As I am writing this review, I had played the game for 5 straight days, spent for about sixteen hours in total, attempted for an exact 50 exhibition matches on the hardest difficulty, got 16 wins - 18 loses - 16 draws, scored 51 goals and conceded 49. Frankly I feel more towards stress rather than delight of playing the most reputable football game. Thus I'm taking a break from PES gaming, to regain enthusiasm as well as contemplating when to resume playing PES 2008.
The very first kick-off made me wonder why the ball moves like that. It rolled too slow for short passes and felt heavy like not enough air inside. This heightened the risk of losing possession. The players those on my side were very annoying, tired and in a great need to lose some weight. Their running speed, whether or not R1 held down, was really unacceptable. The com players on the other hand were noticeably faster and subtly had a boost on their stats. Furthermore when I had the ball, I noticed the nearest teammates stood too close and did not make any effort to get some distance for a safe short pass.
When I tried to hold down the X button longer, the ball still rolled at an unconvincing/unsecured speed to the farthest recipient. Even if the ball made it to the receiving player, the opposing players were already made the space congested and forced me to backtrack or pass backwards. Oh, in PES 2008 there is no guarantee the ball will be passed to farthest player no matter how long or how hard you push the X button. Now and again, when I wanted to pass from a CB to the farthest SB, the ball will just rolled to another CB. By the way, my controller was just fine, so no problem on that.
Back then, I enjoyed very much using the triangle button in PES6. It was very effective virtually on every area of the pitch. For example, to make the receiving players (CF, WF, CMF, or even CB) to move forward and continuing the attacking flow. But in PES 2008, it will look like an idiot if I were ever to use that move. Konami had modified the through pass, and the result: it moved frustratingly faster plus at a bad angle approaching the opposing team players. So far I had only found one way to safely execute the through ball is by passing the ball to a winger for him to make a dull cross.
Other problem that I have found was the cursor-changing speed and accuracy. It also happened when I played PES6 and other previous PES. This may be a fault on my part if not on the developer, though. It mostly (but not always) occurs after the ball passed the midfield line. E.g. When I was passing the ball between the midfielders (CMF), the cursor suddenly changed to another player like AMF right when the ball was rolling. This made the CMF just staring at the ball, the AMF desperately backtracked and I lost the possession. I had tried various cursor settings but the problem still unsolved. Maybe someone could recommend to me the solutions.
The commentary section finally gets the new pundits. I was quite relieved to listening to new voices rather than the same fellas from previous PES. But it was still not a thorough replacement when Konami had both new commentators read most of the lines used in the previous PES. Maybe Seabass and his team were too busy focusing on the Teamvision AI and next-gen PES 2008 rather than spending time to acquire brand-new scripts. I also had tried Master League to listen to the commentary and sadly it was also the exact same lines. My verdict is, if that抯 the case; why not let Peter Brackley redo the commentary with different voice tones, accents or maybe when he comes down with a cold.
Ok, enough with the complaints although there are several more issues (the absence of new diving and shirt-pulling tricks, PES6 graphic, PES6 cinematic) that demand the attention of PS2 owners who yet to buy a PS3. A reviewer at Gamefaqs.com said "...a polite way of telling owners to upgrade, maybe?" but I'd say "...it was an insult to PS2 hardware". Will the game become unplayable on PS2 if Konami include the new diving trick?
Nevertheless, I highly appreciated several improvements and additions done to PES 2008. The top menu design in my opinion is simply gorgeous. I can't help but playing around with the menu and the lighting effects, thus kudos to Seabass and his cronies on this department.
The Community mode I considered as an improvement of Memorial Match of PES6. Now we don't have to bother with the second memory card in order to keep track of matches between friends.
The playlist editor also is a great addition - the 59 songs included are quite catchy and may be able to soothe the players down after being frustrated of not scoring any goal in the first few matches of the day. Not only that, I was very pleased to be able to sort and assign the songs to my own liking.
The track record was my most appreciated inclusion. The mode keeps the players updated on various stats such as number of wins, loses, the date when you won a cup and many more. Moreover it also assesses the player's ability like scoring, defending and playmaking which I deeply valued.
Lastly, any review on PES games will not be proper without praising the developer's success to deliver a lifelike experience of football matches. Personally I considered the gameplay presentation in the game were as beautiful and memorable as the real football matches in the TV. That's why Pro Evo is still my favourite footie game no matter how bad it enraged me for the past five days. I'm more than optimistic knowing someone out there says "Time makes PES games better".
PS2 PRO EVOLUTION 2008 REVIEW
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20 January 2009
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