Following the trend of many multiplatform games, Wii owners have been forced to wait a smidgen longer than those that get their gaming fix on other platforms. This is generally done so that developers have some extra time to get accustomed to the unique features of the system and make the game work. Nevertheless, no matter how long developers devote, the Wiiís version of multiplatform games often simply canít match blows with their more powerful counterparts.
Thankfully, this is not the case with Pro Evolution. From the word go, it was obvious that Konami was committed to make its Wii soccer debut special. Soccer-based video games have, for the most part, been based on the same basic formula. From basic 2D score-fests that only loosely resembled the rules of the game, to complex 3D dimensional simulations aiming to recreate the real thing as realistically as possible, players have always had control of a single player at a time.
Konami didnít gently reshape Pro Evolutionís mould; they took it apart, piece by piece, before reassembling it into something that may look similar but plays altogether differently. With clever use of the Wiimoteís pointer, players now have unprecedented control over their entire team.
When attacking, the ball is controlled by pointing to a spot on the ground and pressing A. This overlays an arrow onto the pitch which the player follows. The selected player can be more precisely controlled by holding down the A button. Team members can also be controlled using the pointer; pointing to a spot and pressing A twice will cause the nearest player to run towards that position. Explicitly positioning a certain player is as easy as clicking on him and dragging out an arrow to where you want him to run. Dragging the arrow onto an opposition player will cause that player to play man-on-man with the indicated player which is very useful for patching up potential holes in defense.
Passing is also executed using the Wiimote; pointing at a teammate and pressing B will cause the player with possession to pass the ball to him. Pointing to an empty patch of turf will cause the nearest teammate to run towards that spot and, if everything goes right, take the ball in his stride. Shooting for goal is accomplished by a swing of the nunchuck; with direction, accuracy and speed handled by the game engine, taking in factors such as positioning and composition.
That barely covers the basics of the innovative control scheme, but it should be apparent just how much control is given to players. The focus has been taken away from dribbling around opposition players and passing to conveniently placed strikers, to tactically building up plays which can encompass the entire team. There is free space between two defenders? Direct a player to that spot, affect the pass and away you go. To use an analogy, the Wiimote is your marker and the playing field your auto-magically updating whiteboard. Only drawing a line on this whiteboard will cause your players to respond in real-time. Think of the possibilities! <insert crazed laughter>
AhemÖ Where were we? Ah yes, defense! The defensive aspect of this game has quite a different feel to the offensive. This spawns from the fact that you lose any direct control of a single player, and are -forced- to control the entire team. While offense has a large focus on controlling all members of the team, defense is nothing but.
A big part of being a successful defender is man-marking. Clicking on an opposition player with the A button will cause the nearest player to run over and shadow him. This makes sure opposition players arenít able to find free space in defense. Pressing A over the opposition player that is dribbling the ball will cause players to run after him. Holding down A will cause any chasing players to apply pressure. Holding down Z and swinging the nunchuck will cause a player to attempt a slid tackle; a risky move but very handy if successful.
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