Pro Evolution Soccer 6 Hands-On

The Xbox 360 version of Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 6 was playable for the first time at the Leipzig Games Convention, and we wasted no time going hands-on with it.

LEIPZIG, Germany--This October, Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer series will be making its first appearance on the Xbox 360. Credited by football fans as the most realistic interpretation of the sport, the game's jump to the console looks set to offer two big improvements. First, the machine's high-definition capability will let enthusiasts fully appreciate the sublime animation featured in the game. Second, the revamped Xbox Live interface should make it easier than ever to find real people to play against online. Add in the redesigned Xbox 360 pad, which offers more-convenient control from the four shoulder buttons, and you have what many are hoping will be the definitive version of the game.

Luckily, with a 75 percent-complete version on show at the Leipzig Games Convention, we were able to catch a glimpse of the next Pro Evolution Soccer ahead of its scheduled release in October. Konami's demo only had four teams on offer, although with Spain, Brazil, Italy, and the Czech Republic to choose from, the selection certainly wasn't lacking in quality. Wasting no time jumping on the machine at Konami's booth, we took on a company representative for a couple of 10-minute games. Favouring the current World Cup champions, Italy, we tried our luck against the rather intimidating opposition of the top-ranked team in the world, Brazil.

Like any refinement of a familiar game, the new version of Pro Evolution Soccer immediately feels both familiar and completely alien. For the sixth game in the series, Konami has made an effort to improve the artificial intelligence of user-controlled players and the computer opposition. Players now make a concerted effort to run into open space, and as long as you deliver the required through ball, you can make much more devastating passes. This isn't to say that the defence is completely impotent to the new threat, as they will automatically back off so that they're not turned the wrong way by a nimble-footed attacker.

While the players seem to be more energetic than ever, they still require a nimble touch on the joypad to keep under control. Shot power is still determined by how long you hold down X, but instead of heading in a straight line as before, shots are now on more of a curved trajectory. The same applies to crosses, which can be accurately dropped into the box, while volleys are more often taken by strikers and with greater accuracy. Having said that, though, we were playing with Italy, and Bolton Wanderers might have less luck with a screaming bicycle kick from outside the box.

While the realism of the Pro Evolution Soccer series has been its major attraction, the lack of official player data has always been its weak point. This isn't completely fixed in number six, though there is more correct team information than ever before, with official and up-to-date Czech, French, Australian, English, Italian, Argentinean, Spanish, and Swedish national sides. Bayern Munich, Lisbon, Benfica, Olympiacos Piraeus, and Manchester United will also boast official kits, complete with advertisements adorning their chests. Speaking of which, more real-life brands have gotten involved with Pro Evolution Soccer 6, as we noticed replays sponsored by Canon, as well as a Reebok logo in the corner of the loading screen.

We can look forward to more licensed teams, improved AI, and fancier footwork in Pro Evolution Soccer 6, but what's it actually like to play on the Xbox 360? Well, the system's pad is mapped out identically to that of the PlayStation 2, which is a great thing. On the previous Xbox, it didn't matter whether you used the original pad or the smaller S version--it was always fiddly to use the black and white buttons, so the extra two shoulder buttons help to keep the game comfortable. However, with the 360 choosing triggers as two of its shoulder buttons, it still requires a bit more effort to shift fingers around the back of the pad than we'd like. As with fighting games, expert Pro Evolution Soccer play requires a good deal of dexterity, and the triggers never feel as easy to shift across as the PlayStation 2's buttons. Only prolonged play testing of the full version will answer that particular concern.

Any concerns over the control system were almost negated by the quality of Pro Evolution Soccer 6's graphics, though. While player animation was always one of the game's strong points, the Xbox 360's high-definition lick of paint certainly helps you appreciate Konami's art even more. Small shimmies made on the right analog stick are now recognisable even as your player passes through a mass of other bodies. The game is awash with small details--players use their hands to stop themselves from running into obstacles, and they lose their balance as they're clipped by other players. It's not that these are particularly new to the series, it's just that it's far more noticeable than before.

The game's commentary still comes from Peter Brackley, who drops in generic remarks as the ball moves around the pitch. Konami has never managed to make it feel immediate or insightful, and over the noise of the show it didn't sound much different here. However, Konami revealed in Germany that the PlayStation 2 and PC game will both be online, with up to eight players supported through four linked systems.

The new version of Pro Evolution Soccer certainly looks the part on the Xbox 360, but with competition from a fully revamped FIFA game, the race for this year's title is going to be hotly contested. Only a good, long play test will reveal if Pro Evolution Soccer 6 is the definitive version, and luckily, we can do just that very shortly when the game is released in October.

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Discussion

50 comments
ov3rdance
ov3rdance

maybe Microsoft should make their own football game, Call it " Futbol 08"..get all the license team that will be cool. Microsoft have the money to do it. 2 reason that i don't buy PES. 1. i don't like the name 2. alway lack of license team. no liverpool again? that's suck.

psychonaut_1
psychonaut_1

i really dont care about the "lick of paint" that the 360 version will have, if the graphics is all thats different, then ill just get the cheaper ps2 version.

nsoufiani
nsoufiani

chrisius007, you do know that this is the gamespot UK team thats reviewing this. They live in teh uk, they know about football

chrisius007
chrisius007

Gamespot don't know about football, especially PES. None of you americans do!

chuckymyster
chuckymyster

the grapics are really looking sick! i cant wait..ooooo

lawzie
lawzie

man i can't wait!! finally sum club teams with official names. i hope the refs are not too strict on this 1 though.... fifa really need to close down their version of footie. they are fighting a losing battle.

wanker12
wanker12

Sweet. konami's are the only footer games worth playing. ea's lame ammerikanized attempts are pitiful.

martian999
martian999

Yes, it is true that PES6 is not Xbox 360 exclusive, it will be out in various platforms. However, it will be exclusive in the next-gen consoles, at least for 12 months.

mena11
mena11

WE: Pro evolution Soccer is NOT 360 exclusive!!! Check this link http://games.jhatkaa.com/2006/08/27/ps3-gets-winning-elevenpro-evolution-soccer/ During Microsoft’s Press Conference at GC 2006, they announced that Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA would exclusively be on the 360 for the next-generation systems for the next twelve months. They finished up this announcement with the proclaimation, “we own football.” Apparently not so much. Shortly afterwards Konami made a statement to the press. They denied the year-long deal, even going on to mention that a PS3 version was in the works and set to be released Q1-Q2 2007. “There are some articles (or some statements which could lead to the misunderstanding) at some websites and other sources stating that Konami’s soccer game Pro Evolution Soccer 6 will be released as an exclusive Xbox 360 title. However, this is not true. Pro Evolution Soccer 6 is being developed for multiple platforms so that many consumers will be able to enjoy it.” The deal that Microsoft referred to actually gives them exclusive rights to the end of 2006, not this time next year. From what we’ve been able to piece together, the deal with the FIFA license is similar. Assuming that EA’s deal is the same, it’s seems Microsoft jumped the gun before they were entirely sure of the conditions.

gromitt
gromitt

Pes is amazing gameplay.. Fifa look like waxwork models lol

Osinocavalli
Osinocavalli

javicho Typical fan boys, are you guys seriously dumb, Microsoft will do anything to win this next gen war and they got the money to get both title excusive, they wouldn’t say both titles are exclusive to xbxo360 if it wasn’t true. So from the lunch day of both title till 12 months, dat means that ps3 will only be getting pro evo 7 and FIFA 08 because by the time the contract runs out which is oct 07 , knomai and EA will have pro evo 7 and FIFA 08. I guess this will teach Sony a lesson that Microsoft or Nintendo could win this gen war easily. So you pathetic thick jealous Sony fan boys, so sit back, shut up and keep your stupid opinions to yourself.

javicho
javicho

WAIT!!!!!! Konami sais "only for this year".... "2006". In 2007 we have our precious Winning Eleven to PS3. The big "M" open his mouth again to say trivialities .... again.... once agian... PS3 RULES!!!!!

mark_unix
mark_unix

and BTW it's not xbox360 exclusive as Microsoft tried to mislead people to believe AGAIN. who is being an arrogant company here?

5telio5
5telio5

Why does the crowd always look so bad? Jesus, it's like they're bored to design them......

TVR_Fan
TVR_Fan

The crowd in the background look really badly designed.

afro2005
afro2005

hey guys ,u know what i have seen the we:pes6 it really the same gameplay n i think this time round konami coming back to ground,they've fail us to bring a different gameplay.if u watch fifa2007 his differnt from the others.u go chck the both the gameplay at gametrailers.com now n see for urself guys,pes6 sucks.

djmaster1010
djmaster1010

PRO EVOLUTION IS THE BEST SOCCER GAME OUT THERE!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ck666
ck666

I agree, PES and FIFA are two different things. In order to really compete with PES, EA should completely redesign the whole game. Starting with gameplay. Oh, what about your biggest score in one match(on same difficulty)? Mine is - PES: 6 goals; FIFA: 12 goals. FIFA does, however one thing better than PES does - it's fully licensed. And that's just because every year FIFA association decides to sell their exclusive license to EA. That's not a huge loss and it doesn't affect the gameplay, but it's still quite important for any fan out there. Fix it.

smithers101
smithers101

Every year they say this is going to be a close thing between FIFA and WE. And every year EA produce the same s*#t but with a different wrapping.

minos30
minos30

I don't know why they even mention FIFA. They're 2 completely different games one being a simulation (WE) and the other being an arcade (FIFA) football (soccer) game. Its like playing Gran Turismo vs Ridge Racer... no point in comparing.

afro2005
afro2005

u poeple don't know much about konami i do cuz this year it will suck till it makes fifa the best soccer gameplay in the world ever

Ninja-Vox
Ninja-Vox

I think it's a bit daft to say moving your finger a matter of millimetres from the bumbers to the triggers is in any way difficult....

Kernnee
Kernnee

This is gonna be good, but from what I've heard, this years FIFA is going to be breathing down its neck. It better be more than juts fancy animations. I'll still buy it anyway.

dhjohns
dhjohns

Konami makes the best soccer games. I personally like them much better than FIFA

Dantes_Monkey
Dantes_Monkey

so is this the exact same game with better graphics, compared to the xbox and ps2 versions

Osinocavalli
Osinocavalli

Come to daddy pro evo 6 can't wait to get ma both hands on this baby

NintendoGamer06
NintendoGamer06

The new version of Pro Evolution Soccer certainly looks the part on the Xbox 360, but with competition from a fully revamped FIFA game, the race for this year's title is going to be hotly contested. (Sorry Gamespot but there will be no contest...if fifas best 11 players took on pro evos top 11 players....the pro evo players would not get beaten because they are not big, slow, all the same, can't hit a decent shot(because of the gameplay)......ijkhrjhv[gvrefoijh my point is....pro evo is king. The PROven Game

morororo
morororo

Looks like I'm getting a 360, the must have game is finally coming.

oli321123
oli321123

i want it it looks brilliant...!!

Shleco
Shleco

Clive Tyldesley provides the commentary now or are you getting confused with FIFA? Since Pro Evolution Soccer 2 Konami have used Peter Brackley.

KingKoop
KingKoop

FIFA beater hands down, PES never fails to deliver and impress.

Osinocavalli
Osinocavalli

I feel soz 4 US be4 oct release is only 4 europe because that developer said on the video is coming Jan 9th which is US release

Leon-RE4
Leon-RE4

Lets see what this game does.

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

This game will remain the realistic football simulator.

ratchet3
ratchet3

If this game gets over 9 I'm getting a 360 (if it comes out before GoW)

Staticbb
Staticbb

wow..whata cheap shot on the Bolton Wanderers...*cue madden* heres a reviewer that be drinkin' the haterade. I think Borgetti can handle a bicycle kick from any where on the pitch.

beneficent
beneficent

Pro Evolution kicks ass, and anyone denies doesn't own, hasn't played, or know of any other Pro Evolution titles. That, or just don't like the sport in general.

wenbin09
wenbin09

certainly looking forward!!

guasch1
guasch1

Deer gatsbythepig: I think that you have never played the Winning Eleven, believe that you belong to these children that only can buy a gameboy advance for little money that has and the only title that you play is the mario bros and the donkey kong (type atari). You have jealousies for not having the money and you are not able to buy a xbox 360 and also for not being able to buy one of the greatest games of football

SgtSilock
SgtSilock

Cant wait for this game!! PRO EVO KICKS FIFAS ASS!

masonos
masonos

Olympiacos Piraeus, hahahahaha....the Grek people are going to love this!

edubuccaneer
edubuccaneer moderator

Oh man... WE is turning into FIFA!!! Mein Got!

fordies
fordies

I cant wait to get my hands on this its gonna be amazing as usual.