Konami’s latest football entry arrives on console and is a showcase for their new Fox Engine which produces some excellent results. But with more to play for this year with the opposition releasing their product at the same time, how does the game fare. Take a look at our Pro Evo 2014 video review.
Today we’re taking a look at Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2014, or PES 2014 for short which is one of the games using the new Kojima developed Fox Engine. Aside from going head to head with this year’s FIFA installment, PES 14 offers its own spin on the beautiful game and one that’s well in pace with what football fans expect.
From the offset, players are given choice of entering an instant play option from a fairly tame looking main menu, where one of many teams can be chosen versus the AI. This is the most basic of elements to the game and perhaps not the first port of call for would be beginners. To get a real feel for how the game works, there’s a comprehensive tutorial which showcases the more intricate details of the basic game. Whilst handy to have, the execution is a little vague where often the explanation and key prompts via a replay scene aren’t the most useful in getting across the idea. In this regard, some players might struggle with performing the more precise moves. Luckily, completion is not a requirement to having fun with the game as long as basic passing, tackling and of course shooting are mastered.
Players familiar with the game can immediately progress to the various licensed Leagues on offer including the UEFA Champions League, The UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup to name but a few. There’s enough content here for fans of the sport to pick out their chosen teams and aim for the top.
Underneath the surface there’s also a cool Master League scenario to play through which allows players to take on a more managerial aspect to the game and win a number of trophies in the process. It’s here where players can spend hours building up their team, transferring players and earning cash to be the top ranked club. As a player, and what’s new in this latest version of the mode is the choice if moving on to other clubs and even tackling managerial moments with the National Team. What’s neat aside from the depth of strategies players can adopt with their players pre-match, is the option to either take part and play each match, or skip them and let the calculations determine the outcome.
The actual PES 2014 gameplay runs very smoothly and plays well with some lifelike animations from the players utilizing the game’s Motion Animation Stability System. With the camera zoomed out far enough to see as much action on the pitch, the gameplay is very reminiscent of watching a real game on TV. The AI does a grand job of keeping the game fresh by having a little more scope in how it deals with situations, making the matches play much better overall. There’s a real sense of variety to the matches where all parts of the game are explored rather than repeating the same motions over and over. There are still some oddities with things like switching from AI control to human, but these can be overlooked with manual inputs. There’s quite a bit under the surface to mess around with in terms of moves and controls,so to get the most out of playing one has to experiment here, but what is good is it not being a requirement for new players, or those not wishing to learn complex timings and stick movements.
Graphically Pro Evo 2014 looks good on console with speedy movement and slick animations. However, there are some moments during the match intros where the framerate dips a little. These can be ignored and will most likely be skipped by most players after watching once.
The close ups and player likenesses are also of a high standard which can only really be fully appreciated when messing around with the create or edit player options. During replays of goals or on pitch events is the only time players will be able to discern the looks of the player and its here where the details are clarified.
Everything else works well visually including the masses of animated fans, and stadium decorations creating an authentic experience all round. The only real criticism is of the menus looking quite simple but lacking in visual flare.
Audio is of a good quality, with some banging tunes and operatic pieces for the menus, some fine commentary that fits well with the gameplay, and the kind of ambiance expected of fully filled stadiums of screaming football fans.
In terms of playtime, PES 2014 offers quite a number of cups to aim for, and then the option to edit and make your own waves in the game. If you’re not into spending time making edits, then the management and solo football star modes should keep you well entertained for many weeks and months of play. What’s more, if being competitive is your calling, then the game offers local multiplayer as well as online competition. What’s neat is how the game allows for up to 32 players to partake in the league games with each choosing a team and taking turns when their teams are up.
Pro Evo 2014 is solid and well rounded football game that’s well presented but a little fiddly when it comes to precise movements. In this regard, the game is appealing with its vast options and leagues, but somewhat feels lacking in overall accessibility. Seasoned players will no doubt lap up the game’s current offering, and any newcomers won’t feel the need to invest in any other football game if they take the time to make some edits. If you like football, then Pro Evo is well worth checking out, but is perhaps better suited for more seasoned players.
Score 8.5./10 – Review by Robert Cram