he prospect of the worlds premier football game being able to fit in your gaming pocket is an enticing one. While the PSP has a relatively faithful port of its less portable brother, there was always going to be concessions made with the DS version.
To Konamiís credit the DS version does feel like a Pro Evolution game, it is considered in its pace, wins are always hard earned, and it never slips into the arcade freneticism of other football games. Simple things like the button placement allow Pro Evo veterans to feel right at home with the DS controls. Shoot, pass, cross, through ball, and sprint are all where youíd expect. The left shoulder button acts as both to change player and to pull off tricks, but other than that, only having to use the D-pad for control shows any compromise in functionality.
The action takes place on the DSí top screen, with the touch screen being used to navigate menuís, and during play either to show your formation or the radar. The latter being the much preferred option, as the top screens radar is far too small to be of any use. The option to use the touch screen as a shortcut to making team changes would have been welcome, but instead there is a rather long winded menu system.
Unfortunately while a review of the console versions of Pro Evo would likely be laden with praise, nit picking the games few flaws, the DS version is a very different beast. The days of gamers complaining about Pro Evolutions lack of features in comparison with the FIFA series may well be long gone for the home consoles, but thatís not the case for the DS. There are woefully few teams available to choose from, for instance only Manchester United and Arsenal appear from the Premiership, despite Chelseaís John Terry appearing on the box art. Game modes are limited to single match (including an awful take on penalties), Konami cup and World Tour mode. World Tour does offer a challenge, you start off with a team of no names, and build a team from random players from defeated teams, won in the ĎGacha-getí (think Shenmue).
The passing system Pro Evo is famed for isnít nearly as tight as it should be. It is still capable of some well put together moves, but the end product, if youíll excuse the analogy, just isnít there. Whether it is a problem with the D-pad or just an anomaly within the system, every now and then the ball will be fired off into a seemingly random location. Players are sluggish and cumbersome, particularly in the early stages of World Tour mode, meaning that if you do put together a good move, itís hard to make that break through. Similarly defenders, the computer controlled ones at least, are far too able to keep pace with your attackers, no matter how quick or skilful you are.
The game also lets itself down graphically. Considering the DS is more powerful than the N64, that Pro Evo looks worse than a Saturn game is disappointing, but forgivable if everything else works. However there is massive slowdown on corners, this can perversely work to your advantage as it gives you more time to control your attack, but FIFA shows it neednít exist.
If the gameplay was up to scratch, then anyone of the other problems would be irrelevant. Like the Pro Evolutions of the past, missing features and lesser graphics wouldnít matter if the game itself was free flowing and precise. Itís a shame then that Pro Evolution DS is like running in mud, like fighting against more than just the built in difficulty. The online mode may be enough to help people brush off these flaws, and in truth it does work well, but if you have the patience then waiting for the inevitable update would be the better option by far.
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