Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 PlayStation 2
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Konami
Release Date: Out Now
It’s rather odd that with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 both offering versions of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 that the best version of the game should be on the PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 2 version features extra modes, has no performance issues and generally plays a better game than the PS3 and 360 versions. However, it’s not much of an improvement from Pro Evolution Soccer 6 and essentially it’s a game that only hardcore followers of the series will truly appreciate.
There are two new modes in the PlayStation 2 version that weren’t present in the 360 or PS2 versions. World Tour allows you to pick a team and then compete against different nations in a variety of scenarios. You might be asked to beat a team by at least 2-0 or play in the second half of a match beginning at 0-0 needing to be winning by the time the final whistle blows. Some requirements are slightly trickier, requiring you to win as well as not being offside once during the game. You can even transfer your progress to the PSP version of the game so that you can continue your game whilst you’re on your travels. Community is a multiplayer mode that allows up to 16 players to take part in competitions on one console. Each player has to input their name and astrological star sign and each player’s progress is recorded. If you happen to have quite a few friends who come around to play on a regular basis then the Community mode is going to be one mode you’ll appreciate.
The other modes are pretty much the same as they were in last year’s game. As before, you can play in exhibition matches, cups, and various leagues. There are a few licensed leagues here such as the Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian but once again there are only two officially licensed English teams meaning you’ll have to put up with the usual Merseyside Red and Man Blue. At least the Edit mode is pretty impressive and you can change all of those fictitious team names and kits back to what they should be. The Master League is once again the main single-player attraction and whilst it’s essentially the same as in previous versions, its presentation has been spruced up somewhat and is presented in a better fashion. Those who enjoy playing online though will be disappointed to find that there is still lag aplenty which means that many will be deterred until the lag problems are sorted out.
Some of the issues I have with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions thankfully don’t apply to the PlayStation 2 version. The goalkeepers don’t seem to be as prone to spilling the ball as they are in the PS3 and 360 versions. The PS2 version still retains the physical element but there doesn’t seem to be as many niggly stoppages as there are in the 360 and PS3 versions. The developers have also resisted the urge to include the ability to make your player dive; thank goodness. In fact, on the whole, I think the PlayStation 2 version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 plays an all round better game of football.
Graphically, the series has gone as far as it can on the PlayStation 2, so it’s no surprise to see that Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 isn’t a better looking game that last year’s Pro Evolution Soccer 6. Unlike the PlayStation 3 version, there are no frame rate issues with the PlayStation 2 version of PES 2008. Both the default 50Hz and the optional 60Hz modes appear to maintain a smooth frame rate throughout, which is very pleasing. The general presentation of the game has been improved a little with various game menus receiving a bit of attention. The game is exactly the same as Pro Evolution Soccer 6 in terms of its deaf gamer friendliness. The match commentary, which often lags behind the action or is completely inaccurate, isn’t subtitled but that’s not really much of a problem. I do wish Konami hadn’t done away with the icons that showed whether the advantage rule was being played. That said deaf gamers won’t have any real problems with PES 2008.
It’s a little difficult to believe that we are still saying that the PlayStation 2 version of a Pro Evolution Soccer game is still the best one you can buy but that’s exactly what the situation is with Pro Evolution Soccer 2008. The game has no frame rate issues, offers more modes than the other versions and generally plays an all round better game of football. The online play is still not a lag free experience though. Those looking for any graphical upgrades will also be disappointed although, to be fair, Konami do seem to have managed to wring every last drop of performance out of the PlayStation 2 as possible. For the most part the game isn’t much of an improvement over Pro Evolution Soccer 6 but it’s still the best football game you can play on the PlayStation 2 and hardcore fans of the series will consider it worth every penny.