Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 PSP
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Konami
Release Date: Out Now
Pro Evolution Soccer 6 on the PSP was a game we had few complaints with. For a handheld version of Konami's superb football simulation it was more or less as good as we could have hoped for. Our only real complaints with the game were that you couldn't play online and you couldn't exchange Master League save data with the PlayStation 2 version of the game. It's fair to say then that we were not expecting Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 on the PSP to be radically different and, in all honesty it's not. However, the differences are all slight improvements and it's certainly the best handheld football game we've played to date.
If you've played the PlayStation 2 version of PES 2008 you'll find the PSP version offers virtually the same line-up of modes. The modes on offer include: Match, Master League, World Tour, League, Cup, Wireless (ad hoc only), Training and Edit. World Tour makes its debut on the PSP and it allows you to pick a team and then compete against different teams 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 PlayStation 2 version of the game to allow you to play on the big screen when you're not on your travels.
By simply looking at that list of modes that have been included in the game you might be forgiven for thinking that there's not a lot there to entice you into picking up this year's game. It's worth pointing out however that you're going to get the most from PES 2008 for the PSP if you own the PlayStation 2 version. This year you can exchange Master League data between the PSP and PlayStation 2 versions. This feature alone will justify the asking price for PES enthusiasts as it means you can continue your Master League game when you're away on holiday or having to endure long journeys. As we've just mentioned, the World Tour data is also transferable between the PSP and PlayStation 2. Cup mode data can also be transferred between the two formats. It should also be noted that a comprehensive Edit mode has been included this time around allowing you to customize those aspects of the game that you would be able to customize on the PlayStation 2 version.
In regards to how the game plays, there isn't a great deal of difference between PES 2008 and PES 6. To be fair there wasn't much wrong with the PSP version of PES 6 so it's not surprising that major adjustments haven't been made. What is noticeable however is the improvement to the game's frame rate and load times. You will still notice the odd, minor frame rate dip but it doesn't occur that often and certainly doesn't spoil anything. The load times are quite an improvement and it's clear that Konami have put some time into optimizing these as much as is possible.
In regards to its presentation, the PSP version of PES 2008 is practically the same as the PlayStation 2 version. The new menu design has been used here (for better or worse depending on your point of view) and the general look of the game is similar. The overall quality of the graphics is probably just below that of the PlayStation 2 version but the differences are certainly not too noticeable and there is little to complain about in this respect. Deaf gamers certainly won't have any problems with the PSP version of PES 2008. Match commentary isn't subtitled but there's not a lot of it; certainly nowhere near as much as you'd find in the PlayStation 2 version. Only a few words are said when a goal is scored and the lack of subtitles certainly isn't a problem.
If you haven't yet purchased a football game for your PSP then Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is definitely the game to go for. If you've purchased PES 6 and aren't fussed about the improved transferable data support that PES 2008 has with PES 2008 for the PlayStation 2, then it's probably a little more difficult to justify a purchase. On the one hand you do have the improved frame rates and shorter loading times but there still isn't any support for online play and that is a little disappointing. Those who own the PlayStation 2 version of PES 2008 will definitely get the most out of the PSP version of PES 2008. The ability to transfer so much data back and forth and continue your game on either system is superb and enhances not only the PSP version but the PlayStation 2 version too.