By Grant Nicol

It’s the 9th round of a championship fight and after taking a beating for all the previous rounds some life stirs in the challenger, are we possibly going to see a “rope-a-dope” here?

It’s been a long time since Pro Evolution Soccer has put in a worthwhile challenge to FIFA’s dominance as the number one footballing title, but this year as soon as you put the disc in you sense something is different.

PES has come out loaded with new features and a complete engine overhaul, which sometimes isn’t a good thing in sporting games, as you risk alienating your loyal following. I can gladly say that the game definitely still feels like PES, and it is still the best football simulation game out there (always a bone of contention between lovers of PES and FIFA).


The biggest new feature Konami has implemented this year is their new Fox Engine, the very same engine that will be powering some guy called Solid Snake from some Metal Gear series. New engines are often make or break for sports titles, and PES definitely had no chance of surviving anything but a successful implementation. I’m happy to say that the new engine breathes new life into the series without losing much of the original PES feel.

The hallmark of great PES titles down the years has been the freedom and crispness of the passing system. The passing is still as quick and crisp as ever but there has been a slight loss of freedom in the passing that will take some getting used to. The new engine also brings realism to the way the players interact on the field, every little interaction looks different, so you won’t see players getting stuck in the “stumble” animation anymore. The new engine has allowed Konami to add the new “shoulder to shoulder” feature to the game. As in real football you can now use your strength to legally ease and opposing player off the ball, be careful though as using too much force on tricky players will see a foul being given away.


For those of you who played the demo, you would have noticed that the reaction times of the players were a bit slow, but I’m happy to say a day one patch has sorted that out. The faster game speed introduces another learning curve, but it allows for a lot more freedom while dribbling. The sprint button has always been high risk with high reward in previous titles and that phrase is even more apt in 2014. Dribbling is more difficult in this version and a combination of close control and quick dashes are needed. Once you have mastered those basics there is an almost never ending list of feints, shoulder drops and tricks to learn. There is another new game play feature called “Combination play” which allows you to activate a type of set play when you are in different situations. Used correctly this will allow you to find a player in space or create more space for yourself.

The other big new feature has been dubbed “heart” in true corny Japanese fashion. In a nutshell “heart” is how a players/teams performance is affected by the mood of the crowd. I have really enjoyed this feature as it has made playing away from home more difficult, which is something that developers have failed to translate from real life into games. Score an early goal away from home and the crowd will go quiet making play easier allow the home side to dictate play and you will be in for a long match. The “heart” system also works great when playing from home, get the crowd buzzing and the players will feed of that atmosphere and start zipping all over the field finding space.


Konami has done a great job creating atmosphere inside their stadia, and have done a superb job recreating the stadia in the game. The Stadia all look beautiful and are honestly the best I have seen in any sports game. The graphics have also had a major overhaul, player likeness is uncanny and PES has now a slight lead in the graphics department. For all the good work done in the graphics department during the game, it is let down by the poor cut scenes that suffer from a bad frame rate. Luckily, annoying as they are they don’t really detract from the game.

All the usual suspects are back when it comes to game modes. The crown jewels in the PES offering has to be the official licensed UEFA competitions, which are done superbly might I add. You are also able to play the Asian Champions league and the Copa Libetadores. In Football Life you can once again choose between Master League, Become a Legend and Online Master League. In Master League you can now change clubs through out your career and also take control of a national team. Thankfully they have removed the endless cut scenes from Master League and the completely stupid boots.


Sadly though the one thing stopping PES 2014 from hitting the headlines is once again Konami’s “admin” work. The game once again shipped with the bulk of the transfers not done. EA also doesn’t ship FIFA with all transfer completed but the release a day one patch that fixes this. Konami makes you download stupid Data packs. The first one didn’t even contain transfers! Never mind the fact that you can’t even download it yet on the 360. The game has also shipped with hundreds of incorrect facial animations, which a patch is expected to fix. The online is once again a disaster; I have been unable to get online since I received the game.

At the end of the day PES 2014 is a huge improvement for the beloved football franchise. Hopefully the new engine will help them push EA next year on the next gen consoles, but if they can’t sort out all the simple back-end things PES will never eclipse the glamour of FIFA. PES will always have a place in the hearts of people who eat and sleep football but will never win over the casual fan who buys FIFA every year for a kick-around with friends.

Last Updated: October 2, 2013

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014
PES 2014 is a huge improvement in a franchise with a new engine, which will provide football fans with countless hours of fun. Sadly for everything good Konami has done, if they don’t change their after sales administration, PES will never be top of the League again.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 was reviewed on Xbox 360
80 / 100


  1. TiMsTeR1033

    October 2, 2013 at 12:33

    Looks good in visual appeal, but lack of teams would piss me off big time!


    • Grant Nicol

      October 2, 2013 at 13:51

      There isnt really a lack of teams, They are all there they just don’t have official kits or Badges


      • Longview01

        October 3, 2013 at 20:28

        Theres plenty of option files online that are easy to install and makes the entire game licensed, you should of mentioned the edit feature in your review as its one of Pes’s biggest selling points


        • Ken

          December 9, 2013 at 12:02

          Yup. That is the same reason why people choose pc over mac. The amount of customization you can do with your PC is endless where else for mac…anyways I am going to get both copies of the game. FIFA with my mates and pes with my bro. PES is a childhood game which i will never let go.


  2. Jonah Cash

    October 2, 2013 at 13:03

    Hahahaha!!! “casual fan who buys FIFA every year for a kick-around with friends.” Hahahaha!!! I think you might want to log into Fifa again bud, go to FUT and online seasons and come back to me on the casual fan side who doesn’t eat and sleep football!!
    Glad PES is better but to say it is better than Fifa is a bit of a stretch… And to have this argument is even more of a waste of time…. I like a Ford bakkie more than a Toyota, even that would be a simpler argument to have!!


    • Grant Nicol

      October 2, 2013 at 13:56

      I never said all FIFA players were casual players , but if you took a random group of guys at a party, most of them even if they weren’t gamers would play FIFA, it has the mass appeal that PES doesn’t have….

      I do aggree with you on it being a pointless argument though


      • Jonah Cash

        October 2, 2013 at 14:57

        They would play Fifa because Fifa is more main stream and it is the football game that they would have gotten in to contact with. Or have a greater chance to have gotten into contact with. I don’t think they would chose one over the other, they would probably chose Fifa but only because they would have seen it or heard about it.
        Look the fact that PES is getting better is good news for all football game players because that will make Fifa better!! Between these two games is just personal preference and I prefer Fifa, I tried a PES a while back and being used to Fifa controls I just couldn’t wrap my head around the button scheme. I never got a shot away… But I am happy that they are making strides hopefully it will push Fifa higher with it!!


        • Grant Nicol

          October 2, 2013 at 15:10

          Exactly its a win-win for football fans


  3. 2da9thpwr

    October 2, 2013 at 19:06

    PES is still a more technical game and what pisses me off about it sometimes is there are always hidden commands or moves that do not appear in the tutorial list. I still enjoy it more than Fifa because it frustrates me and there is joy in mastering it. I like the minimalist approach, it doesn’t have as much useless aesthetic fuzz luring you away from the actual game like Fifa does. Fifa’s engine is better in my opinion but this game is like… the Dark Souls of sports games, especially if you play it on a harder level. PES steps back. You have to dig into to it and find its centre like a good tome and there is nothing more satisfying and self gratifying than finding that centre. Fifa’s colour gives me headaches after playing the simplicity and minimalism of PES. Its like coming out of a dark cave.


  4. JJV86

    October 8, 2013 at 02:00

    The game is a complete broken mess! Online play doesnt work, the gameplay is awful, one default weather condition, player faces are hillarious, have you seen berbatov? ive owned every single pes game in the last 16 or so years since it was called iss evolution and played every game to death, and this is the worst game by far, every single aspect of the game has got worse from last years, how on earth can you give the gameplay 9 out of 10? absolute joke, i would rather play ‘three lions’.


  5. dsgd

    November 1, 2013 at 20:13

    the worst pes ever play like s*** It is absolutely copy from Fifa This version must be free not for sale worst of money Nothing to say about this version Waste time buy Fifa 14 is better a lot


  6. joe

    December 7, 2013 at 18:38

    If you try the “become a legend” gameplay, try it with superstars level. The computer AI is too smart, and your team became a morons.


    • Ken

      December 9, 2013 at 12:04

      Hahahha i know right. Gotta love your team for not crossing the ball to you when you are in the box.


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