Written By: Slaven Brnjakovic
- Publisher: Konami
- Rating: E for Everyone
- Genre: Sports
- Players: 1 to 4
- System: PC, PlayStation 3
and Xbox 360
Just the Facts:
For many years there has been a long standing rivalry between
two popular soccer franchises: Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA. This rivalry has been passed from one generation of consoles
to the next and will most likely continue into the eighth generation. Arguments in favor of either franchise can be very heated,
but in the end it's all a matter of taste. Those who prefer a greater challenge and more in depth gameplay will mostly choose
Pro Evolution Soccer, even though FIFA still reigns as the most widely known franchise. PES 2014 is a wonderful achievement
and it might finally allow this popular franchise to step out of the shadow of it's primary rival.
Sights and Sounds:
Earlier this year Konami announced that PES 2014 would be using
the revolutionary new Fox Engine, the same graphical engine that is being used in the next Metal Gear Solid game. Pro Evolution
has improved visually to the point where it nearly borders with reality. The new engine gives the game a substantial visual
boost over previous entries in the series. The graphics look astonishing and you would not believe how some players are portrayed,
their lifelike facial features prove the Fox Engine is a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately this loving attention to
detail extends only to the star players while the rest of the supporting players are a bit more generic. The surrounding atmosphere
is a mixed bag. The audience members are still somewhat bland, even though textures, lighting and even detail in the stadiums
has been improved from the 2013 edition.
Unfortunately great graphics come at a price. There is occasional slow down, which can force some errors in gameplay.
Frame rates will fluctuate when taking shots on the goal. From the time to time frame rates will drop when taking a wide shot
which easily becomes annoying in a short period of time.
The game audio is also greatly enhanced from previous editions
of the game. The audience membes can now make dynamic remarks depending on the home-team’s performance. With all the
cheering and chants and you will feel like you are part of that arena, which is very important in all sporting games, especially
in soccer. It greatly adds to the immersive feel of the game. Unfortunately the audio track can seem kind of repetitive at
times, but the in-game commentary is still very strong and it helps make PES a more realistic and satisfying game.
A Greater Level of Skill:
As far as controls are concerned they are a definite improvement
over the 2013 version. The passing game was brought to near perfection. It requires strategic thinking and skill and to complete
a successful pass. This is a more subtle and nuanced game which brings about greater realism and leads to more satisfying
gameplay. Experienced soccer fans will definitely notice and appreciate the change.
Shot strength has also been modified and
it is much harder to score a goal from a long distance. Although it is not a question of whether you will reach the goal,
the shot is just more dangerous as you are allowed less flexibility in a long shot. Dribbling is also very challenging and you need to be an expert to perform it correctly. Of course if you are a skilled
player you can use this feature to your advantage. Just like real life it takes more than speed to complete a successful dribble.
You need to push, curve and get in the duel to successfully pass the opposition player.
Pro Evolution Soccer has always had one major shortcoming in
it's licensing of players and teams. Most PES fans are used to it, but it can be a turn off to a new player. Luckilly what
is lacks in star telent it makes up for in new modes and league gameplay. Champions league and Europa league make their return
to the series, and Asian Champions league makes it's first appearance in the franchise. Champions league is very satisfying
and the authentic Master league offers you the option to manage a national team, which is quite a nice challenge.
The Final Word:
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 is a big step forward compared to previous
versions of the game. Gameplay, atmosphere and graphics are all greatly improved to create a much deeper and more rewarding
game. It is a wonderful experience, but it's just shy of greatness. You will have the feeling that PES 2014 could have accomplished
more. A few more tweaks and improvements and PES may very well become the dominant soccer video game franchise.
- Gameplay: 8.5
- Graphics: 9
- Audio: 8.0
- Replay Value: 9
Final Review Score: 8.5/10