|System: X360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konami||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4; 2(Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Disappointingly, the realism goes a bit too far. Konami has actually included the worst aspect of soccer. This year the "dive" has been incorporated into the game. For those of you unfamiliar with this terrible bit of unsportsmanlike conduct, you can actually fake being fouled by diving on the ground in order to win free kicks in dangerous positions. Fortunately, the referees seem to be a bit better than they are in real life at spotting the tactic, but nevertheless you will find your best players being sent off and penalties being given too often for my liking. The dive feature could have been skipped and the game would have been far better for it.
The core game modes include League, Master League, Cup, and Xbox Live. As the name implies, League mode allows you to play through the entirety of a league schedule. I would suggest selecting one of the licensed leagues such as La Liga, the Ere Divisie or Serie A in this mode of play. The Master League has seen no significant changes, but it is still a complex career mode that allows you to cultivate and acquire new talent in order to make the best team in Europe. In Master League it doesn't really matter which team or league you choose as it is all fictional anyway. I enjoyed this mode the most, but again I can't say it's any better than last year's. The various cup offerings are requisite, but only the European Cup actually resembles European Cup competitions such as the Champions League or UEFA. Online play via Xbox Live only lets you play head to head matches in Ranked or Player match competitions. There is no league play or tournaments of any kind. Furthermore, pesky lag leads to occasional choppy play. Konami needs to put out a much more dynamic online multiplayer mode in the future.
So where does PES 2008 rank on the soccer totem pole? It's only marginally better than Winning Eleven 6, 7, and 8 and not quite as good as FIFA because the presentation is so bad. So what does this mean? It means it's a good game that plays like a dream, but does nothing to move the series forward. As such, I implore everyone not to purchase this title. We simply can't reward Konami for such a lackluster effort. If you must buy the title, do it for PC so at least you can mod the thing easily and adjust the lineups and faces. There is a lineup edit function for the consoles (it even allows you to scan in your own face via webcam), but who wants to do all that work? Call me lazy, but I'll only do that if I can update the product through a community forum.This game is saved only by the quality of the title's gameplay. But gameplay is no better this year than it was last year and everything else is quite poorly done. I expected a lot more from the folks at Konami. Somehow Konami and EA have to join forces and create the one football ring to rule them all. EA's FIFA has got the licensing and presentation down, but the gameplay can't compare to the smoothness of Pro Evolution Soccer. Likewise, PES is so unattractive and unkempt that it is difficult to enjoy the experience. As far as I'm concerned it's advantage EA.
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director