A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn the rules of professional soccer, codes of conduct on the pitch, and how to follow the rules. Kids also can learn about working as a team and trying to achieve a common goal. The diversity of teams from so many countries could raise curiosity about other cultures.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 steps away from the series' arcade roots and focuses more on true simulation. It will foster a love of the sport and does not contain any objectionable content.
Positive Role Models
The characters in the game are based on (and look like) real players. Some of those players are good role models in real life, and others are not.
Ease of Play
This is not a pick-up-and-play game. There are a lot of moves to learn, and they're difficult to master -- even on the game's easier settings. Frame-rate issues and some artificial intelligence (AI) shortcomings add to the frustation, making this a game best-suited for experienced players rather than for newcomers.
Products & Purchases
Increasing the realism of the game, branding is prominently displayed on uniforms, stadium billboards, and other areas. This can range from websites for teams to banners for Nike, Adidas, and more. It's relegated to the background, but it's still a noticeable part of the game.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 is a soccer simulation game that may lack inappropriate content but still may not be suitable for younger players. The difficulty curve is steep, which could result in frustration. Also, several prominent retail brands and team websites are shown throughout the game. Online play features an unsupervised chat feature, which could result in kids hearing objectionable language, learning poor sportsmanship, and being asked inappropriate questions by strangers.
Is It Any Good?
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 gets a lot of the little things right -- nearly perfect, in fact -- but it falls a bit short in the big picture. It is, hands down, the best-looking game in the series, thanks to a new graphics engine. Also, the crowd seems more into the action than ever before. But when it comes to controlling your characters on the pitch, things are off. The ball doesn't always go where it should, thanks to the game's artificial intelligence, and dribbling can be a challenge.
It's frustrations like this that make the game less than ideal for beginning players. Even experienced ones will grow irritated from time to time. However, the online chat function should convince parents to keep kids away; it's unmoderated and often full of harsh language. Overall, the game is fun but not as fun as it should be, perhaps because it can't fully give up its arcade roots. Still, there's an argument to be made that it shouldn't do so, since some of the best moments in its history are ones that weren't quite grounded in reality.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.