Pro Evolution Soccer 5 Reader Review
And so the FIFA vs PES debate continues. PES is the relative newbie of the two (the original was released on the Playstation back in 2002, whereas FIFA has been running since the mid-90s) but PES seems to be the fans favourite. I'm always hearing praises of PES and how it “feels like football”. But is PES5 all that the series is cracked up to be? Well in a word, no.
The gameplay is nowhere near as good as some people would have you believe. On the default 3 stars difficulty, the AI finds it much easier to put together a goal than you do. Of course, this problem can be solved by playing the game on 2 stars difficulty, but then the game seems too easy to play.
But there are a lot of aspects of the gameplay that I do like. It does feel more like football than the past FIFA's that I've played. A lot of player's have their own personal specialties that they possess in real life. For instance, Frank Lampard is excellent at scoring long range efforts, whereas Ruud Van Nistelrooy gets a nose bleed if he shoots from further than 6 yards out.
Konami have also added new 'Showboating Animations' something worked quite well in FIFA 2005. It can however seem quite hard to actually pull these moves off before you're tackled, but when you do managed to pull them off, you get an added sense of achievement.
As with many console to PC ports, the controls are not designed for use on the PC. In fact the controls are even labeled X, Circle, Triangle and Square. Although this may be annoying to some people, its quite easy to get use to. I'm sure it's possible to play the game with keyboard and mouse, but use of an analog controller is essential to get the most out of the game.
As with most sports games, there's many different options to choose from. Exhibition, Cup and League are obvious but there's also the Master League, a sort of mini-Football Manager. This is a nice edition, but anyone expecting a full on management game will be disappointed.
As you progress through the game, you receive PES points. These allow you to unlock items such as new Players, Stadiums and even different footballs. This is a nice addition, but not much to make the game seem any better.
Graphically the game isn't too bad. The animation is superb and players seem very realistic. But when it comes to close up shots (i.e. After you've scored a goal) the players seem a little rough-around-the-edges. You'll often see a black outline around the players. Most other things graphically are great. Stadiums look great, Player likeness is much better than FIFA and I especially like the little touches, such as being able to see the player's breath when you play a match when it snows.
The Sound effects are good but nothing that will blow you away. The menu music is pretty awful, I much prefer FIFA's licensed menu music. Commentary is not bad, but is prone to repetitiveness.
Multiplayer is another area of the game where I'm in two minds. It's obviously been well thought out and the ranking system is good. But anyone new to PES will find it difficult to challenge PES veterans. Of the 15 or so games that I have played, I don't think I've won a single game convincingly. I'm sure though that in a few months time when the pros are really separate from the amateurs, it will make for a much more enjoyable online game.
So there you have it. Although this is a good game, it simply isn't as good as its made out to be. I'm sure that I'll continue to buy into the series and with the added possibility of 11 vs 11 online multiplayer in the next-generation the future is looking rosy for the PES series. But for another year at least, the FIFA vs PES debate will have to continue.
8 / 10