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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
Pro Evo 6: a flawed gold-standard
Screengrab of Pro Evolution Soccer 6
The game has average online functionality
For many years, the gold-standard for videogame football has been Pro Evolution.

This is despite average graphics, poor commentary, a confusing menu system and, more recently, mediocre online functionality.

Pro Evo 6 is the first time Konami's flagship title has appeared on a "next-generation" console, giving the developers ample opportunity to stretch the game into new directions for the Xbox 360.

Sadly, this opportunity remains unexploited as the sixth iteration of the series is more hesitant evolution than reinvention.

The graphics have been given a high-definition gloss, yet remain far short of the photo-real revolution we come to expect.

The commentary remains lack-lustre, the menu system has been given a few tweaks but remains baffling to all but the very dedicated, and the online play is still a token gesture.

Improvements

But Pro Evolution is still the finest football title on any platform because it remains the most dynamic articulation of the 22-man game.

Even minor changes to the way the game is played result in hours of agonising by hardened fans of the series.

PRO EVO 6
Pro Evolution Soccer 6
Format: PC, PS2, X360 (reviewed), DS, PSP
Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 9
Enduring appeal: 9
Overall: 9
The improvements are immediately obvious - no longer does the slightest hint of contact between players result in a foul; instead you can pressurise and contain opposition players without fear of undue free kicks.

The animations of all the players are startlingly real - with seemingly hundreds of variations for every conceivable pass, run, shot, stumble, dive, trip and soaring header.

Players run onto a ball with more realism, retaining momentum rather than careering into the nearest defender. The pace of passing seems to have picked up, with slick interplay now a reality and quick free kicks have also been introduced.

Lack of variety

There are more tricks and feints for the "show-boaters" to master - something that disconcerts a vocal section of Pro Evo fans - and crossing has improved greatly, resulting in far more goals from headers.

Corners and throw-ins remain clumsy, however.

The biggest disappointment is the lack of variety with the online options, which offer basic match-making for one-versus-one games.

There is no option to play co-operatively, no league, or any of the depth offered by rival title Fifa 07.

But purists are unlikely to moan too much - for anyone who was in doubt, Pro Evolution remains the undisputed gold standard for videogame football.


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