With the new version of Winning Eleven coming about in Japan - this time number 8 - the early views of what Pro Evolution Soccer 4 will be like are revealed to the public. Well, to Pro-G, at least, then to you. So in a roundabout way to the public...
An intro that is just plain sexy greets the player, with the inimitable understated style that Konami places in each years version prevalent. This continues as one would expect through the menu screens until the match itself is presented. Then we get what we have all been waiting for. So have KCET radically revamped the game? In short - no. Animations are smoother and there are more of them, there is a referee on the pitch at all times with vastly improved AI over previous versions, there is a new dribbling system involving the R2 button which helps to add a greater degree of control and there are a number of other small additions and modifications. Nothing major then, but nothing to complain about.
The dribbling system presents a number of new moves for players, with the ability to trap the ball and stop dead, simple feints around opposition players and (a personal favourite) the ability to knock the ball forwards a little to afford greater accuracy on crosses or shots. Applying the latter tactic to a player of Zidane or Beckham's quality will reap the rewards, with pinpoint through balls and wonderfully dipping shots nestling themselves in the net like the true works of art that they are.
And that's what Pro Evolution Soccer 4 will be - a work of art. If you loved the previous versions, you will love this one. Just wait for the English version unless your grasp of Japanese is stronger than 'severely lacking'.