Richard Sawyer

Pro Evolution Soccer 3

12th June 2005
reviewer: Richard Sawyer
rating: 5 out of 5
developed by: Konami
published by: Konami
rrp: £19.99
formats: PS2/PC

So the beautiful game’s most skilful impersonator returns to the stage for another audacious display of talent. After a fantastic build up, and immense trickery in FIFA’s box, does it manage to once again put away its well crafted opportunity?

Well, quite obviously, yes. This was a tap in. For years FIFA has been playing catch up, and that is set to continue once more. The question more lies in just how much better than the pervious versions PES3 really is.

Firstly, the graphics have had a nice touch up. Nothing amazing, the whole thing just looks a little cleaner now, and runs a little smoother. Add to this, additional animations and improved ball physics and you start to see how apt the continued use of the word “evolution” is in the title. To the untrained eye or thumb, this is pretty much just PES2. It doesn’t have a flashy new front end, interface, license or commentator. It doesn’t have flaming players (to my knowledge) and it doesn’t even have the correct names for every player. So, how come the fans of the series flock to their local game stores, and online shops to preorder what is essentially the same game? Well, where a hardcore PES fan is concerned “essentially” doesn’t quite cover it. All the tiny elements that have been updated and tweaked to exacting standards by the uber-geniuses at Konami don’t come under the blanket title of “essentially”.

It’s the royale with cheese syndrome here people. It’s the little differences that make this essentially identical game, just as essential as its predecessor.

If you are reading this review hoping to decide between this game and FIFA 2004, then sadly, from my elitist zoomed out by one view point of the pitch, I can already tell than PES3 is not the football game for you. PES3 is a calling, a vocation, a way of life. Well maybe not a way of life, but you’re either a fan of the series, or you don’t really like football games. It’s as simple as that.