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Pro Evolution Soccer 6 PSP

Published by Konami
Developed by Konami
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

Over the years I’ve never played a great deal of handheld football games and those I have played have felt rather simplistic and when you consider the handhelds I’ve played these games on, such as the Game Boy and the Game Boy Advance, it’s fair to say that the developers have been extremely limited by the capabilities of the hardware. Nowadays the latest handheld consoles are much more powerful and it’s easier for developers to deliver a more comprehensive football game. This year we’re fortunate to get our hands on the PSP version of Pro Evolution Soccer 6 and for a handheld football game it’s really impressive.

Pro Evolution Soccer first appeared on the PSP last year and whilst it was generally well received, it was disappointing for having extremely long load times and not having a Master League mode. Pro Evolution Soccer 6 certainly doesn’t feel like a cut-down version though. The modes on offer are Match, Master League, League, Cup, Training, Edit and Wireless. Without a doubt the highlight here is the Master League mode as it guarantees you’ll be playing the game until next year’s version is released. The Wireless mode supports ad hoc play only, which is a little disappointing as it would have been great to play online but it’s still a feature worth having in case you do have friends who own a PSP and a copy of the game.

I have to admit I had my reservations about the PSP version of PES 6. With the lack of a right analogue stick and two fewer shoulder buttons I thought the feel of the game might have been compromised. Naturally it does feel a little different but the control scheme does feel comfortable and on the whole it works very nicely. You have a choice of six leagues with the French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, English and an International league being included. Of the included national leagues only the English league is unlicensed. The Master League mode is feature complete and just as satisfying as in the PlayStation 2 version. Likewise the Edit mode allows you to make all of the changes you want to and you can also exchange Edit data between the PlayStation 2 and PSP version, so if you’ve already made the modifications you desire on the PlayStation 2 version you can simply import them to the PSP version, which is excellent.

Being able to play one of the finest football games ever created whilst you are on your travels (or sitting in bed) is great but there are some areas where the game disappoints. The loading times are on the long side, although from what I understand they are an improvement on last year’s version. There are a few modes missing from the PlayStation 2 version. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the game is that you can’t transfer your Master League data to and from the PlayStation 2 version. We’ve seen a few PlayStation 2 and PSP games that allow gamers to exchange their progress to and from each version and it makes for a nice experience as you can continue your progress when away from home (or when you can’t gain access to the TV).

Graphically PES 6 looks very good on the PSP. It’s not the quality of the visuals or the fact that the game looks great on a widescreen display that impressed me the most. What was great to see was the quality of the player animations, which are just as life-like as they are in the PlayStation 2 version. To see such animations in a handheld game is stunning. Of course playing the game on a widescreen display is very nice and allows you to have a spacious view of the pitch at all times. The frame rate is also worthy of a mention because for the most part it’s extremely smooth and easily on a par with the PlayStation 2 version.

PES 6 is fine for deaf gamers with the match commentary being the only information that isn’t shown in text. This is less of a problem than in the PlayStation 2 version as the amount of commentary has been drastically reduced. In fact there is only a small amount of commentary when a goal is scored and that’s all, so it’s not really an issue.

Without a doubt Pro Evolution Soccer 6 is the best handheld football game you can currently purchase. The game does have room for improvement and it would have been nice to play online as well as exchange Master League saved games between the PlayStation 2 and PSP versions but even so it’s still impressive. PSP gamers who are looking for a great portable football game don’t need to look any further than Pro Evolution Soccer 6.

Overall Game Rating 8.9/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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The best handheld football game ever made and it makes good use of the PSP's limited controls (when compared to the PlayStation 2 controller). Maybe next year we'll have online play and be able to exchange Master League data with the PlayStation 2 version.