At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Screenshots
Neil Chittenden PlayStation 2 Konami KCE Tokyo 1-8 (Share screen) Here
Requirements Also on... Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Memory Card: 1284KB Minimum (More space is needed for Master League and customised data), one or two MultiTap2(s) for 3-8 players Xbox, PC, PSP Click here to buy Pro Evolution Soccer 5.

Pro Evolution Soccer 5 review

The Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series has long been the superior football game for several years now, as our previous reviews show. Each year rivals such as EA's FIFA series are not able to match its gameplay (let's not even mention David Beckham's Soccer...!) and it's no surprise that this continues to be the case with PES5.

In PES5 the improvements are enough to justify this game, although I would hesitate to recommend an upgrade from PES4 to this. Shots on goal have definitely been improved in looks and quality, such as the way the ball leaves the striker's foot, as have free kicks. One of the best improvements is the "power" bar moving away from being about the power of the shot and more to do with the height of the ball. This makes shots more like what you’d expect, although a good shot still needs good timing. After playing a lot of the predecessor, I did find the lobs in PES5 very different, but I'm sure I could get used to it with time. However, this may just show how reliant I was on lobs in PES4! You may also find yourself beginning to pay attention to the finer details of the game in your will to improve and select the best team. For instance, in PES5, the form and fatigue of players will make a very large difference to how the players can play; in previous instalments of the series this was not such a big deal.

As with most games, they are expected to fix bugs in sequels and in PES5 they have fixed some annoyances, but of course some remain. Some bugs in the game help make for more realism (knocking in 10 goals in a match is not very real!) and add to the experience. Since the previous game they have worked out some issues with playing advantage and random fouls, but some remain keeping the unique PES experience. There is one bug however that I have not seen fixed that has nothing to do with gameplay, but with the replays. I don't know if it's a limitation of the PS2 or the way the game is coded, but for some reason, when you take a shot that goes wide, you cannot view the shot on replay (except the automatic one); the game restarts the next replay from the corner or goal kick. Thought it's probably just me being picky, I say to Konami: Please fix this bug! And for you PES regulars, the commentators are once again on top form with the fifth instalment...

I am a great fan of the PES series for the deep down simplicity and the sense of realism in the gameplay, leading to a highly addictive and continuously replayable experience. When playing football matches in a PES title it really can feel like an actual match, especially in close contests. Similar to watching the team you support in action, it's very easy to find yourself absorbed into the video game. If you are thinking about buying a football game for the PS2 then there really is no other option. You should enjoy PES5 and any series regular will find the game a good continuation in the series.

Ratings

Graphics The details have been improved from the previous game and players are beginning to actually look like their real life counterparts. 7/10
Gameplay The game is very addictive and is top of the football game class. 9/10
Value Worth every penny if you haven't got PES4. However, if you're looking at upgrading from 4 to 5 I would wait until the price falls a bit. 8/10
Lifespan As a great fan of the PES series I could never get enough of this game. It continues to be playable as you try to master higher difficulties, and of course it's always great for multiplayer. 10/10
Audio The bad commentary is getting to be a gimmick; it's strange at some points, but it's good to have for the atmosphere. Also, after playing a game on the training pitch with no fans present, you realise how important having the background crowd noise is. 7/10
Overall In short, PES5 is a slightly more technical game, requiring better timing in all aspects, but it still retains the same basic gameplay that continues to serve it well as the best football game out there... and when a shot from near the halfway line goes in, it is a rare and awesome sight as it would be in real football. 9/10

Click here to buy Pro Evolution Soccer 5 from Amazon.co.uk.

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