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Konami continue to test our loyalty... how much longer to put up with this?
on 18 October 2013
When I first bought this latest version of Pro Evo, despite what I had been reading about this effectively being Konami laying ground work for next year's game, I was willing to give it a chance. I have been staunchly Pro Evo over FIFA since 2002 and continue to believe that Pro Evo remains a much more satisfying game to play than FIFA, with superior gameplay and generally more varied and fun matches.
I would maintain that even with this version - as opposed to the flat, repetitive, dull games of FIFA I am forced to play against some of my friends who have long given up on Konami's efforts (including some who were also previously die hard Pro Evo fans) - I still would say Pro Evo is the more fun of the two.
However, and this is becoming an increasingly strong "however" in recent years, Konami continue to test the patience of those who remain loyal to it. This is, quite frankly, the worst Pro Evo in many, many years. I am actually struggling to figure out what steps forward this Pro Evo has taken - yes, I have watched the Konami videos telling me about all the great new touches, such as 360 passing, players sweating, etc etc. All very exciting.
Yet, I switch on a game with menus more basic than even International Superstar Soccer for the Super Nintendo and then try out the various game modes only to find out that, rather than take even at least minor steps forward, the game goes backwards. It's not the licences or lack of stadium etc which are frustrating even - it's the basic things which are completely unconnected with the licences that Konami have dumbfoundingly failed to address / have removed.
Become a Legend mode feels even more basic than the original incarnation of the mode, which is saying something, with a number of basic functions removed completely unnecessarily - the once more customisable camera has been removed, you can't set your squad number, you can't ask an agent to negotiate with a particular team. Master League is similar in looking much more basic / not implementing or removing certain useful stats. In tournaments, for some unexplained reason, Konami have removed the simple menu which let you see how many games each player had played in the league / cup. How hard is it to implement also a real time "other scores" update, which FIFA does so well?
Not to mention that there is no option to have either rain or snow in the game - even Commodore 64 football games managed to implement weather systems - embarrassing. Third kits are available for teams, which is a step in the right direction, but they are only available for some teams and bizarrely not for customisable teams.
Or the terrible, terrible player faces - with the exception of the top teams in the game, the faces in the game are beyond woeful. Creating a custom player is also much more frustrating, with the end results looking nothing like what is intended.
The gameplay in matches remains great, but it is getting harder and harder each year to justify playing Pro Evo - gradually the game modes were being improved to match FIFA's, but given the lack of positive changes, basically Pro Evo is now aimed at those who are happy to spend time scouring the internet for a custom options file which imports the various club badges / kits etc, or change all the team names / emblems themselves, and those who are happy playing the game amongst friends rather than playing any of the single player game modes.
To avoid losing more loyal customers, we can only hope that Konami address a number of these issues with a data pack soon, or at the very least in the next Pro Evo. The poor effort that is Pro Evo 2014 effort leaves me cause for concern that we are just going to be left with FIFA as the only player on the market, which nobody wants.