To true soccer hooligans the Pro Evolution/Winning Eleven franchise has traditionally been the most accurate soccer simulation. The FIFA series is an arcade representation of the world’s most popular sport, but Pro Evolution is a much more realistic take on the game. At least that has been the case in previous years. Recently the FIFA franchise has been improving and Pro Evolution has been becoming stale.
This year’s Pro Evolution feels like deja vu all over again. There are not many new features, and there are even some previous features missing.
Basic movement, shooting, passing, dribbling, and defending have simple controls. More advanced controls such as feints, step overs, and one-two passes require more complex controls that are very hard to pick up. In some previous versions interactive tutorials helped you learn the game’s controls. There is a tutorial mode for basic moves this year, but not advanced moves. All in all the controls lacked the precision needed for the realistic game play. The ball does not always go to the teammate you thought you passed to. The through pass is a complete waste in this version. No through pass ever goes through the defenders to space, every single one goes to the defenders.
The modes of play are Exhibition, League, Cup, Master League, and Xbox Live. Exhibition is a simple one-off match. You can play the COM, or with up to 4 players locally. League is the season mode of the game. You pick a division to play in, a team to play in that division, and then play through one season.
Master League is the franchise mode of the game. This is likely where players will spend most of their time. Master League allows players to take one club team through various seasons. Teams can be managed through player negotiations and condition regulation. At the end of the season your team can rank up or rank down in divisions depending on how well the season went. The user interface in Master League is not as user friendly as franchise modes in other sports games. Compared to the franchise modes in Madden and NBA 2k it is much harder to manage your team. Playing through the mode is fun, but there is no way to simulate any games. I would have liked to skip most of the preseason games and the less important season games, but was unable to. You have to play through every match.