Iss Pro Evolution
I'll be the first to pay homage to the ISS Soccer line--I've loved every edition from way back. Unfortunately my sweet feelings have ended with ISS Pro. It's not a bad game by any means but let me get this off my chest--soccer games should never use automatic player switching! For some reason they've implemented this frustrating feature in Pro Evolution. It does a number on control and makes you not want to slide-tackle or perform any aggressive moves. Why is that? Say you're on defense, you're charging the ball-handler like the madman you are. You decide to slide-tackle. But wait! The instant before you hit the button the computer switches your control to the next defender. Now you've sprawled that man on the ground with your misappropriated tackle move. The ball-handler simply trots around him and makes a bee-line for the goal. There is a manual player-switch option, but with no way to disable the autoswitching, it only makes things even more crazy. If you can adjust the way you've played soccer games for years to this "quadrant" player-switching, and you don't mind the lack of some licenses--you're golden. The animation is wonderful, the graphics, while not as eye-catching as years past, are great as well. Passing is intuitive but I could do without all the intercepted balls. I won't tell you to avoid this game but be forewarned. Automatic player switching dictates you play in a very awkward style.
I love the fact developers can still make games on the PlayStation that look really sharp. Granted, the PS can't compare to the Dreamcast or the upcoming PS2, but it sure can hold its own, and ISS is a perfect example. Even with the slight jaggies found on the players and other graphics in the game, the polygon models and animation are fantastic. I also like the nice use of lighting in the night games. As far as the gameplay goes, the automatic player selection is the only problem I could find. Sometimes a player was selected I didn't want, or it'd switch around too fast leaving the player standing still for a moment.
In the past ISS has arguably been the best playing soccer game, and the same holds true this year. ISS is a perfect blend of realism and solid gameplay. The control is responsive and intuitive and while the graphics won't blow you away, they're smoothly animated and nothing to thumb your nose at. The Achilles' Heel of the franchise has always been its lack of big-name licenses, and that's turned off some sports fans. It will get that, under the name ESPN Game Night, which is coming out soon. I don't know why Konami has released this game when they have Game Night on the way. Unless you need soccer now I would hold out for that one.