Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Football Simulator
 
Release Date: Available Now!
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/5


User Rating
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Positives


Controls like a dream
AI is excellent

Negatives


No career mode


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Posted October 8, 2015 by

 
Full Article
 
 

In days of yore, Pro Evolution Soccer was considered the king of football franchises. The series never had the wide variety of clubs found in FIFA, but it made up for that with immaculate controls and physics. In recent years FIFA has upped the ante and taken front spot as the premier football game, but that’s changed with Pro Evolution Soccer 2016.

The crux of any sports simulator is going to be in how it controls, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 absolutely shines here. Controls are crisp and responsive, with players responding and moving exactly the way you direct them to. I’ve never had so much fun trying tricks when running down the pitch in a football game. Tricks are mapped to the analog stick, in a fashion similar to specials in Street Fighter, and match the movements you would expect a player to make. What results is a system that feels natural and easy to remember.

Similarly, passing and shooting are exceptional. Passing is crisp, with a weight and accuracy of movement that I haven’t felt before. Lofted passes hang nicely in the air and through passes spear through your opponent’s defences leaving them to chase you down. Plays execute like poetry in motion, ending with you shooting at goal. Shooting is wonderful, with a great balance between the dramatic and accuracy. Simply holding a button allows you to completely change how you shoot, and the physics system does the rest. Watching the net bulge backwards as the ball spears into it feels incredible.

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I’ve never been great at defending, so I concentrate on maintaining possession and scoring quickly and often. In Pro Evolution Soccer 2016, this is no longer the case, with what I feel is the fairest defending system I have used. Players have a weight to them, that can be used to hold up your opponents, tackling is easier than ever and calling a teammate over to help pressure is a breeze.

All of this is helped by the largely intelligent AI system that has been implemented by Konami. Players positional themselves smartly when in the midfield, rush forwards into open space as you charge towards goal and flood backwards and apply pressure as your opponents do the same. Players mimic real life, and are happy to pretend to be injured after a tackle to play for a free kick, before quickly jumping up and rejoining the action. It’s a nice little touch that never fails to make me chuckle.

No matter how well something plays, if it looks like you’re playing a Picasso painting than you’ll have some problems. Luckily, that’s not something you’ll need to worry about in Pro Evolution Soccer 2016! Players look excellent and are easily recognisable. This is especially evident during replays after goals are scored. The pitch looks fantastic and the crowd is massive and animated. Those massive crowds are also very vocal, groaning when a goal is missed and cheering when you find the back of the net. Similarly, the commentary is on point, matching well with what is happening on the field. Despite its quality, it can get repetitive at times and could have done with having a few more lines recorded.

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Pro Evolution Soccer’s focus on competitions, as opposed to leagues, might leave it with less variety of content compared to FIFA, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Concentrating on a few competitions allows Konami to make Pro Evolution Soccer a more focussed affair. While there are some big name clubs missing due to this method, it also means that more time can be spent on better refining the content included.

Along with the different competitions, and the ever present exhibition match, Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 also comes with a MyClub mode. MyClub mode allows you to build a club using players gained by gashapon style roulette spins called Scouts. These clubs can then be taken online to play against live or computer controlled opponent teams. Low quality scouts are given as rewards for playing matches, while higher quality scouts can be purchased by using 1 of 2 currencies. Both currencies can be earned by playing the game, and I personally never felt the need to buy either due to how quickly I unlocked them as I played. However, I don’t feel the need or urge to be a top level player. With high quality players requiring wins in games for you to extend their contract, I have no doubt that the higher you get the more you would need to spend to maintain your team.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 is the first football game that has truly felt like a next generation improvement on old games. Konami have evidently gotten through the teething issues with adapting the series to the Fox Engine, and it shows with the strongest Pro Evolution Soccer game in some years. The natural feel to the controls, as well as the excellent AI, means that I can recommend this game to both stalwart football fans and completely new players.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.


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