Pro Evolutions Soccer, the annual soccer franchise from Konami is back for another year with PES 2017. A staple of the PES franchise has been fantastic gameplay that brings the beautiful game to life in the hands of gamers keen to show off their digital soccer skills. PES 2017 takes what has made the franchise a frontrunner of soccer games and manages to take it up another level to once again raise the bar higher for soccer loving gamers across the world.
PES 2017 doesn’t have the backing of full licensing that FIFA is afforded so a lot of the teams are made up in the game. That being said, Konami have done a great job negotiating rights directly with some of the biggest names in Soccer so you’ll find the likes of Liverpool and Barcelona, to name a couple, in there with all of their big name signings.
Following on from that, Konami have gone to great lengths to make this their most realistic Soccer game yet and it shows, especially when it comes to player models. The close up rendering of players like Neymar, Messi and the like are absolutely spot on and as the closest I’ve seen a rendered version of a player look to their real life counter part.
The player models set the scene for what is overall, a very slick presentation. Jump into a game and there are a plethora of angles from which to play. I stick to the standard side on wide view so that I can better feel for the play going on around me. The animations are incredibly fluid and the control scheme is still that fast, responsive style that we’ve come to expect from PES. When you get to the replays, that’s when the visuals really kick up a notch. The close ups look fantastic and the replays have a real TV feel to them. Zoom in tight on the ball and you’ll see how far Konami went with the details as you’re able to see the most minute of details on the ball itself.
When it comes to the core gameplay it is impressive. Gameplay has always been strong in PES but this year the team seem to have managed to find more ways to improve it. The intuitiveness of the controls is spot on. You can complete the fancy moves you’d expect from Pro players but completing those moves is so much more simpler than FIFA. Passing, controlling strategy, in air moves and shooting are responsive to a button press to the point where it is basically instantaneous. My only gripe would be when taking a shot it is a bit too easy to hold the button down too long and overcook the shot.
The computer AI has been given some polish too and it requires a greater level of finesse in order to break it down. I really felt like the game was playing out much more like a live professional match than a game. At times the defenders feel like they are a little too good, able to run down an attacker that they should otherwise struggle to keep up with but upon reflection I feel like that’s a good thing because it adds to the challenge and overall strategy of getting a result that feels like you had to work for it. Going the quick and easy straight up the middle strategy will rarely pay dividends so passing the ball around, going backwards in order to go forwards serves to help break down a defense and set your team up for success. As you break down a defense, through balls are crucial to creating scoring opportunities. Once you get those opportunities though, actually converting them into a goal isn’t as easy as you’d expect thanks to an overhaul of the goalkeeping AI that sees ‘keepers better positioned and much more reactive.
For that true, season style approach to your Soccer, PES 2017’s main mode is Master League. It is here that you can work your way through a full season in the league’s of your choice. There are things like transfer windows included, loan systems and scouting which all sevre to make it feel much more real. This isn’t a full on management soccer game though so it isn’t as in depth as say a Football Manager would be. You can also partake in things like the UEFA Champions League so whilst there isn’t an official FIFA licence attached to the game, there is enough to overcome that an prove that having 100% authentic team names and league’s does not necessarily equate to soccer video game perfection.
A nice aspect of PES 2017 is Live Updates to squads. Whilst a lot of the teams may not carry their official titles, they will at least have the equivalent of their real life roster on hand to play.
Online Play is an essential part of any sports game and of course it’s here in PES 2017. Overall it is a simple but effective system that will you play in the various leagues, cups or just a casual game. You can do so against friends or randoms from across the globe but regardless of how you are playing against the experience is lag free and fluid just like the offline gameplay.
For a while there PES was starting to lag behind FIFA but last year their were real signs of the PES of old returning. This year, PES 2017 takes what made last years addition so good and makes tweaks to the formula to bring the best PES game in years. If you’re a soccer fan than PES 2017 is a must buy.
- Excellent Player Models
- Quality AI
- Realistic Gameplay Style
- Shot Taking can sometimes feel rushed