Friday, July 04, 2008

He waves his nunchuck... he scores

Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 on the Nintendo Wii is the best football video game ever. There, I've said it. Its gameplay is a quantum leap in the genre moving the game away from two decades of pass, run and kick towards a true flowing, tactical experience.

Modern football sims, essentially, began in 1989 (19 years ago!) with the release of Dino Dini's Kick Off on the Amiga and Atari ST. Since then the market leaders, Sensible Soccer followed by FIFA and PES, have followed a fairly similar route: one button for passing, one button for shooting, move the highlighted guy with your joystick.

The key to this game's success is its use of the technology built within the Wii - instead of steering one player with your control stick on a mazey run - you now point to where you want him to go and he runs there. Need a player to make space for himself to receive a cross? Just drag and drop him and he'll run to the spot, ready to pass first touch if needed. The result is more than the games of glorified pinball from the past and even go over football management sims - it achieves the holy grail of football games - it allows someone on the stands to fully dictate play.

And like most amazing things, you wonder why no one had ever thought of it before. PC-based RTS gamers will be familiar with controls like those on display here, though usually controlled by a mouse rather than the witchery of Nintendo's Wiimote. But as far as my memory serves no one has applied it to a football sim.

It's not perfect in any sense: it looks dated (when compared to what's achievable of the PS3 and 360) and it's stripped to the bone as far as the now usual whistles and bells of kit editors and player creators are concerned. But the possibilities offered to the armchair fan far outweigh any short-comings. It promises a lot for the future, and I for one can't wait for the inevitable PES2009.

5 comments:

Chris O said...

Sp3ktor - talking to a friend of mine yesterday about PES 2008, he said it looked like a good game but the amount of lines and arrows appearing on the screen made the whole thing look a bit 'busy'.

Does that come across when you're actually playing the game?

P Shaw said...

I've got the game Chris O and the amount of lines is not a distraction as they soon disappear. The game is brilliant in all senses bar the licensing. I wish they could get that sorted out. The game is great because you can maneuverer every player on the pitch, which is especially brilliant when you want to counter-attack Holland style.

I'm glad someone put in a good few words about the game as I am enjoying playing on it.

sp3ktor said...

I haven't found that to be the case, Chris. The default view shows a huge expanse of the pitch - near Sensible Soccer propotions. Things can get a little crowded though from weight of numbers - you can actually get proper goalmouth scrambles going on!

I know what you mean about the licensing, P Shaw, but again it's one of those things that, if the gameplay was ordinary, would be yet another nail in its coffin. It's amazing just how many sins this game can get away with purely on the strength of it being so damn fun.

Castro said...

Can one utilise one's, um, Mii as a player, if that's not too sad/dreamy?

sp3ktor said...

Oh yes, Castro.

Once you complete the most basic of levels you unlock the Mii team - where you can play your whole bank of mis-shapen mate facsimiles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDQv230XrNQ

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