PS2PCGameCubeContact UsDVDSearch

PS2 Reviews: Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 3


Pro Evolution Soccer 3 screenshots


The Final Say!


Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 3 -  reviewed by Anthony Luscombe
Review Date: November 2003
Review Score 8.5/10 
Developer: Konami

Here we go, here we go, here we go... I hear you singing, yet another soccer simulation. Yes that is true, but like fine Scotch Whiskey these games keep getting better and better as the years roll by. Pro Evolution Soccer 3, the latest from Konami is right up there with the best of them.  

The game starts up with modern European dance club music being played to computer graphic soccer match sequences showing the joy and sorrow of the players and fans. The menu system once the game is through the preliminaries is laid out in a typical sports sim format and is simple enough to navigate around if you have ever played a sports simulation and is self explanatory with no need for a handbook or manual. 

Highly recommended to start with is the training pitch to get the feel of the controls and what all the buttons are for such as shooting, short pass, long pass, diving tackle and sprint. Also you need to master the directional movement of the player so you can out shimmy, bluff and change direction to open up defences. An oddity that I noticed from the training pitch is the bird noises. I could be wrong but a lot of them sounded like native Australian birds. Also in the training mode are various drills that you can go through just like a real soccer squad would go through, like the old one-two move, one touch passing and good old dribbling around witches hats. 

Once you are ready to step up and get out onto the paddock for a serious match, your choices are to play in an exhibition match, a league or a cup knockout. In all these competitions you need to set them up. As there is no English Premier League or World Cup, you have to set the parameters. 

The choice of teams is pretty decent with all the big international teams there and even the woeful Socceroos, who surprisingly are quite strong. When it comes to club teams there are only a few recognisable names and is a bit disappointing.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that Konami does not have the licensing so they are excused from that. The club teams that are there are teams from Italy such as Milan, Juventus and Roma. If you are like the majority and want to play for the big English clubs, Konami has gotten around the licensing issue by calling Chelsea, West London Blues, Manchester United, Trad Brick Red, Celtic, Old Firm Green etc.. The stadiums also have aliases such as Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge being called Blue Bridge Stadium and Old Trafford called Trad Brick Stadium. 

The game play is quite excellent and would have to be one of the best sports simulations for real-life player movements and ball control.

The motion capture looks pretty spot on. There is shirt pulling, tripping, players lose balance when there is a challenge when they are on the ball, plus all the moves that are naturally in a soccer game which makes it exceptionally realistic to watch. It is quite a challenge to master these skills and becomes quite addictive which gets you coming back again and again to hone moves. 

Graphically the game is spot on, for the great detail of stadiums such as Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, San Siro in Milan and even that dome stadium in Japan where the pitch can be moved in and out on a bed of air. A lovely touch is the shadows and grass textures. The beams of the famous roof at San Siro can be made out on the pitch on a sunny day. Some patches of grass are more worn out than others. They have even allowed for the lack of light at the Amsterdam Arena where there is a re-tractable roof and have had all kinds of bother with the grass. The players themselves are very recognisable from Harry Kewell to Ronaldo or even David Beckham. Mind you Ronaldo is taller in real life than most of his team-mates and has buckteeth.

Player’s shirts are quite accurate and they even have different strips so you don’t have colour clashes but then again the actual shirts are not genuine because of the licensing issue. For example the 3 lions on a England jumper are replaced by the St. George’s cross but this does not in any detract for the playability. Spectators are quite well represented and at some of the stadiums even flares can be seen being fired from the terraces, although they never end up on the pitch. The highlights reel and different camera angles really helps add to the spectacle. It has the feel that you are actually watching a real match on the television.

Sound wise, it is top notch with the home crowd roaring for the home team, whistling to the referee when the time is getting near full time, and chants and sings all the way through a game. The only thing they have omitted is the actual crowd chants synonymous with teams like England such as the Eng-ger-land chant, or The Great Escape song but all in all it is pretty close to the mark and really makes the atmosphere. You can even hear the chap on the PA announcing something in the background. Commentary is excellent with the familiar voice of English commentator Peter Brackley giving the call.

Overall, Konami has produced a cracker of a soccer game that will keep you coming back. It would be a great game for you to take on your mates over a couple of beers. The only downside to the game was the licensing issue with real club names and genuine club competitions. But it is a true finalist in the Cup Final of Soccer simulations.

- Anthony Luscombe

Copyright ©2003 www.impulsegamer.com