Are there any improvements to Master League? And is it really up to scratch online?
Seabass wouldn't expand on the online Master League. We raised the concern about playing, say, a 20-player online ML, and the nightmare of getting everyone online at the right time to fulfil their fixtures. Seabass admitted they had thought about this, though he hadn't come up with a solution - so they planned to do things a different way, though this he wasn't willing to share. Single player ML, it seems, won't change that much. Become a Legend is due a far more radical overhaul, mind.
What is the match-day atmosphere like in the game, from when the players walk out onto the pitch up until they celebrate after winning the match?
Much, much better. The pre-game tunnel stuff is similar to PES 2010, but on-pitch, it's a lot less jarring. The turf is crisper and higher resolution, the crowd more alive and 3D, while players stretch and gesticulate pre-match - their shadows are spot-on, too. Celebrations looked familiar in this build, and we'd expect them to copy the FIFA custom system. Expect isn't the same as 'will', mind you.
How many new tricks/feints are in the game and how exactly you can map them? Is the back drag with the R2?
The trick system is outlined on the photo diagram attached. L2 is the key trick button for feints and body swerves, which can be linked to L1 tricks (which can be manually assigned) - the L1 tricks are more dramatic in terms of buying space and beating a man when dribbling at speed. The L2 tricks are more close range, on the spot stuff, and you can do ball flicks with L2 + R3. Please note: the 'preset' trick trees in the diagram were for the purposes of our demo, and in the final game, you'll be able to assign your own presets. Konami chose the tricks in the demo for us, so best to show off the animation etc
Is the game play a bit slower than last year?
Yes, and no. The new variable speed setting has five options, with 0 as default, from -2 to +2. We quite liked -1 for a FIFA 10 style game, but they are still being tuned. You'll be able to play it at the speed you like.
Did you get to see how the new tactics & strategies work?
Yes - and the flexibility is potentially AMAZING. We got really into custom formations and tactics sliders last year, and they've made some intuitive changes. Firstly, the main tactics screen is like a big interactive wipeboard, so you can move players around manually by clicking on them and dragging them around with the stick - tweaking custom formations is child's play. Superb. When you click on a player, his potential replacements (represented as off screen dots on the left of the pitch) glow to show who's best suited. E.g. Click on Scholes and Anderson, Hargreaves, Giggs etc will glow, as they're best suited to a CMF role. Most amazingly, there'll be a conditional tactics mode, so you can auto-define your team to, say, shift to a defensive pattern when you go 2-0 up, or to use CB overlap after 60 mins when player's tire. The card system remains, but is buried a little under the main menu - sensible, since it was too fiddly for most. There are new ability cards, but we didn't have chance to list them. Players have a Tenacity stat, too, which we don't recall from PES 2010.
Will player faces be correct for some of the smaller teams in the game such as Wolves?
Don't know. We only got to use a handful of 'big' teams in the demo, where likenesses were universally excellent. These teams included: Inter Milan, Manchester United, Barcelona, Ivory Coast, Argentina, Holland and England.
In daytime matches is the shadow area lighting better than in PES 2010?
The lighting looked more natural, but the new speed blur used in replays was a little too prominent - if stylish.