Platform: PS3, PS2, Xbox360, PC
Genre: Football Sim
Having been thoroughly outclassed in recent years by EA's FIFA series, Pro Evolution has been a class below in nearly every aspect. It hasn't looked as good, had the wealth of options FIFA was always so willing to offer, and most importantly for a football game, it just didn't play as well. When it was the Champion of the genre, Pro Evolution always trumped FIFA – and by some margin at that – at it's playability, it's openness for customisation, and general sense of enjoyment one got from the sublime master leagues. It didn't matter that Liverpool were 'Merseyside Red'. The names and lack of official strips were irrelevant. If it played that well, no one really cared.
But does this latest entry close a gap that as been getting further and further apart since the arrival of the next-gen? Thankfully, yes, it does.
FIFA is still the superior title. But only just. Ironically, FIFA was always a game that shunned simulation in favour of a more arcade-like approach to the sport. But ever since it's next-gen revamp, it seemed intent on re-establishing itself as a genuine representation of the sport, whereas the Pro Evolution franchise seemed to have gone the other way. But now, finally, Pro Evolution show signs of returning to former glories, with a game that is both beautiful to look at, a master league that's enjoyable and not over complicated – with the Champions' & Europa Leagues seamlessly integrated into the mode - and, most importantly, it's a slick and fun game to play.
As usual, a number of teams aren't licensed, but player likenesses are near spot on, resulting in a graphical look that, from a distance, would make you believe you were watching the real thing. Game speed can also be adjusted to suit your preference, and a new manual passing mode as been added making it easier to apply that killer through pass. it takes a bit of getting used to, but once mastered you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Rent or Buy: Buy
Replay Value: 5/5
Reviewed By: Simon Rubbathan