PES, five chapters that have marked the history of the franchise

PES, five chapters that have marked the history of the franchise
Last July Pro Evolution Soccer celebrated 25 years of honored career. Between ups and downs, ruinous falls and painful rebirths, the series has accompanied us for a long time in the cold winters and hot summers, and we are sure it will continue to do so for a long time to come. All the more so now that a few years ago he returned to the levels that compete with him, and to be increasingly an integral part of the eSports movement. It is in these days, for example, the news that UEFA has chosen eFootball PES 21 as the official game of UEFA eEURO 2021, the eSports competition that will take place from the beginning of 2021 and will culminate with a final in London next year. summer.

To pay homage to this important football series we have decided to select five of the chapters of PES that, in one sense or another, have marked an era or characterized a particular moment in the series, revolutionizing it certain aspects. And we did it with great difficulty, considering that there are several games that have contributed to its growth, as always without any claim to represent "the absolute truth" with this list.

Goal Storm (World Soccer: Winning Eleven - 1995)

The first game we chose is obviously the dad of the series, Goal Storm. Made by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo on Sony's fledgling 32-bit console, PlayStation with full polygonal 3D graphics, is the international version of J.League Jikkyou Winning Eleven, with national teams instead of club teams from the Japanese club championship . The title, which among other things is also important because it marks the debut of the great Jon Kabira as the "narrator" of the matches, is the "base" from which in some ways the concept of future Pro Evolution Soccer will take shape. With this title, in fact, KCET begins to detach itself from the style of the KCEO productions, the other internal team of Konami, author of the splendid International Superstar Soccer Deluxe on SuperNes, which was in charge of developing soccer games in parallel on Nintendo 64: the Tokyo group will focus more and more on a gameplay devoted to a certain realism, while that of Osaka will opt for an initially mixed style, capable of combining simulation aspects and arcade elements, before turning totally on the latter.

International Superstar Soccer Pro Evolution (Winning Eleven 4 - 1999)

Known above all by the acronym of ISS Pro Evolution, International Superstar Soccer Pro Evolution is a very important game for the saga, because it records two key moments : the debut of Shingo "Seabass" Takatsuka in the series as director, that is the one who will give a definitive and indelible imprint to the entire franchise, becoming the equivalent of Kazunori Yamauchi for the Gran Turismo series, that is, his "deus ex machina", and that of a mode that will become historic within the brand, namely the Master League. In this beloved mode you can play a championship with sixteen teams (without a license, but clearly inspired by real teams such as Juventus, Milan and Barcelona), where the user manages a club initially composed of medium-low level fantasy footballers, of the real myths for fans, such as Espimas, Minanda and above all the mythical Castolo, to then acquire new and "real" ones (albeit with names crippled due to licensing problems) with the currency earned from the victories.

World Soccer Winning Eleven 2000 U23 Olympic (ISS Pro Evolution 2 - 2000)

The third title on our list is the Japanese version of ISS Pro Evolution 2 (International Superstar Soccer Pro Evolution 2), also on first PlayStation. The reason for our choice is simple: it includes the Under 23 national teams engaged at the time at the Sydney Olympics. For the rest World Soccer Winning Eleven 2000 U23 Olympic represents the final summary of years of development on Sony's "gray box": the graphic and physical engine of the game are squeezed to the maximum, so as to give birth to increasingly defined, "real" players. with different movements, weights and heights, and the playability reaches truly incredible heights for the time, to the point that the BBC called the opera "the best football game the world has ever seen". The actions develop in an articulated and never monotonous way, the control that is perceived on the players through the joypad is total, and the atmosphere that you breathe is that of a real game, with stadium choirs and the commentary of a Jon Kabira more fit than ever. It is also a chapter that sees the Master League change again, which includes 24 teams instead of the 16 in the past, and proposes the first real names for many players, the result of an agreement with FIFPRO.

Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (Winning Eleven 10 - 2006)

In 2001 the series emigrated to PlayStation 2 and in the West it definitively changed its name to Pro Evolution Soccer, as if to further underline the detachment from KCEO productions. Year after year the franchise grows, also arriving on Nintendo GameCube (only in Japan), on Windows PC and Xbox, and acquiring more and more official licenses, up to Pro Evolution Soccer 6, perhaps the best of the series at that time, which among other things, it adds quick free kicks and improves the physicality of athletes and tackles. The goal of "Seabass" Takatsuka and his team to faithfully recreate, title after title, the game of football in a videogame seems to have been achieved even in "this" generation: there is a more credible behavior in the defense of the ball, in the slips and in melee. The difficulty in putting down a high ball, the inertia caused by a sudden change of direction, the need to press the button at the right moment to gore the head or stumbling on the ball due to an incorrect movement are all elements that we need. are and that give more credibility to the game. The title, in short, sets new standards for the genre, thanks also to the attention that the development team pays to the feedback of its many fans.

eFootball PES 20 (eFootball Winning Eleven 2020 - 2019)

From PES 2008, the debut title on the new platforms of the time, namely PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, to PES 2014, things are not going very well. As rival FIFA gains ground and never misses a beat, Konami's series seems to be struggling. Between attempts at arcade twists and sudden changes of direction, the Japanese software house gives birth to a series of games not always up to the fame of the saga. With the advent of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, things improve and here we have until the last fairy to choose the most "representative" title: if PES 2014 marks an important turning point for the rebirth of the brand with the change of engine in in favor of an adapted version of Hideo Kojima's FOX Engine, PES 2017 returns to users a game that once again lives up to its fame in terms of gameplay. But it is with eFootball PES 20 that Konami is probably able to close the circle: because in spite of some shortcomings in terms of licenses, it still produces a product characterized by excellent playability, in this sense the best of this generation, even superior to the competition as well. in graphics. An excellent base, really, from which to start again and on which to build the future fortunes of the series, and another reason why we chose him in the end. And with this game we close our list, which we have presented to you in chronological order. Now tell us yours, which titles do you think have marked the history of the franchise more than others?

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