PES 2015: Pro Evolution Soccer Review

Being a football fanatic, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 (PES 2015).

The slogan from Konami’s marketing machine is “The pitch is ours” Is it really? I must admit there isn’t any real competition in the football genre for videogames these days, you have the major two, FIFA and PES and unfortunately one always gets compared to the other, well I’m going to try and not make the distinction between the two, but this may prove difficult.

Mario Götze has been selected as the poster boy for Konami’s soccer hit PES 2015. For those that aren’t aware, Mario scored the winning (and only goal) for Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final against Argentina. Now FIFA 15’s cover has been sported by Lionel Messi for many years, the fact that Götze front’s PES 2015 is no coincidence, Götze scored the winning goal against Messi’s Argentina to win the final, what is Konami trying to say exactly?

Let’s discuss the gameplay, this is where PES 2015, really shines, Unlike its predecessor, the core elements of shooting, passing, ball control, defending, attacking have all been majorly redeveloped. It is almost lifelike, players such as Messi, Neymar Jnr, Ronaldo, Rooney, all play like their real life counterparts, their skills are mapped to their virtual reality counterparts, dribbling is such a breeze with Neymar Jnr and Free kicks are a cinch with Ronaldo, just try and take a free kick with someone like Fellani and you will notice the difference in difficulty to ensure the ball hits its mark.

Dribbling has been made easy with “left stick dribbling” which in turn makes the virtual players very responsive, who needs to pull of intricate tricks? All you need to do is dribble through and around your opponent. Obviously it is an art, so practice in this area makes perfect.

Teams are also very much like their real life counterparts, for instance when playing with FC Barcelona, tactics come into to play, long ball simply won’t work, and therefore you will be controlling Barcelona like you are watching them play on TV. However if you choose to venture into the English league (Barclays Premier League), and play with South Norwood (Crystal Palace) you will notice a huge difference in players ability, speed, agility and strength, this is where the long ball may a viable option. It is clear to see the new Kojima Productions technology FOX engine at work.

Let’s address the Elephant in the room or in this case the game. The old age discussion regarding licenses always rear’s its ugly head. Unfortunately for PES’s sake, they are very limited. The English league comprises of one licenced team, Manchester United, the rest unfortunately are names such as North London (Arsenal), London FC (Chelsea), Merseyside Red (Liverpool) and you get the idea. It’s a shame when the most popular league in the world on PES is fabricated and made up, unfortunately it’s the same for most of the leagues in the game, with only a handful of clubs that are actually licensed. Also most of the leagues are missing too, where is the Bundesliga? Both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, which are both licensed are found under other European teams! You would think that if you had Mario Götze as the poster boy, the German League (Bundesliga) would make an appearance.

In addition to making the game feel like a videogame rather than real life is the commentary, it’s just plain awful. The commentary in a football game, is the heart and soul, it brings the necessary charm and atmosphere whilst playing, the English team, headed by Jon Champion is very disjointed, for instance you can here that the player’s names are “inserted” into a sentence, for example, “Great shot there by ….Ronaldo” there are no or very few anecdotal comments throughout the game and therefore it lacks personality.

All the usual gameplay modes are still here, Master League, UEFA Champions League, Europa League etc… along with a brand new mode, My Club. This is really Konami’s take on FIFA’s Ultimate team (Damn I keep comparing). Rather than buying packs of players, you need to focus on agents. The better the agent the better the player. Once you have selected your agent/s and open negotiations a lottery system begins of balls commence and the better the ball (Gold, Silver or Bronze) the better the player. The top agent lotteries are filled with more Gold and Black balls, giving you a better chance at signing a top player. It’s geared towards both agents and managers, if you don’t have a strong managerial alliance, the team spirit will suffer. Sounds intricate? Well it’s not and it’s fairly easy to pick up, also be prepared for many micro-transactions for in-game currency.

One key strength PES 2015 has, is its graphics, the best I have seen and yes in my opinion better than FIFA, player’s likenesses are spot on, including any scars, birthmarks and facial hair, it’s absolutely beautiful to see. The stadiums for the most part are also like their real life versions and the camera action makes it more like a TV watching sports game than a video game, the crowd are more interactive, however when the camera pans to them, they are look more like character’s from Minecraft than real life, very pixelated, not something you would expect to see of a current gen game.

PES 15 plays and looks like it owns the pitch, unfortunately the rest of the game kicks them off.

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About: Matthew Cawley

I always had a passion for games even in my younger years, when I first received the Atari 2600, Pele Soccer was the flavor of the year, I played that game so much I actually started seeing top down soccer players in real life. My first real advanced gaming experience was when I received the Commodore Amiga 500, this is where adventure games took over my life, Sierra classics such as Police Quest, Space Quest, Kings Quest and the entire Leisure Suit Larry series dominated huge portions of my childhood.

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