- Manufacturer: Konami
- Publisher: Konami
- Genre: Sports
- Release Date: 15/9/16
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
- Game Supplied by: Konami
If pure football is the score, then PES 17 is 1-0 ahead
For years many we have had the conscious battle between two top footballing franchises in PES and FIFA. Whilst some hardcore fans would never switch others like myself each year approach it with an open mind, play both to decide which is better and there is my yearly football fix for the year.
This year I have a dilemma, am I bothered by the real names, stadiums, clubs and other wonderful official features, or can exceptional football gameplay win over the officiali in me?
Before I get to that, what does PES 17 offer? I’ll keep it short and sweet with alternate references where needed:
Play match or exhibition – A match where records and stats are kept
Quick match – similar to above but no stats or records are kept.
Online Divisions – Play 10 game seasons and make it to the top flight
Player match lobby – Online games in player set lobbies
Team Player lobby – Join others and play as a team in player set lobbies
UEFA Champions League – Need I say more
UEFA Europa league
AFC Champions League
My Club – Build a team and take on players and the CPU
Master League – On and off the pitch, you’re in control
Become a Legend – It’s all about you, your career and your progression
So plenty to get your teeth stuck into and let’s be honest, there is no way in a week of playing the game anyone has gone through them all, so I won’t be passing comment on anything but become a Legend.
Similar to FIFA’s be a pro, where you control 1 player and progress him to become the ultimate player.
I found myself both in love with this mode and also hating it at the same time.
As the pro you can control elements of your progressions like training skills, position learning and earn experience points as you train and play to progress your stats. The problem is, you don’t actually do any training. Set your bars and skills and leave it, choose a team number, and that’s about it. Nothing really to do but wait for the game to kick off, hit the RB to speed up the play until you get a go and have to earn a place in the team. Essentially as long as you played along with the team’s tactics, had a high percentage of passes, tackles, assists and goals where needed then you will do well. The manager’s trust in you will grow and you will then begin to start games but keep an eye on your condition, it’s easy to want skills first but this can leave you short of stamina when you start full matches.
The problem with the whole thing is it simply feels like you’re along for the ride with little to no control over your career. Of course you can control your on field play but that’s it. I have always enjoyed leveling up, growing the stats and acquiring new skills in any game but in a football game it should be more by now. Do training sessions and level up by your skills, the better you are the faster you level up, surely!
Luckily as an Arsenal fan I am well placed to judge how well the teams play, and in the first game I was watching Coquelin get a red card for a tackle, so I can assure everyone this is as real as it gets! Most of the football play itself is great, it’s different, not the same play each time, I don’t even think I’ve copied a goal yet, they have all been different. The touches are good too.
Fouls and tackles seem more realistic too, again not all the same, and for the most part it’s quite subtle but it feels like you’re watching football not just playing the required way to score a goal we all know works (not to say it won’t come with time).
Now I’m not saying for one minute the passing or decision making is perfect but more often than not it plays well.
I love the set pieces, simple guidance or targets make for higher accuracy and variation, often you find balls end up at the same spot no matter what you do. The nice thing this year is you can control it, I love that, penalties on the other hand seemed quite frankly ridiculous, only 2 out of 10 taken were scored (the computer controlling 9 of the spot kicks). That needs some tweaking sooner rather than later.
Visually the game splits me, on occasions the players are so real looking it’s quite stunning, but other players in the same team, naming no names look like they have a puffer fish stuck in their mouth and have just gone 12 rounds with GGG. Again it’s not awful and if anything on the whole it’s great but lacking in some areas.
Pitches look good, as do the stadiums and surrounding with a real feel of a match as the camera pans the stadium.
The mud appears as the game goes on and the small splash when running or diving on top of each other when celebrating in the puddles never gets old, all adds to a visually pleasing experience.
On the ears you can do what I do and ignore most songs on most games but should you choose to pay attention there are some big name hits on the soundtrack, it might be to your liking it might not but for me the soundtrack does not make the game, just the menu more tolerable.
Commentators lack the dynamic enthusiasm I would expect, perhaps this is just my prefered style but of commentary but for me it was dry and did not enhance the mood of the game. Chants and crowds are there but I for one can’t make out the chants or distinguish the variations in each team.
I can’t deny, that PES for me has taken just a great leap in the quality of play and overall the presentation of the game. Like any title it’s far from perfect with niggles sometimes spoiling the experience, for me that was loading and skipping to get to the game, but a great gameplay experience 90% of the time can keep some happy but is it enough to call this the difference maker between itself and FIFA?
In a word NO, it’s a great game but it’s still some way behind FIFA in terms of the little things and parts that make it a great game to play day after day. I love the gameplay but it’s not enough to keep me this year I’m afraid.