When it comes to soccer games, players have two to choose from. There’s EA Sports’ dominant FIFA series, which achieved big numbers over the past few years and should repeat once more with FIFA 14 when it releases this September, and then there’s Konami’s Winning Eleven franchise – or Pro Evolution Soccer, as it’s known on our shores – which has its own avid following as well. This year looks great for the EA and FIFA camp, but by no means should you miss out on Pro Evolution Soccer 2014.
As with previous efforts in the series, Konami’s development team, under the watchful eye of producer Kei Masuda, will continue to make strides in the gameplay department so it feels like an authentic soccer product. Passes, defensive plays and goal attempts will come across in a realistic manner, so you’ll want to make sure you bring your skills to the field.
However, Konami did something new with the visuals this time around. In conjunction with the team at Kojima Productions, Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 utilizes the new Fox Engine technology, which is also used in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This will make players appear more lifelike than ever before, along with more detailed stadiums and crowds.
Havok Physics will also play a huge part in PES 2014, especially when it comes to player interaction. Sliding tackles are more effective than in previous years, though you’re likely to draw a yellow flag from the referee if you aren’t careful. You’ll even notice enhanced physics with steals, as you’ll need to run across an offensive player at just the right time to gain control of the ball. Otherwise, they’ll continue towards the goal.
Pro Evolution Soccer bases both of these technologies across six key elements, which will define how things work in the 2014 edition.
First, you have M.A.S.S., or Motion Animation Stability System. With this in place, AI will react more accordingly over the course of a game. If you play aggressively, for example, your opponents will keep up with a ferocious level all their own. You’ll need to stay focused to keep the game from getting out of hand.
Next, you have TrueBall Tech. With this feature, ball reaction will be as real as the game itself. For instance, if you kick it backwards, it’ll stop and spin back a little ways to an awaiting receiver, or worse yet, a defensive player. Speed and height of the pass will also be taken into account, whether it swoops into the air from a goalie kick, or makes a quick bounce across the field to a nearby teammate.
Heart is the next component, and it delves deep into player performance. Here, you’ll need to justify how you play PES 2014, because it’ll have an effect on your fellow teammates. Play sloppily and they’ll be forced to cover for you. Do well, however, and they’ll become motivated, picking up the way they play and matching your performance.
The PES ID was first introduced in Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, and makes a return here. This Player ID system recreates the skills and play styles of star players throughout the soccer world. Although individual names haven’t been released yet, the number will go above the 50 star players highlighted in last year’s game. If you’re a fan of sims or particular soccer superstars, you’re going to love this.
Team Play will make a huge difference if you prefer to work with your teammates for scoring opportunities, rather than taking them yourself. With the Combination Plan in effect, you can create different tactics around the goal, which involve yourself and three or more players on your squad. Set up the right play and you’ll charge towards the net successfully. Fail and you’ll have to go back to the drawing board.
Finally, there’s Reality, and it plays a huge part in PES 2014. Everything will come together to mimic the reality of a soccer game, from loud crowds to the energy level of your players to reactions from a goal, whether good or bad. Fans will also react to free kicks and penalties with more realism, eager at the chance of a successful block, or if you’re on offense, that necessary score to take the lead.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 will feature leagues from around the world, including UEFA and CONMEBOL, as well as the UEFA Champions, CAF Champions, CAF Confederation Cup, Copa Libertadores, Bridgestone Sudaamericana, AFC Champions league, and various National teams from Europe, Africa, America and Asia/Oceania. You’ll have no shortage of soccer champions to choose from, each with their own custom uniforms, fans and anthems.
FIFA 14 will no doubt be a huge hit with the soccer community, but Pro Evolution Soccer 14 will bring plenty to the table as well. If you’re a fan of the sport, be sure to check it out.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 releases on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 September 24th.