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Pro Evolution Soccer 6 - The Expert Guide

Published and Written by Piggyback Interactive Limited

Over the years I’ve probably bought around eight strategy guides. Usually it’s for a Pokemon game my children are enjoying or a strategy or RPG game that I’ve got myself hooked into. Last year I decided to purchase the strategy guide for Pro Evolution Soccer 5. I wouldn’t normally purchase a strategy guide for a sports game but the guide was being sold for half price and the Pro Evolution Soccer series has always been one that no matter how good you are at the games, you can always improve. Published by Piggyback Interactive the guide was very informative and very useful. Naturally then when I was offered the chance to review Pro Evolution Soccer 6 – The Expert Guide I seized it with both hands.

Piggyback Interactive produce some very high quality strategy guides. Having seen their guides for Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy X, I was surprised that no compromises had been made in terms of their presentation. All screenshots were in colour, superb artwork was used throughout and information was presented in a clear and concise fashion. The same high quality presentation has been used for Pro Evolution Soccer 6 – The Expert Guide and it not only looks first class but it’s also chock full of everything you could wish to know about the game.

The guide is 210mm x 280mm in size (approximately A4 size) and contains around 170 pages. The paper quality is impressive (115gsm) and slightly glossy. The guide uses a superb mixture of screenshots and drawings to illustrate the text information. The included sections are as follows:

  • Introduction
  • How to Play
  • Coaching Manual
  • Secret Moves & Tricks
  • Tactics & Strategies
  • Master League
  • Team & Player Guide
  • Extras

 

A comprehensive Index has been included which allows you to find exactly what you want as quickly as possible.

A DVD has also been included and contains the following:

  • Coaching Manual
  • Secret Moves
  • Situation Guide
  • Beautiful Goals
  • Interview (with PES creator Seabass)

 

The important thing to emphasize with this guide is that it is for everyone who plays Pro Evolution Soccer 6. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the series or whether this is the first time you’ve picked up a Pro Evolution Soccer game, this guide is the ultimate reference guide. The Introduction chapter talks about what’s new in PES 6, the accompanying DVD, new moves and expert tips amongst other things. How to Play shows you the control schemes for the PlayStation 2, PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game. It discusses the various modes included with the game and guides beginners through the process of playing their first game.

By far the most useful sections of The Expert Guide are the Coaching Manual and Secret Moves & Tips. The Coaching Manual explains every major move, trick and technique in the game and does so rather impressively. For each move you get a screenshot, the PlayStation 2, PC and Xbox 360 controls, a difficulty and effectiveness rating, execution tips, general advice and a list of player abilities that are taken into account when performing the move. You also get a DVD reference number which allows you to find a clip of the move being carried out on the DVD. Whilst the guide by itself is excellent, being able to see the move in action using the DVD really adds a whole new dimension to the guide. The same level of excellence can also be found in the Secret Moves & Tips section, which will show you all of the undocumented tricks and techniques that are in PES 6. Once again you’ll find a movie clip for each move on the DVD.

The Pro Evolution Soccer series is not a by-the-numbers football series. Everything matters. Each player has their own special abilities and controls differently. The process of taking a shot on goal has a variety of variables such as which foot is used, the timing of the shot and whether the player is being pressured at the time of taking the shot. Likewise the tactical decisions that you make can really impact the game. PES 6 is not a game you can simply jump into and win without putting the effort in to learn all that the game has to offer and the following sections are very helpful in this respect.

Tactics & Strategies opens your eyes in terms of the difference that can be made through effective use of formations and player instructions. Beginners will simply jump into a game without giving any thought to such things but in PES 6 this isn’t a wise thing to do, especially on the higher difficulty settings. Organising your team effectively and knowing how to man manage your team is crucial to being successful. You’ll also find yourself having a greater understanding and appreciation of just how realistic PES 6 is once you’ve read through this section.

So you’ve played a few matches and maybe played through a competition or two but when it comes down to it the real challenge in PES 6 is the Master League and it even has its very own chapter. The Master League chapter leaves no stone unturned. Everything is explained including how to setup a new Master League game with all the options and competition structures being discussed. Team management, contract negotiations and player development are also  covered. Most will want to know who the future superstars will be and the included talent guide will show you who the established stars of today are as well as the promising youngsters.

The Team & Player Guide is the biggest section in the guide and discusses all of the major teams in the game as well as the default Master League team. For each of these teams you’ll be shown a player guide (for the 23 most important players in the squad) that shows you player abilities, special abilities, tricks and ratings for each player. The team guide shows you preferred formations, strengths and weaknesses, alternative formations and tactical settings for each side. There’s also a section that looks at the game’s superstars.

Finally, the Extras chapter looks at the various unlockable items and features you can obtain in PES 6. It lists all of the items that can be bought in the PES Shop (on the PC and PlayStation 2 versions only). It also discusses the game’s Edit Mode. There is also a Stadium Guide showing screenshots of every stadium used in the game. Finally it moves on to Xbox 360 specifics. Here you’ll get to see what’s different with the Xbox 360 (sadly it’s mostly discussing its limitations as you all probably know the Xbox 360 version shipped with quite a few features stripped out). Those all important Xbox 360 Achievements are also listed.

There’s little doubt that Pro Evolution Soccer 6 – The Expert Guide is an essential purchase. It’s a complete reference guide to the PlayStation 2, PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game and will help you to get the most out of your game in ways you might not have thought possible. Sure there are various text guides out there on the Internet and quite a few fan forums exist for the PES series but none of what you can find online matches what this guide has to offer. It’s worth mentioning that deaf gamers will have no problems at all with the guide or DVD. Even the interview with Seabass is subtitled. The inclusion of the DVD to demonstrate the moves really adds a lot to the experience and makes the guide a more effective learning tool.

Overall Rating 9.5/10 - Simply an excellent guide that's as comprehensive as you could wish for.