Following on from yesterdays first part of WENB’s feedback to the questions asked by the community ahead of our playtest last Wednesday, we are pleased to follow this up with the concluding part for our own – and wider – community consideration. We hope that the answers we have provided offer some insight to how the game is shaping up, and will return to these questions (and others) as we progress towards the demo(s) and final game release.
Part one was all about the game when in possession of the ball, so here we will feedback our take on defence, goalkeepers and AI, along with touching on some other in-game specifics.
Has the position of RWB/LWB returned? (It was removed in 2011)
Erm…umm…I am sure I looked out for this but I will be damned if I can remember and it isn’t in my notes from the day. Leave this one with me, as I think it should definitely be back in place.
How much physicality can we expect, will jostling play a bigger part than before? Is there generally more ”hustle” at play?
While there is more jostling and contesting for the ball apparent in the game at this stage, it is not at the level many players would desire visually and in my Q & A with Mano, Nio and Jon it was singled out as something that the team are well aware of but that with the engine at its maximum, huge advancements in this department were found to be not possible. That said, because of a combination in general increase to freedom in play and the re-worked defensive system, it is apparent that the game does have that little more ”hustle and bustle” in place, so while not at the desired standard visually it was refreshing to see that just a bit more physicality was in place.
When using contain, does the player actively look to get back in front of the attacker or do they still trail the player in possession if coming from behind?
The defensive system in general is far more robust. I cannot say for certain that something like this is still not apparent but with the user having far more options when containing, and there also being an actual controller input required to perform a standing tackle, the game doesn’t frustrate as much as found in PES 2012 when defending. What I will say is that I rarely had to slide tackle in sheer desperation, and that my AI teammates were far more friendly with their positioning for the most part.
Can we use R3 to control a team mate when defending as an alternate to second player press or just performing additional marking duties? Could it be considered if not in place? Has the existing cursor / player switching been changed or improved since PES 2012?
This is a fantastic idea, though one not present in the current build; certainly something that I believe the developers should consider and as a result will be noted for feedback. Hard to say if cursor switching has improved or if the defensive AI is just that little more friendly, meaning cursor switching is not the frustration it once was. It was the semi-assisted variant I used in most my time playing it should be noted.
Active AI when defending : is the AI robotic in their positioning and dropping off etc. as they seem to be in the trailers? Is their evidence of them being a little more intelligent dependant on situation?
If it were to look robotic in nature I would say that is something that is more of a visual/animation issue. AI in defence for the most part in my time playing was satisfying, though I only scratched the surface given the time we had to play. Positioning was better/different from PES 2012 as things like higher defensive lines were obvious, while not being too easy to exploit. Relieved doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt seeing that this was the case.
Are tackling animations – slides, standing and barges – improved at all? Has the blocking animation been improved/more animation added? ( 2012 has this awkward one in which a player jumps to block, more often than not the ball is not in air and neither is the attacker trying to shoot or lob pass it, which results in disastrous blocking)
Well, first off, there are now very distinct standing tackling animations in place which look nice enough and offer the user a far better visual indicator when attacking and defending. Slide tackles were something I was rarely forced to use, so I cannot say if there is more or if they are improved. As mentioned previously, there is more contact in contesting for loose balls etc.. Blocking animations have seen some work but too early to be absolutely conclusive on whether the logic is improved.
Does it seem too easy for both the user and AI to at least set-up if not score cross/header goals due to the defence not marking aggressively when it is most needed?
What I found in my time playing is that more often than not crosses into the box were always subject to a contest. Also, when playing what little I did against the AI it seemed as though compared to PES2012 they were not looking to play down the wings exclusively and cross. This might well have something to do with what I feel is tighter play on the flanks and better defensive AI across the pitch in general. I know many will be sick of hearing this but such little time with the game is not going to confirm if there are any huge issues with something like crosses, but we all know that this is something that frustrated with PES 2012 and I am sure more man hours with game by the community come a demo will offer more clarity on this and other issues.
Do players do that John Terry last ditch block dive a lot? Or is it rare?
I would so it is rare based on the fact I only witnessed it once and that was in a match I wasn’t playing. In a match Suff was playing Sergio Ramos performed said move but it was contextually correct as if my memory serves me right he was throwing himself at a strike towards an open goal and he came awfully close to connecting.
Was there any evidence apparent of new player abilities/Index Cards for the defensive side of the game?
None at this stage but we have been told that things like stats and index cards are not finalised.
Do CPU teams suffer from errors of judgement, defensively? In 2012, CPU teams defended so well (even during counters, under pressure, even when outnumbered) Was there any evidence of stamina or tactics impacting on this?
With there being (contextually correct) higher defensive lines to be found throughout our time playing, it certainly paved the way for more CPU errors in judgement; not that this results in countless 1 v.1’s or reduces proceedings to a game of ”through ball” and little else. It also struck that when using the dynamic 1-2 the CPU can be unsettled by the resultant movement and can make errors, though thankfully it seems well balanced and not an exploit at this stage. Also, with the new defensive mechanics also being fully utilised by the CPU it is easier to read when they are coming in for a tackle which – dependent on the defender in question and proximity – can see you capitalise on the space they leave behind once beaten. Deft-touch dribbling and the ”double touch” or ”knock around” moves really come to the fore in these situations, if applied correctly.
With there being new mechanics in play when in possession of the ball such as dynamic one-twos, first touch, flicking skills and deft touch dribbling, along with more options in shooting, do the defensive mechanics offer a viable counter?
Absolutely. The defensive system is deeper, more intuitive and provides more in the way of visual cues so that the defensive game does indeed offer the necessary tools for the user to defend that little bit more assuredly. The defensive AI around the player you are in control of is more friendly (even with assistances off) and on top of all that, the reduced pace and greater freedom to the game in general means defending feels far less desperate and futile.
Any improvement in the defences ability to cope with low (triple tap) crosses? This was more of an online problem in fairness but might be worth looking out for.
I never utilised or was forced to defend triple tap crosses with any regularity in order for me to confidently say that this has improved. Again, I think this is something that will need more man hours offline and online to reach any conclusion.
Is it still too easy to simply dribble past the keeper in one-on-one situations?
I wish I could say I had countless opportunities in order to see if this was the case! Now, whether that is a good sign regards defensive AI or just that I somehow manage to simultaneously suck and blow at setting up one-on-one’s is open to debate.
Do the keepers stand up and kick the ball after a diving save noticeably faster than before? Has keeper distribution sharpened up generally?
Yes. Keeper distribution is notably quicker and with more options in place to boot thanks to them having a power bar for throws. The logic was a bit wonky it has to be said when it came to throwing the ball out. It will be passed on to the developers that both long throw and short roll buttons should be considered.
Is it possible to ”fight” for an air ball with GK in the box more than found previously, even if it results in a foul? Has the apparent force field been removed for keepers in general – do they appear as though they subject to impact from player collisions?
Hard to tell. What I can say is that keepers do come to meet crosses with more regularity, with Casillas in particular often opting to punch clear. There were instances when a punch wasn’t clean due to what at least looked like some collision with defenders and attackers. Also, in one instance I crossed to the near post where my attacker was lurking with a defender in tow and with the cross placed between the intended recipient and keeper, the keeper moved to pounce only for the ball to spill out of his hands as a result of the collision with my on rushing attacker and the defender. I’ll be honest and say I don’t know if this was a ”glitch out” moment or proof that the keeper ”force field” is not what it once was in the series.
Do goal keepers ever jump out of bounds or into the goal line while catching an air ball?
I never witnessed any such instances but I do think this needs to be considered. In the Wii version this happens and even if it were to look a little clumsy or ropey regards animation, it would still be welcome so long as it is implemented in such a fashion that the keeper AI is smart enough to make adjustments or try to take the required action in order to prevent a goal.
CPU goalkeepers : do they take short kicks? as in pes2012 they just hoof it up field every time and do not seem that aware of options.
This was unfortunately one of those things that passed me by in the heat of battle. Again, it is something that one hopes would find its way in and we will highlight this in future feedback. Worth keeping a look out for in the up and coming demo(s).
Do/will goalkeepers get sent off when last man (Szchezny challenge against Greece)? They always seem to only get yellow cards in recent games.
This actually does happen, albeit rarely, in PES 2012 and it seems to be that it is when the keeper makes the last man challenge outside the area does he see red. I personally did not encounter any situations where the keeper fouled an attacker clean through but will ask around to see if any of the other community members present came across it.
Could you elaborate on any ‘keeper individuality/Player ID that you may see?
Casillas was prone to looking to take charge of cross ball situations and also was not backwards in coming forwards when it came to coming out to through balls. Some at the event commented that the latter could do with some toning down as on occasion he would chase a through ball sent deep down the wing. He would often be first there granted, but the game employs some random logic regards whether the user takes control of the keeper once he is in contact with the ball or if the AI just boots it clear.
Is their evidence that goalkeepers lead with the ‘correct’ arm when diving?
Yes, but perhaps not with the regularity users would like to see. The animations are certainly in there but currently it looks as though some fine tuning is still required here.
Deflections : have the goalkeepers improved in their reflexes to directed efforts on goal and is this something that may be dictated by keeper ability?
I did witness some better reactions to deflections than was apparent in PES 2012 but forgive me for saying (again!) that it is too early to say if this is a rule as opposed to the exception. It would make sense if keeper ability plays a part when it comes to reaction to deflections but it was nigh on impossible to tell if this was the case in this early build.
Any evidence of new goalkeeper stats or Player Index cards at this stage?
No, not at this stage but like stats and index cards in general we have been advised that nothing has been finalised. We cannot say if that means change/additions will surface or not at the moment.
AI : Team Mate & CPU Opponent
Is the CPU opposition AI more ‘human’? Do they make more mistakes when in 1v1 situations both with and without the ball? Is there more of a feeling that it doesn’t read your inputs to perfection?
Early hands-on suggests that yes, the AI is that little more human. As stated earlier in this post, with there now being more distinct visual indicators that a defender is coming in to challenge, this at least results in you being able to read their intention, thus allowing you to look to exploit any potential errors in judgement.
Do the side-backs consistently fall behind and destroy your offside trap?
The best answer I can give here is that offsides higher up the pitch were more apparent, suggesting that side-backs are that little bit better in working with the defensive line. This will need more testing and observation I believe to see if this problem has been eradicated or at least not liable to happen as often as found in previous editions.
Do team mates show more awareness when you strike at goal, especially if they are in the way and you trigger a shot? Do they actively look to get out the way and do they also show an alertness to rebounds. This could be asked of defensive awareness as well.
There is a general improvement throughout play regarding player awareness in this early build. Rebounds/spills all over the pitch are subject to more ”contest”. Hard to say if your own players awareness is sharper when you look to take a strike at goal and there in the line of fire.
Is it still too easy to play possession football or do the AI press more instead of dropping deep & playing on the counter?
The higher defensive lines that could be found throughout our time playing meant that more pressure was applied by the CPU and that possession football in the oppositions half may not prove to be what it once was regards the user being able to dominate easily. The CPU’s approach to defence seems far more flexible in these early stages.
Does the A.I have variety in their attack other than playing lofted through balls in behind your backline all the time like PES2012? Does the AI always looking to go forward and attack or do they play a more measured tempo if required (passing back – even to GK)?
Apologies if I do not nail my colours to the mast here and say that the CPU AI does indeed show more variety or if it is the same. Personal experience suggests that the AI is perhaps not quite as one dimensional as was found in PES 2012 but, at the same time, I couldn’t confidently say that they are hugely varied with their possession game. I did notice on more than a few occasions a pass back or neatly worked triangle that wasn’t all them trying to drive towards goal as quickly as possible.
The good news is that in the presentation notes we were handed out before our playtest that team individuality was mentioned as being something which ”benefits from the ProActive system, with many of the unique style of clubs now recreated” and that more will be revealed about this at a later date. The hope here is that it is something still to be fully implemented into the game.
Does the opposition CPU AI show more in the way of urgency/restraint depending on how match is poised and is it contextually correct?
Like so much else about our time with PES 2013, being able to say with certainty that this is the case is simply not possible. The generally different feel to the game – especially in terms of pace – meant that AI behaviours felt different. In games in which I was leading against the AI (we could not identify which skill level we were playing – felt like Professional) I did feel that they were putting greater pressure on me and likewise, when I was chasing a game, I did feel the game get that little tighter. Whether this was the AI behaving contextually correct to events or scripting playing a part was simply too hard to identify at this juncture. One would like to think that the talk of improved team individuality can extend to teams flexibility in approach dependent on the match situation.
Does the CPU opponent AI perform tricks and show some variation in its use of set-pieces?
I did not witness the CPU try anything too elaborate from the skill set, but I did spot them performing some of the more grounded feints and skills on occasion. They damn well use the new first-touch and flicking skills though!
Improvements to the off ball player control – Is gaining control of a team mate to orchestrate a run still necessary? If so, is the system improved and if so, how?
There is less need to orchestrate movement via the team mate controls and there are two reasons for this. First, the AI is better and secondly, the dynamic 1-2 feature is a superb addition and allows you to generate more free-form movement and patterns of play. What we now have in PES 2013 are four methods of manually generating movement if we so choose; there is the standard L1 + X 1-2 function, the X then R2 method which sends the passing player on a run, team mate controls via the right stick and now dynamic 1-2’s performed by pressing L1 + X followed by a flick of the right stick in any direction. Add on to this the attack/defence emphasis and preset strategies and we should theoretically have all we need to generate desired movement in game. I cannot overestimate how much I think the dynamic 1-2 feature could and should be integral to play and is genuinely innovative.
Do players run faster back to their positions after a keeper collects the ball?
It did not appear so, but this might not prove to be the problem it once was. For a start, keepers may well have quicker distribution but along with it they have to get power and placement correct, then we have to consider how much free and contestable the ball is in general, with the AI also proving more aware as well. More playing time will be required to see if this is still the issue it once was.
Does AI difficulty scale well and do teams play closer to their real life style? Are momentum swings (God Mode) in the game less obvious if still present?
We only had access to play against the AI on one skill level setting, which I could not for the life of me identify what it was in any menu’s or screens; the suspicion is that it was on professional difficulty, thus it simply cannot be said if difficulty scales well. The bain of many a PES player – ”god mode” – was not apparent in my limited exposure to the game vs. the CPU.
Do players run into offside positions more often – particularly the CPU opponent? Is there any evidence of curving/correcting runs?
Yes, to a fault in some respects. I don’t know if it is something still to implemented into the games AI but sometimes players like Messi would wonder needlessly offside during slower build ups but there was evidence of players checking and adjusting runs on occasion. I found that this was the case when using dynamic 1-2’s in particular, as players would often check runs or re-adjust.
Is there more movement and activity by players at set-pieces that doesn’t require user generation?
Once the ball is in play, there was a little more in the way of movement but as it is currently, the user still needs to generate movement manually.
Audio & Visual Presentation
Animations generally improved throughout all disciplines? More variety across the board?
I would say so. However, such is the early nature of this code there is still some fleshing out to some movements and transitions required.
Improvements in turf shade, contrast, brightness and overall visual fidelity (LOD) from playing angles?
Graham Day of PESFan was given clarification that improvements to lighting/contrast and overall visual fidelity that will feature in the final game were not present in the code we played. I don’t know if it was because I was playing the game on a smaller screen than that which I have at home, but detail from pitchside and widecam did look as though it has been subject to a wee boost since PES 2012.
One thing I would like the team to consider along with improvements to contrast and lighting, is for there to be a slider in the colour adjustment screen which would allow for users to adjust the turf shade. I personally think that a deepr shade of green to the turf will heighten contrast and thus possibly have the game look that little bit smoother in motion.
Is the matchday atmosphere improved both in terms of audio and visuals (pitchside activity, subs warming up, variety in banners/chants etc.)
As you were at the moment here, I believe. Sound is not something that can be judged in the environment we were testing the game in all honesty.
Has the look of the game in night time matches improved and if so does this improvement make the game appear more fluid?
With improvements to lighting/contrast and overall level of detail still to be applied, I wouldn’t say there is huge improvement currently. It could just be the overall form the game is taking in other areas but the night matches I did play did seemed to flow better than I remember from PES 2012.
Have cut scenes and replays been reduced, especially the pre throw-in cut scene for example?
Cut scenes for fouls have been dramatically reduced, I am pleased to report. If it remains this way is another matter but the developers have been given much feedback from users that there should be a reduction in the number of replays in general.
Game play camera angles – any improvements here? Any new cameras? Does the camera follow the action well? Are customisable cameras in?
Again, it is as you were here. Customisable cameras have been ruled out as a possibility at this stage. Pitchside camera seems to be the best camera for gamepla, in spite of being exactly the same and this would be down to there being more freedom in control present in the game; the inclusion of manual shooting means that seeing less of the goal mouth in pitchside camera is less of an issue.
Referees – advantage, bookings after stops in play, tendency to award spot kicks, how they let the game flow and logic regards fouls. Can we pick a referee and their kit if required?
Advantage rule seems better implemented, with one distinct example of this being the case, where in one of the matches I played the ball broke free after a rather meaty challenge and the referee could be clearly seen to be signalling for an advantage only to call it back when a team mate of the offender picked up the loose ball – no evidence of bookings after stops in play, however. Spot kicks were awarded when they should be for the most part and this will no doubt be down to mis-timed standing tackles. Game flows nicely with fouls being awarded when they should be. Nothing in place regards referee selection or kit selection.
Game Speed – Check default speed and compare to PES2012 and check to see if other speeds are still available.
Default game speed just about perfect and yes, other gamespeed options are still present.
Formations/Tactics screen – any additions or improvements? Hexagons/pentagons for teams/players returned?
No work has been done to these screens carrying over from PES 2012. This is still subject to change but nothing confirmed as yet. Pre-game screen interface is more streamlined and shows both teams formations as well as a full model of a player from each team.
Replays – More smooth? More camera angles (pitch side should be an option)? Will PK shoot-outs be part of a reel? Upload replays/entire highlights package to YouTube (or other, or ”save as” .mp4 for PS3) feature?
No great change to replays at this stage and confirmation of any changes being implemented at the moment. Pitchside should be a replay-cam option and will be reported back to the team.
In my Q&A with the developers, I asked about upload/save facilities of replays and entire highlight reels. The team asked if users would like a facility in place that would allow them to upload/save entire highlight reels from matches to which I said yes, absolutely. This is something Mano took on board and suggested this will be into for PES 2014 if not PES 2013.
Are there new player cards and abilities? Are there more of these than last year? Especially defensive ones as there weren’t really any last year.
The only ”new ” index card (it could just be a translation quirk) was that of agility king, which Messi had in his index card set. As stated previously, nothing has been nailed down or finalised in this department.
So there we have it, as many of the questions you asked, answered as best possible. There will of course not be full clarity offered on some specifics due to our time with the game and the build that was available to us, but we hope you appreciate our efforts and are able to take something from our two part Q & A feedback content.
WENB would again like to thank the passionate community for all their input into making this feedback possible and, of course, thanks again must go to Konami for their kindness, openness and hospitality on the day.
Please feel free to share your thoughts or post any further questions in the comments section below or in our discussion forum.