Last year’s PES, while still an excellent entry in Konami’s long running footie franchise, continued to iterate its core mechanics in an another attempt to catch up with EA’s sporting behemoth, FIFA. This year however, things are different – very different – and you can sense it right from the outset.
For one, the familiar game engine of past titles has been annexed in favour of Kojima’s spectacular Fox Engine, which will also power the upcoming open world Metal Gear Solid. Such moves can often hamper a footballing title, but thankfully this decision breathes new life into the series, while still maintaining that old familiar feeling that’s kept diehard fans of Konami’s digital kick-about coming back for more year after year. The benefits of the Fox Engine are widespread, notably the shoulder-to-shoulder feature that allows you to muscle in on an opposing player, making PES 2014 is the biggest step in the right direction Konami has taken with the IP in some time.
Of course, there are a handful of niggles including the oddly titled Heart Mode, which affects player performance based on crowd reactions, and the fact that the game’s online mode has been nothing but nightmarish on Xbox 360 since launch, thanks in no small part to broken data files required to jump online. And yet despite this, we still can’t help but recommend PES 2014, because once said creases are ironed out on Microsoft’s box, the series inches closer to snatching that coveted crown back.
Reviewed by Sebastian Williamson