Pro Evolution Soccer - PS2

Also known as: Winning Eleven 5

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Also for: PlayStation
Viewed: 3D Combination Genre:
Sport: Football - Soccer
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Konami Soft. Co.: Konami
Publishers: Konami (GB/GB)
Released: 23 Nov 2001 (GB)
28 Mar 2003 (GB)
Ratings: 3+
Accessories: Dual Shock Joypad, Analogue Control Compatible: all buttons, Memory Card
Features: Multitap adaptable, Vibration Function Compatible

Summary

PC’s may have their RTS and role-playing games in abundance, but sometimes it seems that it’s all football and fast cars on console. That’s fair enough, and while driving games have, paradoxically, come to a grinding halt in the aftermath of Gran Turismo 3, football games just keep getting better and better. Well, it all stops right here. Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer rules! And if any soccer title on PS2 comes close to it, we’ll eat our collective jester’s hat.

The International Superstar prefix may have gone, but everything else that veteran console footy players know and love about ISS is intact, and then some. It’s in the extra, albeit small details, where you’ll notice the differences. There are more stadia to play in, as well as a new training ground, all brought to you in sparkling high-resolution graphics. Options include rain, day or night kick-off times, and, in addition to the ubiquitous giant flags, fireworks, confetti, coloured flares can now be seen around the stadium.

Never mind the surroundings, though. Let’s get to the action on the field. Those who played the Japanese import of Pro Evolution Soccer (Winning Eleven 5) rightly raved about the gameplay. It’s a more responsive play than, say, This is Football 2002 or the latest FIFA games, and that’s the clincher. If you feel you’re in complete control of your players (and in Pro Evolution Soccer, you are) then your predilection for booting the ball as far up the pitch as possible and hoping for the best, like you might try in other football games, will soon be on the wane. Pro Evolution Soccer is, like the best real-life soccer, all about biding your time and waiting for the opposition to momentarily lose concentration. Then it’s time to make your move and strike for goal. Don’t expect a goal-fest, however. In common with Konami’s previous ISS games, a free-scoring match is something of a rarity. Besides, it makes for a better playing experience when a game is approaching the 90 minute mark, and the result is too close to call.

Pro Evolution Soccer kicks the competition into touch with its sublime gameplay, sharp computer AI, and, dodgy-looking falling rain effects aside, lush graphics. Konami’s securing of the FIFPro license means that players’ likenesses and names are present and correct (Leeds United’s Ian Harte and Robbie Keane are instantly recognisable, for example). It may not have the number of teams and players that certain other PS2 footy games have, but Pro Evolution Soccer more than makes up for it in the gameplay stakes. Console football fan? Get yourself a copy of this game as soon as you can.