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PES 2010: Pro Evolution Soccer
2 New from
When writing a review on a demo, I think it's important to get a little perspective first. Having read through most of the fanboy drivel on the reviews below I downloaded the demo myself, to see what all the fuss was about. I assume I downloaded the wrong demo.
When dealing with a review of PES it is natural to compare it to FIFA, but I won't bother listing the elements where the PES demo falls short of FIFA's demo, because I only have three thousand words. Instead lets focus on the things that got me screaming.
When the demo loaded I was presented with a scruffy, "How cool am I?" menu that seemed less than intuitive and just floats in the middle of the screen. This approach was fine for the SNES/Megadrive generation of games, but as the release of Windows 7 is soon to show, standards have gone beyond visually baffling to needing to be intuitive.
The selection of teams on the demo was restricted, obviously, so I chose Liverpool against CPU France. Being a 'pool fan I was immediately impressed with the detail of the stadium on entry, then I noticed the fans sitting stock still. That doesn't happen at Anfield. Then the teams were shown in the tunnel... Erm, am I watching manga? Why does Torres look like THAT? And why is he walking like Mr Soft off that Softmint advert? Has he followed through?
Anyway! Let's face it, the graphics are shocking. Even at kick off. I started chasing down the French forwards. After all, they had MY ball. I suddenly felt like an idiot. Why is Riera running like that? Is he trying to catch a chicken? If he get's that ball it looks like his going to go all 'Jeffery Dahmer' on it. Poor.
But I got the ball back and started passing it round. Pleasant enough, if a little flat and anaemic in feel. I fired a few cross-field passes too, felt easy enough. Too easy, indeed.
But when I was on the ball I didn't once feel threatening. I know this sounds daft, but I want to get AT defenders. I want to feel like I can throw some tricks and intimidate them. Maybe even get them backing off. No; the CPU players just track you down like a Cylon. The AI is pants. And my team mates looked like a team full of Ginola's; happy to offload a pass and then stand and watch, unless I specifically played a 1-2.
And it felt like I was controlling Computer Sprites, not players. I know I WAS INDEED controlling Computer Sprites, but this is a footy sim. My first thought was, this plays like an arcade game. And I mean back when I used to go in the arcades, 15+ years ago. For example, at one point I tried to intercept a lobbed pass at the back with Torres. El Nino ran over and stood next to the CB. The ball hit him in the head and appeared immediately at his feet, clean through on goal. EH? And then it was EASY to beat the keeper. I just had to shoot. No feeling of achievement in beating the GK at all. I didn't feel I could, or even needed to bother throwing fakes or shapes. I just...scored.
Now then, the LFC players ran off to celebrate, and did so with the subs etc, which is a really nice touch I thought. However, when I scored the 5th goal of my not-so-realistic decimation of France's best, Torres stood in a funny pose and Gerrard ran THROUGH him, seemingly via osmosis. I know they form a good partnership, but that is not what we expect from a PS3 game of this generation. Unforgivable.
And that thought is my prevailing one; 50% code demo or not, this is not an effort worthy of PS3. I know Fanboys will defend it, saying the demo isn't complete, but if that's the case I suspect the game -YET AGAIN - will not be complete. If it ain't ready, don't release! I would think twice about this game, and perhaps take a glance at my FIFA review...
PES 2009: Pro Evolution Soccer
4 New from
I'm very worried. Seabass admitted that he had released a partially made game this time last year, to keep up with Fifa's release date (apparently). Nice to know. I have always hated fifa, and adored proevo since ISSProDeluxe days. PES08 was rubbish, even the most ardent fans must admit that. Screaming "where are you going!? get back here!" at your crazy little guys when they trundle off at random angles is infuriating. Other negatives that still exist in this demo are:
- the clunky, 8-point movement feel of the play- the ridiculous clumsiness of the players "Why are you tripping over thin air!!?" "Get up!!" "You are NOT a windmill!!"- The music! "Everybody loves football - SOCCER!" oh please- The menu system and presentation feels very 'fisher price' - not sophisticated at all - and this looks not to have changed- The proposal of a 4v4 online mode compared to fifa's 10v10 is a clear indication of the yawning gap developing between the games- commentary and crowd sounds "Ra-fa...Ra-fa" SHUT UP
As a final say, the proof of these footballing puddings will be in the sweetness of the longevity of the games: fifa's 'Be A Pro' vs ProEvo's Legend modes; Manager mode vs Master League. Master league has always come across as over simplified; like buying players for points not money. 'I did grasp the concept of the fiscal barter system in school. I understand how much change I get from a fiver when i buy a mars bar. Thanks.' And player development is far more complex in fifa than I expected it to be. Ironically ProEvo's advantage was always gameplay. Fifa had terrible, unresponsive gameplay. They've addressed this with interest, showing that they take criticism and adjust accordingly. PES have not done the same with their flaw (present in almost every version). Year on year PES game play seems to be trying to achieve a simulation feel, when it's strength lies historically in the 'game' feel - the 'fun'. Recreating the awful things about football makes no sense. Playing in a team with rubbish players who can hardly walk, let alone kick a ball straight is not fun. Having psycho refs who send you off for nothing is infuriating. Having players who make ridiculous random-factor decisions like snatching shots with their wrong foot while leaning sideways and flailing his arms (when under NO pressure) is just stupid. Having teamates who just run blithly in any direction, expecting to unlock defences is so unrealistic (FIFA's AI smashes ProEvo to pieces). It's like simulating all the rubbish things in sunday league footy and charging me for the privilege of being subjected to it. If I was a SIMs fan, would I buy a game that realistically simulates my wife cheating on me or me getting the sack?
A game is a game, PES should be recreating the beautiful side of the game - and with this latest incarnation it looks like they're well on their way to failing again. Jundging from the demo, PES09 is PES08 with some button changes and a clumsy backheel trick added for aesthetics. I feel dirty, but I think I've sold out. Fifa has it's shortcomings; I bought Benzema in Manager mode and he wears the number 2 shirt - which I can't change!! And easy mode is a little TOO easy, whilst I got humiliated by spurs on medium difficulty. BUT!! Those are the worst shortcoming I've found...and I've looked really really hard.
Far be it from me to tell you how to spend your cash (the PES v FIFA debate seems to boil down to chest-beating jingoism, not objective comparison) but I won't be trying PES09 out this year. I can find better things to blow £40 on. Where's my victoria secrets catalogue...