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December 17 2007
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 - PS2 Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
8/11/2005AtariKonami1-8, 8 GVariable
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
1957KBDolby PLIIYesYesNoneYes

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Note: These are next-gen screens.
When it comes to soccer games there are two main contenders - the FIFA franchise from Electronic Arts which includes thousands of players and teams from across the globe and Pro Evolution Soccer from Konami which is known for it's deep gameplay. Certainly the latter has become our favourite in the last five years or so, although for Joe consumer EA's effort is still the preferred option. Perceptions are changing though and in the last couple of years Pro Evolution Soccer has certainly been taking its share of the market. So yet again we are left with another yearly update, this time Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 which is available on almost every platform.

The PS2 version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 comes with some impressive stats. First of all we have 24 stadiums in total and while they don't use the real names, they are based on real locations. This is actually 9 more stadiums then you'll see on the next-gen (PS3, XBox 360) versions. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 has many fully licensed leagues including Spanish La Liga, French Ligue 1, Italian Serie A, Dutch Eredivisie while the English Premier league will be included but only two teams will be fully licensed.

Some of the fully licensed teams from around the world include Bayern MŁnchen, Copenhagen, HJK Helsinki, Olympiacos, Sporting Lisbon, Spartak Moscow, Celtic, Rangers, Dynamo Kiev, Internacional, S„o Paulo, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur to name a few. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 will also include over 50 national teams and, as expected, Australia will be included. As you can see there is a wide range of teams and players from around the globe to keep you quite busy.

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The PS2 game does look great as well though!
Where this game continues to shine is the gameplay. The ball is independent of players feet - and has been in this series since 1996 - making for a very realistic movement of players and the ball. Indeed the strength in this series relies in the depth of the gameplay, from the smallest pass, to the biggest strike on goal this game has it all. As always the AI of the computer controlled players is pretty exceptional. In fact this is one area which has been strengthened due to a system which Konami has dubbed the 'Teamvision AI'. This feature is a sophisticated AI programming that learns and adapts according to an individualís style of play. As such, it will learn new ways to build attacks and to counter specific movements and previous attacking or defensive errors, ensuring games are more in line with the tactical but flowing nature of the real thing.

World Tour mode is one great addition to this title and sees you completing a series of 100 challenges. Perhaps win a game from a certain point in the match, or win by a certain number of goals. It's quite entertaining and you'll easily spend a few hours in this game mode. Another of the new abilities in this game is transferring your progress in the World Tour and Master League to your PSP via USB cable so you can continue gaming on the run (but of course to do this you will need a PSP copy of the game too!).

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Go on, Bend it like Beckham.
Ultimately the real disappointment with Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is simply that it doesn't push anything new. The gameplay has only undergone a few minor changes to previous years, there are no new game modes, the online gameplay is present but we had a couple of problems playing and we're not alone according to reports. Having said that there are refinements and the World Tour is entertaining enough. Ultimately I get the sense that if you already own Pro Evolution Soccer 6 it's going to be hard justifying this upgrade, unless you're a mad soccer fan.

(Note: The surrounding screenshots are from next-gen versions of the game, the PS2 version isn't quite as detailed obviously). Graphically the Pro Evolution Soccer series has never looked so good. Sure, we're hitting the end of the systems life, and there hasn't been too many changes. As with all games in the series the highlight is certainly the on-pitch action and the stunning animation of the players.

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Remember, these are next-gen screens.
Audio in Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is up to the standards set by previous years. The commentary has been provided by Jon Champion and Mark Lawrenson and they do a decent enough job with accurate calls for the most part and some decent insights. The game is also given a boost in atmosphere due to the superb use of crowd effects with the ebb and flow of excitement changing according to the action on the pitch.

It is quite clear that development on the Pro Evolution Soccer series has moved to next-gen systems, but this PS2 version - strangely - still feels the most complete. There are more options, more stadiums and a more complete package. Having said that this game has only minor tweaks and changes to the gameplay from last year and retains pretty much the same quality video and audio. Overall this is a brilliant soccer game that loses a few marks compared to last year due to a lack of innovation. One to add to your PS2 library.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSThis series has always been brilliant. It's the same again, literally.
SOUNDYet again audio is solid, but there's nothing to write home about.
GAMEPLAYPretty much the same brilliant game as we've come to expect.
VALUEThere honestly isn't a lot new to get too excited about over last year.
OVERALLPro Evolution Soccer 2008 is technically the best game in the series, but the marks go down due to lack of innovation this year.

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