Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 - PS3 Preview
For hardcore gamers there is only one soccer title worth considering - that being Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer. Sure Electronic Arts may still rule the charts with their FIFA series but in terms of realism, critical reception and depth of gameplay it doesn't hold a candle to Konami's series. With the Playstation 3 released in late 2006 in America and Japan and March 2007 in Europe/Australia it has been an anxious wait for Konami's soccer series to make it to the system - but in a few short weeks the wait will be over as Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is ready for prime time coverage.
|Player detail is very impressive...|
So what will this game come packed with? Well this next-gen version of the game will include 15 highly detailed stadiums (many of which are based on real stadiums, but don't use the real names due to copyright restrictions). Current-gen systems such as the Playstation 2 will include 24 stadiums, but of course will lack the stunning detail in the PS3 version.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 has several leagues fully licensed including Spanish La Liga, French Ligue 1, Italian Serie A, Dutch Eredivisie while the English Premier league will be included but only 2 teams will be fully licensed. We believe that all teams will have real names though. 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.
|... but the animation makes is special.|
The big new feature in this years title is what Konami are dubbing the 'Teamvision AI'. This feature, which Konami state is unique to the Konami game, Teamvision 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.
Working in conjunction with the Teamvision system, every aspect of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008's on-field play has been reworked and fine-tuned to create the balanced and strategic play of a high stakes match. Set-pieces have been improved, with full control given over the number of players and the position of the defensive wall. A wider range of set piece options are also available to make use of specific talents within the team.
|Looks like a practice mode to me!|
As with previous releases since its inception in 1996, the ball is again treated as a separate entity, with the timing of shots entirely down to the player, while the new AI ensures that defenders work to close down space and block efforts on goal. Similarly, distribution of passes works along the same lines, with players using the space available to them to switch the ball. Close control has also been enhanced with more control when dribbling the ball, and a number of subtle moves added to bypass defenders and move the ball into space.
Defenders react better to danger, closing down the ball and charging at shots and the goalkeepers will hold shots that are closer to them as well. Teammates will 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. The next gen versions will also feature extensive edit modes so players can completely customise their Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 experience.
Multi-player is also going to be supported. On the Playstation 3 we expect 7 gamers to participate at a single time on a stand alone console and while we hope, and expect, there to be online play this has not been confirmed as yet.
|He's diving quicker then an Italian!|
One thing that the developers are very proud of in this game is the improvements that next-gen systems have brought to the graphics. All the menus have been redone to make use of widescreen HDTV sets, and the in-game graphics have also been suitably improved. While the screenshots around this preview show the game looking pretty nice it's when you see it in action with all the smaller animations that you realise just how wonderful this title is to play.
Konami's first Pro Evolution Soccer release on the PS3 is shaping up as a cracker of a game. If Konami can nail the gameplay (as they always seem to do!) then this is going to be one of the best games this Christmas. Atari Australia have announced that the game will hit the shelves on November 8th. Start the countdown...