Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (PES 2008)

Format: Xbox 360

Age Restrictions: 3+
26 October 2007

The latest in the
Pro Evolution Soccer franchise features a brand new intelligence system, called Teamvision, that adapts and reacts to players own gameplay styles to ensure that the computer controlled opponents are always challenging. It learns counter attacks that target player's weaknesses and exploits any repetitive tactics used. Defenders react better to danger, closing down the ball and charging at shots and the goalkeepers hold shots that are closer to them. Teammates make more intelligent runs into space and the close control has been sharpened to ensure quick and fluid passing and speedy attacks can be built...

Much was made of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008's (PES 2008) proprietary adaptive A.I. system entitled Teamvision - an advanced A.I. programming that learns and adapts according to an individual's style of play. The sad truth is that Teamvision doesn't actually seem to work. It was supposed to build attacks and counter specific movements such as previous attacks or defensive errors, ensuring games are more in line with the real thing. No! Sadly you can still just run past all the players with ease and blast at the goalie time after time.

Fans of the series may be disappointed with this latest release in the franchise. In an obvious bid to attract new players, it seems that Konami has decided to make this game overly simple. This does have the required result that you can pick up and play this game in minutes, but it also takes away some of the fun of the previous games.

There's no skill to scoring goals. All you have to do, if you really want to just score as many points without really trying, is never pass to other players. Simply run up the pitch until it's you and the goalie... and shoot! That's it! More often than not you'll score. There's also no skill needed to take the ball from the opposition. It's simply a case of pressing a button and your computer controlled team mates will run for the player with the ball - fantastic!

There are a number of problems with PES 2008. The most annoying is the referee, who hands out red and yellow cards like Smarties. This is particularly noticeable in two-player mode. Basically, don't use the sliding tackle, as almost every single instance will result in the ref reaching into his pocket. In one game, it got to the point where the match was cancelled because there were not enough players left on the pitch to play.

Then there is the advertising!!!? What were they thinking. And games website!? Odd isn't it that their Xbox 360 review gives it 9.2, while their average reader review score is 7.7.

While this is far from a disaster of a game, it's really only one that will appeal to those with a short attention span who just want to be able to button mash their way through. I have to admit that I felt more than a little cheated by this title.

Nick Smithson

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