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Xbox 360 Review: Pro Evolution Soccer 2010

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Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 offers a healthy alternative to the juggernaut of soccer games that is EA Sports’ FIFA 2010. While overall FIFA is the more polished, complete product, PES10 is certainly not a bad game by any means.

Visually, PES10 has made marked improvement from last year’s release (the series was known as Winning Eleven in the US until this year). The player models show great detail, and they actually look like the real guys. The battles for control of the ball between two players look real as well. Watching a goalkeeper frantically slide to make a save is a lot of fun. The animations on the field as a whole are definitely a plus.

Even though it looks good, the actual gameplay on the pitch is where this title suffers in comparison to its competitors. Dribbling with the ball just feels more rigid than the fluid control that is afforded you in FIFA. Players seem more likely to move in straight lines rather than in 360 degrees. Another gripe with the gameplay is the presence of some unrealism with the passing and ball touch systems. Often when a ball is passed it seems to just stick to the receiving player’s foot with no account taken into how hard or soft the ball was kicked.

 A final gaffe with the release is the lack of teams. A friend of mine was devastated to discover that his beloved West Ham was not included in the game. Many Premier League teams are unlicensed in the game, so alternatives are offered with fake names and made up symbols that vaguely resemble the teams for which they are standing in. For example, the team that is offered in place of West Ham United is the fictional East London.

Even though there are many teams that are unlicensed or not included, there are still a substantial amount of teams to choose from. National teams from 79 countries are available, as well as 7 classic national teams that are unlockable. The leagues Ligue 1, Serie A, and Eredivisie are fully licensed. The only teams licensed from the Premier League are Manchester United and Liverpool. 56 other teams from around the world are also included. 16 stadiums from around the world are licensed, and the crowds do a good job reacting to the action on the pitch. The UEFA Champions League is a nice addition, and the pageantry before big games is definitely a highlight.

There are a multitude of options in terms of modes in this game. There is a Become a Legend mode that plays out like a basic career mode. In it, you create a soccer player and play in a practice game. Depending on how he performs in the game, different teams will offer to sign him. As your player develops and improves his skills, the opportunity to play for more prestigious teams will become available. This mode is fun and very deep, but it can be frustrating as your player’s progression is hidden. 

Amongst the other modes are Master League, League Cup, and Exhibition play. Master League is sort of like a dynasty mode where players manage all aspects of their football club. This mode is also very deep and really allows people to delve into signing talent and sponsors. League Cup allows you to play in different tournaments with the ultimate goal of winning league’s cup. Players can also go online and test their skills against competitors on Xbox Live.

The commentary, while nothing too noteworthy, is certainly not an annoying distraction while playing. The soundtrack during the menus features 27 licensed songs, so there isn’t too much repetition. These songs range from really cool (like the Klaxons’ “Atlantis to Interzone”) to mediocre.

This is not a bad soccer game. It just isn’t the same caliber as the alternative. For die-hard fans of the series it represents a worthy addition and for soccer fans looking for a solid soccer video game, the game isn't bad. However, chances are those looking for a soccer title are already hooked on FIFA.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for mild lyrics. This game can also be found on: PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, and Wii.

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About Daniel Terracina