Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 – Review
Follow Genre: Sport, football
Developer:Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Publisher: Konami
Platform: Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 – Review

Site Score
7.4
Good: FOX Engine, total control
Bad: Missing licenses, few stadiums, a few bugs
User Score
8.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Football has it’s many derbies, like England vs. Germany, Real Madrid vs. Barcelona or even  Gainsborough Trinity Vs. Scunthorpe United. This list is endless. Over the years, gamers got their own clash of the titans to look forward to, with the yearly instalments of FIFA and PES. Does PES have what it takes to bring home the victory?

PES 2014 LogoStory

Last week we told you how FIFA 14 is a game where you kick a ball around and this week we’ll be telling you about how PES 2014 is a game where you kick a ball around in a different manner.

Something that might instantly grab your attention is the fact that PES 2014 uses the FOX Engine. This piece of technology was specifically developed for future Metal Gear Solid games and it is therefore not expected that the engine will be sold to other companies. Konami claims that “PES 2014 offers advanced Physics, Animation Studio and Cloth technology, for a comprehensive simulation of each on-field player. Each player’s intricate movements are naturally represented according to the individual player’s mass and physique, and each uniform reacts realistically according to the players’ moves and speed.”

Aside from setting the aim towards photo-realism,  PES 2014 has other major changes when compared to its predecessor:

TrueBall Tech: the gameplay is now centered around total control over the ball. For example, it is now  possible to stop or slow the ball down using the analog stick .

Motion Animation Stability System (M.A.S.S.): a new way of calculating the physical interaction between players. Instead of using preset animations , M.A.S.S. calculates the movements  based on various parameters including the direction and the intensity.

Heart: the impact the supporters have on the game has been significantly increased. The players will react differently depending on their morale. For example, booing supporters, passes not connecting, playing away games and shots getting saved can have a negative effect on a player. Thankfully, the team can fight their way back into a game.

PES ID:  compared to PES 2013, the amount of Player Individualisation has been greatly increased.  The running, passing, shooting and general play style of some of the most popular players have been recreated in the game.

Team Play : changes made to the “Game Plan” settings allow greater control over how the AI players of your team will react. You can select a variety of tactics in pre-defined areas of the field, in order to better exploit weak opponents .

The Core : mostly revolves around increased realism and better graphics provided by the Fox Engine. Players are also more easy to recognize.

PES 2014 tifo

Graphics

Because of the FOX Engine, the graphics made a huge step in the right direction. The game looks great and it’s a lot easier to recognize the famous players. Not all players in the game have had their likeness modelled in the game however. There are bunch of generic designs that cover for the missing players.

The interface needs to be mentioned as well as the menus can only be described as amateurish. Poor presentation, poor  readability, poor positioning and you can never seem to find what you’re looking for, although it’s there right in front of you. FIFA 95 on the Megadrive had a better menu system. What were they thinking, honestly?

Sound

The first song to come out of my speakers was Carnaval De Paris by Dario G. The last time I heard that song in a game was in FIFA World Cup 98. This gives you an idea on how inspired the menu music is. Bottom line: it’s not terrible, but it’s not good either.

The atmosphere in the stadium has noticeably improved over previous iterations in the PES series. It still feels a bit forced however. The songs the supporters sing don’t feel logical at times. It’s hard to explain, but it sounds like the stadium equivalent of a laughing track at times.

PES 2014 Pitch

Gameplay

PES aims to be a real simulation and in order to accomplish this, the game speed was lowered to better fit the feeling of real football. The ball control has been refined to allow the player more freedom when passing and moving around.

The slower pace will require you to carefully choose your actions to find the best way around the defence. The AI has been improved and a simple one-two pass is no longer enough to  break through and put your striker one-on-one with the keeper.

Protecting the ball now plays a more important role. The physical contact between players has been taken to a new level. The way you position your player makes a huge difference in the outcome of a duel.

As the emphasis is on precise controls, the game has a fairly steep learning curve. You must be prepared to lose a few games before you truly grasp what is going on. PES therefore isn’t the best game to play with friends when they’re over and they haven’t played a game in the series yet.

There are flaws however. The AI sometimes positions your players on unexpected places, especially the wing backs. This can cause holes in you defence and cause a bunch of frustration when your opponent scores because of it. The goalkeepers have their quirks as well, and their positioning can at times best be described as “interesting”. This certainly doesn’t occur in every game, so the annoyance remains limited.

PES 2014 Play

Conclusion

Although PES has been overshadowed by its direct competitor FIFA in the last few years, the series has steadily been moving in the right direction with every new release.  Despite the welcome changes the new Fox Engine brings, PES is still suffers from the same big flaw as it did in the past: the absence of licences. No Premier League and no Bundesliga (exept for Bayern) for example. Still, if you’re a football purist that requires total control over the game and the players, PES is the way to go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww5KcCdswHc
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Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 – Review, 8.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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