Last year’s Pro Evolution Soccer was a return to form for the series but this year’s iteration takes the franchise to all new heights. Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 marks the 16th installment in the long running series and it’s perhaps one of the best football games ever made. From a top level perspective, PES 17 is quite similar to last year’s excellent PES 16 but it’s the minor adjustments and refinements within several sections of the game that make it feel like a remarkable improvement overall.
To begin with, the gameplay feels really smooth, passing seems authentic and taking a shot towards the goal post hasn’t felt better. This is not only down to the “easy to get used to” controls but the smoothness in gameplay can also be attributed to the player’s fantastic animation system and fluidity with which they change their stance and sprint on the field. Unfortunately, the on field action can get spoiled by the referee at times due to his occasional obstruction in the heat of the moment, but other than that PES 17 runs like a dream.
"PES 17 is possibly running on an updated version of the FOX Engine and it seems that the visuals have undergone a slight upgrade compared to its predecessor."
One of the biggest improvements in PES 17 is how adaptive its AI is compared to previous entries. While we are unaware about how the system actually works technically, it seems that AI learns your play patterns and accordingly adjusts the opposing team’s intelligence. For instance, passing may become difficult if you are only passing the ball to the same player over and over again or attacking may become a challenge if you are consistently using the same forward player. The improved AI system also makes its way to goalkeepers who are much more challenging to beat than ever before.
Further improvements include the way in which you can control team tactics on the fly while the match is going on. When used properly, this could result into interesting scenarios while defending or attacking during the match. Corner kick has also been refined by giving the player a number of options depending on your play style whether it be offensive or defensive. myClub has also been updated to include new features in order to possibly bring it in line with FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode. We also played around 7-8 online matches and witnessed extremely minimal lag at times. It must be noted that the game allows you to search for players with a high quality connection so the lag if any can be kept to a bare minimum. However the caveat is that you will be region locked in this scenario.
PES 17 is possibly running on an updated version of the FOX Engine and it seems that the visuals have undergone a slight upgrade compared to its predecessor. Granted some players do like out of place at times but overall the visual quality is pristine. I have already sang praises for the game’s animation system but minute details like player likeness, sweat pouring through their faces and attires and the high image quality go a long way in delivering an authentic football experience. The presentation is superb and it’s a shame that the FOX engine isn’t being utilized outside of the PES and the Metal Gear series. We can only hope that this beast of an engine is being consistently updated and looked after specially given Konami’s somewhat unusual position in the AAA games industry at this point.
"Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 delivers on all fronts. It excels in giving the player an authentic football experience with breathtaking visuals and fluid animations and an almost lag free online play."
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 delivers on all fronts. It excels in giving the player an authentic football experience with breathtaking visuals and fluid animations and an almost lag free online play. Of course, some of the gameplay tweaks and changes may seem more like refinement than an actual revolution but in no way deters down what is a fantastic football experience overall. Honestly, I have no idea how they are going to top this in PES 18 (if Konami intends to make one) and I will be shockingly surprised if they manage to do it.
It will also be interesting to see how PES 17 will compare to the upcoming FIFA 17 given that the latter is introducing an in-depth story mode to the mix. We don’t know how that one will pan out but what we know right now is that PES 17 is the football game you need to be playing. In the end whichever franchise manages to best the other, I guess it’s safe to assume that 2016 will be remembered as the year where PES not only returned to its glory days but also solidified its position as the “King” of football games.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
Fine visuals, Big improvements to AI and on field gameplay mechanics such as passing and attacking.
Some changes are actually refinements rather than new additions. The referee is an annoying obstruction.
PES 17 is a dream come true for any football fan. Its tight gameplay along with fantastic visuals cement its position as one of the finest representation of the "world's most beautiful game.'
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