Previews

Pro Evolution Soccer 5

The simple fact is - and we know we've said it countless times before - PES is the best arcade football game ever. You can quickly dismiss any gamer's opinion if they say they prefer playing FIFA with a derisory snort and a rolling of the eyes, because they're so obviously wrong.

The great news for us true football addicts in the know is that the latest incarnation is currently being coded in Tokyo - and we have the exclusive first news and screenshots.

Terry & Thierry
Chelsea's cup-winning central defender and England International John Terry has already been signed up to be the face of PES5, but he'll now be joined by last year's cover star Arsenal's Thierry Henry - presumably in a rather cool face-to-face arrangement. As for the game, Konami promises that there'll also be additions to the official Italian, Dutch and Spanish league licences, although the company can't say (won't say) if that will include any from the English Premiership just yet.

Zoom

However, we can confirm a host of new player moves, animations and game enhancements. The first is the weather conditions (now including snow - woohoo!) that will change during the match, and noticeably affect players' statistics - stamina, being the most obvious - and movement of the ball. You'll also have access to improved tactics and formations that will give you greater control over your team - such as, for example, the ability to set up a 'floating' player behind your two centre-forwards. Not literally, obviously.

However, the biggest changes come with the introduction of tighter close control for more intense one-on-ones. This means more aggressive foot-ins to steal the ball, better blocking and shielding, quicker knock-ons and faster turns on the ball. All of this will apparently offer you a faster, more intuitive experience, as you'll be able to read far better from the improved animations what the opposition is about to do, and react accordingly.

Other exciting innovations include more accurate heading, better through-balls and more powerful net-bursting shots. Plus, as promised to us last year by the producer Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka, the PC will have proper online implementation that will include the ability to set up leagues, world player rankings and international cup competitions.

As PES5 is launching on last-gen consoles as well, we're not expecting state-of-the-art visuals, but you can be sure that they'll be a vast improvement on the clunky PS2 and Xbox 640x480 fuzz-o-vision, with sparkly resolutions taking advantage of top-spec cards and monitors. We're pretty moist at the thought of a new PES, and with it due to hit the shops around November, you've got just enough time to polish up your skills. Look out world...

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