So, it's finally sunk in that the World Cup is over. No more footy for a few weeks now - until the Premier League starts up again, and hopefully by then Man United will actually have got some new players and offloaded some of the shite that 'helped' us not even attempt to mount a challenge last season. But allow me to get down off this soap box. You're here to chat Dreamcast - I'm here to chat footy. Let's combine the two!:
It has, as regular Junkyard visitors will know, been well documented that the Dreamcast never really played host to a ball-breaking football game. If you like your racing games, fighting games or pretty much any other type of game (even bus driving, fishing, dancing like a fool or playing Soul Calibur with a pseudo-sword), you can't go wrong with a Dreamcast. But if you're like me and eat, sleep and drink football - well, better get the Xbox out for a bit of computerised footy fun. Or so I thought until recently...
Before you spit your cornflakes/vodka/donner kebab (or whatever else you may be having for breakfast) all over your lovely flat screen monitor - no, there isn't a new DC football game out. However, I'd like to re-visit a previously lambasted Dreamcast-based effort and explain why, on re-inspection it appears to better a title that many regard as the finest video representation of the beautiful game ever created: Ladies and Gentlemen - I'm putting my reputation on the line here by stating loud and clear that UEFA Dream Soccer is actually a better game than Pro Evolution Soccer 5...
Ok. So Pro Evo Soccer. For years it has been the pinnacle of all things footy related on the consoles. Fifa is wank - we all know that, but with Pro Evo 5 Konami have tinkered with the mechanics of their game engine to such a degree that is has virtually destroyed the whole experience and has allowed arguably the Dreamcast's best kickabout to sneak in and put one in under the 'keeper.
Evidence, Your Honour:
In Pro Evo 5, the ball moves at such a pace that the ball rarely gets to it's destination without being intercepted. This is what Konami deam 'realistic.' If you are playing as Leigh RMI, then this is acceptable - but as Chelsea or Man United? Erm...
In UEFA Dream Soccer (henceforth to be known as UDC simply to save my keyboard from wearing out), passing is crisp, fast and generally there are no problems.
Pro Evo's throughball used to be one of the best features in it's FIFA-smashing arsenal. In any of the other Pro Evos, a well timed throughball (of the grounded or lofted variety) can split a defence wide open. In Pro Evo 5, it is virtually useless as players inevitably get in the way or are muscled off the ball by the opposition. Realistic, yes - but also infuriating to the point of joypad/floor correlation.
The throughball system in UDC isn't as effective as in the Pro Evos 1 through 4, but it's a damn sight better than 5's - and it actually releases players for a break away.
One of the worst aspects of the new 'hyper realistic' Pro Evo 5 - no matter who you play as, even if you manage to play your best strikers in, shots generally fly miles wide or over the bar. THIS ISNT PRO EVO!!! It's a fucking mess! Granted, if you're playing an Italian league match, these things should be accepted - but Steven Gerrard blasting wide from 20 yards? It ain't right, Guv.
UFC's shooting is spot on, however. Shots have pace, venom and you can curl the ball. Fair enough, sometimes there is a little glitch that makes it look as if the player is facing the wrong way (!), but when you have a crack at goal - you know its going to actually go near the goal..not default to row Z.
The worst part about Pro Evo 5. It is simply impossible to perform a block tackle without getting penalised, and if you dare attempt to slide - instant yellow card, my friend. Even worse, computer controlled team mates will also automatically throw challenges in and win free-kicks for the opposition even though you weren't even controlling them!!!
UDC on the other hand does things slightly better. It does feel as though the players are actually ice skating rather than running at times, but at least you can block tackle without a freakin' whistle being blown, and when you slide you generally end up with possesion rather than having the ball ping out of play, True Pinball stylee.
Some games take the fun out of playing because it's too hard to score. NHL 2K is one - Pro Evo 5 is another. To be fair, scoring difficulties are mainly down to the ineptitude of the strikers as a whole, but even when you go clean through (very rare considering all of the defenders have the running ability of Billy Whiz) - beating the keeper is nigh on impossible. It's good to have competent 'keepers in a game (who can forget the 15-14 scorelines from Fifa '97?), but Pro Evo's are just too good.
UDC's goalies are a bit on the soft side, but they do generally have the goal area covered. When you shoot though, or cross the ball, at least you know you've got a fighting chance of scoring. Sometimes the ball is saved...sometimes it goes in...what's wrong with that?!
Before any big mouth leaves a comment along the lines of "you must be shit at Pro Evo 5 to hate it so much.." no - I am not. I am a self promoting demon at Pro Evo 1, 2, 3 & 4 and can also kick ass on any of the other versions of Pro Evo/ISS - and also on a real football pitch, out there in the sun (go on, have a look! The real world does exist!) - but Pro Evo 5 is an abomination...and UEFA Dream Soccer is simply more fun, better looking and better to play; which leads to the conclusion that the Dreamcast does actually have a decent football game afterall.
UEFA Dream Soccer - not as bad as it sounds. Check it out after you've smashed up your copy of Pro Evo 5 and posted it back to Konami in an envelope padded with pubes and razor blades.