Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Tony0
Review: Pro Evolution Soccer 2014
Many moons ago, me and the lovely series that is PES had a very loving relationship believe it or not.
PES 5 was my first love when it came to getting my console footy on as it were, but times soon took a turn for the worse around the time 06 was released.
The series that once pulled me in over another certain big football game did nothing for me any more, and the fun it once housed had disappeared to some long lost place never to return it seemed.
Recently with a demo for PES 2014 hitting Xbox Live (check it out here), I thought seeing as I will no doubt review the other footy game we shall not speak of very soon, it’s only right that I gave this game a chance to fight its cause.
The demo did something for me, so I contacted Konami and here we are today on this very review.
Sadly in this early code of the game, no online play was possible, but once this is patched in I will add it to this review.
With Nessun Dorma blasting through my earphones on initial load up of PES 2014, it almost felt like I had returned home after being away for such a long time.
Nothing seems to have changed when it comes to menus in regards to PES, as they still have that basic feel about them which have always been a downside of the game growing bigger and stronger.
First things first was setting up who my favourite team and player was, but as always with PES, unless you have one of the licensed teams the game offers you then you are in for a trip to the editing suite.
As an Aston Villa fan, I knew straight away to look for West Midlands Village and got around to at least naming my much loved team to their proper name, but this is where the PES games always lose a few points.
I’m not an anal guy when it comes to things like this, but even if their main competitor does not have stadium names and such things, most of the time I can tell who the players are.
In this I was met with Brad Guzan, who in real life is a bald guy, but in this they have him with short black hair. Andreas Weimann is an up and coming Austrian for the Villa who, sadly, they decided to give ginger hair rather than the brown hair he actually has.
It’s things like this that take you away from the game a little if your not a fan of one of the few licensed teams in the game.
Yes, I know the edit option is there, but why do that when another game in the same genre does it all for me, is what I can see many other gamers saying.
On the actual football side of things, PES 2014 seems to have returned to what made the older games fun.
It feels more fluid this time around, and not the mess that I dipped my toes into on previous occasions since Konami lost me all that time ago.
While it lacks a little in atmosphere and glossy looks, the old simulation feel that PES did so well in previous years seems to be making a return.
Whether it’s going against defenders and going shoulder to shoulder to fight for a ball, or having to work hard for a goal to win a match, this is where PES separates itself from FIFA with ease.
To get a goal in PES, you’re going to have to earn it, but of course for guys playing it on the easier setting, goals will come flooding in.
Passing seems easy enough, but shooting will take a bit to master it seems, with I would say around 60% of my shots either hitting the keeper or going wide.
I’m not sure if this is just me needing to get used to PES once again, or the game itself, but it was never a big enough issue for me to hate it.
So what modes does PES 2014 offer? Well let me break it down.
First off is Match Mode which is your basic exhibition match mode. This and training make up your basic modes that are whacked into a football game, so nothing amazing here.
This is also where you will find the online player match lobby, but for me it was not available at the time.
The football Life section offers both Master League and Become a Legend.
Master League lets you take control a team of your choosing and sees you play as the team itself in matches and also controlling other things just like a manager would.
This does a good job, but lacks any sort of interaction that other games offer on the market at the moment, in my eyes.
Transfers seem a bit basic with a “we want him, so will he come?” kind of attitude, which comes across and plays a bit bland and boring.
If your chosen player turns you down, you’re not given a reason or anything of why he did not want to come, but just told he does not want to join you. Personally I would have liked a more detailed response from a player, rather than a flat out no or yes.
Not having the back and forth between players of interest does make it feel nothing more than an extended version of the Cup Mode with a few bells and whistles, so it could have been made much better.
Beyond this you have a youth team to look over and that is about it, so the main competitor for these guys still has the upper hand here I feel.
Master League is also playable online, but due to this not being available at the time of review I can not talk about something I haven’t played.
Become a Legend also kind of reads the same as above, with the other game in this genre offering a far superior all round feel.
In this mode you control your made pro as you battle for a place in the first team and hoping for a call up to the national team of your chosen pro’s place of birth.
Yet again though, it lacks any true depth to it, so all you can do is play matches or sit them out.
Another thing that annoyed me was the lack of calling for the ball.
I may have totally missed this option, but when running clear through I was waiting for a ball that would never come, so I was left running offside or just not being passed to.
I tried the normal pressing of most of the buttons and checked the controls in the options, but nothing was made clear, so I will assume this has no option.
The cups in Cups Mode are a decent bunch that are on offer, some of which show what PES should be if it wasn’t for license issues and so on.
The cups to play through are Champions League, Europa league, Copa Bridgestone Libertadores, AFC Champions League, Cup, and League Cup.
I will admit the only two that interested me as an English footy fan was the first two, and Konami have these covered with the fancy intros and theme music you have come to expect from the games shown on TV.
All cups though are covered really well, and in fact make the Master League and Be a Pro look like the weaker options to go for.
Overall PES 2014 has come on leaps and bounds this year, but still has a bit to go to turn the bunch of fans who stepped away from the series.
While the menus and look of the game still need a few touches added to it to make it a true challenge for the guys over at EA, the fundamental side of PES is back to its best.
Playing games give you that feeling of a flat out battle, rather than the game handing you a win like FIFA does on occasions.
That being said, PES looks to be on the right lines to clawing its way back to at least becoming a contender to FIFA once again, which as a fan of the genre can only be a good thing for all of us.
But one more thing before I do go. Please Konami for the love of Christ calm down with the replays, as after a while they become super annoying!
ONLINE STUFF TO BE ADDED TO THIS REVIEW WHEN AVAILABLE.
Summary: PES is back, and back in a much better state than previous years. It still needs some love and attention before returning to its former glory, but it's on the right track. The menus need bringing up a notch, and calming down of the replay option a little if you could Konami.