International Superstar Soccer 3 review
You may see the Konami logo on the box or their mention on the right, and the fact that this is a football game, and begin to become confused. "Don't Konami make the Pro Evo games?!" Well, yes and no. The ISS series is made by Konami Computer Entertainment (KCE) Osaka, while the superior PES (aka Pro Evo) series is made by KCE Tokyo. Confused? Well, you can check out the full (and complicated) explanation in my previous ISS2 review, but I should point this out now: this is not the same ISS series many of you knew and loved from the PSone; this is an arcade football game, and definitely an inferior.
One of the key areas where ISS3 does not match up to PES3 is in the most important aspect of a football; gameplay. To be enjoyable football, it has to play well, and with its arcade style, and sheer lack of realism, ISS3 holds little hope. Although its aiming for 'all-out fun', it instead becomes tedious and frustrating, and you hold little hope that your determination will get you anywhere near as much out of it as you will from the Pro Evo series. Because of its less-realistic nature, the PS2 ISS series has often been confirmed to FIFA, but unfortunately for KCE Tokyo, things have got much better on the EA Sports front in the past two years. FIFA Football 2004 is actually a very good football game, and for the first time actually has gameplay that comes within a whisker of PES. In ISS3 things feel comparatively slower and clunkier, especially when it comes to passing. This version's main new feature in the Close Up mode, when the camera zooms in on the action in one-on-one situations. Although it disrupts play less than you would think, it certainly makes no value contribution to the way the game plays.
Over in the graphics department, things initially don't look any better for ISS3. Aside from, as expected, looking worse than FIFA Football 2004, ISS3's engine is inferior to that of PES3, leaving it looking a bit more dreary than the latest generation. Although the game's overall looks may not be that good, the character animations are, giving great player movement, and convincing shooting. The game will often look more fluid and enjoyable than it actually is, which really is quite a pity.
The usual game modes, from tournaments and single matches, to four-player share-screen action, is in there, but what makes ISS3 different is it's Mission Mode. This is the core mode of play that is the alternative to Pro Evo's Master League, and although lacks the depth of said mode, it does offer enough enjoyment to keep you playing the title even when there's no one else to play with. The mode involves you taking on different tasks at various levels, including having to come back from 1 goal down to win the match in a limited time. They are sometimes enjoyable, and sometimes highly frustrating.
If there is one good point of ISS3 I want to finish on it's the commentary. Like its predecessor, ISS3's commentary is strangely better than its Pro Evo equivalent, using the skills of the BBC's John Champion and Mark Lawrenson to good effect, as well as providing good crowd cheers and jeers for the appropriate moments.
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