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PS2 Pro Evo scores online

Lucky Japanese gamers get online version of Pro Evo 4 - but looks like we'll have to wait until Pro Evo 5

Lucky, lucky Xbox Pro Evolution Soccer fans. PS2 owners have been hammering goals away on Pro Evo for years, and then an Xbox version with online play turns up. Fair enough, Xbox owners are cursed with a distinctly non-PES control pad, but you're still lucky, lucky buggers.

But the PS2 has pulled one back in extra time - in Japan at least. Konami has announced that they're bringing out a special online-ready PS2 version of Winning Eleven 8, the Japanese name for Pro Evo 4.

Subtitled Liveware Edition, the new version enables one-on-one exhibition matches over the PS2's online adapter as well as offering players the chance to participate in online leagues and cups organised by Konami.

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Other online features include ranking systems so you can see how many hides you've spanked and full chat functionality so you can stick it right up your opponent and spark off a verbal feud of Wenger/Ferguson proportions. Rumours that you'll be able to throw digital pizza slices are unconfirmed.

And it's not just online additions screwing in our studs: like Konami's yearly updates to the Japanese version (which never make it over here but, like last year's Winning Eleven 7: International, are often the choice of the Pro Evo connoisseur) the gameplay has undergone a serious of surgical nips and tucks to make play smoother and faster, the team lists have been updated to account for transfers, and Italy's Fiorentina has been added.

It's the kind of information that should have PS2 Pro Evo fans clean through on goal with excitement. Well, here's the cynical two-footed tackle: it is very, very unlikely that Winning Eleven 8: Liveware Edition, or a UK version, will be coming to these shores.

At least Pro Evo's producer Seabass Takatsuka has confirmed last year that online play would be a cert in the next game (get the scoop here) so If you're desperate to test your PS2 PES skills online you'll have to wait until Pro Evo 5.

Winning Eleven 8: Liveware Edition hits the back of the shelves in Japan on March 3. Check out our screens for a glimpse of the action.

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