This year Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 has vastly improve graphics, facial animation and new AI system that sure use the power of both xbox 360 and PS3. Read the full hands-on article from Guy Cocker of Gamespot UK.
TOKYO–About this time every year, football fans begin to eagerly anticipate the latest release in their favourite gaming franchise. For many people, that game is Pro Evolution Soccer, and there’s no doubt that Konami’s series has its fair share of hardcore fans around the world. We first encountered the game at last month’s Leipzig Games Convention, but as the game is being developed in Japan, its spiritual home is really the Tokyo Game Show. Naturally, it was one of the first demo areas we headed to when the show opened, and we have plenty to update you on.
Before playing the game itself, we took in all that the video demo had to offer while waiting in the queue. The good news is that the game is looking better and better by the month, with a particularly good facial animation system that makes players look unmistakably lifelike. The second piece of great news is that official kits for Newcastle, Valencia, and FC Barcelona seem to be in place, complete with the correct manufacturer logos and sponsorship details. And also on the clothing front, the kits themselves have much better deformation effects than they ever have before.
Moving on from the trailer and onto the game itself, Konami had gone to great lengths to present the game on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as elegantly as possible. Individual sofas were set up in front of large flat-screen TVs, while amps pumped out 5.1 surround sound to high-end speakers. The demo that we played on Xbox 360 offered different, if not more, teams than the Leipzig demo, including Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Spain, France, and Turkey. Noticing that Brazil weren’t rated as well as even Greece in terms of defense and teamwork, we opted to play a match as Spain against underdogs Turkey.
The demo itself may have been limited in terms of teams and game modes, but we noticed plenty of new tweaks that had been added in the month since we last played. During the match intro and halftime, the camera now zooms into the crowd to show off the fans, and you can see them chanting and waving banners as they look on. There are also some really nice new animations, meaning that players have a much more convincing weight when you look closely. For example, they now stumble in a much more convincing manner after jumping for a header, and when they’re running at full steam you can really see them thrusting their chest forward. Of course, all of this is easier to notice when playing the game in high definition, but there are some noticeably improved touches in the way that players move.
Of course, small nips and tucks are all well and good, but what fans will really be looking forward to is how the new artificial intelligence system will respond to their playing style. We have to say, we found that Turkey provided quite a challenge in our friendly match, to the point where we really never had a good chance on goal. The defenders in particular are very clever about backpedaling and timing tackles. They’re much less likely to be intimidated if you run at them, while pulling off a token dummy or feint also failed to get results. In the end, we rather embarrassingly lost 1-0, and to rub salt into the wound it was the result of an own goal.
Pro Evoluton Soccer 2008 is clearly starting to come together, and even though it’s more difficult it’s still as rewarding as ever. We were also genuinely surprised at how good it’s looking graphically, although it’s worth noting that the replays still featured a good degree of slowdown, while the pitch itself was lacking detail. We can’t wait to play more of the game, especially as all our experiences so far have been with foreign-language versions. Rest assured, we’ll be hounding Konami for more on your behalf as soon as we return home.