Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 Review for PS3

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PES's PS3 debut stumbles far too often
PES's PS3 debut stumbles far too often

PES's PS3 debut stumbles far too often

The bitter battle between fans of the two next generation consoles can at times be a nasty exchange. Supporters of Microsoft's Xbox 360 take great pleasure in pointing out, at every opportunity, the PS3's failings - the lack of exclusive triple-A games, the high price and the late ports. The PS3 camp claims a more powerful console, HD movie playback built in and the ability to fit more on a Blu-ray disc compared with a DVD. But one thing that PS3 and 360 fans alike must admit is that developers are, on the whole, finding it hard to get to grips with Sony's console. Some have pointed out the complexity of the system, while others speak of issues with the way the console handles memory. Either way, we have seen some very high-profile PS3 games that have suffered from slow-down, less than impressive graphics and glaring drops in frame rate. Unfortunately nowhere is this more apparent than in Pro Evolution Soccer's debut on the PS3.

Put simply, the game suffers from horrible slowdown and drops in frame rate that happen too frequently to ignore. The first thing we did when we booted up the game was start a two-player exhibition match between Newcastle (one of two licensed English teams, the other being Tottenham) and Barcelona. We randomized the stadium and the weather effects. It turned out we played in Estadio Da Luzii in the rain, in the wide view of course, and this is what we experienced.

Whenever the ball gets more than a few feet above head height, you'll notice the frame rate drop to worrying levels. Goal replays are a jerky mess. The game will slow down to what feels like a snail's pace whenever more than half of the players are on screen at the same time. There's quite significant and frequent tearing too. Perhaps you can get used to the slowdown, if you play long enough. But the annoying thing is that when the game inexplicably and implausibly slows down, it puts you off your timing. Well-timed sliding tackles turn into dangerous lunges, and, with the new super harsh refs, usually result in a red card. Split second decision making and well-judged shots are made almost impossible when the penalty area is crowded because the game engine suffers a stroke. PES has always had issues with slowdown, but I'm sad to say that PES 2008 on PS3 is the worst for it in the series. Quite frankly, this isn't the next generation, silky smooth, high-definition interactive experience PS3 owners were promised when they handed over their hard-earned cash.

We were so shocked by the slowdown and frame rate problems that we dropped the resolution from 720p to standard to see if it had any effect. All it did was take the HD sheen off proceedings. Then we tried using the AV lead the PS3 comes bundled with to see if that helped. The only difference here was the graphics looked even worse than they do normally. Stunned, we plugged the HDMI cable back in and put the resolution back up to 720p just to give the game one, last chance. PES has given us so much pleasure down the years that it at least deserved that. We set up a game just as before, in the rain, in the same stadium and with wide view, and we experienced the same problems again.

'... graphically the game is distinctly average. In a wide view (the view any serious PES player plays in) that game looks poor compared with the same view in Fifa 08.'

While we did manage to improve matters a little bit by turning off the stadium effects, knocking off the commentary and playing without weather effects in a different stadium, we can't be expected to game under these conditions just to get a playable match experience. It's simply not on. And yes, the game was installed on the PS3 hard drive, before you say anything. Suffice it to say, whatever way you play PES 2008 you'll instantly notice its glaring technical performance flaws. Could this be why we haven't seen a PS3 demo of the game?

Even if you discount these issues, graphically the game is distinctly average. In a wide view (the view any serious PES player plays in) the game looks poor compared with the same view in Fifa 08. Perversely however, where FIFA's graphics get worse during player close-ups, PES 2008 gets better. The player faces are superb, despite the odd hiccup. Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is spot on, as is Newcastle brute Alan Smith, Barcelona sensation Lionel Messi and Spurs goal getter Robbie Keane. Player animations are again superb, with nice additions like players waggling their fingers or throwing their fists at refs when a decision goes against them. Shooting, passing and tackling animations are, as is expected with PES, flawless. But you just can't get away from the feeling that the game looks like PS2 PES with a HD lick of paint. And while you won't really notice it until you see a frame rate crippled replay, the crowds look terrible - a pixelated shambles from a by-gone era.

The game's poor frame rate is almost an insult to PS3 gamers

The game's poor frame rate is almost an insult to PS3 gamers

Phew. That's a lot of negativity about the latest iteration of a series I absolutely adore. It can't all be bad, right? Well, when you do manage to get a period of smooth play, you'll love it - it feels like beautiful, classic PES. The best football game engine the world has ever seen has undergone a few, subtle tweaks, but nothing has been implemented that will fundamentally change the way you play the game. PES fans will instantly feel at home, and it'll not take you more than half-an-hour before you're spraying cross-field passes and splitting the opposition's defence in two with killer lofted through balls like a Brazilian master. We've heard a lot about the new Teamvision system, a sophisticated AI that adapts to how you play to stop you running riot. Well we didn't notice the computer adapting to our play style. On the hardest difficulty level, the game is very hard, as you'd expect. But my tried and trusted tactic of playing long balls out to wingers who then cut inside for cool finishes seems to work just as well as it always did. An over-hyped learning AI notwithstanding, it's a definite improvement on last year's disappointing Pro Evolution Soccer 6, that's for sure.

It's harder to tackle. Pressing the dribbler with X gives away fouls more often, and slide tackles need to be absolutely spot on, or you'll get a red card from the totalitarian refs. Players keep hold of the ball much easier, and feel like they carry more weight. It's much easier to go past players now. You can get away from players once you've done them like a kipper too. Unlike in the last game, fast players are actually fast. Chelsea's Andrei Shevchenko has super pace, unlike in real life, and is really useful for bursting into the penalty area. Pace is now a much bigger advantage than it was before. The engine has been changed so that now the camera view doesn't always change when the ref is giving out a card, or you get fouled and take a quick free kick. This is a lovely touch that ads to the pace and flow of an average match. One thing that does annoy, however, is having to wait for the ref's whistle before taking free-kicks. It causes unnatural and annoying stops in play.

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User Comments

Sena's Avatar
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Sena

Spot ON!!!

I've recently bought the game and had my ps3 for a month now.
PES 2008, is shambles, it feels like a ps2 PES added with a hint of improved graphics.

Frame rates though, is just, really, really, really horrible.
I can't bear to play the game anymore.
I will change it tomorrow to Top Spin 3.

- Konami, you disappointed me.
Posted 07:56 on 26 December 2008
sameh's Avatar
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sameh

as i love ronaldo.
Posted 06:58 on 24 December 2008
Rashood's Avatar
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Rashood

This game is awful and even PES 2009.
Posted 04:40 on 09 December 2008
master's Avatar
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master

i am the one on this game
Posted 18:00 on 22 September 2008
hussein's Avatar
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hussein

wasup guys?
here is my ID in PS3 add me and lets started the game lol
ID : almadani08
here up man online all time
Posted 19:30 on 06 September 2008
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w/e

This game bloody sucks. I am a hardcore PES fan but it's turning more into Fifa gameplay, where the AI can score amazing wonder freekicks with teams like Sunderland from over 30 yards out yet you can't score at point blank ranges. The keeper still parries the ball straight into the striker and penalties are conceded like the last selling hot cakes of the day. Rubbish. How can you have a goal difference with the amount scored being double the nearest rival or league leader, yet double the amount of goals conceded to that of the lowest team in the league?! O.o
Posted 04:17 on 14 July 2008
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Anonymous

xristos
Posted 12:24 on 02 July 2008
KANE's Avatar
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KANE

I WANT THIS GAME
Posted 03:33 on 23 June 2008
ozzy's Avatar
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ozzy

and given that moronic blog comment about who plays on wide? i think any true PSE fan plays on wide. that way u know who and when to send long balls and thru balls....of course something a real footy player wouldnt know anything about
Posted 00:24 on 22 June 2008
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ozzy

this is by far the worst PSE/winning 11 ever made. the guy didnt even get to what might be the worst online setup in the history of every video game ever made. i, a beloved PSE fan, HATES this game. 4/10....the physics of the game are still there...just a god awful pace
Posted 00:16 on 22 June 2008
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us gamer

well i must say i have not really had a problem with the game rate. they must have fixed that before they shipped to north america. but i know what you all refer to, even still you could always look past that because the game play was so good. NOT ANYMORE. i have never been disappointed with winning eleven before this 2008 version. lets get past the graphics, because we all know thats not why we buy this game. i would even go as far as to say forgive them for the lack of team licenses. the reason we all flock to konami, is a great football experience. maybe our constant wining about better graphics, and how much better looking FIFA is to winning eleven, has caused them to stray from the mark and lose focus on what is important. AND THATS GAME PLAY.
#1 THE SHOOTING IS THE WORST , the 2007 version is perfect. this version just feels wrong. (they always want to do diving headers, instead of a volley )

#2 THE BALL PHYSICS IS OFF you can never catch the ball when it's running out for a throw as in the last version, it almost seems like an arcade game. when you tackle the ball shoots off your foot too often.
#3 THE PLAYERS THEMSELVES they don't control the ball properly whether your soft on the controller or not. which was excellent in the previous version. they over dribble when your not using the speed button, they refuse to take one time shots. ( when the ball spills loose from a corner and you hit the shoot button they control instead) their movement off the ball is the worst, whether attacking or defending(THEY KEEP RUNNING INTO EACH OTHER, AND FALLING DOWN, EVEN FOR THE SLIGHTEST NUDGE OR TACKLE ) . they will loligag during a corner, allowing the attacker to wonder free in the box. they don't clear the ball properly, or stretch for those balls that roll right by their feet. tackling as a defender needs to be sured up. ( marking and tackling is a defenders job). ALL THESE THINGS WERE BETTER IN THE PREVIOUS VERSION.
#4 THE WALL is pathetic against the computers free kicks, which always seem to float right over them and into the goal.
#5 THE KEEPER needs to stop pushing the ball onto the feet of the attacker. or throwing it out to the wrong person. ( but i kinda like that the keeper is a bit more aggressive )
#6 WAITING FOR THE REF TO START THE GAME FOR EVERYTHING ( AND HE NEEDS TO GET THE CALLS RIGHT),
# 7 the passing could be tweaked a bit, just a bit

look the bottom line is, this is not what we are use to, or expected. this game is the only reason i really bought my ps3, and that satisfaction and joy that i felt in playing previous versions is gone. it is i feel still better than FIFA, but what is that really saying.

THE PREVIOUS VERSION IS A MUCH BETTER GAME, HOW DID THEY GO SO WRONG.

Posted 17:43 on 10 May 2008
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gamer

the most annoying thing about it is you cant beat england, its effn impossible and makes your blood boil, any one else but england and you can win,
Posted 20:11 on 05 May 2008
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guti

I bought PES 2008 and I almost cried when I played it , I was so pissssed with the slow down . I thought it was my PS3 having problems , all the other games are perfect and when I get to play PES with my friends it was a disaster. Don't buy the game is excellent but the slow down just kills it.
Posted 22:24 on 06 April 2008
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Danny

This game is well below the standard that users expect and deserve. It seems Konami have got a lot to do to restore the faith lost in the series after the release of this year's game. Online play on PS3 is nothing short of embarrassing and I feel there must be a large amount of shame felt in the Konami head office as the complaints keep on rolling in. £300 plus for my Playstation 3 and although I have other games, I got mine for 'next generation' PES mainly and feel I've been a little foolish. In simple terms, if they don't make improvements- huge improvements- for PES 2009, there may be no way back for Konami.
Posted 23:40 on 30 March 2008
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Neo

Why they didn't talk about the good things this game have compared with the other soccer games like FIFA 08, eh? Why? I was going to buy this game, now I need to read another review to make sure this guy who wrote this review is wrong!
But you know what? I'll be back and I'll tell you! &%#3&#^&
Posted 02:23 on 19 March 2008

Game Stats

7
Out of 10
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
  • At its core it's pure PES brilliance
  • Plenty of editing options
  • Shocking presentation
  • Awful frame rate
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 26/10/2007
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC , Wii , DS , PS2 , PSP
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Sports
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 1,234 42
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