Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 Updated Hands-On

We take to the pitch with Konami's newest football sim for one last hit-out before its full release.

Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is set to hit shops around the world in the next few weeks (UK consumers will get their hands on it later this week), and we've taken the final build of the 360 version for one last spin before handing our final verdict down in our upcoming full review. We've had several hands-ons with the game already, but we're pleased to say that not only is the game looking better than when we last saw it at the Tokyo Game Show, but it's also playing as well as previous entries into the series.

Firstly, as this is the final build, we can now report exactly which licenses Konami has managed to snare in Pro Evo 2008. Fans of European football will be pleased to know that several of Europe's major leagues are in the game, including the official full teams, rosters, and kits for Ligue 1, Serie A, and the Eredivisie. The English Premier League is sadly a little under-represented--as with last year's Pro Evo, only two Premier League sides are "officially" in the game. While last year featured Arsenal and Manchester United, Pro Evo 2008 has instead Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. Dozens of national squads are still in the game, however, as are individual sides from other world leagues such as Celtic and Rangers from the Scottish Premier League. Thankfully, this year's next-gen Pro Evo offerings include an extremely robust edit mode, which allows players to edit existing teams to their heart's content. For the 360, that even includes being able to use an Xbox Live Vision camera to capture images (such as logos) and use them on kits within the game.

Graphically, the game is looking impressive, and is certainly a great improvement on last year's 360 effort. Konami has obviously spent a lot of time trying to beef up the game in the looks department, and it shows right from the start thanks to a flashy intro sequence, which features some players kicking a football around various urban environments rendered in a highly stylised way (and which made us think of A-Ha's famous '80s video for Take On Me). Player likenesses are almost spot on, displaying some convincing facial animations throughout. The stadiums and pitches themselves are now also looking nicely detailed, with plenty of advertising boards and team-specific crowd signs adorning the stadiums. Pro Evo 2008 is still lacking some of those extra touches that its main competitor FIFA 08 has (such as player sweat as matches progress), but it's certainly the best-looking Pro Evo so far. That said, actual player animations in Pro Evo are--as usual--top-notch. Players run, shoot, pass, change direction, fall, and even bump into other players in a way which is quite convincing to watch.

Of course, Pro Evo's strength has always been its gameplay, and the 2008 version looks to be no slouch in that department. Konami has made much of a brand new AI system implemented in Pro Evo 2008 called Teamvision, which supposedly allows the game to learn and adapt to a gamer's playing style. Opposition teams in Pro Evo 2008 certainly seem a lot more savvy than in last year's version--AI teams will often intelligently switch play to the other side of the field if pressured too much, and will put in more incisive through balls to running team mates. AI defence seems sharper as well, with computer-controlled defenders no longer tricked as easily with simple feints. We've also noticed the AI to be much savvier when it comes to exploiting weaknesses in opposition teams. When we played as Australia against England, the AI seemed more than content to take on the Australian midfield with the likes of players such as Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard, something it usually succeeded with thanks to those players' higher speed and skills ratings compared to the Aussies.

There is plenty more to talk about with Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, including how the revamped Master League mode and online play shapes up. Check out GameSpot's full review soon for all the details.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

Want the latest news about Pro Evolution Soccer 2008?

Pro Evolution Soccer 2008

Pro Evolution Soccer 2008

Follow

Discussion

43 comments
winaryor
winaryor

This is great! I think they need to improve on Edit Mode. So we can move a player from Clubs to International, but its only a copy one the one is move. That's because some players are missing from International so its not just clubs to have a complete players. I'm not talking about the licensing. So Edit Mode is very important. Another one is about the speed, sometimes the slower player is running faster than high speed runner.

ukillwegrill
ukillwegrill

noooooooooo pro evo sucks for some reason CAPN-DRAMATIC Yeah, I have to agree with 'meneger' on this one. Now even though Spurs are definitely the turd this season (Championship for them next season) Excuse me were waiting for a good time to strike then u will see the almighty power of the yid army and it scat like reflex will be too much for the like of arsenal and chelsea they will crumble under the sheer force of are lightning fast strikes (yes i am very biased) COME ON U COYS

solidsnakeguru
solidsnakeguru

i got the game and it owns cant see y gamesot put it down its alsome to me gameplay most of the graphics and they have sorted out the online i cant see y can u ?

TrevSkyline
TrevSkyline

Come on Gamespot, sort your s**t out!!! Where's the review? The game has been out for a week already!!!!!!!

bgriffithsps3
bgriffithsps3

JESUS! what have they done to Pro Evo! It's broken. Ok the gameplay is good, but nothing new of significance on offer. The rumours about frame rate during replays are true. Your game is not faulty. Just a bit **** This is the first time I've started to really doubt the ps3. I should of known when the only english clubs on offer are Tottenham and Newcastle. Crippy boy and the diving **** on the cover what do you expect.

haynsey123
haynsey123

OK i LOVE Sony and my PS3 and also I LOVE Pro Evo but this one is rubbish the frame rate IS that bad and online already has a message from Konami stating that they are working to fix the frame problems online! As for the game it doesn't play as-well-as evo 5 and is just as bad as 6, don't get me started on the graphics - pathetic at best especially as i have just come from playing R&C demo which has so much going on looks great and no slow down what so ever! to sum up this game is 70% finished and was obviously rushed to compete with fifa save your money and wait for the other games ps3 has got coming out, you will need it come jan/feb next year! final footnote, don't believe the IGN review like i did they bloody advertise in the game talk about a conflict of interest! time to sell a game on ebay yet again and get another blu ray dvd the only thing as of this moment which truly shows the ps3's quality!

Joe-God
Joe-God

classic teams this year hopefully?

dutch777
dutch777

Mmmm, not sure this is as good as Fifa 08 !!

Aeoringas
Aeoringas

Review the game now please. It's out in the UK tomorrow and I have it in my hands now. Do the right thing and review it. Don't wait for the US release 6 months from now. REVIEW THIS GAME GS! Don't let IGN and Eurogamer trump you yet again. REVIEW THE DAMN GAME!

Mr_Cynical
Mr_Cynical

Most importantly, have the freezing/slowdown problems from the demo been fixed? The UK official 360 mag says they have, but since they never seem to give a game below 7/10 I'm not going to buy it on their word alone.

Capn-Dramatic
Capn-Dramatic

Yeah, I have to agree with 'meneger' on this one. Now even though Spurs are definitely the turd this season (Championship for them next season). The fact is, if you really are concerned more about the single names of each team rather than the gameplay, you shouldn't put down Newcastle, they win their next match and they could easily be in the top 4.......now that is definitely not one of the worst teams. I by the way am a Arsenal fan and after the record breaking 7-0 victory last night can assure everyone that we are going to walk this season and end up with the quad easy. And yes, PES all the way.

meneger
meneger

CRAZYCAM_93 stop talking out of your ass. Where does your claim about NUFC come from, we are 8th do the math (i kno it is difficult for your small brain to understand but 8th is miles better than 20th and we have a game in hand). We will onlybe 3pts away from manu if we win our game in hand. So stop talking $hit! I am definately getting the game, than konami for getting licence for NUFC. NUFC rule!!!

CrispyLog
CrispyLog

Spurs and Newcastle? Where is the Wigan license :(

ukillwegrill
ukillwegrill

Woooooo tottenham hotspur fifa sucks long live pro evo

fulham89
fulham89

In terms of football, FIFA has, and most probably always will, feel stilted. Konami got it right with the original Pro Evo and the following games haven't needed to adapt: FIFA, on the other hand, throw in new features in every season in a desperate attempt to raise sales. Licences mean squat, unless of course you're a licence whore (in which case, EA have you covered). Judging by the demo, PES is far closer to real football than the new FIFA (which I have also played, naturally). The fumbled goalkeeping errors, the debatable offsides, the one goal I scored spectacularly from a corner really do capture the unpredictable and beautiful essence of football. Whilst both games are of course scripted, you can really feel it in FIFA, only being able to score in certain positions and in certain ways. For this reason, PES should be a must-have for any football affectionado.

Agermemnon
Agermemnon

Ain't it about time konami stuck it's hand in it's pocket and got all the official licenses for a change ?

dovonob
dovonob

after some extended play on the full version last night i can safely say this is the boo-larks. Apart from the dodgy frame rate on replays and no 2v2 online the whole thing is fantastic. in terms of gameplay, it's by far the best PES, actually its the best footy sim I've ever seen. The problem with PES has always been that you need to be a master of the super cancel to stop the computer running in directions you didn't press, there's none of that now, it's completely free flowing. scored some incredible build up play goals, the dribbling is sublime and the passing is alot quicker and precise. CHIP SHOT WORKS AGAIN!!!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!!! I wasn't to sure about it when i played the demo but the demo is cack, i swear it's not even the same game.

JB2B
JB2B

I went for FIFA this year since all good reports and after playing both demos. Pro Evo seemed much more arcade style and FIFA (with the assistants turned to semi or off) played a little bit better. I think this year's gonna be a draw and next year will be the most important match between the two football (sorry Americans, but it's called football not soccer). Last year I bought and enjoyed PES. I'm not the kinda guy who feels he needs to be loyal to either PES or FIFA. Just wan to play the best game. Most of the licenses FIFA got are not important to me. It's just a way to show off. I only need Premier League, Primira Division, Serie A, Dutch Eredivisie and the most important national teams (Netherlands, Italy, France, Brazil, Germany, Argentina etc). This year's FIFA is the best FIFA ever, the gameplay is much improved and finally I can't beat the computer on Professional after playing just 20 matches. But if you play FIFA, turn of the assistants. This will make it play much better and you have much more the feeling of control (which was the reason I loved PES 6)

gandalf_storm
gandalf_storm

i will be proably buy it for the online play but fifa 08 this year is superb and the manager mode is awesome.

noudontidort
noudontidort

I love Pro Evo and all, but the lack of licenses is disappointing.

halilmehmet
halilmehmet

Am in the uk I got it to day and i love it be lot better when the update is out..

leem2k1
leem2k1

FIFA has significantly improved this year, to the point where I actually enjoy playing it. But Pro Evo has held that distinction for years, and I'm sure once again it will blow FIFA away when it comes to pure realism. Let the kiddies have FIFA with it's official licenses. Pro Evo is the thinking fan's game.

Daveiops
Daveiops

BRING IT ON!!!! DA 26TH OF OCTOBER HAHA

raverrozza
raverrozza

AT LAST THE UK GET SOMETHING BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE. except for japan but oh well. and at least its the game that really matters!! i cant wait to get the multiplayer rivalries back on the go after a summer of reduced PES play.

Barca498
Barca498

mega games in kilburn, in north west london were selling the game today for on ps2 for £34.99, xbox 360 £40, and will be selling the ps3 version tomorrow.

stubey1982
stubey1982

wow Marco0798, u are one deluded brainwashed individual. Do u work for EA or sumthing?? Ure talkin cak matey, FIFA is pants, always has been always will. It amazes me that after 13 years developing football games they just cannot get it right. Its slow, sluggish and tedious, the only thing its got going for it is the official licensed teams and kits, which they only manage to pay for by selling bucket loads of this game to fools who have no taste.

Delongman
Delongman

This game is for europeans what Madden is for americans!!! Have to get this game on day1!!!!!!

dovonob
dovonob

"players seem more restricted and lack the freedom you usually assoicate with pro evo" ????????? I thought it was the complete opposite, it's retardedly easy to skin people. Then again without sounding like a big headed arrogant bummer i do play PES6 with a 360 pad everyday on the PC so to me it seemed faster and more responsive. no man utd licence...........but all the players have the right names??? makes no sense to me.

CRAZYCAM_93
CRAZYCAM_93

I will buy this game, (probobaly for 360) because I love Pro , and always will do. But the tihng I hate about Pro Evo, is that the English league is not liscensed. Last year was okay, as we had Arsenal and Man U, arguably the two best teams in the prem, but now we have Tottenham and Newcastle, two of the premeirships worst teams. Come on Konami! We need the English league liscensed!

marco0798
marco0798

Get Fifa08 its about 100 times better gameplay on fifa is more realistic and more fun allround. not to mention the fact that it has basicaly got every team you could ever want. iv played the demo of proevo08 and its real bad and i mean BAD.

mcurnow1
mcurnow1

just sneaked a game in the local virgin store and have to say im a lil disappointed! im a pro evo fan all the way and will be buying my copy on friday morning but im not as excited now as i was. as the chap said below, the framerate on the replay is aweful. but then again you dnt play it to watch replays. gameplay was ok but reminded me too much of fifa. players seem more restricted and lack the freedom you usually assoicate with pro evo. was my first go on it so might take a bit of getting used to. was like when going prom pro evo 5 to 6 - took a day or two to get used to the fact you couldnt skin everyone and you had to think about tackling or you would end up with 9 players. graphics were awesome as you might expect and the menu's were better looking. someone better work quickly on a save file with all the right kits and badges so i can get stuck into master league asap!!!

scotty15
scotty15

Definetly getting it just like every year. To be honest id get it even if konami kept everything the same and just updated the roster, because i love its gameplay so much, anything it adds or improves on is just a bonus to me. Also, to Herbs84, gamespot didnt say that they improved the edit mode, in which case what ur implying would be right as last years edit mode was in fact crap, but instead they said that it includes an extremely robust edit mode. Which sounds pretty convincing to me that they did more than "improve" on last years edit mode.

dovonob
dovonob

o dear. I've got a copy already, played it for a few hours last night. erm........o dear o dear o dear...the framerate on replays!!!!! edit mode LOL. it's just been put back not added. The taking your picture using the xbox live vision camera is good though. erm...gameplay itself is pretty good, alot faster and smoother (apart from replays) far to easy to skin the whole team with one player, just keep wibbling that pad to pull off feints and then time the turbo button. on the other side of things though defending is better so i'm sure the dribbling/defending will cancel each other out against a human opponent. can't comment on the master league because who can be bothered to play another master league for the 10th year in a row. no 2v2 online............the best thing about the last pes is the 2v2 (well if you ditched the 360 version and went back to the PS2/PC which were far superiour). keepers are better, especially on 1 on 1's and long range shots i'm not quite sure what to make of it. If there's no 2v2 online i can't see the point, 1 on 1 games online are good but so much better with 4 people. no 2v2 means no groups :O( I'm thinking at this point in time to ditch the 360 version (for the 2nd year running) just because the framerate in parts is beyond unacceptable, you just don't want to watch your replays because they run so bad. o yeah and last point, there is something missing when you score, not sure what it is but it just seems lifeless and dead, i'm not sure if it's the way the net reacts to the ball going in or something else. I'll play PES6 tonight on the PC and see if i can work out the difference. at this moment i'm not overly impressed with it, better gameplay like always but just like every year konami manage to screw it up in a way you don't expect.

PS360Fanboy
PS360Fanboy

Even though i always pick up multi-Format titles for the XBOX 360 i will but this for the PS3

papowwww
papowwww

you can order off play.com already. its in stock

Herbs84
Herbs84

This is a joke...beefed up the edit mode? I think you'll find that was because the 360 version last year was TERRIBLE. So in comparison to that version, yes it's an improvement. I hate how this site glosses over any errors with the Xbox or it's games and pretends the Playstation is the the same. Whenever there's an area where the 360 is superior it gets pointed out with emphasis. Not the case for the Playstation brand.*sigh* Lemmingspot.

kairnz
kairnz

Poor licenses for EPL..... COMMON Konami!!! Save us the trouble of editing all the time!!!

einstein666
einstein666

I've been waiting for this game for a long time now. This Thursday i can pick it up (in the Netherlands). Play Ball!!!

KingKoop
KingKoop

Whoa nice I'm no "Editing junkie" but the fact they've beefed up editing is quite nice, I'm quite excited about this game and can't wait til friday!