Pro Evolution Soccer (X Box/PS3)

Summary

Widely regarded as the most addictive computer game around, Pro Evolution Soccer is known for the realism of its animations and its top quality game play. There are ten games in the Pro Evo series with the latest released in 2008 for X Box and PS3. With each game have come improvements in the quality of animation, physics and game play, the only disadvantage being the lack of licensing of British teams (the one advantage Fifa has over Pro Evo). Although the 2008 version of Pro Evo offers the best game play to date, it has been met with surprising amounts of criticism, with particular complaints about the slow pace of the game. This is largely due to frame rate problems which give a stop-start feel, with the camera failing to keep up with the pace of the players, although Konami (the game’s makers) have been working hard to resolve this problem. Slow down is an even worse issue with the online mode, with significant amounts of lag unless both players have very good signal.

Pro Evo has excellent graphics, and the 2008 version is better than ever – one of the reasons why it is such an addictive game! The animations and physics of the game are second to none and gamers feel in control of what their player is doing, a feature that Fifa has always lacked. The one downside when considering its true-to-life qualities has always been its lack of licensed British teams, with Tottenham and Newcastle being the only ‘real’ teams available – by now hardened Pro Evo fans will be used to pitching ‘Manchester Red’ against ‘London Blue’! That said, the edit mode does allow players to use the ‘scan’ feature to upload pictures of kits and players although it does take time and patience to get this right.

Moves

Pro Evo is known for the extensive number of moves possible during a game – it is hard to imagine that it would ever start to feel repetitious. There are infinite ways of changing your shot or cross, controlled by the shoulder button modifiers. The developed physics of Pro Evo 2008 means the ball feels weightier and the moves feel even more natural than in its predecessors. The latest version of the game allows for much tighter dribbling abilities, particularly demonstrable through the likes of Ronaldinho and Ronaldo (although at times their skills are just a little too perfect!) The strength and build of a player also have more impact on the game now, allowing a player to maintain possession of the ball through brute strength alone. It is also worth noting that, unlike in earlier versions of the game, there are no longer defenders being ‘teleported’ in front of a gamer’s attack.

The quality of the game play is now more realistic than ever, with team mates running into better positions and passing being sharper and more accurate than in previous versions. The interactions between players are unbelievably realistic with slide tackles and animated tussles that are tight without being over-the-top. The ‘dive’ mode is new for 2008, allowing players to throw their team dramatically onto the ground. One particularly impressive and most talked about feature of the 2008 version is its ‘Teamvision’ – the ability of the computerised opponent to pick up patterns of play by individual players and improve its defence accordingly, preventing players from using the same tactics to score goals more than a couple of times.

Tips

No matter how good players are at the Pro Evolution Soccer series there is always room for improvement. There are literally hundreds of different skills available for players who have the time and patience to get to grips with them. For those new to Pro Evo it is definitely worth going through the training mode before moving into the Cup and League which gives players the chance to try out the moves mentioned in the training manual on an open-ended field.

Passing Tips

Good passing is key to scoring goals in Pro Evo as well as real life, and it is the best way to keep the ball moving down the field. If an opponent steps in front of a player who is dribbling the ball, pass the ball back to a defender to give the forwards a chance to adjust their position according to the opponent’s defence. Another good tip is to pass back to a defender and then use the thru-pass button to put the ball in front of the strikers. Remember that especially in the latest versions of Pro Evo it is necessary to have a proper look around the pitch to find a player in a good passing position before making a move – this is football at its most realistic.

Shooting Tips

Practice is the only way to become a star shooter, particularly for those who are not used to playing Pro Evo. The best way to improve game play is to experiment – try taking shots from all different angles in order to discover which position suits you best. It is worth noting that the best way to get into a shooting position is to run down one of the wings rather than straight up the middle of the pitch and then pass the ball to a striker who should be in a good position for a header. Running down the centre just sends you straight into the opposition’s defence.

Value for Money

Pro Evolution Soccer is definitely worth the money as the most realistic and top quality game on the market. The game play is by far the best available and the only real downside is the lack of licensing, although the graphics and editing features go a long way in making up for this – it would definitely be hard not to get your money’s worth out of this game. Saying that, with all the complaints about the latest version of Pro Evo it is not necessarily worth updating to Pro Evo 2008 if you invested in the 2007 version – not a lot has changed (save the Teamvision feature) and the slow pace is a real problem, especially for those wanting to play online.