The tension in SPOnG’s office this week has been tangible, as we have all been waiting for our own, personal (as in OURS) copy of Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (PES 6) to arrive…
Finally, after your reviewer spent the best part of two hours walking around Wakefield, he collared the postman, who reportedly hasn’t worked since. Now we could get down to the serious business of playing the game. After spending countless hours playing, and naturally arguing, it must be said that we at SPOnG are very impressed with PES’ 360 debut; and here’s why …
With the recent release of EA’s FIFA 07 being greeted with much fanfare by the games industry, the pressure was really on Konami to make sure that PES retained its crown of king of football games.
The Pro Evolution series is renowned for its realism, and PES 6 doesn’t disappoint. Fans of the series will be glad to hear that Konami has not made too many changes to the new game. Remember that old adage 'If ain’t broke don’t fix it'? Well, those words couldn’t ring more true when talking about PES 6. The additions that have been made though are welcome and definitely improve the overall gameplay.
Player A.I. has been vastly improved, with the footballers now running intelligently into space when not in possession of the ball, and pointing in which direction they want the pass placed to continue the attack. Another addition is the physical side of play which, it must be said, has also been improved. Players - such as strikers using their sheer presence to turn defenders, while defenders step a yard away - enable them to force attacking players away from goal.
According to Konami, the creator of the Pro Evolution series (Shingo ‘Seabass’ Takatsuka) has worked tirelessly to refine the shooting system used in PES 6. We, at SPOnG, believe that the results are impressive. You can now attempt more instinctive shots, compared to previous versions. This means that you are able to turn and shoot more readily which, in turn, makes the gameplay quicker and more realistic. Volleys and half-volleys have had the redesign treatment and are spot on. The feeling when you nail a volley from a cross is immense and extremely gratifying. Headers have also had some retouching, looking much more lifelike in how players jump and strike the ball.
Other new features include the ability to retain control of the ball when sliding into a tackle. Losing control of the ball when executing such a tackle was a definite flaw in PES 5, and fans will be glad to hear this has now been rectified in the 360 version. Konami has also worked on the dribbling controls; your players can now backwards dribble and are able to pull off a dummy with more ease.
One of the few quibbles people have with the PES series is the lack of official content. But, to be totally honest, we have always enjoyed the humour regarding some of the ‘unofficial’ names given to the various teams (West Midlands Village for Aston Villa, is a striking example – pun intended).
Konami, however, has made sure PES 6 is the most complete and extensive version to date with the use of thousands of licensed players. Fully licensed leagues and teams from the Italian Serie A/B, French Ligue 1 Orange, Spanish Liga Espanola and the Dutch Eredivisie make a welcome debut. There are 64 National teams, with official strips for England, Argentina, Australia, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden. There are also 120 club teams including official licenses for Arsenal, Manchester Utd, Glasgow Rangers, Glasgow Celtic and Juventus.