Professional Evolution Soccer (aka PES) is a football (real football that is, or soccer as our American cousins would say) has been around for as long as its biggest rival: FIFA & is now starting re release annual games, very much like FIFA. It's also a football game. But what a great game it is.
Sure you can score dozens of goals on the easiest setting, but what my advice is to challenge yourself & go straight to Top Player.
Like other games, when you crank up the difficulty setting - you really have to work hard to make any progress - hello Call of Duty on Veteran mode, Halo on Legendary mode or Gears of War on Insane mode. This means that it's not just a quick breeze to complete a game, it's a challenge. Sometimes (& I'm looking at you Halo 3) you need to work in cooperative mode to complete parts of games where your own team's AI is not too amazing or where you don't have a team - you need one to make it through!
Anyways I digress.
I've always viewed PES as a bit of a social tool - it's OK to play on your own, but with friends, there is much teamwork/competitive spirit to the game & makes the game more fun.
So what's new in this year's offering? Well year-on-year, the realism has been growing. Now there are nice touches which add a little extra detail, such as the water bottles next to the keeper, when you make a substitution during the game, you can hear the announcer in the background. Also more fundamental changes, such as the removal of a points system & a shift to actual money - your choice of pounds, euro, dollars or yen.
The look of the game is really good & everything is sharper & movements more realistic. Initially I was very impressed.
Unfortunately, there is a little bad news - the refereeing. After a dozen games or so, I started noticing some inaccuracies. As always in games the referees are millimeter perfect when it comes to being offside. However, in Pro Evo 2009 the horrendous/dirty challenges were severely punished. In PES 2010, the opposition seem to get away with everything!
There have been numerous horrific challenges (even within 1 match) from the computer-controlled players & play is allowed to continue, unless advantage should be played, then the referee gives a free kick. This is very frustrating.
Now it might be the Top Player setting, but I'm not sure that is the case. When you've been working really hard just to get a goal & then your best striker gets flattened by the opposition's central defenders, in the keepers box, you would expect instant red card & penalty. But for nothing to be given seems extraordinary. It would be more acceptable if the opposition were treated the same, but yellow cards for to be doled out only to our team seems beyond comprehension.
It even made Hobbit not want to play the game again with this kind of ridiculous refereeing.
That's quite a fundamental issue & can cause real headaches when you're playing your socks off just to be destroyed by Wigan/Birmingham/Hull etc. because of a glitchy ref.
For this game I feel a 4 out of 5...but I still prefer it to FIFA!