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.