I have logged about 16 hrs or so of game-time in the PES2014 leaked demo. I want to share my experiences and thoughts so far.
I hated this demo for about 4 hrs... thats right I was getting frustrated. I lost or tied all my matches during this time, scoring only on a few occasions and rarely having more possession than my opponent. This bitch was difficult!
However, during this time I really studied the AI when they had the ball, focusing on their player movements like when they were bursting, sprinting, the way they were close control turning in certain situations etc. I concentrated on their passing and shooting.
It was during this study that I began to replicate those same passing movements and dribbles. I'm blessed with not having played a FIFA game in a very very long time so I didn't have any responsiveness to compare this demo too (however those that play FIFA then play this demo will find it very difficult I believe). The players, in my opinion, are not sluggish they just move realistically, as a real footballer would (in most instances...obviously its been stated they need tightening up in certain situations and all indications are this has been worked on).
Passing and breaking down the AI is an art and you have to be creative. But to do so requires you to think 2 steps ahead. Isn't that whats makes the great footballers great? Players like Xavi, Pirlo, Zidane read the game 2 steps ahead of their opponent.. Well thats what you have to do in this PES 2014 early demo!
As I got to grips with the responsiveness of the game it was no longer a hinderance, I was actually embracing it! The hardcore wanted simulation, well playboys this demo is simulation at its finest. Yet there are issues, so lets get into those.
- Goalkeepers are not aggressive enough when coming out to gobble up through balls or loose balls around the box and they don't stay close enough to their near post so shots have gone in from side angles.
- Some player awareness issues in certain situations.
- Through balls are a little too accurate but then again, getting them off without someone pressing you is tough. Also coming from PES 2013 when lofted through balls were broken, I welcome the little bit of over accuracy.
- I found it hit or miss when defending crosses into the box but I think that goes along with the awareness issues in certain situations. It doesn't happen alot but you don't want that to be a reason you let in a goal either.
- My biggest peeve right now is in certain situations a guy will be running towards a through ball and run by the ball then have to turn around to recover it. Like I said, doesn't happen all the time but its there and could stop a counter-attack.
- Shooting feels solid in certain situations. If you run up to a the ball and shoot you can get really good power behind it. Will judge more when I get more shots off jogging or not running up to the ball.
- Button lag in certain situations is really about one time shots and getting shots off in the box. When a player should be taking a one time shot and you have the bar powered up before the ball gets to his feet I find the player 90% of the time takes a touch first then shoots. So it seems like certain shooting animations take time to "wind up" which can give a defender that split second to block the shot hopefully those small transition animations for shooting are sped up a notch for final release.
All in all, NONE of these issues have taken away the fun factor that I am having with this demo right now.
Lets now talk about the positives since we live in a world where everything is about the negatives...
+ The attacking CPU AI has to be the greatest for a sports game EVER. And I only have ever played sports games with my occasional FPS now and again. The AI passes back and forth, side to side, probing and looking for an opening. They do an unbelievable job of using space. Every game I played it felt like I was playing a quality human opponent not one time did I see or feel scripting.
+ The collision system and animations are awesome. Not over the top, just right. A last ditch slide tackle feels phenomenally rewarding. Holding up play is a necessity. I've gotten very few cards because I don't run around trying to slide tackle like crazy as I did in PES 2013.
+ Passing is the best in any footy game I've ever played. Pure quality.
+ The ball is free creating life-like midfield battles and also makes defending an art, as it should be!
+ Individuality is prominent. Balotelli is a monster, Dante cleans house, Lahm is a tricky bastard and Pirlo sprays passes around like a boss...nuff said.
+ Combination play is tough to execute but when you have the time to pull it off it is very rewarding.
+ Headers are beautiful with loads of different animations.
+ Dribbling... those that take the time to master it will love it, wrong footing defenders never felt so good!
+ Pace of the game is spot on.
Speaking with Asim, he told us on the latest PES-United Podcast that in the behind-closed-doors code he and Gary played, the keepers were much better and the responsiveness was improved. So hopefully some of the other niggles will be ironed out for launch or patched early on.
I'll leave it like this. This game/demo is for the hardcore.
You have to take the time to re-learn PES again just like old PES fans had to do with each new iteration of PES on the PS2. As I said at the top of my post. I HATED this demo for hours and was getting discouraged...but the more I played and played the more everything began to click and what you find is this is the most realistic representation of the sport of footy you will ever play. It's like watching a match on TV.
When we asked Suff on our first PES United podcast about the responsiveness of the turning and dribbling if Konami should change it, he said they should tighten it up in certain areas but leave it the way it is and let the fans judge for themselves. I believe he was dead on.
For those struggling with getting to grips with the demo, stop spamming R1 and watch the movements of the CPU AI when they are in possession. I'm talking dribbles, passing, there usage of space etc. When you have the ball, think 2 steps ahead like a real footballer and don't try to slide tackle every player you see lol...put the time in to learn the game and you will be rewarded!
*THIS IS ALL JUST MY OPINION BTW*
Bring on the next demo Konami... SHIT YEA!