Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 Review

  • Posted November 3rd, 2007 at 06:07 EDT by

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Pro Evolution Soccer 2008

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Despite flaws in its online and edit modes, Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is incredibly addictive and still wins the title of football champion over FIFA, but only on penalties.

We like

  • Addictive gameplay
  • More licenses than ever before
  • Realistc player appearances

We dislike

  • Awful keepers
  • Inefficient and laggy online mode
  • Limited edit mode

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series may be the undisputed champion of soccer sims on PlayStation 2, but its next-generation incarnation is still very much up for grabs after an underwhelming debut on PS3.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 was highly anticipated by the loyal band of fans the series has collected since the first Pro Evolution Soccer was launched on PS One back in 2001, and it was maybe this air of expectancy amongst gamers that has resulted in slight disappointment at the final product.

That’s not to say that this is a bad game, it’s just that it could be better. The gameplay has definitely stepped up from Pro Evolution Soccer 6, the series’ last outing on PS2, and the graphics are very slick and player appearances vastly improved and detailed. But when you play the game, you are often asking yourself “where’s that gone”, “why’s this happening”, or shaking your head in dismay at the blatant incompetency of the goal keepers.

It’s funny though, because despite all this question asking, the game still remains horribly addictive. You may ask the same question 100 times, you may get annoyed that your player wont slide to keep a ball in play, or that the ‘keepers are about as useful as a chocolate fireguard, but you still play it. Why? Because it’s Pro Evo.
The gameplay is much improved, and it is this that has many fans licking their lips. The prospect of PES on PS3 in a few years time is frightening. Once Konami are up to speed with the complexity of the console, they are sure to produce a stunning game. For a first attempt though, this isn’t intrinsically bad by any means. Passing is slicker. You can ping the ball about left, right and centre and actually find the man you are looking for. Gone is the lead-balloon effect of last year where your passes used to take an eternity to reach its target.

Running with the ball feels more realistic too. Send Ronaldo or Wright-Phillips down that wing and the ball will stick to their feet like it’s glued on. It feels as if you have more control of the ball, and manoeuvring around the pitch is as majestic as ever before. Find the gaps for your playmakers to run in to and then release your strikers and wingers with precision. It is the beautiful game. When has Pro never been?

It’s hard to judge the shooting in the game. It feels different, but not in a bad way or a good way. The jury’s still out. The fact that the ‘keepers are the worst in the entire series counteracts this though. If you thought they were bad on PES6, they’ve hit an all time, Paul Robinson-esque low in this one. From time to time, they’ll somehow manage to fumble a timid Gary Neville shot on a goal, or parry what should have been an easy catch to an onrushing goalhunter. Even more bizarrely, they’ll then go on to pull off the save of the season.

So what’s new? Well, for the first time, you can dive on the game. With a quick press of L1+L2+R2 your player will tumble to the ground. It’s quite an art really, as most of the time, you’ll get booked despite the insistence of the commentary team that you were brutally hacked down, even though you fell to the ground with no opponents within 20 yards of you just because you were trying it out…. Figure out how to use it correctly though, and it’ll be something useful to have in your armoury when you’re locked in an extra time battle with your mate.
Speaking of the commentary team, that’s new too with Jon Champion and Mark Lawrenson have replaced the tiresome Peter Brackley and Trevor Brooking. Champion certainly breathes fresh air in to the game, even if Lawrenson does sound obviously scripted at times. Still, it’s a positive move, and one that’s welcomed by fans.

The in-game music has improved, with the Kaiser Chiefs providing the song for the insanely boring intro movie. As always, after a while, the soundtrack does get a little tedious, ... (continued on next page)
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