Product Type: Konami PC games
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Beauty is only skin deep.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (PC)
Member Name: netrocyn
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (PC)
Advantages: Detailed graphics and animations, Better presentation, Realistic physics
Disadvantages: Arcade feel, Too easy, Unimpressive AI
Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer has always has a strong fan following on both console and PC alike. The PC platform has traditionally made it easier for modders to create patches for the game, to fill in the gaps that Konami leave, in search of the perfect footballing experience. PC owners have often felt short changed in the past with PC versions of PES being rough conversions of the console editions. This has led one or two compatiblity and control issues over the years, and leaving the PC PES players feeling ignored slightly. The latest offer is in an important milestone in the series, as it sees the adaptation of so called 'next-gen' technology, promising better graphics and gameplay. Admittedly the manufacturer is once again focused on console play, aiming at the players of both the PS3 and XBOX 360. However for the PC player ther are several advances of the previous versions.
From first loading the game its obvious that much effort has gone into the presentation. In-game menus are smooth and much more modern looking than previous versions although it is clear that the same features have been retained. Exhibition, Cup, League and Training modes are still there, but to many fans the most important part of PES in recent years has been its Master League. This enables players to take a take and build a team, and navigate it through the course a season. On first glance there doesnt seem to be many additions to this winning formula other than its slick new interface and a few tweaks.
Of course the main reason why PES has held dominance over FIFA for such a long time has been the way the matches play, and the realism and free-flowing nature of the game. The first thing youll notice is the major graphical improvement, that is of course your PC is up to it. The new graphics are very detailed but the average PC owner may struggle to take advantage of this as to play PES 2008 smoothly you need a fairly up to date graphics card. For those who do have this, they can really enjoy the smooth detailed graphics, super fluid animations and even animated crowds and grass. Replays look superb and more realistic than ever. However to many PES fans the issue of graphics has not been a main consideration.
On the pitch and PES2008 initially feels very different to its predecessor. Everything, the players, the ball and the controls feel much heavier, and the over pace seems much slower, especially on this PC version. However you will soon get used to this and realise the physics in PES are more realistic than ever. Players really do thud into each other, and you can almost feel the crunch of tackles flying in. For a computer game, these are really starting to feel like you are in control of real solid players, especially as cries of pain are heard when a player is fouled. Another really clever feature of PES is the inclusion of diving. AI players often dive in the penalty area, and are often shown a yellow card for their antics. The player can also do this and sometimes the referee will buy it and give the foul!
Again this latest PES doesnt have many licensed team kits, although with the online community this series has, its easy to patch the game with the correct details, and especially on the PC platform this isnt a problem.
Unfortunately despite its great aspects, this game is seriously flawed. The AI teams dont feel at all as intelligent as in PES6, and often even the less talented players will often set off on a mazy unstoppable run to your goal. This in combination with the fact that AI players seemingly always score from free kicks really makes this version of PES seem arcadey. Also it is far too easy to score, long range super goals and impossible headers really spoil the experience because they simply happen far to often. Often the games feel fixed, and sometimes when you score it is impossible to prevent the opposition equalizing. Once youve learnt the new feel of the players it doesnt take much effort to dribble past defenders and get a shot in. Even on the hardest difficulty level this often results in games with ridiculously high scorelines, whereas in PES6 you often found yourself struggling for a 0-0 draw, which was realistic and much more satisfying. The new commantary team of Lawrenson and Champion provide a more familar sounding background although once again the timing and triggering of certain comments is often either wrong or just bizzare. However this is just a minor flaw compared to the big issues this game has.
Loyal fans of PES have been very disappointed by this game. Overall its feels unfinished and underneath the glorious aesthetics there isnt really much substance to it. I think fans would have been reasonably happy with PES6 with just the graphical upgrade, but unfortunately it seems that the new looks have been at the expense of what PES has always been about, the football. Perhaps this product was rushed to be finished in time for the Christmas rush. Apparently one of the leading designers of the came has come forward and apologised for this years version, so it seems Konami didnt put as much effort into this one. However this is their first effort in the new 'next-gen' sector which has enormous potential. Certainly PES2009 will have to be a whole lot better than this to keep fans loyal.
Summary: Konami's first effort into the next-gen arena has serious flaws.