Take to the pitch as the latest outings of two sporting juggernauts get ready to grace PlayStation 3.
EA SPORTS FIFA 12
The popular football sim arrives on PlayStation 3 with a raft of new features, including - for the first time in several years - a completely overhauled presentation including new side-scrolling menus rather than the familiar vertical ones that have been a staple of the series on PS3 in recent editions.
Developer EA SPORTS has also implemented what it's calling a trinity of major gameplay changes, including the use of the Impact Engine, Tactical Defending and Precision Dribbling. With Precision Dribbling, you now have much more control of the ball and can even shield it with your body while seeking out an unmarked teammate to pass it to.
Tactical Defending allows for precise tackling, even letting you grab on to an opponent's shirt if they pass by you. However, the most notable change in EA SPORTS FIFA 12 is the implementation of the Impact Engine, which means that if another player barges into you at speed you'll tumble over or, if you have the ball, lose your momentum.
Off the pitch, there's EA SPORTS Football Club, an online community that can be accessed via PlayStation Network that allows you to contribute to the success of your favourite club by earning experience points when competing against other players. EA SPORTS Football Club is a feature focused on the club you support in real life, which you'll be asked to select when you first access the feature.
On top of all these great new features is the game's meaty Career Mode, where you can play through each season as a player, manager or both. When scouting for new talent and acting on information about a new player, other clubs will be alerted to your interest and may beat you to the punch by buying that player before you get the chance.
The developer has spent the past 12 months refining and improving everything you know and love about one of your favourite sporting titles in a bid to bring you the ultimate gaming interpretation of life on and off the pitch, so ready yourself for the best FIFA yet on PlayStation 3.
Next up on your sporting calendar for the year is Konami's PES 2012, the latest iteration from acclaimed producer, Shingo "Seabass" Takatsuka. Developed by Seabass and his team at Konami, PES 2012 features a lot of gameplay enhancements and is exclusively licensed by UEFA to feature the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup.
Among some of the new features that you'll experience in PES 2012 is the Teammate Control system, which enables you to take charge of a secondary player during play or during a throw-in, free kick or penalty. Having this new level of control allows you to place a player precisely on the pitch and guide them to a particular spot so you can pass to them and set them up for a shot on goal.
Another new feature is Active Artificial Intelligence, which is what Seabass and his team have worked on as much as possible to recreate the flow of a real life football match. With the new Active AI system in PES 2012, computer-controlled players do not chase the ball every time it's free, instead making smarter decisions such as creating free space by grabbing the attention of a defender in a bid to move them out of position.
The strength of a player and their fitness stats will also play a major role in the game. Depending on how a player on the pitch is tackled, their strength will determine whether or not they can stay on their feet and break free of the tackle, or fall to the ground. Referees have been overhauled too; now they will allow the match to flow more freely, pausing play only if it is absolutely necessary.
Alongside these fantastic new features, numerous presentational elements have been tweaked in a bid to make matches as lifelike as possible, including lighting effects and facial expressions. Both the developer and Konami have worked tirelessly to make PES 2012 the best that it can possibly be, so get ready for one of the most in-depth football games on PlayStation 3 in 2011.
Head to PlayStation Store now to download demos for both games and warm up for the new season on PS3.