Wednesday, 23 December 2015

PES2015/ Pro Evolution Soccer/ PS4

This may possibly turn out to be my shortest review so far. It isn't because of the quality of the game, rather the fact that I only have one goal when it comes to playing this game today and that goal is the winning of the master league and as many trophies as possible whilst doing so. Outside of that the rest of the content of this game is wasted on me.
I often just play Pro Evo in between playing epic titles that require larger amounts of my brain power, when it is time to shut down a little and eventually switch off the console.  

My interest in football diminished many years ago for many reasons and has only just sparked a mini awakening during the last year, as I have decided to begin playing this game and follow my home team again with the smallest amount of time dedicated to checking their scores which are normally an embarrassment to find out. (Gone are the Keegan glory-ish days). 

Once upon a time, I was a football addict. I played football, I watched football, I read about football, I wrote about football and if I could of I probably would of ate football. I definitely slept and dreamt about football and once I had played ISS Pro Evolution 2 back in 2001, I stopped playing Fifa Soccer for good.

Apparently PES:2015 is a return to the glory days for this series of games, but given that I stopped playing when PES:6 and the analog control of the Xbox 360 completely ruined the run from 2 to 5, which had been pretty good entertainment up to that point I would not be able to comment on the games in between. After 6 I left football gaming alone and after a few years completely fell out of love with football altogether (soccer for all you American readers). 

I began playing football games many years ago. So long ago that it was the Commodore 64 and the era of sticking tapes into a tape deck to play computer games. (Gazza's Superstar Soccer). Then when the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) was at its peak, I played Fifa International Soccer and every title after up until Fifa 2000, by which point I was thoroughly bored with the slow movement of players and stickiness of passing and any other action taken whilst playing on the pitch. Fifa had a good run simply because it was relatively unchallenged in the world of football gaming. Sure there were other titles such as World Cup Italia 90, Adidas Power Soccer and the terrible Ronaldo V Football or even worse This is Football. In fact there were many others, but Fifa was the one that changed it all by beginning a series of more realistic football gaming experiences, bringing in official licences that allowed for the use of team and player names. Although this wasn't entirely new either (Sensible Soccer), Fifa actually played more like a football game, rather than the top down Subbuteo types that had been around prior to this or the side view types that were common in the very early days of football games.

This is where Fifa ends in terms of credibility and where Pro Evo takes over in terms of game-play. There has always been something a little more special about how Pro Evo plays. Konami give you a football game that flows end to end like a game in real life. You either play Fifa because you want to fully indulge in all of the fancy lights of having real team, player and even sponsorship names or you play Pro Evo because you couldn't give a fuck if your team are wearing skirts and you just want to score goals in the most fantastic fashion with a very fluid like feel to the play whilst doing so. Once upon a time I cared about the fancy lights and would often spend hours renaming players and teams before kicking a ball. Thankfully today, Pro Evo is getting more of the licenses or the go ahead from individual teams. So if you still care about fancy lights, which I don't, then you do not have to mess around as much as you did back in the day, you can just get onto the field and pretend that you are whoever your favourite player may be. (Alan Shearer back in the day).   

The Master League 

Ok so enough of the comparing games and into the real reason why I have chosen to write this review. The master league. Rather than take your chosen team, which in my case is Tyneside (Newcastle United), through a realistic league scenario, e.g dropping straight into the action of the Premier League with all of your club players, you instead start with a team of nobodies in the lowest division tasked with working your way up with relatively little income to begin with. There is the option of starting with your clubs players, an option that there didn't use to be, but for me I have always found it more satisfying to work my way up into a position of being able to buy the best of the best off of the back of my fantastic playing skills. And that is that. Simple. Which it is. Even with an intelligent AI to try and stop you in your tracks you are guaranteed hours and hours of fun banging goals past some of Europe's elite as well as thrashing the locals. If that isn't enough satisfaction then you can always stream your games live to the rest of the world and show off your skills outside of your own head, risking being told that you are not as good as you may think. There are two divisions to start. You can work your way to the top of the top fairly quickly and should having done this have no reason (except for cup games) to ever visit the lower league again. From the first division you can work you way into Europe and then begin to take on the best of the best in what is a fully licenced Champions League with all the trimmings. It's simply better than fannying about in a real Premier League, having to deal with all of the monotony that is Fifa or the modern game. Glory, glory, that is what we seek and the meek shall inherit the earth......Sorry I'm not sure what happened there.


It's smooth playing football right from the kick off. The play is very realistic, as are the footballers and stadiums. Players look like players you know, have the names of players you know and often move as they would on a real life pitch; so you can expect the fancies of Ronaldo and Messi to be in full swing when you play against them or have them in your side. The atmosphere is fantastic, especially with the volume turned up through my bass speakers. My girlfriend commented that when not looking directly at the TV screen she had had the sensation of being at a real football match. I have had that same sensation with most football games that I have played, due to the fact that I am a total fantasist, which helps when the in game commentators become repetitive; a common theme throughout the PES series. I have however come across one or two glitches when scoring goals. I have hilarious saved goals scored where the ball from a distance appears as a normal headed ball towards goal and then on zooming in you can see that the ball actually goes around the back of the players head, rolls his shoulder and then heads off towards the goal. Funny and a small inconsistency that doesn't happen that often. That is my only complaint. The AI in Pro Evo will often give you a challenge, challenge enough to make you feel like you have really worked for your goals. As there is in the beautiful game you will sometimes suffer a shock defeat when least expecting to do so, reloading your game to go back and make sure that you win a second time that just me? The referees are not card happy (not red anyways) and the weather, although accurate, is pretty much like the commentators. It will either be sunny, causing big ass shadows on one end of the pitch or slightly wet.

I am running out of further things to say about a game that is pretty much easy to describe to someone who has never played one of the previous games, so I am going to stop now.

If you are a huge fan of football, like I used to be, then there is a ton of stuff that can be indulged in outside of the master league. There is a strong emphasis on online play and tactical squad building, as well as a whole host of regular league and cup competitions. A lot of the big clubs are still under made up names, but there is a lot of licensing in this title and the overall game-play makes up for not being able to wear your clubs true colours on the pitch. If you just like a casual kick about in the park these days then like myself you'll probably just head straight to the master league. 

My score for PES:2015 is 8 out of 10   
It plays just like it did back in the early 2000's with a much more realistic look about it.

If you like this game, feel free to share your views in the comments. 



Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Resident Evil Zero/ GameCube

I could be very harsh by saying something along the lines of Resident Evil 0 out of 10, as a way of beginning what isn't going to be a pleasant review to write....Oh! I just did.
It isn't the worst of the main series games and it certainly is better than most of the spin offs, but it just doesn't cut the mustard today in terms of re-playability, so I cannot figure out why Capcom would remake it ahead of Resident Evil 2? Sure it is the prequel to RE1, which was given a new generation console remake recently (which is fantastic), but for those who haven't yet played the original release and are about to invest in the remake, there may be disappointment ahead. Plus in terms of the old releases, RE2 came after RE1, not RE0.
I will still be buying it too though in true hypocrite fashion.

I do not just want to write reviews that give nothing but props to good games that I have played, so this is about to become my most critical review up to date....As you may already have figured if you have gotten this far.

The Plot

Can you remember the ill fated Bravo team who appeared in RE1? There are moments when playing as Chris in this title that you will come across one of the main protagonists from RE0, Rebecca Chambers. Rebecca in RE0 unwilling (at first) partners up with escaped convict Billy Coen (after some smooth talk), for what becomes another running around a mansion/basement, puzzle based, killing zombies fest. 

That is basically it. The purpose of this game, is to delve into the story behind why, S.T.A.R.S Alpha team ended up in a mansion full of nutters back in 1998 searching for the Bravo team. Unbeknown to both squads, they had been set up by the very naughty boy, Brian...Sorry Albert Wesker. Along the way we also begin to find out the truth about the t-virus and the early experiments conducted on animals by the slightly crazed Dr. James Marcus.


Boring and easy to play, even on hard setting.

Its survival horror in the style of the first three main Resident Evil titles; it has that much going for it. Originally it was only released for the Nintendo Game Cube after development for the N64 came to an end when it was realised that the game would not fit onto a single cartridge.

No item box
It's difficult to get away from the fact that you are basically playing RE1 all over again. The characters may be different this time around, but the setting is pretty much the same once you get off of the train at the beginning of the game. There are no item boxes to store items and weapons that you collect along the way, which quite frankly gets on my tits, as it fucks with my OCD having to leave things scattered all over the floor. It is a pain to have to drop something and then venture back for it later on if needed and there are times when progressing in the game that you might lose an item that you want because you are no longer able to go back to pick it up. You cannot reload your gun unless you empty out the clip or barrel, depending on what you are using, which slows down play as it is often the better option to enter the inventory screen to reload from there. You fight a lot more animal and insect enemies and bosses this time around. This is to show the original virus subjects prior to human test subjects, but it sucks, they look comical if not scary. The music is basically RE1 music and the graphics updated, but outdated on a modern TV screen. I do remember it looking crisp though back when the UK population had big ass silver TV's. The environment is a little less static, with weather effects sometimes rustling up a leave or two, but overall it is similar looking to RE1, 2 and 3. The characters move a little better, with a quick turn added to the controls, but the voice acting is as cheesy as ever (a plus if you like old school zombie flicks) and the cut scenes surprisingly a let down. I say a let down, because this game was in development for a long time, but appears rushed.
 However, it is not all doom and gloom. You get to play as two main characters throughout the game, something that was unique at the time that the game was first released. You can have full control of a character of choice and limited control of the other, which allows you to move them out of the way should they happen to get in front of you to ask if their ass looks big. This is a plus for me, as I have been annoyed over and over again with on screen characters who get in the way of the main character you are controlling for many years; an issue that was almost solved in RE0 and then completely forgotten about in RE5 & RE6. Each character also has their own abilities which can help combined to solve puzzles or alone to create all sorts of tea and biscuit discussions for feminists and the like, as Billy, typically the male, is stronger and can move heavy objects, leaving Rebecca to use her brains. You can randomly switch between the two whenever they are close by or opt to go exploring as one on a solo mission. There are times throughout that a split will be forced and you will find yourself tediously transferring items up and down an elevator hatch. Seriously, at one point, I must of spent about half an hour doing this. Hopefully come release day of the remake some or all of the above have been taken care of and the new game is much more enjoyable than the first outing. It's probably the only main series game that requires gameplay tweaking and extras added.

So to sum up my experience of playing through this game a second time after playing first a few years ago. It was enjoyable first time around because I am a huge Resident Evil fan, but playing today I can see how much of a let down this game is to the main titles in the series. If you haven't yet played RE0, then my advice would be to wait for the new version in the hope that it is going to be fantastic and forget that there was ever another version made.

Back in the day I would of scored this game a 5 out of 10. 
Today it gets a generous 4 out of 10.

As soon as the new version is in my possession I will give an updated review. 

Feel free to leave a comment either about this review or your experiences of this game.