Last year when we reviewed PES 2016, we couldn’t stop raving about it, especially the detailed description of the players. So naturally our expectations were soaring high with the 2017 edition. Now Konami’s Achilles heel has been and continues to be getting licensing rights for all major football clubs, but this year they have managed to get some new teams onboard like Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. A little cheer for PES, but the reality is that EA Sports’ Fifa continues to hold the monopoly when it comes having the licensing rights of major clubs. Therefore, in the PES, the Manchester clubs are named as Man Blue and Man Red, while the world’s biggest club, Real Madrid, is called MD White.
PES franchise has always been more focused on playing football rather than story modes, online multiply player options or other snazzy features, and the 2017 edition continues to keep the DNA intact. After playing a couple of games, we realised that the artificial intelligence (AI), of both the opponent and your teammates, is more active and actually seems to use a brain. It is quite heartening, especially for a die-hard football fan like yours truly, to see your team mate actually making a run in the side lines so that your pass doesn’t go for a waste. This also makes the game more interactive, as this lets you create clever passes that would make Andres Iniesta proud. Konami has also made defensive players a lot tougher to break through as they anticipate your move and at the same time cut down the shooting angle. Sure, its frustrating to score now, but once you do, you actually feel like running around the living room celebrating the moment. To make matters tougher, the goal keepers are a lot more involved in the game and are difficult to beat. So if you have David de Gea, your goalie will have fast reflexes and be extremely agile. But a word of caution, if you opt for Manuel Neuer then don’t be surprised to see him run outside the box and double up as a sweeper. No matter how much you would like to keep him in front of the goal posts, the German international will stick to his instincts.
PES continues to customise players and teams according to their strengths and weaknesses. For Neymar fans, the Brazilian superstar will not only bamboozle the defence with the trickery of his foot work, but he will also celebrate his goal in his trademark style by taking his jersey off. PES has successfully added realistic tackles and if the referee penalises the allegedly guilty player, his teammates surround the referee and plea his case. It’s quite comical and chaotic as it is in real life.
Coming to PES’ weakness, it’s still pretty thin when it comes to online modes and multiplayer matches. The game frequently disconnects and the lag makes things even worse as your strategy goes out of the window.
Looking at PES 2017 from the gameplay angle, it’s certainly the best in the business. The game keeps you involved as a player with realistic passes, goal attempts, hard tackles and a challenging defense. The commentary has also improved with voices from Peter Drury and Jim Beglin, but again, it does feel quite repetitive. The lack of original club names can be a drawback, but once you’re on the football field you will forget whether London FC should be Chelsea FC. Konami has managed to improve the game without complicating the control commands, therefore, the PES 2017 is a must buy.