Started from the bottom now it’s here.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 has come to change the world of fútbol gaming forever. This year will mark the coming of a true challenger to the storied FIFA franchise. Not to say there’s a clear cut winner this early into the fall season for sports titles, but of what has been showcased, PES has begun adapting and changing the culture of soccer simulations.
In past years, PES in essence felt like a game Konami released just to add to their collection of the many genre titles they have. Of course every game isn’t a grand slam, such as one of their best hits, Dance Dance Revolution. In comparison to DDR, PES had immediate release competition. Not many others could compete with DDR, so demand for the game was much higher. As for the need for a soccer title, supply was fairly abundant. Maybe not strictly in a quantity standpoint but in quality.
For years, EA Sports controlled virtually every sport category there was; they set the bar if you will. But times are changing and thinking caps are being put on, which brings us to the newest edition of Pro Evolution Soccer. It’s quite refreshing actually to see how much this title has changed in just a couple of years. PES 2012 probably had been one of the most boring sports games I had played in recent years: mechanics were stiff, on-field presentation was a bit gritty, and playable game modes were lacking. PES 2013 was much of the same, with a few updated characteristics.
Much of PES 2014 looks and feels almost completely different. Starting off with their touted FOX physics engine behind the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V, interactions between players have been tuned to model after real-to-life player movements much better. A focus to the engine is the separation of ball from player. Before you would see a player dribbling the ball, then stop, and the ball completely stops with him, even if control wasn’t there. Now if a player doesn’t show total control, the ball will continue to roll pass.
So far, the only flaw to the engine comes in recovering on defense. This is still greatly due to the fact that getting used to all of the buttons takes a little time but there are a few kinks in the footwork. Many of the same attack and defending features are back: touch/precision passing, lobbing for ball and position, skills dribbling, and more.
Visually the game is neat and beautifully constructed. Hand-rendering has made elements like the blades of grass to stand out more. Fans in the stands help bring life to the atmosphere of competition. When simulating a stadium and its beloved fans, the capturing of the sights and sounds is so very important and PES has done an excellent job thus far.
The total improvements to the series have come in three key focus points: Authenticity, Technical Superiority, and Passion. The passion comes with all of the sights and sounds as well as hoping fans emotionally stay involved in what is being thrown at them. Momentum now comes into play, watch as home teams rally from the roar of their crowds. Technical support is all about the “nuts and bolts," about how PES 2014 plays different than its competitors. Most importantly is the authenticity, where leaps and bounds have been made. New licensing rights have been added for our playing pleasure. We should begin to see more and more of our favorite clubs being featured, such as Manchester United, AC Milan, Real Madrid, and the list goes on. Plenty of the best licensing deals have come from Latin America so don’t be surprised to see a large following from countries of the region.
There’s sufficiently enough content to be played for months to come. Familiar game modes return alongside a few new ones. So far, a World Cup mode hasn’t been added but talks of such a classic tournament have been hinted at. Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 is definitely growing up in front of our eyes and it seems like this is just the beginning. Certainly as reason being due to the fact it will not cater to PlayStation 4 or Xbox One just yet, we’ll have to wait until next year to see that. But regardless of what console, positive steps are being made in the betterment of ’14.