7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Footballing perfection., 7 Jan 2005
Football games are ten-a-penny these days and for the uninitiated, it can be a very daunting choice. Allow me to simplify that choice - buy Pro Evolution Soccer 4.
I've had the opportunity to play almost every football game Konami have released on home consoles (barring a couple of the more obscure WE titles) going back as far as ISS & ISS Deluxe on the SNES. I can honestly say that this is the closest thing to footballing perfection you are likely to see on a console.
From the overhaul in the already exquisite controls, to the fine graphics (pay no mind to those who berate PES for lacking the graphical sheen of FIFA 2005 - both the in-game graphics and the incredible cut scenes evoke the passion and emotion of football more than any other title), to the improved training modes... and then there is the Master League and XBox Live... PES 4 is a joy to play from start to finish.
What other game forces you to think before you play your next ball? Pass? Shoot? Hold the ball up on the inside-right while the full-back makes his over-lapping run down the wing? And just like in real life, you only have a split second to make your decision. You will curse (loudly) when you get it wrong, but get it right and you can experience glorious moments like pulling off the Zidane turn past the covering centre-back and slotting the ball in the far corner... Or playing your attacking midfielder into space with a first time backheel... Or sliding in and clearing the ball off the line after your 'keeper has been chipped from 12 yards...
And best of all, you can save these moments on your memory card/HD for posterity. Every match is different, with a 1-0 victory away at your rivals sometimes meaning more to you than handing out a 4-1 battering at home.
The controls, while at first seeming quite daunting to get to grips with, soon become second nature. You will quickly identify which players are best at certain techniques and tricks (the "perpendicular shot" described in an earlier review is actually called the Rabona and is limited to certain players in the game).
Even though it lacks the full FIFA license (though licensing from FIFPro and certain leagues means that you get the bulk of "real" player names and certain club sides), you can always edit the kits, teams, stadiums, league and player names... in fact, pretty much everything! You can also unlock additional teams, players and stadia if you put in the time and effort (maybe the Maracana is in there after all...). There are plenty of websites and forums that can help you out (try Neoseeker, for example).
My only gripe is that Konami insist on using the woeful Peter Brackley and Trevor ("I'd sit on the fence, but it might not be neutral enough") Brooking to provide a shockingly bad in-game commentary. Next time Konami, go for Tyler and Gray, because after four titles, Brackley and Brooking have proved that they aren't fit for commentating on Fanzone.
But that is possibly the only downside to this wonderful title, and you can always switch the commentary off at the options screen.
I will conclude this review with an analogy. If I were to compare PES 4 to a football team... it would be Brazil 1970 - Technically gifted in all areas, and capable of producing some of the most sublime football moments you will ever experience. FIFA 2005? I'd say that they were the present day Real Madrid - possessing some great individual talent and capable of producing some great moments, but ultimately a testament to the fact that money and big names do not a great football team make.