and players.
PES 2012's first problem makes itself clear as you kick off. There are three sets of controls; the Accelerometer might as well not be there for all the good it does, One Touch gives you a virtual joystick and everything else is achieved by tapping on the screen, which isn't really ideal. Only the virtual buttons are any good and even these just aren't responsive enough or accurate enough for scoring. Holding down the buttons allows you to build up power, but with two or more opposing players on the attack, it's all too easy to hold the shoot button down too long and watch as the ball travels way over the net.
The game itself is a much slower affair than FIFA 12, but even this doesn't help the sticky controls. Further impacting the game is the poor enemy AI that seems to be constantly attacking you. With a somewhat over-enthusiastic referee this creates a match dominated by yellow cards on both sides of the pitch, thanks to a collision system that allows players to rival even the best on-pitch actor, while it's clear from the replay that the attacking player never even came close to them.
Super Challenge mode is, at least, an interesting addition which allows you to travel through the divisions, with the top three teams reaching the next level, hoping to win the Championship. It's a well put-together campaign which is only hampered by the points I've already mentioned. Likewise, Challenges are great fun when the controls don't get in the way, especially the simplistic, but ultimately likeable Free Kick game.
Graphically this isn't really much of an improvement over last year's effort. FIFA 12 has really improved and therefore sets the bar, but PES can't compete, with awkward scruffy graphics on the pitch, even though the scenery and pitch itself is well designed and detailed. It's not game-breaking, but it is another cross against the game when making the obvious comparisons to EA's title.
PES 2012 is a fairly solid game of Football, there's nothing seriously broken about it, but considering it arrives alongside its nearest rival FIFA 12, comparisons are not kind to the game. A control system that doesn't allow for enough fine tuning and questionable AI mean that PES2012 should be sitting on the bench this year.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 7
- Gameplay: 5
- Longevity: 5
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