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banner Tuesday, 27 March, 2001, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Let's Play..ISS Pro Evolution2
.ISS Pro Evolution2
BBC Sport Online reviewer David Gibbon hails ISS Pro Evolution2 as the finest football game he has ever seen.

Ever since the day I first played ISS on my humble Super Nintendo Entertainment System, I always knew no other footie game could ever come close.

While Electronic Arts have consistently tried to do something special with their FIFA franchise, true gamers know their titles have never really lived up to the hype.

Yes, EA have lots of spare cash and so threw it all on picking up an official licence from the game's largest governing body.

And yes, it has allowed them to use all the official team names and players.

But that's really where FIFA's greatness ends.

  ISS Pro Evolution2
Format: PSone
Price: 29.99
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Football
Also Available: N/A

It's OK for a little run-around kind of football game, but if you want to enjoy the intricate skills of our national game, ISS is the fan's only real choice.

Following the massive success of ISS Pro Evolution on the PlayStation, this sequel happily brings with it all that made the first game so good.

All the main games modes are still intact, with match, league, cup and Master League all just waiting to be enjoyed.

In match mode, for example, the game allows you to select anything from an exhibition to penalty shoot-outs. Or, best of all, setting up your very own all-star game.

There's also an opportunity to load Master Teams - teams you have earned from the Master League.

All the options in the league mode are user definable, from the number of teams playing to the number of matches played.

Cups is the most authentic part of the whole thing. All tournaments featured are based on real life and there's even a trophy room for you to display your wares.

ISS Pro Evolution2
There are several teams to choose from
Of all the options in the game, however, it's the Master League that has received the really noticeable changes.

The idea behind this option is to start at the bottom and work your way up.

Here, you kick off with a poor team - but earn points each time you have a win or a draw.

Once you've collected enough, you can trade in points for new players and slowly build up your team into an unbeatable force.

Unlike the first ISS Pro Evolution game, the Master League is now split into two divisions and - yes - you start off in the second.

Slaughtered

What's more, while you're in this division, you'll find the games are played at a slower pace and all the teams have their fair share of terrible players.

In addition, you only pick up half the points you would earn in the top division - so promotion takes a while - though you do get a much more satisfying feeling when you finally move up.

Another difference is that players can now get injured - which isn't good news if it happens to your best player.

But it's fantastic when the opposition's star man is carried off - especially if you've been getting slaughtered!

ISS Pro Evolution2
Your team can become an unbeatable force
Players' stats are now out of 20 rather than 10 - allowing for greater scope when selecting your team.

On the graphics side, things have improved slightly. Some new animations have been added to players on the pitch - and the overall feel is more realistic than ever.

The only sore point is the crowd, which has always looked poor in the ISS series and, unfortunately, still is.

But the area where ISS Pro Evolution 2 really excels is in the gameplay. Of course, this has been the major selling point since ISS was first created - and it is still true today.

A few updates have been made to try and make things even better - the most noticeable being the ease of use when controlling a sprinting player on the pitch.

The length of time spent playing this game will mean an end to your social life as it's just so special.

  Gibbon's verdict
Graphics: 83%
Playability: 94%
Sound: 62%
Realism: 95%
Overall: 94%

But a good way to bring humans back into your world is to enjoy the brilliant four-player mode - which really does offer the greatest fun of all.

The game also comes with some great commentary - though this still gets a little repetitive after a while.

Overall, then, ISS Pro Evolution 2 is the finest football game the world has ever seen.

If you own the original, the small tweaks made to this sequel may not be enough to tempt you to buy it again, but if have the spare cash it's a very good bet you'll be happy if you do.

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