Last week, I got the chance to sit down and try out one of the more recent builds for Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2014. As with the previous version, I was very impressed with what I saw, even though it was a build that was about three months behind.
One of the first things that I noticed about this build of PES 2014 was the pre-game cutscene. It showed the teams lining up in the corridors outside the stadium that we were playing in. Some of the players were nervous, while others were excited – it definitely conveyed jitters. Once the players entered the field, I checked out the stadium crowd (which was pretty amazing looking). The animations were a little choppy (to be expected in a preview build), but the people looked alive. The player’s guide to the controllers for PES looks like a how-to guide for open-heart surgery at first glance. After a while, you get used to the sheer number of options that you have at your fingertips.
Game-play was fast and furious – but planning ahead didn’t hurt at all. PES 2014 gives you tools to redirect your team, reinforcing the “team mechanics” that they have really been pushing over the last few iterations. I was able to direct members of my team to specific places, allowing me to strategically create gaps and crowd some of the players on the opposing team. The physics of the ball are far more realistic, to the point where receiving becomes less of a sure thing. The more skilled the player, the better they handle the ball upon their first touch. It’s actually pretty cool. There was also a Combo Play routine, but I didn’t get into it.
Some of the players look fantastically realistic.
In terms of realism, there was plenty to be had. Outside of some of the awkward sliding that the players did, they seemed to each have their own set of movements. Also, grabbing the ball in the air is a bit more fun now that you can use the right analog stick to throw your shoulder into it. Throw-ins and free kicks can be more easily intercepted, adding some much-needed tension to a console soccer game. How realistic is PES 2014? My goalie missed an incoming shot, which bounced off of the crossbar into his back, and then into the net. He fell to the ground cursing in fury at his own mistake. Yeah. Pretty amazing.
Even though there was some obvious polishing left to the game, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with PES 2014. This version looks pretty damned realistic, and the devs are making good use of the power of the current gen consoles. I’m looking forward to playing the final version when it is released for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 (I demoed the Xbox 360 version).