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CVG
17 Reviews

Pro Evolution Soccer

Give 'em a ball and a yard of grass...

Such as we're loath to admit it, Arsenal and Manchester United are currently playing some of the most delightful football we've ever seen.

One of the key factors to their success is a lightning quick pass-and-move attacking style that's easy on the eye and a total nightmare for opposition defences to deal with.

The Pro Evo series has always done a fine job of replicating what's happening in real professional football, and never more so than in its first run out on Wii.

For the key to success in the game is playing with a quick pass-and-move style, keeping the ball on the deck, not holding on to it for too long and exploiting space.

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The control scheme, designed especially for Wii, is absolutely perfect for this. Result!

As mentioned in last issue's preview, Pro Evo veterans will find the controls alien and not a little daunting.

The pointer is used to direct passes and shots or drag off-the-ball players into space (more on that later), the B button is pass, the analogue stick steers the man on the ball while shaking the nunchuk has you firing off a shot or a Sol Campbell-style hoof upfield.

What could have been the equivalent of freezing your knackers off on the terraces at Cheltenham Town watching your team lose 2-0, happily turns out to be akin to cheering your team to a play-off final win at Wembley.

It is indeed tough when you start out, but either a decent session on the training ground - which is nicely presented, very well thought out and thoroughly comprehensive - or plenty of practice on the lower difficulty settings will put you on the path to glory.

World in motion

So about that dragging of off-the-ball players. It's a masterstroke that Wenger and Fergie would be proud of, and the game's defining feature.

While you're controlling your man on the ball with the analogue stick, you can highlight a second player using the pointer and hold down A to take control of him.

Drag an arrow into the space you want the player to run into, let go and then hit B to pass into that space and pick up the ball.

Timing is everything here, and yes, it takes a bit of getting used to - how they expect us blokes to be able to concentrate on two things at once is anyone's guess! - but after a few hours' play it becomes second nature.

Whether it's feeding balls out to the wingers to make crosses into the box, or beating the offside trap and slicing defences apart, this works like a dream.

Who are ya?

The match-engine is the same as the PS2's, so the graphical quality is decent but far from amazing.

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However the frame rate never drops (unlike on PS3), even when you've got most of the players on screen at the same time.

The off-pitch presentation is in a different class, though. It's brighter, friendlier and more functional than in any other version without losing any of the depth (how we love poring over the stats!).

The commentary, provided by Peter Brackley and Mark Lawrenson, is as dire as ever.

Seeing as we've mentioned that one flaw, it's time to speak of a couple more. Firstly, the defending is suspect.

Actually closing a player down and tackling him requires you to entice your defender to get near him - an unusually tough feat - before highlighting the attacker with your pointer so that a coloured circle appears under his feet, then waiting for the circle to turn red before you make the challenge with a button press.

Surely there could have been a more simple, more intuitive way?

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