Every year it’s always great to see who is going to win the battle for the best football simulation game available. And while some brave souls have tried to develop their own football game to split the top two, all have failed. So that leaves us with Pro Evolution Soccer known as PES and the FIFA series. I will be the first to admit that up until a few years ago, PES was the way forward and most gaming football fans will agree with that statement. However over the past few years PES has seen many of its beloved fans drift away to the more authentic FIFA series. This could be down to a number of things, however one thing I did know was that Konami really needed PES 2010 to get back to its roots and bring the fans back.
Having declined to purchase the previous two games in the series due to the bad gameplay and what seemed like backward additions to the series, I was eager to find out whether the aforementioned had been improved. When the demo for the game was released I’m going to be honest I didn’t enjoy it and also thought about ditching the game yet again in favour for EA’s alternative. Thankfully I decided to play the full version of the game and re-evaluate the situation.
Upon booting the game up you are greeted with a fresh, modern and slick menu overlay. There are plenty of game modes for you to enjoy including the return of the UEFA Champions League mode, which is a glorified custom 32 team tournament with all the Champions League trimmings, the Become a Legend mode where it’s your turn to become a hero and the ever addictive Master League mode.
The main mode, Master League, hasn’t changed much since I last purchased the game two years ago. In fact the only noticeable change was the inclusion of the Champions League and perhaps the inclusion of staff finances to take into account. The addictive nature of the game I am glad to say has also remained at least. Like many fans I’m always waiting for the transfer window to open to purchase good players while at the same time hoping I haven’t burst my budget and made my team bankrupt. It’s all good stuff and certainly stuff the fans want to see. For me personally I would like to see some new major improvements but at the moment, I’m not too sure of what. That’s what they get paid for however and if given the opportunity to work with them, I’m sure I could think of something brilliant.
If you fancy taking to the pitch itself you can by playing the Become a Legend mode. This is Konami's answer to EA's Be a Pro mode and one which in my opinion isn't executed as well as it should have been. You start you career playing for your chosen club in the reserves trying to get the manager to notice you. Once noticed you will be selected to play for the full squad and if good enough, for your country. When playing I just felt it wasn't easy to get a hold of the ball, and when you’re just running around without the ball it becomes a little tedious. What's even more annoying is that when you are a sub you cannot skip the game to when you are being subbed on. I have often sat through 2 or 3 games in a row, albeit you can speed the game up, without even getting a sniff of the grass. A button to skip the time until you are invited to join in would have been a fantastic addition. Noticing this might also be down to the fact that FIFA have done such a great job in that aspect of the game, I was maybe just expecting equal or better from Konami.
Over the past few years PES has lost the PES faithful due to the lack of improvement and disappointing game play. Good news, the gameplay is much improved. Yes if you have been playing FIFA for a long time it takes a while to adjust back to the PES way, but before long you will be spraying the ball left and right like the good old days. I’m still not happy with the lobbed through balls and the jostling for the headers but the core mechanics have remained faithful to the PES we all know and love.
A disappointing feature over the past few years was the online side of things. Thankfully Konami have resolved such issues including the all important lag free games. Along with the normal one vs. one you can team up with a friend and play against two other players. Failing that and you want to make use of the Become a Legend mode you can head online for some 10 vs. 10 action. This is all great but apart from the 1 vs. 1 game there's barely anyone else who plays online. It's just a real shame as the online aspect has improved. I just feel that Konami has lost a lot of the PES faithful and that explains the lack of online gamers. Hopefully this year’s version will slowly win the fans back.
Overall Konami have upped their game in terms of bringing back the good old days of Pro Evolution Soccer. However with EA's FIFA series has been growing leaps and bounds each year, I'm not too sure if it's too late for Konami to gain the fans interest back. By all means if you were a PES fan I recommend you at least give PES another chance. Worthy purchase for fans of the series and hopefully Konami can move in the right direction from here.