Pro Evolution Soccer 2010
|a game by||PES Productions|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 2|
|User Rating:||8.4/10 - 10 votes|
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|See also:||Soccer Games, Pro Evolution Soccer Games|
This generation has not been great for the once-imperious Pro Evolution Soccer, with some ropy instalments seeing it finally fall behind the FIFA behemoth. However, Konami have at least had the decency to allow PC gamers in on the party, with the same PES being released on the three main platforms (unlike FIFA - see the next page).
Never is this more in evidence than in 2010, with the PC version coming replete with Xbox 360 instructions -press A etc - and even a great big picture of a 360 pad in the configuration section. Which brings us clumsily to the game's major improvement, that of 360 dribbling. Like this year's console FIFA, the arcane eight-way control system has been replaced by a more realistic affair, and once you've tried it there really is no going back. This new system offers far greater control over player movement, providing of course you have a decent analogue pad.
Elsewhere, for the brave (or stupid), manual goalkeepers are available, enabling you to take complete control of the hapless berk between the sticks.
The player animations have also been improved, and their little legs pump away at a frantic pace, with a largely high-tempo approach. With practice, some intelligent possession football can be played however, and it's not simply a case of tearing down the wings and whipping a hopeful ball into the mixer - although that of course is still effective.
Off the pitch, while the licensing situation has improved to include the Champions League and, finally, the Dutch national team, it's still embarrassing to see the likes of North London taking on Yorkshire Orange. That said, it's testament to the game's underlying quality that you'll be prepared to overlook these non-corporate foibles in favour of what is often thrilling action.
With immaculate physics, the players connect with the ball with what commentators refer to as purchase', making for some net-bulging goals and compelling matches, with marathon sessions commonplace, particularly if you get stuck into the life-sapping Master League.
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Never, Ever Trust anyone who says Pro Evo Soccer delivers the most 'realistic' representation of football on a PC. That was true five years ago, but not any more.
No, stop arguing. You're just holding onto a rose-tinted nostalgic view of the series. It's dead in the water at the moment, barely even bothering to stay afloat as its clunky interface and feel drags it into the depths. Yet it's still the best football game on the PC.
Anyone who has played the FIFA games on the consoles in recent years knows that they're very, very good. The World Cup game has been gracing peoples' living rooms for ages now and it's so far ahead of what we PC owners have to deal with, it's criminal. Why Konami doesn't just put that version on our beloved system instead of releasing an archaic PlayStation 2 port is beyond me.
If you're worried about people refusing to play with anything other than keys, don't be. Force a pads-only option, or just let them use keys, if they want to. If it's too difficult, so be it. It's the players fault if they want to persevere. Just let us play the 'good' version. It's so painful to have to play the shockingly bad Pro Evo games, still riddled with the same stupid problems, the same idiotic commentary and the same press releases, year after year, that say "revamped" this and "Master League improved!" that. They didn't even let us pick Huylens, Castolo and company in that particular mode this year.
Next year's version will come out, which will look a tiny bit better than this onejeature tne same commentary (including the remarkable place-holder comments that still remain - "Header 2!" anyone?) and still play like the pitch is made of treacle and the players have to struggle to lift their legs. It's just horrible from beginning to end.
So PC football fans need to pray for one thing: EA to feel a twang of guilt for neglecting its loyal PC supporters for so long and get around to releasing a current-gen FIFA. Otherwise, next year will just be PES 2011 and its handful of meaningless tweaks.