Categories: PC

UK REVIEW--Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer was already looking a little stretched last year, and the 2008 edition takes the series to the breaking point. Instead of improving on last year's game, it offers no noteworthy new features. Some of the smaller gameplay tweaks make the game more enjoyable to play overall, but an equal number are frustrating and feel unnecessary. Most critically, the game features an unacceptable level of slowdown in both online and offline play. It makes you wonder what Shingo Takatsuka and his team have been doing for the last year, and it's bound to infuriate the many people who've been waiting for a PlayStation 3 version of the game. The biggest upgrade for the game is supposedly the new Teamvision artificial-intelligence system, although its claims to revolutionise the playing experience prove to be overstated. Computer-controlled opponents are slightly more intelligent when it comes to changing styles of play, though defenders still feel a little bit superhuman in their ability to resist attack. Overall, the game feels more flowing than last year, but rather than feeling revolutionary, the improvement just feels like a return to the series' earlier glory. In fact, the immediate changes feel so minor that even hardcore fans of the series will have trouble picking them out. The ball feels slightly weightier, and players move with more physicality. They also tussle with each other more by pulling shirts and outmuscling each other over the ball. It adds up to a more natural-feeling game this year, and one that still plays an accomplished game of football. Anyone who hasn't played Pro Evolution Soccer will find that this is still a solidly playable experience, but long-term fans may wonder what Konami's done this year to take advantage of the PS3 platform. Many of the new gameplay tweaks are actually more annoying than they are welcome. Goalkeepers now fumble the ball with infuriating regularity, and the fast pace now makes Pro Evo feel more like an arcade game than a simulation. Another new feature that betrays the game's simulation roots is the ability to make your players take a dive. It's something that undoubtedly happens in the real world, but its inclusion in a serious video game could be seen to tarnish an otherwise respectful representation of the sport. Used in the penalty area the dive can win penalties, and while it's only successful in the minority of cases, it could be used to tip the balance of the game. We expect that discerning gamers will shun the new skill out of sportsmanship, but it'll be a real shame if faceless online players manage to win games by effectively employing the tactic.

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Tags: pc, soccer, playstat, game, uk, pro, seri, style, evolut, onlin, featur, equal, system, break, intellig

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