More than just a name, evolution is at the core of Konami's sublime football series. With each iteration, Pro Evolution Soccer's mastermind, Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka, has resisted the urge to overhaul the game's core mechanic in favour of considered tweaks, ensuring PES not only adapts to the wishes of players, it reflects a beautiful sport that is constantly evolving.
It is this labour of love that has made Pro Evo one of the greatest virtual substitutes to pulling on a pair of boots.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 on PSP upholds this tradition. Those familiar with the series will feel immediately at home, spraying passes and leaving full-backs for dead with the slightest drop of a shoulder. And before long, you realise that it's the smartest instalment yet.
A brand new Artificial Intelligence system ensures that teammates and opponents make better runs, always looking to exploit space and draw defenders away from danger zones. Teamvision - a new feature - works in the background, learning each individual's style of play and adjusting the opposition's tactical approach accordingly.
As a result, matches are more considered affairs as you can no longer punt the ball to a strong forward, play a quick one-two and expect to be clean through every time.
Equally impressive is how much content has been squeezed onto the PSP system. The game looks brilliant; player animations are spot on, even managing to capture subtleties such as the tip-toe dribbling of Cristiano Ronaldo. And everything runs as smoothly as Thierry Henry in 2004.
Familiar game modes are back, including the Master League, for which you'll need skill in the transfer market as well as on the pitch if you want to lift a trophy at the end of the season. You choose between real-life squads - which are completely up-to-date - or, if you fancy a real challenge, you can start with fictional players and turn them into world beaters. You can even import yourself and your friends, thanks to the incredibly detailed player creation tool.
World Tour mode makes its debut in PES 2008. You select a team and embark on a tour of the Continents, completing 100 challenges of increasing difficulty, such as beating South Africa without straying offside, or scoring with a substitute against Trinidad and Tobago. This mode is perfectly suited to handheld gaming, if you just want a quick game while you're waiting for the bus.
You can even transfer Master League and World Tour data between PlayStation 2 and PSP, meaning your season doesn't have to end whenever you leave the house.
Combine these game modes with the excellent Artificial Intelligence and you have a stunning single player experience that has lost nothing in its translation to PSP.
But multiplayer has always been Pro Evo's defining feature - there's nothing like hitting a last minute screamer and seeing your opponent turn away in disgust. Happily, the game supports Wireless Ad Hoc Mode, so you can take on your friends in public as well as in private.
Football isn't a hobby, it's a limb. And with Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 for PSP, it need never leave your side. This is one for the real fans.