I think it's safe to say that we've all played a Pro Evolution Soccer game at some point or another, whether we wanted to or not! They're addictive, fun, and definitely bring out your competitive side, which means that one quick game is never enough. There are plenty of modes to work your way through if you're playing by yourself, but lets face it this is a game that should really be enjoyed with friends. The Hut are parting with Xbox 360 copies for £15.85, which is just over £2 cheaper than the next best offer coming in from Sentit.
There's often not much to choose between sports titles, such is the annual nature of the genre, but there were a few surprises in 2010 to be found. First of all, the fight between PES and FIFA proved to be much closer than that in 2008 and 2009, with Konami implementing some brilliant new features and EA reminding everyone that football is a contact sport. It's difficult to mention sports games in the past twelve months too without acknowledging motion control. Both PS Move and Kinect enjoyed popular sports collections upon release, putting a slightly new spin on things and creating new possibilities for the fitness game niche in the process.
Click here to check out who we voted for...
Red Dead Redemption - It may have been a derivative experience - Grand Theft Horses anyone? - but RDR, plus its add-ons and zombie-themed downloads, brought great voicework and genuine humour to the mix. And, if you were brought up on Westerns, the chance to be a cowboy and sort out the bad guys (should you choose that route) is too irresistible to describe. Smart, seductive, grown-up and, thanks to the period weaponry, a challenge. While I agree it's lovely to wield a virtual modern gun in many a FPS, there's something about conserving your limited bullets that appeals, bringing a little more strategy to the mayhem, particularly given the general inefficiency of a Wild West bullet. Mostly though, it's the cowboy thing - ah, sweet memories of a 1970s childhood - and the occasional laugh-out-loud moments that kept me coming back til it was done.
LEGO Harry Potter very different but a very close second!
PES 11. Yes, I know, FIFA makes people that look more like the real players and it's all slick and shiny and stuff. But when PES is on form - and 2011's incarnation is, for my money, the best yet - it's unbeatable. Football isn't always about glory goals, sometimes it's about grinding out a 1-1 draw against inferior opposition in the mud and the rain. PES gives you that. You can assemble incredible teams - and this year's Master League transfer market angle makes it a little too easy to my mind - but they won't always gel and might take a few weeks to get used to each other. That aspect comes across brilliantly. You can almost feel your squad's shoulders slump as your opponent gets a lucky break and scores with their one, single minute shot of the game after their keeper's kept you at bay for 89 minutes. It's also capable of teeth-grindingly annoying refereeing decisions, as an innocuous tackle gets punished or, worse, a player you're not even controlling gives away a penalty or scores an own goal. I have woken my wife up twice arguing with the ref. Ahem.
Best of all though is the tactical aspect, with the drag and drop system that's so painfully bloody obvious it's a wonder it's taken this long to appear.
My, what a question. From a gobsmacking moment, it might have to be bringing the rocket down early in Black-Ops. Or possibly The Best Ever Goal I Have Ever Scored in PES: goalkeeper rolls out, two passes across midfield, perfect lobbed through ball catching out the United defence, striker runs by, beats offside trap, volleys ball into top right corner from 35 yards. In terms of giggles though, it would have to be a two player Free For All Modern Warfare 2 sesh. Three seconds to go, I'm ahead on points, lining up the match-winning head shot through my sniper rifle. As I go to take the shot, mate in building opposite fires RPG into my man's delicates. Game winning, side-splitting and making sure my avatar never reproduces. Rocket Propelled Grenade in the nackers. Really not a good way to go, is it?
If anyone can make sense of Clone Wars and hack it down to size then it's the LEGO team. I'm a huge fan of LEGO (more of that 70's childhood thing / in-game comedy) and their games have been amazing in terms of complexity, challenge, unlockable content and good nature. The observations are super too, given the brick-y nature of its characters and the complete absence of dialogue. In terms of Clone Wars this means no Hayden 'wood boy' Christensen and, one assumes, a quiet Jar Jar Binks so that has to be a VERY GOOD THING. From a completist point of view the arenas look enormous too.
Having had a sneak preview of two levels, this is shaping up to be a fine and enormous experience. The first sees you in a ship taking on a mahoosive Imperial destroyer as well as assorted minions on flight decks and in landing bays. The second requires team work as you bring the ship down from within, via light saber wielding, Force powers and, er, R2D2-lifting and puzzle solving, as action shifts between two Jedi teams. In two player, these can, apparently, be done separately and simultaneously via split screen.
I'm also very excited about Test Drive Unlimited 2 with its detail, ease of interactivity, daftly enjoyable online stuff - come to Ibiza, let's hang in my apartment - tand, particularly for taking a standard aspect of gaming - remodelling your avatar - and giving it the humorous twist of having to visit a plastic surgeon to make it happen. Oh, and then being forced to drive around in bandages for the next hour til it heals. For the record, the driving experience is pretty good too.
The sweary, gory, very silly Bulletstorm looks like killer fun too
Prices are slipping for Konami's kickabout in the wake of stiff competition from FIFA 11, but PES 2011 is still a very capable footy game. Many gamers prefer its heavier, meatier handling that feels more like real football rather than sliding around polished glass, and this latest offering improves both defending and goalkeeping this time around. It's a significant step up for the series, but unfortunately many footy fans won't enjoy the clunkier controls and pendantic ref. Put simply, the choice is yours... and the price is right. Many thanks to steve81 at Hot UK deals.
PES came pretty damn close to besting FIFA this year by being slicker than it had been in years. The sheer amount of content was staggering, the level of depth astounding, but it still handled like a whale with piles. That said, if buying a FIFA game is tantamount to sacrilege for you, then you'd do well to take advantage of GAME's fantastic console price for the title. PES fans won't be disappointed, and it's good to Konami upping their game. A tip of the cap to TanyaSpace at HUKD.
Not quite everything on the show floor is exclusive material and there's some stuff here that we may have seen before. However, to help those of you out who weren't able to make it we've assembled a barrage of overlapping links to jog the memory...
Playable on the floor of the Expo, Bungie's farewell to the Halo franchise is an epic that's not to be missed. Need more proof? Check out Jon's review to find out why Bungie will be missed.
Regular readers will know just how much Def Jam Rapstar impressed us out at Gamescom. Well, 4mm brought their hip-hop revolution to London this weekend, along witha big fat stage and bustling crowds on both days. Whether you've got rhythm or not, here's the reason why Rapstar's making a lot of justified noise.
With both Konami and EA vying furiously for floor space, it's been good to see the public courting both with their sporting attentions. Our FIFA review is on the way, but if you're yet to make up your mind, you can start off with our review of PES 2011 and find out how the series is bouncing back.
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Platforms: PC | PS3 | X360 | Wii | NDS | PSP
Let's be honest: PES' star has waned somewhat in the last handful of years. Once the king of the football genre, its stubborn refusal to move with the times and evolve has hamstrung and crippled its incremental progress as EA Sports have revamped their own talisman. Winning Eleven has not lived up to its name, and Konami know it.
PES 2008 was an unabashed mess, save for on the Wii where it actually proved to be one of the best games on the console that year with its well-integrated use of motion control. 2009 wasn't much better and last year's version, despite trying pretty hard, failed to bring the magic back. Next to EA's effort, it seemed archaic and apathetic. There's none of that this year. Konami have set their sights high, to try and bring the definitive football simulation to fans everywhere and, to a certain extent, they've really succeeded.
Let's kick off with the gameplay. Passing, much maligned in recent years, has been revamped and remodelled to give the player far greater control over where they spray the ball. The optional power gauge, sensitive though it may be, allows those with the skills to pull off perfectly weighted passes. PES has never been a series to molly-coddle newcomers, and FIFA fans won't find the assistance they're used to here, but if you put in the time on the practice field, you'll be rewarded when it comes to playmaking for real. Laying on a perfectly timed through ball for a striker to smash home comes with a real sense of achievement and delight.
Lost Planet 2 promised to deliver a high-octane cooperative thrill ride through the hostile world of EDN3- but a host of godawful problems and niggles make it a truly miserable slog most of the time. Luckily, Capcom has announced that a new cross-platform patch will fix many of the annoying issues that practically ruin the singleplayer experience. Here are the highlights:
The free patch will be hitting June 7th for PS3, and the Xbox 360 version is being "planned". [Capcom Unity]
Pro Evo was once the Cadillac of footie games, but FIFA's new lease of life has relegated it to the lower leagues these last couple of years. However, some leaked footage and new screenies show an enhanced graphics engine and some fluid mechanics. Why not judge for yourself? (NB: it's a handcam video, but you'll see what we're on about) [VG247]
E3 is nearly upon us- and naturally the internet is now full of half-truths, whispers and conspiracy theories about what's in store. Here's a roundup of some of the more promising rumours we've heard these last few days.
Know something we don't? Got some rumours you'd like to share? Drop us a line in the comments?