Pro Evolution Soccer is a football (soccer) video game with legions of fans around the world. PES games are produced for all major consoles, including PS3, XBOX 360, Wii and PC, and distributed across five continents, making it a global powerhouse.

Pro Evolution Soccer games have been around since 1996 when Goal Storm, whose sole title was the start of the Konami franchise. Along with the FIFA series from Electronic Arts (EA), the two games have clashed and dominated the soccer video game scene for all this time. PES games have always focused on gameplay and resemblance to real football, while FIFA has efficiently focused on being ‘official’, sacrificing gameplay for licensing and arcade style gameplay.

The franchise has undergone several name changes in Europe and North America, right now the games are called PES followed by next year until the year of release, so this year’s latest installment released in October will be called PES 2013.

The initial Goal Storm name was only around for a year, before changing to ISS Pro in 1997. It then changed to ISS Pro 98 followed by ISS Pro Evolution in May 1999, this being the first time ‘Evolution’ had appeared on the qualification. At this point in the game’s history, updates weren’t being released at regular intervals and I was first introduced to the game in 2001 with the release of ISS Pro Evolution 2.

Unlike in Europe and North America, in Japan, home to Konami, Pro Evo has retained the ‘Winning Eleven’ moniker since its inception, with the ‘World Soccer’ prefix added after the first few years.

What made Pro Evo stand out from other soccer games was the way it was played. The view of the action was from the side and the ball could be kicked in any direction, unlike FIFA games where any directional shot would always fly towards the goal, making the game look like a set-up.

Previous games that stayed true to soccer, like Sensible Soccer, had top-down views, meaning you played by running up or down on the TV/monitor screen. Graphics were limited in the 1990s, but FIFA and Pro Evo began to change all of this, taking their respective games in different directions gameplay-wise.

From the start, Pro Evolution Soccer never had naming rights to players or teams, so an in-game editing option was created early in the franchise. This allowed expert gamers to edit players and teams, replacing fake names with real names. I remember spending hours recreating football strips and renaming all the players, until the PES fan forums started a trend towards option files and max units.

These save option files were created by groups of fans and then uploaded over the Internet to forum pages and download sites, so that all fans could quickly save and change the name of all players in the game. Now they had better players, uniforms and real names, but it still didn’t compare to the official FIFA licenses, but it didn’t have to, the players just wanted a resemblance as it’s always been the game that brings it back. fans year after year to Pro Evo.

This game was perfected over the next few years when ISS Pro Evolution 2 became Pro Evolution Soccer in 2001. The game was adjusted all the time with AI (artificial intelligence) making the game smarter and game speeds changing regularly. , sometimes speeding up and speeding up. then slowing down for the next release, while Konami tried to find the balance. Tackling became more of an art, rather than just smashing buttons, and training modes were introduced to allow players to practice before doing things in real games.

Discussion on the PES forums alluded to FIFA getting literally mad at Konami over licensing issues, by forcing Konami to further obscure fake team names (Manchester United was no longer ‘Man Red’, now was ‘Aragon!’). This provided new challenges for the editing masters and fans always expected Konami to fight for the licenses for the next game; To date, this has yet to happen considering PES 2013.

In Pro Evolution Soccer 2 commentators Peter Brackley (voice of Football Italia on Channel 4) and Trevor Brooking were introduced to add a new dimension to the betting realism. Hearing someone famous talk about your team during gameplay sounded exciting at first, but limitations in technology meant this could quickly become boring, monotonous, and often irrelevant.

By comparison, music was introduced on the menu screen, with Queen belting out ‘We Will Rock you’ and ‘We Are The Champions’, among other artists and tracks. Music in the menus was a welcome addition, as you could very often spend long periods of time negotiating these pages, especially if you were editing. This has been a feature Konami has maintained and improved upon over the years, up to the present, often using small, unknown, or unknown groups and giving them a platform to reach people through their music.

In the second part of the PES games we will see the continuing battle with FIFA, the move towards online and high-definition gaming and how PES hopes to recapture its soccer video game crown with PES 2013.

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