Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
Oh Pro Evo, just what are we going to do with you? That might sound like an odd thing to say to a videogame… in fact, you might think it strange to be talking to a videogame at all, but if you’ve never spoken to Pro Evo, you’ve probably never played it. You’ve no doubt at least been direct and to the point with it, shouting “Yes!”, “No!” or “Bollocks!” in its face here and there, but you may even be the kind of PES player able, and all too willing, to circular breathe your way through a start-to-finish running commentary. You know the type, and if you don’t; again, you’ve probably never played Pro Evo.
But recent iterations of PES have caused the verbal exchanges we have with it to twist and change. Gone are the days when the highs were punctuated with, “Yes! What a goal! Let’s just see that again… in your face, mate… in your face!” and the lows with, “What are you doing? A professional footballer just wouldn’t do that, for f…”
Now, more and more, we find ourselves sighing at Pro Evo. Tutting a bit, too. We’re not so much angry, you understand. More disappointed. And let down. See how this paragraph has lots of pauses in it? That’s us stopping to think about what Pro Evo used to mean, then shaking our heads before carrying on. Where’s the passion, lads?
We used to love it, and we can still remember why, and we can still see a great many of the things that we love about it in Pro Evo 2008 on the PSP. It can be so fluid and so slick, and still, in many ways, captures the essence of what football should be about. But by God, it’s so bloody annoying sometimes.
Top of our list of gripes this time is that players have a habit of completely failing to register that the ball is near them. Sometimes they just let it roll past before chasing after it or, more baffling still, they just let it bounce off their shins and roll away without making any effort to control it. It seems just as common when receiving as it is when intercepting, and it’s definitely not something we’re doing wrong because we’ve seen it happen to CPU opponents, too. It doesn’t happen all the time, just sometimes, giving the impression that the AI doesn’t know how to cope with all the different priorities pulling it this way and that. We get that impression about Konami Tokyo, too.