Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer franchise (popularly known as PES) always gets shadowed by the glitz and glamor of EA’s FIFA. And why not, FIFA has always looked great, had the financial backing to get all the official club and league licenses (which PES did not), and was overall a more engaging experience. Having said that, PES has always managed to attract a group of PES loyalists and purists, who’ve always admired the game for its sheer gameplay mechanics. Last year’s PES 2016 was quite a cracker with its fast paced gameplay coupled with much-improved graphics, thanks to the Fox game engine. PES 2017 tries to build upon the improvement of its predecessor, addressing some of the many concerns, at the same time being oblivious to a few.

The saga for the best football simulator carries on. Does the Japanese underdog Konami stand a chance against the might of EA’s FIFA? Let’s find out.

Graphics

Switching to the Fox game engine in 2014 has certainly injected new life in the series. And this year’s PES 2017 is no different. It still looks as lively and vibrant. From the texture of the pitch to lifelike player faces, PES 2017 visuals look fantastic.

Besides, subtle visual elements such as water droplets popping up from the grass or the pitch getting damaged when you slide across further enhances the overall gameplay experience.

GamePlay

Just like last year, PES 2017 sticks to the franchise’s DNA in terms of on-field gameplay mechanics. In essence, it mirrors modern day football with the constant movement of players on-and-off the ball and switching positions. Its a fast-paced fluidic, football simulator that keeps you hooked.

The way players react on and off the ball is so much better, giving you more freedom and control over all aspects of the gameplay. Through passes look fantastic splitting your opponent’s defense, short passes are crisp and sharp, while air passes need to be timed to perfection. The game truly captures the fast and relentless pace of modern day football, and slotting the ball into space feels so surreal.

PES 2017 is not just a combination of some button presses, as it requires you to have genuine footballing sense and vision. The AI is spot-on, defenders maintain their defensive line, while attackers and center forwards make those incisive runs which makes through passes so much fun.

In terms of pure gameplay, PES 2017 is probably the best football simulator out there.

Besides, Konami also has also fixed one of the major flaws I came across in last year’s version. For instance, your defender could give a lofted air pass with pinpoint accuracy from their half, and it would land right at your attacking player’s feet, which for me was quite a bummer and pretty much killed the whole essence of the game. Thankfully, I haven’t come across the same glitch so far in PES 2017.

That said, Konami has always had licensing issues with its PES franchise. And this year’s edition is no different. PES 2017 gets very few official licenses, as EA’s FIFA franchise has been acquiring licenses for all the main European competitions. Despite the fact that all players are there, you just miss that feeling of wearing your favorite club’s jersey. Fans of the PES franchise don’t care about the lack of official licenses as they’re more concerned about gameplay. But for someone who’s new to the franchise, it kills the overall appeal of the game. However, PES 2017 gets official rights for the UEFA Champions League which surprisingly even EA’s FIFA franchise doesn’t have.

Pros:

  • Great gameplay
  • Overhauled AI
  • Excellent graphics
  • Improved UI

Cons:

  • Licensing issues
  • Still the same old commentary

Wrap Up

In terms of pure gameplay, PES 2017 is probably the best football simulator out there. Period. The game delivers where it matters, which is on field gameplay — replicating modern day football at its best. There’s no denying it lacks the glitz and glamor of the FIFA franchise, which has all the official licenses of the main European leagues. But if you can get past that and enjoy the game for what it is — PES 2017 is as close as it gets to real-time football. For those who haven’t, PES 2017 is worth a try!

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Graphics
8
Gampelay
8.5
Presentation
8
UI
7
Features
7
Team roster and licenses
5
Overall
7.5

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