Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 – game review.
A year ago I praised Pro Evolution Soccer for almost everything, lowering the final score for license shortages and outdated squads. This year’s edition of the Konami mine in this respect is even weaker than twelve months ago. Nevertheless, she deserved a grade higher than the “sixteen”.
This soccer franchise has come a long way under the umbrella of the world’s most hated game publisher. During the days of PSone and PS2, she ruled supreme, after the premiere of PS3 and X360 it fell into a permanent crisis, waking up at the end of the generation. The last two parts, written with the current Sony and Microsoft machines in mind, were a return to the form of former champions, despite traditional problems such as licensing deficiencies or team lineups on the day of release. Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is the next chain in the evolution of the current PES, improving almost everything that the developer has managed to achieve over the past two years.
“Come on, Cuba! Pull it forward now!”
The biggest changes concern the gameplay itself, which is the most important thing in virtual football. There are so many of them that I don’t know where to start. Perhaps, then, from a rival who can learn. In the last two PESs, artificial intelligence knew two things: not to move the sabers on the tanks (i.e. in the skin of Malaga, not to attack Barcelona furiously) and to strangle suckers (as Man. Utd. the first minute). Now it can do much more, slowly learning the player’s behavior. For example, when we often start actions, playing the ball from defenders, the console uses high pressure. If, on the other hand, we play primitive football, limiting ourselves to playing with a further pass to the striker, the opponent’s defenders play deeper, making it difficult for our “nine”. If we try to imitate Kamil Grosicki by regularly jerking his wings, the opposing team doubles the coverage in the side sectors of the field. The opponent playing this way means that we have to be flexible and develop the ability to adapt to the situation on the pitch – Josep Guardiola is unlikely to have fun with this title. As if in “rematch” we were given more options in terms of tactics, incl. by ordering the attackers to press the stoppers that play the ball slowly, or to put the “bus” up quickly when you need to defend the result in the ending. There are many possibilities.
It has been implemented systemically, but it also works the other way around, even when we play with a friend on the couch. When we play matches in Versus mode (a leg of a classic friendly match), the console analyzes the way our friend plays (in which zone he is playing, how much time he has the ball, etc.), so after a few competitions we have a real preview of the friend’s style of play. Regardless of whether we like to play with the ball, or in our opinion football is about keeping a clean sheet on the side of losses, in Pro Evo 2017 the game is better than ever. We have definitely more options to play the ball, both in the conduct of the game and after the interception. This system makes PES even more skillful, and the effect is that seeing some of the games of good players, Xabi Alonso would not like to get up from Bayern’s substitutes, and Xavi Hernandez would not leave warm Qatar. In the review of last year’s part, I praised the work of the goalkeepers too hastily – after playing more matches, it turned out that the goalkeepers could not cope. In the 2017 version, progress has also been made in this field. Gentlemen wearing gloves correctly interpret the shots in three categories (on the ground, at shoulder height, overhead) and can show off an effective parade. They also read the game better on set fragments, but they can still “spit out” the ball they should catch. What’s more, they always bounce to the side in cars, which sometimes looks unnatural.
“I think it’s worth mentioning the winning squad of Kaiserslautern against Bayern in the 97/98 season.”
Referees try not to disturb, often giving one side the advantage, sometimes even asking for a card for the foul. In one of the games I deliberately attacked my rivals from behind to “test” the referee, but the referee was stubbornly offering me yellow cards. During the competition in European leagues, I noticed a surprisingly large number of black referees, but I decided to refrain from commenting on this issue. As for the available attractions, apart from the aforementioned Versus, no completely new game modes have been added, but the available number is more than satisfactory, and most of them have been polished. MyClub, the PES version of Ultimate Team from the FIFA series, uses the same system as in Versus, so we can analyze the style of play of our rivals. Divisions and Become a Legend have changed from cosmetic categories, but it is more interesting in the beloved Master League. Now we have much more possibilities when planning and making transfers, especially since the system takes into account six-month loans on different terms, and the players have become somewhat less demanding. Accountants assign us a specific budget for transfer movements, so we should act with caution on the market. The authors promise regular Live Updates, which at the time of writing this review are not yet functional. The system, as before, assumes cyclical updating of the squads, also in offline modes, including club movements from the 2016/17 winter transfer window. I take the developer at his word.
At this point, I’m scratching my head because we’ve come to the topic of composition and licensing. “It was what it was, it is what it is,” I would say. Before the store premiere, only fans of Barcelona, Dortmund, Liverpool and Man could count on the current listings. Utd. (Trading as Man Red) and Arsenal. The pride of Naples continues to be Higuain, the temple of Man. City is guarded by exiled Joe Hart, and PSG’s defense is managed by David Luiz, actually a Chelsea player. May the situation in the next few days (weeks?) Clarify and every fan of the kicked topic, who is up to date with the topic, would not have to smile to himself, improving the developer’s work on his own. And there is something to do. Premiership and Championship (except Man. Utd., Arsenal and Liverpool), La Liga (except Barcelona and Atletico), Liga Sagres (except Benfica and Sporting), Serie B – these competitions are not licensed. Almost all the teams in the Italian Premier League are under their original names, except for one – Juventus. The “Kings” from Madrid are also absent under the name of Real, while the Bundesliga is represented by three teams: Dortmund, Leverkusen and Schalke. Due to Bayern’s agreement with the publisher of the competitive game, PES lacked one of the best teams in the world – the Bavarian Duma. 24 European teams have a license for 34 European teams. There is no Poland in this group, so instead of Robert Lewandowski, a certain G. Stegers scores for us. As a delight – the Champions League, Europa League, European Super Cup, Copa Libertadores and Asian Champions League.
“And leaving! Yes, sir!”
To some extent, the above problem “corrects” the extensive Edit Mode, in this case with full developer and publisher support for fans who do bad work (the whole process has been made much easier for PS4 owners). After all, I’m going to judge the creators, not the fans. The former, unlike the latter, have traditionally failed to rise to the occasion in this important aspect of the game. They improved the broadly understood atmosphere (fans’ reactions to contact situations, exit from the tunnel), but in no case will your roommate confuse the PES 2017 match with a real TV broadcast. There is really a lot to do in this field, as Konami’s ball is even second to the old FIFA World Cup 2010 in terms of the stadium setting. On the plus side, the sensational faces of top players, as well as remodeled menus.
At the end I started to turn my nose, traditionally because of the license deficiencies and the pre-match setting, but I hope that the message of this review is clear – Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is in terms of gameplay the best virtual “leg” I have had the pleasure to play. May the servers and the Live Update system prepared by the manufacturer do not fail, and we will play in the new PES until we drop. Or rather, until September next year …
PS The quotes preceding the following paragraphs were provided by the reliable Tomasz Hajto.