Konami Pro Evolution Soccer 2008

If you are a person who likes to play video games with other people who are actually in the same room as you, Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is, in my opinion, the single best XBox 360 game to buy.

Annoyingly, the critics have given Pro Evolution mediocre reviews, and — adding insult to injury — worse reviews than EA’s FIFA soccer.

Why? I think it’s a special case of a larger problem with today’s video game critics (and a large part of the industry as a whole). Specifically:

– Video game critics overvalue graphics and other superficial features of games and (dramatically) undervalue what actually matters – game play. Pro Evo’s graphics are good but FIFA’s are better. FIFA also has more licenses (i.e. real players) and other bells and whistles Pro Evo lacks. But in terms of gameplay, Pro Evo blows FIFA away: It has tactical and strategic depth; It encourages both creativity and technical skill; and it is social in both competitve and cooperative ways.

– Video game critics cater to the hardcore gamers – which today usually means teenage kids sitting in their basements, probably all alone, playing first person shooters like Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3 online against other teenagers in remote locations. These critics don’t seem to understand that many people want games to be a social event (hence their general disdain for lots of great social Wii games like Wii Play, Big Brain Academy etc). Unfortunately the (non-Nintendo) game industry as a whole seems to be following the same trend – for example, lots of recent editions of popular franchises have removed same screen multiplayer modes (e.g. Burnout Paradise) or have made them incompatible with online play (Call of Duty 4).

Pro Evolution soccer 2008 is a great, underrated game. Here is a video of the gameplay.

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