The last few years have been good for Pro Evolution Soccer 2014. They haven’t been so good for the Pro Evo franchise, which is still trying to claw back the ground lost to FIFA, but as far as this year’s iteration is concerned, it’s been a journey worth taking. The reason for this is that, thanks to the progress made over the last couple of entries in the series, Konami’s latest football video game has something its most recent predecessors didn’t have: a clear sense of direction.
Over the last two years, it felt like PES was experimenting while trying to find its own identity all over again. PES 2011 brought in more realistic presentation and physics that were tinged with a slightly old school arcade intensity. PES 2012 built on these foundations, but placed more of an emphasis on the player’s attacking game while ramping up the pace in matches.
PES 2014 fuses all of these elements with a lethal degree of precision. It scales back the pace from last year (and thank God for that) while gifting the player with Rasputin-like control over the ball at their player’s feet. The result is a game that is neither simulation nor arcade but a subtle blend of the two, with a control system about as deep as an arcade fighter.