Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 (PlayStation 3) Review

By Stuart Lawrence 07.02.2015

Review for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 on PlayStation 3

With football simulation games, fans generally know what they're getting: a yearly iteration with updated teams, mechanics and maybe a new mode or two. The two main franchises in the world of football, FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, have seen EA and Konami fighting for fans' wallets for over a decade. With PES losing its throne as the superior game in the last generation, is PES 2015 a return to form?

PES 2015 on the PlayStation 3 is much like its predecessor; it uses the Fox Engine, it has a number of modes available, including the usual Master League and Become a Legend, but it also includes a new mode called myClub, as well as adds second division teams for England, Spain, Italy and France. England, however, only has Manchester United as a real life team, whereas other countries have full sets of official teams. The names of players are generally the same as their real life counterparts, though, with "Andrew Carroll" playing for "East London F.C."

The new myClub mode is an online-only feature that is similar to FIFA's Ultimate Team mode. In this feature, players choose a team (which is filled with average players, rather than the real life players), give it a name, then buy a manager, players and agents to build the best team and play against others online. The manager picked affects the formation that the team plays, but new managers can be bought to change formations and tactics for different games. The managers, players and agents picked affect team spirit, meaning that if the manager isn't compatible with certain players, those players may become unhappy, and that will affect overall team spirit. Players' positions also affect how well they play, and even if an attacking midfielder is put in place of another because their rating is initially higher, because of how far forward they are in formation, their overall rating may drop, which may also affect the team spirit around them.

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 on PlayStation 3

The mode uses the new in-game currency called GP. This can be earned by fulfilling certain conditions in managing a team, as well as depending on how well the team does in matches. The currency can be spent on new agents who will get players, and new managers, which brings more formations. There is also another currency in this mode called myClub coins, and this is where the game goes into microtransactions, which some people might not like. The game gives an initial 300 or so myClub coins to show how to use them, but then conditions the game has set can be fulfilled to earn the coins like achievements, or more can be bought to build the ultimate team faster. When new players come in from agents, they have to be manually added to a team to play them, rather than them joining straight away. GP can also be earned in other non-online modes.

Users can face both a computer version of another myClub team in standalone matches, or play in tournaments against other people online. These tournaments come in the form of limited events, which have to be signed up to in order to take part before the event ends. The mode also ranks by how well users play - if games are won, promotion to harder difficulty levels and divisions will be achieved, but losing or not fulfilling conditions will mean relegation to easier games and divisions. Games and divisions against real players are separated into either a live match or simulation match.

Another new feature in this iteration is the online updates. Before even getting to the menu, if connected to the internet, the first thing players are presented with is current updates of all things to do with PES online. Users are told if there are new teams and items available to download, as well as being informed about new online tournaments. This can make loading times a pain, but it allows for information on new teams, leagues and players that may get added in the future. The game also updates transfers and player ratings, which can be great for those who like to have the right players in the right teams, and this is via data packs that have to be manually downloaded. Players and teams can be edited personally, too, for one's own satisfaction.

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 on PlayStation 3

Master League mode is probably the mode that players will use the most. It starts with a manager and team of the player's choosing, be that with classic players or a bunch of random unknowns, and trying to win leagues and cups throughout 15 seasons. The manager can be designed in a character creator or just picked from a default. From here on in, the club's team, finances and transfers are all managed. When trying to get a transfer done, both the player and the club he is coming from need to be made happy, and the negotiations take place over days with teams putting in multiple offers for players. To bring players in, a scout is used to search for a certain type of player and where they'll come from. After a few days, the scout will come up with a list of players that usually aren't up for sale, but they can still be grabbed by making the club and player happy - this can be that the player wants a loan or a certain length of contract, but it usually comes down to money for the player and club. Users have to be careful of overspending the club's money - there will be some initial capital, but be wary of the ins and outs of the club's expenditure, as well. Games can be played either by controlling players manually, or through simulations.

Become a Legend is also back. In this mode, an individual player of a user-created design is played as. Users choose what league to play in and get assigned to a random club with the aim of becoming the ultimate player. In matches, that specific player is controlled and must rely on his teammate's AI to pass the ball around and win the game. Depending on the position played, of which there are many, a circle appears beneath the player with an arrow telling the general position the game thinks he should be, going from white to blue to red depending on urgency. The more possession that is kept, passes completed, tackles won and goals scored, the better the rating awarded at the end of the game. If stamina runs out during the game, the players will usually get taken off and have to watch the rest of the game on the side-lines. The match can then be fast-forwarded if desired, but there is no option to skip the rest of the match. Outside of the matches, there isn't much to do. Information is delivered about how much trust the manager has placed in the player, as well as whether he has been picked for the international squad or won any player awards. Users can also choose what to focus on during training by assigning points, in which the player can learn new skills and be able to play in different positions.

Other modes in the game feature various international team cups, including the UEFA and AFC Champions League Cups, Copa Libertadores, as well as others. Leagues, tournaments and friendlies can be played online, and playing as an individual in team play in a 22-man squad is also possible, but finding a match on the PS3 version can be difficult. Skills can be honed through training in set pieces and controlling the ball if players want to get used to the controls.

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 on PlayStation 3

All this content in PES 2015 wouldn't be worthwhile if the game was horrible to play, but thankfully it's great. The gameplay is pretty smooth with a good flow to each game, and although it doesn't contain the AI advancements of the newer generation versions, it's still fun to play, although sometimes the computer's AI lets the team down. There will be individual players that, when given the ball, can do all sorts of tricks that may be unique to them, with some having good control even while using the sprint button - this is great in Become a Legend mode, which is more noticeable as the player improves. The camera sometimes plays up in Become a Legend if coming off the bench as a substitute, but the perspective can be changed to improve this.

In the graphics department, character models and textures haven't really improved much; players look fairly close to their real selves, and there isn't much one can do to make a game of football look like a game of football. The animations have improved, with some players looking less robotic and more in control of their running and the ball; this is especially true of teams like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

Sound-wise, the game has a small selection of tracks that play in the menus and as an echo in the stadiums before the matches. Commentary could improve in variation, with the commentators sometimes saying the same thing several times throughout the match; however, the language of the commentary can be changed to freshen things up.

Overall, this year's iteration of PES is a nice improvement, with more modes than ever before and running pretty well. It may be hard to come across matches online with the PS3 version, but there is enough content to cover that with the new myClub mode, in which players are able to enter tournaments with a team that is raised personally. Load times are a pain if connected to the internet, with live update data being transferred before the start screen is even booted, and offline matches also take their time in loading.

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

PES 2015 on the PS3 is a nice improvement over last year's iteration, with more modes and teams than ever. It does have some small flaws, but overall it is a good game to have for playing against friends, or simply going through the many modes it offers.

Developer

Konami

Publisher

Konami

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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