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While EA spent a decade or so turning FIFA from a flashy show pony into a proper football sim, Pro Evo ruled the roost. It was simply the dog’s testicles when it came to playability, even if the skinflints at Konami refused to pay to license proper team and player names. Only in Pro Evo could you bang the ball up to old Von Mistelroum (Van Nistelrooy).
Sadly, like Joey Barton with a Betfair account, Pro Evo lost its way. Rumour has it the last couple of versions have been showing signs of a return to form, and now you can find out for yourself – for free – as there’s a limited beta of Pro Evo 2018 available to download for both the Xbox One and PS4.
Pro Evo 2018 online beta
Don’t get too excited. This beta only lasts until the end of July, you can only play as France or Brazil, and the game modes are pretty much limited to online matches against other human opponents, but it’s more than enough to give you a feel for the gameplay.
I played a couple of matches on the Xbox earlier today, and the gameplay is near indistinguishable from FIFA. The only giveaways were that the ‘shoot’ and ‘lob pass’ controls are reversed, leading to me hoofing an absolute sitter into Row F of the Parc de Princes, and that the commentary is provided by Peter Brackley and Jim Beglin. And if someone had come up to you in 1987 and told you that, 30 years later, Jim Beglin would still be starring in computer games, you’d have told your fantasist friend to take it easy on the Tizer.
Switch to Option 2 if you want to have the familiar FIFA controls at your fingertips, and give it a go. It’s certainly made me wonder whether I’ll be stumping up for my annual FIFA subscription this season, or making the big-money transfer back to Pro Evo. It’s even got real names now. I, for one, shall miss Fank de Mole (Frank de Boer).