GC '07: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 Hands-On

The Leipzig Games Convention 2007 is finally open, and we wasted no time heading to the Konami booth for hands-on play of the latest Pro Evolution.

LEIPZIG, Germany--While last year's Pro Evolution Soccer was as playable as ever, there was a noticeable uprising among fans who felt the series wasn't progressing enough. Problems, such as the poor commentary, lack of official licences, and generally poor presentation are becoming increasingly unacceptable. This is particularly true on the next-generation consoles, such as the Xbox 360. So there's a reasonable amount of pressure on Konami this year to reaffirm Pro Evolution Soccer as the premier football series on the market. While the game convention demo sadly didn't offer us any insight into the commentary or domestic leagues, it was encouraging to see how much better the game was presented on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 than on previous iterations.

Jumping at the chance to play the first version of Pro Evolution Soccer for the PlayStation 3, we were pleased to see how good the game looked. Now 75 percent through development, the game looks noticeably sharper on the PS3 at this point than on the Xbox 360. The extra fidelity really helps you spot individual players and appreciate the extra detail in the animation. The players also move in a very realistic manner. For example, Argentina's Cambiasso has a much more laboured running style than Brazil's Ronaldinho. Both characters were immediately recognisable thanks to the increase in resolution, with a noticeable bald patch on Cambiasso and the trademark long hair on the little Brazilian.

However, the improvements aren't just limited to the player appearance. While the commentary and sponsors were still not in place for the demo, the menu systems boasted more pizzazz than in previous games. For example, 3D models now show off your kit selection instead of the static models of before. When you pause the game, you now get a live camera feed showing the subs and manager eagerly watching from the dugout. There were also some nice incidental details, such as the way players bend over and tighten their laces when the ball goes out of play. Additional details include the referee visibly blowing a whistle for free kicks and the ripple effect on the netting, which is as nice as ever. Strangely though, the referee doesn't blow his whistle for kick-off on the PlayStation 3 version, but perhaps this was yet to be included in the preview build.

The PlayStation 2 version of the game on show had fewer teams than the PS3 and 360 versions, with just Brazil and Portugal on offer. It was difficult to spot the differences between this game and its predecessor on the PS2. But on closer inspection, the animation and player likenesses have been improved. The player-ball interaction certainly feels better, and players make more subtle changes to their direction than they did before. We found that the goalkeepers tend to spill the ball more often, especially when deflecting more powerful shots. This was demonstrated by our first goal, which blasted the keeper backward as he waved his arms to stop it in its path. Players also time their sliding tackles much better than they did before, and we were soon performing slides in the box with much more confidence than we did in last year's game. Players also move their mouths in a more realistic fashion when congratulating teammates on a goal.

We left the Konami booth feeling as though each version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 had its subtle differences. The Xbox 360 joypad still feels awkward compared to Sony's DualShock2 and Sixaxis pads; thus, we hope Konami has spent the last year improving on the last game's poor Xbox Live code. We also have yet to find out how the PlayStation Network offering will differ from the Xbox Live online play, or if it will even differ at all. The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of the game will go on sale in October this year, while the Wii version is now promised for next year. With FIFA 08 looking stronger than ever, Christmas certainly looks like an exciting proposition for football fans, and we hope to bring you more on both games in the very near future.

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56 comments
rj-pessoa
rj-pessoa

Wasn't PES 2008 supposed to release this month? What happened???

jeton23
jeton23

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

sentenced83
sentenced83

ive played fifa on ps3 and its perfection !!!

ahmedmaster31
ahmedmaster31

RoCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKSSSSSSS PES 2008 winsssssss

scoobiesnoop
scoobiesnoop

I used to be a FIFA boy but then I played Pro Evo. Then Konami released that abortion of a game last year called Pro Evo 6 which was a rush job and didn't do anything for their rep. However, this year it seems PES will be back to winning ways with all the editing etc and the gameplay feels amazing. Having said that, FIFA 08 also looks and feels superb so I guess it's all down to whether you are a fifa boy or pes boy (or girl I should say lol) . Ithink FIFA has caught right up to PES but PES still has the slight edge on gameplay.

Tsunami_pt
Tsunami_pt

From a PES fan for the last years, I can say that I've tried both demos and, as shocking as it may be to me, Fifa 2008 is better... Konami is getting lazy. Pro Evo needs a LOT of improvements.

kdamian
kdamian

I had been playing FIFA since...FIFA 96!! I tried PES last year and there is no comparison. PES is football, FIFA is an imitation. All the mechanics are right (well for a Game that is). Official leagues and games are cool but...when u don't get the feel of the game (I wouldn't expect Americans to do it right anyway...sorry mates but you are not good on this) then Irish league is not so cool. Also there are people out there who customise data and give PES players cool Option Files and Patches. The only thing that FIFA is ahead (to my opinion) in some parts of their manager mode. It is cool to have young players coming every year ready to enter your team, or send out scouts to find talents from all over the world (no need to pay for them). Just compare the formation menus of the two games and the difference is clear.

El_Esbirro
El_Esbirro

I really need to be sure of what exactly this game is offering, before i make any decisions....if the create a player is much much better than the one from PES 2007, am in....if it offers better gameplay and harder A.I. am in....if the PS2 version has those cutscenes everyone seems to be fussing about, am IN....but please show something!!!! the gameplay movies are kinda whack...it's like someone playing and camera is like 8 steps behind the screen. And the Trailers, are just trailers....we need the real deal Gameplay movies, so this debate between FIFA08 and PES 08 is over.

LJZ14
LJZ14

WE will always own Fifa... the gameplay on WE cant get any better... When's FIFA going to improve their passing?!?!?!

torqueamada
torqueamada

I've played these games for years. Let's all pull together now to keep the bad commentary and inappropriate player animations in the game. Watching Zambrotta give the thumbs up after chasing a dodgy clearance to the touchline or listening to our Trevor waffle on with trite generic comments is part of what this game is all about. Who else could have given us the Memorial Match or the "PES Museum," apart from the Japanese? Keep up the good work, Konami.

minos30
minos30

gameplay is still way better on WE, Fifa has lame ball movement fake player mometum, awful goalie technique as to where to stand and when to come out. The thing is Americans love flashy, million dollar soundtrack, update rosters, bla bla bla... You actually don't get the essence of futbol, fussbal, football... gameplay. Overall its a more realistic experience. Who cares who is on the front?!?! Who cares who sings on the menus, when your goalie moves like an idiot and the ball goes through players especially the goalie.

GreenMan
GreenMan

Sad though it is to say it, I will also be going for Fifa this year. From what I've seen and heard so far, the latest Pro Evo offers nothing except minor adjustments to a series that is now so stale you'd break your jaw trying to sink your teeth into it. Konami are getting lazy and it's going to cost them eventually.

Colig
Colig

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Princecake
Princecake

i'm sure there will be a pc version and I'm sure it'll be awesome once u plug in ur ps2 controller :) (via USB->PS2 port) can't wait to play online though PES population in Aus is quite small... hopefully they'll interconnect different platforms though i doubt it..

brain20035
brain20035

what about the PC version? this is the PC page, right? where the f*** is the pc version hands on? is it gonna be next gen or not!?

Keyser_So_So
Keyser_So_So

exactly what knights-Templar said, its all about the gameplay. The other thing about the player names is there'll be unofficial mods to make everything as realistic and accurate as Fifa- as on the previous ones. The commentary is always a problem, but who needs it?

mike_vas_55
mike_vas_55

I think it will be better on the PS3.

knights-Templar
knights-Templar

we all know Fifa has all the sponsors and player names yea what ever. what we all want is that good game of real football and we only get that feel with PES. my point is FIFA (S)(U)(K)(Z)(!)(!)!(!)

OddEye_basic
OddEye_basic

PS3 version looks noticeably sharper at this point because it is 75% complete while the 360 version is only 40% complete. They will both be the same by release. There's no reason it shouldn't because if FIFA 08 looks like that on the 360, there is absolutely no reason why Pro Evo can't look as good as the 360 as it does on PS3.

chuopene
chuopene

I'm a huge fan of the pro evo series but the "next gen" version on 360 almost left a bad taste in my mouth. Poor controls, no replay save, no player edit, etc but it was good to look @. I had to resort to getting one for my ps2, which handled and played far better. Anyway, i hope konami rectifies this. I'll definitely get Pro evo 2008 when it comes out. CAN'T WAIT

360gamerz
360gamerz

colindr wat is the point in buying them both??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! pro will be better anyway March On The Mighty Pro series

gaming247
gaming247

Noo u FU(KI|\|>D!K! The xbox 360 elite aint got better graphics than the normal 360, there both exactly the same just includes an hdmi port, aight!!!

_Samsung_
_Samsung_

ive alredy got it cos i won a competion when i went 2 japan ive got de PS3 version and when de 360 elite comes out im gonna get it on dat,,incase you dunno wot 360 elite is, its got a 120gb hardrive(2x de 1 on de PS3) better graphics than 360 normal and of course more powerful. anyways im

colindr
colindr

I'm going to get this and FIFA for the PS3. They both look great!

jk80
jk80

i love how everybody agrees that last year's pro evo on the 360 wasn't up to par, but it still got a very good score.

Jonny_S183
Jonny_S183

After last years cut down 360 version I'm really hoping for something special to win me back over and remind me why pro evo is far superior to any other footy game.

mikefoy
mikefoy

really looking forward to this. since my pro ev 6 disk snapped for the 360 version in half (horror) I have held back replacing it. woo hoo!!!!

wii_sean_wii
wii_sean_wii

Proevo rules over FIFA by miles just down to the game play. and the sponsership improves every year, they had the english, spanish and italian league player's real names in PES 6 so who knows wat they wll have nxt, and who actully plays as a (e.g-french) league team anyway not even french people would. FIFA does have all the sponsership and titles but FIFA just lacks when your on the pitch (i feel its a bit 2 slow and impossible to take anyone on even if your are C.Ronaldo) but as a kid i played FIFA and loved it so im still hope this really is the year when FIFA brings back the magic it once had.

TVR_Fan
TVR_Fan

So it seems Guy Cocker beat Justin to Pro Evo Soccer 2008.

GeneralEz
GeneralEz

great game...cant wait to compete with my friends..

karan7
karan7

Will wait for a review, for now, FIFA 08 is for me. Despite being PES fan for years samething bro is just the same thing here with me!

jpmole
jpmole

I love how he talks about the bloody menu screen improvements more than how the game actually PLAYS on the newer versions compared to the old-gen ones, and last years iterations...

football_legend
football_legend

Will wait for a review, for now, FIFA 08 is for me. Despite being PES fan for years.

akif22
akif22

finally a proper next-gen pro evo .. with replay saves and a proper edit mode

---n00b_kid---
---n00b_kid---

In Pro Evo 6 you can easily identify the player on a pitch especially on the 360 with a HDTV, and it has great animation. I dont know what Guy Cocker is talking about.

Templar94
Templar94

the ps3 is not here yet. it hasn't got a footie game but at christmas when both are here it will begin.

tretcharuss
tretcharuss

Can't wait for this game. This is the most underrated sports game in North America.

The_Answer_1
The_Answer_1

I wait and see i love the ps2 version better but i was hoping on getting this for the 360 to me now it depends on the options to edit and maybe soundtrack editing as well but PRO IS HERE TO STAY fifa is looking good too but i have to say PRo Pro Pro

DevilmanDante
DevilmanDante

Looking forward to this - I usually get Pro Evo every 2 years, but seeing as it's moving to PS3 (and it sounds like that one is running best at the moment) I may well end up purchasing it. Hopefully the 360 version will be just as good by release though, I wouldn't want to feel that anyone was playing an inferior version, and I wouldn't expect Konami to allow that to happen, particularly after last year's fairly awful port to the 360 from PS2. From the PS3 standpoint again though, this along with Burnout seems to be signalling the first few games where PS3 is the main format rather than Xbox 360 being the lead platform - for me personally I'm hoping that means an end to the oft-inferior PS3 versions of games.

SonyGameHolder7
SonyGameHolder7

after reading both previews, I really think FIFA is really improving a lot and PES will have to go all the way to retain the title of best football sim

wars45
wars45

nice love pro cant wight to play online on my ps3 with it i dont like fifa its too easy to score a goal bring pro on wooooooooooooo

DanC1989
DanC1989

Great stuff, PS3 version for me. ^_^