* I've edited this review but I'll just chuck a comment in at the top to make it easier for anybody still remotely interested in buying the game. In brief - Konami have basically given the game a very poorly engineered learning curve. Once you get past Regular game setting (which becomes far too easy far too quickly) you have a gane that is virtually unplayable and not much fun - simply becasue the CPU speed and on-the-ball skill is ridiculous. You have limited opportunity to use judgement and skill and end up spending most of the game chasing back to try and win the ball. Which is almost impossible unless te CPU hits an errant pass. At the other end - having 7 opposing players gang tackle you from behind at every single position near their penalty box becomes supremely annoying. It's turned the one player game into a farce.
So you can have all the good parts of this game as described below - but only at a level that becomes too easy and uninspiring. As soon as you push that skill level up one notch - the game gets quite unplayable. I have to admit I'm now contemplating FIFA10. Sorry Konami - but this has been poorly thought out.
The current incarnation of PES on the 360 has some welcome enhancements which improve on previous versions, however there are some niggles and some downright annoyingly persistent traits to the game which kind of spoil it a bit in terms of overall fun.
Overall the layout of menus is much better than the last lot - pink might not be everybody's favourite colour but it generally flows together quite well. Also the menu music isn't *too* bad. I hated the last one - but this time around, at least for me, the music is a plus.
On to the game environment - I have to say the lighting of the pitch and the crowd looks fantastic - it's real progress and definitely catches up with FIFA in terms of cinematic environments. In winter especially it looks great. The shadows are long, the low sun is bright and the contrast between shadowed and sunlit sections of the pitch/player/ball/crowd are a joy to behold. On a dull rainy day everything takes a hit on the colour and the contrast and you do have a sense that the weather is a bit on the wet side!
The players themselves do look good - and the extra animation is evident when any action button is pressed - with headers, shots and dribbling given a few more flourishes than previously. The only bugbear I have (this is an official niggle) is that when running - the players still look a bit wooden - Konami don't seem to have changed anything for the running styles in a good few years - definitely one to enhance soon.
Master League - the Master League has always been a favourite feature of mine and we now have a couple of new twists. Progression is slower with a larger expanded D2 league to start in - and you also have cup games to play that include the "big boys" from the division above. Money can be set in sterling which is nice - and agents and scouts can take care of the player hunting and contract signing for the most part (though most of us will want to manage it ourselves yeah?). The best parts of the upgraded Master League are that players do not sit on the bench and stay happy for 5 years while their stats crawl up - they get unhappy, fall out of love with the club and ultimately lose morale. (I actually sent a young developing player on loan and was rather miffed that he then refused to sign a new contract with me - given that I was trying to further his skills in order to break into my first team!!). On top of that the purchasing of players is given a new twist in that you can't see their stats, or easily predict their development. It takes the scout a few weeks to suss them out and there's no quick way of asking to search for somebody with speed of 85 or higher (i.e. much more realistic). The only major bug bear I have the the ML is (again) that you can't perform any live action training in between weeks. Sometimes it's good to practise set pieces with your own guys in the ML environment becasue that's where it counts!
Now of course the crux of the review - the gameplay. This is where Konami can be brilliant, and simultaneously frustrating. The game is played (like everybody before this review has said) at a slower pace than 2009. However the speed of the game is great - you have time to react and think one step ahead whilst play develops around you. It feels more natural and the relative speed of the players (in the main) feels good. As does the ball movement. Slow shots and passes are noticeably slower than hard hot shots and passes. The tactics have also been changed a bit which means some of the attacking options have been removed (no bad thing as a few were practically useless anyway). You get to adjust some more organic settings such as pressurising the opposition, sticking rigidly to formation shape, aggresive attacking (overlapping) etc. All in all it's quite nice and it does give you the option to change things for the better mid-match (again like all the previous versions you have the four button tactical system - simple - but deadly effective when used properly - I love it!). The range of passing and shooting is more varied than ever - quite simply players will perform with a bir more realism when shooting from distance or froma funny angle. Unlike previous - the ball woin't just go screaming into row z - but you will be hard pushed to be succesful unless playing with a good quality striker. Simmilarly - good strikers won't just hammer the ball a nile over just becasue they are 6 feet out from the bye-line - the shot might get on target - and it might even be hot well - but the keeper well be difficult to beat.
Now some downsides - and these are a real frustration for me.
1) Pressing/tackling the CPU. A long standing bone of contention between every PES player and their host machine! It seems far too difficult to win the ball off the opposition. Pressing does virtually nothing (as the CPU tends to get a step on you at all times and you're chasing from behind). Any attempt to press from in front of the attacker only leads to them either skipping out of the road (regardless of skill) or making a successful pass. The objective of pressurising the opposition means they are more prone to missing the resulting pass - but this very rarely happens in PES. Very annoying. But to make matters teeth grindingly worse - when you DO manage to successfully win the ball back without fouling - then either a) in the middle of the pitch the ball bobbles immediately back to an opposing player (grrrrr) or b) at the side if the pitch the ball flies out of play as if it's been fired out of a cannon (grrrrrr again). And to make matters a bit worse still - with a complete man v. machine kick-in-the-teeth - when the CPU arrives to gang tackle you with 4 players - they simply run up - absorb the ball like magic - and dance off merrily. Arrrgh!!
2) Player collisions. Quite simply these are *usually* biased frighteningly toward the CPU players - regardles of size, weight, skill etc - you will just bounce off them and twirl around dizzily whilst again the CPU player dances away with the ball. It's like the really annoying collisions in PES 2 and 3 and so it sets the game back a good 8 years.
3) Speed of control, movement, passing. Again - just like above - the CPU will control and pass the ball as if each player is blessed with world class skill. And the player speed is ridiculous at times. The chances of getting to a 50/50 ball are more like 90/10 in the CPUs favour - again regardless of stats. I don't mind losing to a better opponent but I'd rather lose because of well taken goals and good stratagem - not because every opposing player on the pitch is faster than Ronaldo. There are times when I get so frustrated that I actually leave the controller beside me and watch as the CPU runs up the pitch and wins (inevitably) a corner. It seems that the more you try and win the ball - the less successful you are!
Overall though - the game is still the best there is in terms of look and feel - we can whine about licences - you can froth at the mouth for not adapting to the new dribbling technique (it works well - keep practising - it's all to do with the timing of you squeezing that right trigger button!!) and I can lament the unrealistic nature of the CPU at times - but the game still works well - especially in the Master League with all the trappings that go with it. 2 Player games are often more about bottle and concentration but you know you've been in a match when your fingers are numb and your heart is running at 180 bpm.
XBox Live - well my connectivity isn't spectacular but the game environment is "fine" and the playing experience is "better than before".
So another year passes and again we say thank you to Konami for making some genuinely pleasing improvements to the best game in the world - but we are still left scratching our heads wondering about these areas of improvement (that you would think at the start of a new decade would be well ironed out by now). The cynical voice tells me it's becasue you wouldn't buy next years - and the point in case is that I did not buy PES 2007 or 2008 becasue PES6 was a fine effort - maybe that's Konami's master plan.
My fingers are sore now - but I'm still going off to check the scout report on a promising young striker.....!!Read more ›
First of all, I need to start by telling you that I have never played the 2008 or 2009 installments of PES as I read such awful reviews of them! (although i am a long term PES fan). So I cannot compare it to either. Also, I haven't had the chance to play FIFA 10 so I cannot compare it to that either. However, last year I did make the PES - FIFA switch and overall, I was pleased with the game, but felt it just wasn't anywhere near as fun as the old PES games and eventually got very bored of it even though it's a solid game. So there I was, eagerly anticipating this years PES in the hope I'd finally have another year of being able to sit on my Xbox playing PES till ridiculous times in the morning (sad, i know!). Well, I can safely say I'm not disappointed in the slightest.
At first, the game was very frustrating, as the gameplay is very different to PES 6 and FIFA 09 (the last installment I played). However, once I got the feel of the gameplay and found some rhythm it started to become fun and very addictive, typical of the old PES gameplay. The game has a very free flowing feel to it. Computer AI is believable although you do witness some silly moments. Passing and shotting feels good as well as tackling and looking out for teammates making piercing runs through your opponents back line is a nice touch. There are downsides to the gameplay though. It's almost impossible to win a penalty and free kicks are hard to come by. Time after time my player has clearly been hacked or tripped in the box yet i've only ever won one single penalty after playing it every day for well over a week, and the penalties are awful! you don't feel like you're in charge of the player as there is no power bar and the camera angle doesn't feel right. The only way the referee will blow for a foul is if he decides to book you for simulation (diving) which is just comical! Players often just stand still as if they've been frozen in time which can be rather frustrating. But on the whole, job well done in terms of gameplay.
The graphics are top quality. One of the first things I noticed was the players actually looking just like the real ones! Rooney looks very much like the real Rooney, Torres looks very much like the real Torres and so on. Much better than FIFA's nasty plastic looking faces. Colouring is rich and viberant, also better than FIFA's somewhat dull colouring. The atmosphere in the stadiums is good, with the home crowd always applauding their players when winning the ball back and dropping silent when the away team scores. You can definitely feel the buzz in the arenas.
Edit mode is as good as ever, which can keep you occupied for a very long time if you want to create your own team or change player skills and attributes (why can you not do that on FIFA?!) The player creator is also fairly easy to use and you can create so many different types of faces. It will certainly come in handy if you buy the game in the expectation of being able to play as Hamburg SV or Bayern Munich...
Manager mode, which is what I really wanted the game for (as I don't go online on my Xbox), is ten times better than when I last played it on PES 6. I also definitely prefer it to the FIFA 09 edition which is far too easy and totally unealistic once your players start developing at an alarmingly quick rate and you see Ronaldinho as a free agent being signed by Aberdeen F.C. The structure and layout is good, new editions such as the youth team and the sponsor list are great, and the overall realism is brilliant. For example, players now get injured in team training and sidelined for a few weeks and you need to make sure you keep your players happy else they will want to leave the club. Negotiations are now a lot harder, yet much better as they are more realistic. Players only go to your club if they are unhappy with their current club by not being played enough or you have a high level scout. No longer can you acquire the top players just by having loads of cash and you cannot see player stats from other teams unless you add them to your scout list and wait for the scout to assess them. All this makes it a lot more satisfying when successfully signing the player you want. I could go on but I think by now you get the general idea. Manager Mode is addictive and realistic. Superb.
Of course, the game does have quite a few bad points. Little in terms of teams has changed from PES 6. Still, we do not get the German Bundesliga or even a single german team! Quite woeful really. I'm sure Konami could have got Bayern Munich and a few others. At least create a fake version please! It would be nice to see more than three South American teams. More Brazilian and Argentinian teams should be represented on PES by now. We only get three. Only Man United and Liverpool are licenced in the Premier League which is a joke. However the Dutch, Spanish and Italian leagues are fully licenced still which is a relief, and this year we have quite a lot more teams from other leagues around Europe such as Shakhtar Donetsk, Club Brugge and A.E.K Athens. Still miles behind FIFA on licensing though who have leagues from all over the world. If only PES had FIFA's licensing rights!
The stadium selection disappointed me a fair bit. There are now 21 different stadiums in the game, which isn't great considering I remember PES 6 having roughly 34, and I know FIFA has a lot more. Quite a few well known stadiums are missing such as Stanford Bridge, Emirates and Allianz Arena. A smaller downside is that the game is not totally up to date with player transfers. Richard Dunn is still at Man City while Wesley Sneidjer is still at Real Madrid rather than Inter. However this shouldn't be an issue as you can place them in their correct teams in edit mode.
PES is a successful game which is a must buy for fans of the series. It may not be as good as FIFA 10 (I don't know, I haven't played it), and it's far from flawless, but it sure if an enjoyable experience and defintely a game that will take up many hours of your spare time if you give it a chance! Thanks for reading.Read more ›
EDIT FOLLOWING EXTENSIVE PLAY - Unfortunately PES 2010 has a massive glitch, and it's where fouls are concerned. You can be brought down in atrocious ways with no fouls given, and yes, that also means that when in the box you can be practically murdered and play just carries on!! To add insult to the many injuries, you only have to nudge a computerised player and fouls are given no problem. Once I realised this was happening on a regular basis it has become a huge annoyance and detracts from the enjoyment of the game. How Konami managed to release the game in this form I don't know, but when coupled with the other classic PES annoyances, I can only see me finally making the switch to FIFA next year. Sad, but inevitable I think........
(Original review:) Pes 2010 has taken a lot of harsh criticism in magazines and online, but even with FIFA seemingly basking in glory this year, I still couldn't bring myself to make the switch. I've been loyal to PES since the original Playstation days, it's simply always had a better feel for control and the game of football itself. I think many people are knocking PES this time around just because it's become the done thing over the last couple of years. The demo felt really promising to me and I noticed various enhancements immediately. Control is sharper and more responsive, with the horribly frustrating occasional delay in passing pretty much ironed out. The physics are really spot on this time creating many more random events like loose balls, players stumbling, deflections and most importantly - many more ways to score. Players seem capable of attempting shots from all sorts of angles and with realistic execution, instead of in previous games where they would often just hammer a shot, usually with their wrong foot, to find it saved by an over agile keeper or blasting wide. This really is satisfying and adds to the authenticity of the experience for 2010. I'm no Master League player, preferring to play the League/Cup/Champions League sections of the game, and I understand their are issues with Master League this time, so if you're the type to plunge straight into ML it's worth considering the annoyances claimed. Speaking of annoyances, I've encountered some ref's of questionably talent when playing on Professional level and above. I've had goals disallowed for offside that were massively onside, fouls not given, penalties not given, and red cards where yellow would have been harsh. These factors seem unbalanced with previous years' games, but maybe I've just been unlucky. Some would call bad decisions more realistic I guess! Online things seem much slicker with less lag and easier match making. Again this is an area I don't spend much time on. Presentation is great, with a graphic overhaul providing the most likelike players to date and stadiums that look fantastic. There's nothing revolutionary about PES 2010, and it can't be long until people will want to be seeing new ideas for it to keep up with Fifa's increasing popularity, but what there is here is the most playable PES to date, and if you're a loyal fan that makes it a must buy.Read more ›