Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

It’s funny how we have such little choice with football games in this modern age, there aren’t many options if you are seeking a virtual recreation of the sport. Today it’s FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer, or more specifically FIFA vs. Pro Evolution Soccer, a battle that is currently being won by the mighty FIFA franchise, at least in terms of fluidity and realism.

Last year, it was with a rather heavy heart that I gave Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 a 7/10, simply because I felt that the series was too stuck in its ways and not moving forward in the areas that matter most. Sadly, 2010 is more of the same, though it has seen improvement in some surprising areas.

Visually, the series now sports the most realistic player models in a football game, and many of the big stars of the game look spookily lifelike (both the PS3 and 360 versions look alike, with no real noticeable differences between the two). This is surprising given the series’ previous stubbornness of dropping it’s slightly cartoon-like visual style. Sadly, the visuals start to falter where FIFA has been making some huge strides, in the animations. When the referee blows his whistle and the game gets moving, players still look as if their limbs are as stiff as robots, and many of the animations seem recycled from previous games, yes, I’m going as far back as PS2 instalments in the series.

It just seems dated next to the fresher and progressing FIFA franchise, though it does still play an enjoyable game of football, particularly if you aren’t one to dismiss a game for its lack of realism.

Though the fluidity and the physical play of FIFA trumps it in every event, matches are fast and fun and glorious goals can still be scored with a fist pumping triumph (one-on-one moments with the keeper remain thrilling, and goals can be true individual beauties). Like FIFA, the game has 360 degree dribbling, increasing the amount of control you have over your players and staying shoulder-to-shoulder with EA’s game at least in some sort of fashion, then again it’s nowhere near as noticeable, so FIFA actually wins again.

The keepers aren’t quite as good as the dribbling, making some truly embarrassing mistakes and letting the ball fly past them at some impossibly bizarre angles, though it does make for some good comedy moments and they do restore their dignity at times with some superb ball stopping ability. On the whole, they’re certainly easier to beat than FIFA’s keepers, which will please those who like to do less work in order to slot the ball in the back of the net.

Moving off the pitch, remember the custom tactics of FIFA? There’s a similar option here, allowing you to toggle sliders to alter the various behaviours of your team: the defensive line, supporting players and attacking style amongst them. Like FIFA, it’s a great option that tacticians will really enjoy tinkering with.

As for options, the Master League has had some seeing to. This year, the UEFA Champions League appears in the mode, after being oddly absent from the 2009 Master League, despite being a separate option on the title screen. Also, the Europa League makes its fully licensed debut and appears within the Master League, whilst improvements to the menus and various other enhancements makes the popular mode even better than it was previously.

Become a Legend is back, though mostly unchanged, it’s still a great mode. The online mode on the other hand, whilst suffering from small bouts of lag, is even more improved after last year’s good effort.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 is an improvement over last year, though it’s only a minor one. The game itself could still do with a major overhaul, and whilst it remains fast and fun, it feels overly dated and as if its growth as a series has been halted, at least for the moment. The fans deserve it, the game deserves it, and we’re all crying out for it, yes we are all wanting Konami to be bold, take the next step and truly move the series forward.