Much like the Sports Interactive developed Football Manager series of footie management titles, Konami’s Pro Evo games have consistently offered up the most "realistic" game of footie.
No matter what those FIFA fans say, the feel of the Pro Evo out on the pitch is completely unrivalled. Yes, it might be slower, it might be more frustrating, hell, it even lacks most of the real club and player names, but it just feels so damn good.
But with EA’s FIFA titles once again closing the gap, Konami really needs to come up with something special this time round. Particularly as this is the series’ first outing on Microsoft’s powerful pixel pushing Xbox 360.
First off, we’re quite dismayed that Konami seem to have taken a leaf out of EA’s rulebook. We’re not talking about the lack of licenced teams – all of us are used to that by now. Our bone of contention is that the Xbox 360 version misses countless features that its PS2-based cousin takes for granted.
Xbox 360 gamers will find themselves unable to edit any of the teams or players. So you’re stuck with Owan up front alongside that wonder kid Wayne Raanie (two completely made up examples!) from the off.
Equally as galling are the lack of excellent "training challenges" that you could easily lose a whole weekend to. Plus, the inability to save replays – something the manual claims you can easily do – is a bit of a disappointment for those who love to gloat for weeks on end about that 30 yard screamer.
The differences continue out on the pitch, though this time slightly in the 360’s favour. While the PS2 version feels like a tweaked version of PES5, the 360 matches feel much more physical with players barging each other around like a true game of football.
The 360 version’s camera can be zoomed out much further too, even to the point of getting practically half the pitch on screen at any one time. Just count the passing opportunities – PS2 gamers eat your heart out!
Each player actually feels like an individual too, with tricky wingers having a much higher success rate with dazzling runs than your big lump of a centre back. Watching Rooney barge his way past centre backs while Owen crumbles under the slightest touch makes things feel much more realistic.
Despite the flaws, this is still by far the best football game out there at the moment.
Whether you go for the PS2 or Xbox 360 version is entirely down to you, but whichever you go for, you’re still playing the best out there.
Calling Xbox 360 gamers across the country. Cross your fingers for a proper next gen version next year.