PS2 Reviews: Pro Evolution Soccer 2
Pro Evolution Soccer 2 screenshots
The Final Say!
Pro Evolution Soccer 2 -
reviewed by Yianni Pak
Review Date: 5 December 2002
Review Score 9/10
Distributed By: GameNation
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Soccer. Football. The World Game, as Les Murray and his SBS cohorts would call it. There’s no denying that it is one of the most popular sports on planet earth, so it hardly comes as a great surprise that it appears in home console format more than just about any other game. The Europeans and South Americans are among the most soccer-obsessed people in the world, but what many people don’t realise (or at least didn’t realise until the recent world cup held in korea/japan) is that the Japanese love their footy as well.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2 Features
- Players: 1-4
- Genre: Sport
- Analogue Control Compatible
- Vibration Control
- Rating: G
This is, my friends, a VERY good thing, because if the Japanese weren’t so obsessive about the sport then they probably wouldn’t have come up with a little gem by the name of Winning Eleven, known in these antipodean parts as Pro Evolution Soccer. The first game appeared on our shelves a year or so back, and pretty much blew every other soccer game (including the staple FIFA series) out of the water. Since its debut, more or less every football sim since has tried to emulate PES’s controls to some extent.
PES 2 takes what was great about the first title, and polishes the aspects that weren’t quite right so that what we get is a vastly improved update, and what is without a doubt the finest soccer simulation ever seen on a console. No, it’s not perfect, but it is utterly fantastic nonetheless.
Graphically, PES 2 is dripping with polish. The animation of the players is amazing. Konami have managed to inject every player on the pitch with the same characteristics of their real-life counterparts, not just facially, but in their movements also. David Beckham’s roundhouse-style corner kicks and Roberto Larcos’ (I’ll explain in a minute) hunchbacked, tiny-stepped run-ups are great examples of this.
It’s like watching a match on television and being able to tell the players where you think they should run, pass, and the like. The pitches also look lovely, for what it’s worth, although the crowd animations are as static as usual, with the exception of some giant flags being waved in the stands. But obviously the fans in the stadium are merely background decoration and the simple animation doesn’t detract from the game itself.
With regards to sound, well, there’s good news and bad news. On the plus side, the intro opens with a pre-rendered ‘highlight reel’ set to the tune of Queen’s classic “We Will Rock You”. This is, to my mind, a good thing, although those of you out there who hate the band will obviously have different feelings.
The crowd sound effects are great, but no different to what you’d expect from any other sports game. The same goes for the other in-game spot effects – whistles blowing and such like. It’s all par for the course.
But Good Lord, the commentary. The word appalling simply doesn’t do it justice. Finding words to describe it would involve several hours of sitting with a thesaurus looking up synonyms for “bollockingly bad”. Turn it off, immediately. It doesn’t even fall into the “so bad it’s good” category.
The gameplay department is where PES 2 really shines. What’s so fantastic about it, so astounding, is that it plays EXACTLY LIKE REAL SOCCER! The tactics and methods players must employ in order to score goals is totally realistic - it’s just like watching the Champions League game of the week on telly. What this means, is that the player must invest a considerable amount of time learning the ins and outs of the game, how to pass effectively, when to sprint, and how to create an opening to send a through pass to the striker, thus setting him up for a glorious goal scoring opportunity. It’s outstanding. Don’t expect to play for a few hours and start romping home 6-0 victories. Patience is the word of the day here, and it’s highly unlikely that anyone would score a huge number of goals even against a totally weak team. A 2-0 defeat will seem like a sound thrashing.
There are numerous game-modes to explore. There’s an excellent training/tutorial mode, which involves running around the team’s home ground practising your various moves and strategies. In this section players can also take part in special ‘challenges’ designed to further their skills and ball control. There are the standard cups and leagues, and also a “Master League” mode, which involves starting out with a team and buying/selling/training players in an effort to create your own custom super-squad. The two-player mode is also a vast amount of fun, and if you’re lucky enough to have a multi-tap and a few friends over to visit, you can engage in a bit of two-on-two for huge laughs.
Presentation is adequate, but not outstanding. Static menus throughout with some fairly annoying background music behind them. There are extensive team/player editing facilities, so those who are so inclined can try and invent a team consisting of them and their friends and family. Imagine the fun in creating a bald, bearded Italian, giving him your mother’s name, then making her your star striker. The other reason the editing options come in very handy is that it seems Konami couldn’t get hold of all the official licenses for player names and kits. None of the Club teams have real names or uniforms, and some of the names of players have been jumbled up as well. These rearrangements range from the not-too-distracting (such as Ronaldo being renamed Radolno) to the just plain weird (the whole Netherlands national team consists of “Oranges”. Oranges #3, Oranges #7 etc). It doesn’t affect the gameplay but it’s a bit of a shame considering how brilliant the rest of the game is. If you’re really upset about it though, you can always fix it all up in the editing section before getting your league underway.
Abysmal commentary and crazy names aside, Pro Evolution Soccer 2 is hands down the greatest soccer simulation ever created. Anyone with an interest in footy sims should seriously consider buying it - it’s better than FIFA (I know a few people who would slap me in the side of the head for saying that) and well worth the investment. You’ll be playing it for ages. A must buy for soccer fans.
- Yianni Pak
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