• The Pro Evolution Soccer series and its rivalry with the more illustrious FIFA offering from EA has been well documented in recent years.

    The received wisdom is that Pro Evolution has always been the game for the connoisseur, the truest representation of The Beautiful Game (TM) with its lifelike ball physics, intuitive passing and sensible shooting.

    FIFA on the other hand, has forever been the game for, well, idiots, sucked in by swanky menus and five million real teams and kits. The classic slick EA presentation was all very well until you got to actually playing the game and it felt like your players were prodding around a ball full of porridge. Horrible, horrible stuff.

    Pro Evolution Soccer 6

    So it was with great anticipation that the latest incarnation of Pro Evo arrived on our lovely next-gen machine. Surely here was the chance for those lovely people at Konami to marry fantastic gameplay with presentation befitting late 2006? Well, sort of.

    Pro Evo’s problem has always been its front-end. In previous versions, the menus were stuck in the early 90’s with even basic English proving impossible as the stats screen displayed the number of ‘shoots’ in a match. They have also had the problem of a lack of license, so Everton became ‘Merseyside Blues’ and Tottenham ‘North East London’ – all of which seems fairly unforgivable in this sophisticated gaming age.

    And I’m sorry to say it’s just the same on the 360. Konami only have a few licensed teams so that although the players’ names in the Premiership teams are correct for example, the team names are all still as ridiculous. Meanwhile the navigation for sorting out your tactics remains baffling and requires a few hours of trial and error to discover exactly what the various options change in terms of on-the-pitch action.

    Another bug-bear of previous incarnations was the sound and it’s no better here. The commentary team of Peter Brackley and Trevor Brooking is truly horrible. Barely adequate at best and simply irritating at worst, it actually detracts from the game. Stick some music on if I were you. In-game graphics are actually quite pretty, but nothing special and the close ups of the players in the cut scenes look decidedly PS2.

    So with very little progress made before we kick a ball, what of the face-saving gameplay? Well, the game is slower. Passing remains beautifully intuitive but the biggest difference you will notice early on is how the defensive side of the game has been beefed up. Defenders are now much more positionally aware and are usually in place to cut out your attempted through-balls unless you set them up to perfection.

    They are also more physical unless you have your player prepared with a nimble skill or quick pass, he will more than likely get bumped off the ball in midfield. It can make for a midfield battle, with both players desperately searching for space. That space is also harder to come by because of the reduction of the impact of pace. No longer will you be able to burst through midfield with one pacy player because even the slowest defender will often be able to keep up with you long enough to bump you off the ball. Even Aaron Lennon can’t race away from defenders.

    Another bug-bear of previous incarnations was the sound and it’s no better here. The commentary team of Peter Brackley and Trevor Brooking is truly horrible. Barely adequate at best and simply irritating at worst, it actually detracts from the game. Stick some music on if I were you. In-game graphics are actually quite pretty, but nothing special and the close ups of the players in the cut scenes look decidedly PS2.

    So with very little progress made before we kick a ball, what of the face-saving gameplay? Well, the game is slower. Passing remains beautifully intuitive but the biggest difference you will notice early on is how the defensive side of the game has been beefed up. Defenders are now much more positionally aware and are usually in place to cut out your attempted through-balls unless you set them up to perfection.

    They are also more physical unless you have your player prepared with a nimble skill or quick pass, he will more than likely get bumped off the ball in midfield. It can make for a midfield battle, with both players desperately searching for space. That space is also harder to come by because of the reduction of the impact of pace. No longer will you be able to burst through midfield with one pacy player because even the slowest defender will often be able to keep up with you long enough to bump you off the ball. Even Aaron Lennon can’t race away from defenders.

     

     

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