Rating - 3+
Multiplayer - yes
This was the first Pro Evolution game on the psp and one of the first games I got with my psp. As the name suggests it is the 5th in the series but it's a bit different from its console counterparts.
For one thing the master league mode has been replaced by the league mode. So instead of starting off with a team with very poor stats and working your way up you get to choose which team out of any of the leagues you want to manage in.
The controls work rather well considering that its on the PSP but like seemingly all pro evo titles it suffers the occasional problem of the game automatically switching players when you slide tackle so instead of the guy who is closest tackling, it is the second closest guy so when the player is running towards him, he's on the ground. The analogue stick can also be difficult to control at times.
Despite being no master league, the league mode is rather good, though not as in-depth management wise as some games. Personally though I miss the master league mode with the ability to conduct transfers and upgrade player stats. The multiplayer is an added bonus and despite some lag when things get a bit hectic, can be a whole lot of fun.
The graphics do the job well enough but don't expect anything great as this is an older game. My major issue with the game is load times, they're ridiculously long and I know that it was the first attempt at PES on the PSP but they should've made more of an effort to reduce these as after all the PSP is a handheld games console which is intended to be played on the move. But with such long load times it can be frustrating that you just can't jump in and play.
This is a great little bargain to pick up especially if you like Pro Evolution or football in general. The only difficulty is that since it is an older title you will need to update teams and also some players may not be in the game.
So, the second best football game ever made gets a release on the PSP. For shame that few remember the gloriously addictive Sensible Soccer (from the halcyon days of the Amiga) as the title would be perfect for Sony's venture into the arena of handheld and portable gaming. Small, compact and simple, the endeavour would surely make the most out of the platform given the power of the PSP. Instead we have Pro Evolution Soccer, Konami's yearly updated monster for the Playstation 2, which in many ways is akin to playing virtual football. A fantastic game by all accounts, but, given the range and depth of the football on show - including numerous cup competitions, individual player data, the much loved Master League and barnstorming realism in the graphics department - its conversion to the PSP would seem as tricky as a FA Cup third round away tie to non-league Nuneaton Borough.
Luckily, you just can't keep the second best football game ever made down. Before you know it, that difficult away tie has become a simple 5-0 thrashing. Konami have done the sensible (pun intended) thing and have converted Pro Evolution Soccer to the PSP with the framework of the machine in mind, along with how gamers are likely to utilise the PSP in its portable capacity. Thus, the game is leaner and more compact, removing many decent yet irrelevant elements of the more powerful PS2 version, whilst maintaining the most important aspect of all previous versions of Pro Evolution Soccer - the actual football engine that provides the realistic gameplay.
Indeed, it's the football that you pay for and it's the football that you get. The main game engine looks as realistic and as gorgeous as it ever did on the PS2, The small player details have been maintained and the player movements are as fluid as ever, ensuring that you can play the beautiful game in a beautiful looking way. The passing looks good, the player's chest and head the ball as if you were watching the real thing - for realism Pro Evolution still can't be beaten. This is aided by the instinctive control system (well, instinctive if you've played the PS2 version) that, thankfully, hasn't been messed about with too much - the only real changes are required due to the lack of an L2 and R2 button on a PSP - allowing you to play instinctive and realistic football. Pro Evolution remains far more fluid, tactical, intelligent and rewarding than the relative codswallop Electronic Arts keep churning out with the FIFA franchise.
In fact, Pro Evolution has been refined for so long now, that it's cleverly geared to encourage you to learn more about how it works, making any victory a well deserved one. Sprinting may be the obvious initial tactic, but after a decent AI defence blocks your Thierry Henry's and Djibril Cisse's out of the game, it quickly becomes apparent that the employment of alternative tactics will benefit your team. Thinking and passing, putting one-twos together, long through balls over the defence and learning how to cross effectively are all skills that need to be learned to become a master of the game. Additionally, players are not born equal and their relative skill levels are hugely significant. You can become a far better player simply by learning how the various attributes and stars rankings affect the performances of the players in question. The PSP version, at least in this vein, continues in the tradition of the Playstation 2 when it comes to marvelous and insightful gameplay - it's not a case of simple button bashing will earn you victory.
To top it off the in-game presentation is as remarkable as ever. Cut scenes of the referee handing out bookings and having words with players, the wonderfully rendered replays after scoring a goal or a near miss, stretcher-bearers carrying off injured payers, players running off to be subbed and the perfect moment when an irate player throws his toys out of the pram after a nonchalant tackle and begins a shoving contest, are all present and correct. The fact these cut screens look better on the small PSP screen is a rather incredible achievement. There's even a wireless two player mode, where you can go head to head with another PSP owner playing the game. Considering two-player mode on the PS2 is where Pro Evolution Soccer excels, as there's nothing more satisfying than convincingly beating a mate with your attuned silky skills, this is a very welcome feature. And, unlike a lot of early PSP wireless multiplayer games, this works very effectively - with little evidence of lag affecting the gameplay.
However, there are certain elements where, even at 5-0 down it looks like Nuneaton Borough could get back into the match and salvage a draw. Because of the portable nature of the PSP and the lack of power in consideration of its size, this is not Pro Evolution Soccer as we have come to know it. For some the football aspects already mentioned will be enough - for others, mostly the impatient and those who have purchased the PSP as simply "another gaming machine" the release will be followed by a tinge of disappointment.
Firstly, the action slows down enormously at free kicks or corners - basically whenever a large number of players are bunched on the screen. This is unfortunate, but doesn't distract greatly from the game. Equally the removal of the stadium around the edge of the pitch when in the game (not the cut-screens, where the stadium is present and correct) and the lack of Trevor Brooking stating the obvious in an in-game commentary are necessary cuts from the PS2 version. Their removal simply enhances the speed and fluidity of the match, ensuring that slow down isn't a pre-eminent factor making the game unplayable.
These slight niggles, however, are rather redundant when compared to the longish loading times that frequently occur. Whilst the boot up of the game from the UMD disc takes a fair while, this is no different to getting the PS2 version up and running. Where it does become a problem is in-game, where each subsequent cut screen tends to take time to load up, often infringing on the fact you just want to get on with the game. Indeed, wanting to change your formation half-way through can lead to excessive and often annoying loading times. For some, this may be a bridge too far
However, where the boot is really put in, is the lack of variety in single player mode. True, there are individual national and international leagues, yet the lack of various cup competitions and, most importantly, the Master League system is the greatest evidence available that this is not Pro Evolution Soccer as we have come to know it - no Master League, no Pro Evolution Soccer. The limitations of the PSP have obviously led to Konami pulling the plug on their greatest pull to the single player game, to ensure that the actual football section of the game works admirably. But for many, the lack of creating your own team from scratch, training players into world beaters and looking for the best youngsters to bring into your club may put them off the purchase completely.
Ultimately Pro Evolution Soccer on the PSP can't escape that same feeling that pervades many of its format stable-mates - that it's slightly over-ambitious. The PSP is a powerful piece of machinery but it's not yet ready for PS2 games to be merely copied and pasted into the format. For some its technical short-comings and the lack of a serious single-player challenge will prove a recurring irritant.
With that in mind, though, we should be thankful for the necessary tweaks to fit the PSP and the great deal of effort Konami's coders have done to even get the game released on the system. They have done an admirable job. Quite simply, the game is built for appropriateness. For a quick game of footy whilst travelling on the train to work, sitting on the toilet letting nature take its course, laying in bed whilst the girlfriend is reading Pride and Prejudice again or for playing the rather decent multiplayer mode with a friend, Pro Evolution Soccer on the PSP is the perfect game for the medium. The PSP is, after all, portable for a reason and, despite the lack of the Master League, Pro Evolution Soccer is one of the best games currently available on the system.
Overall - That it's built on the best mechanics in the genre guarantees that Pro Evolution Soccer will rarely leave the side of your PSP and, whilst some will complain that it's easy to see where it could have gone further, it would compromise the graphical interface and the intelligent, tactical influence of the game to mere button bashing. In many ways we should thank Konami for their integrity in making the decision to cut out the Master League, for surely that's not what the PSP version is for. An excellent game, converted specifically for the PSP in a rather excellent fashion. Still, I'm sure Sensible Soccer would kick it into touch, if revived on the platform
This game is a very good footballing game, more responsive than FIFA 06, more skills available and the gralhic seem to be much more detailed then that of its competitor.
The game play is outstanding and seems to run much smoother than FIFA.
There is a lot to keep you amused and entertained as with any footballing game they can get tedious.
The only disappointing thing about this game is that the real club names and player names are not used. If this were to change I thing that the sales would pick up even more than they already have.
Excellent Football game