A new season is upon us gamers and that means we have some digital football to play! With that we’re going to get the inevitable derby match that sees PES taking on FIFA. It’s the former taking to the pitch first for our official PES 2017 review.

Showing my age, that might switch to good old “Pro Evo” a few times as we go ahead with this.

But whatever you want to call it, Konami’s latest football sim is following up on arguably the best game in the series last year. This brings a added pressure to show the progression without taking away the great work already done.

Here in this review we’ll look at all the elements of the game that take the gameplay to extreme levels of quality and balance. And how this year Konami have made easily the best PES ever.

But there are those same limitations holding it back that will always see the game struggle in the eyes of some, particularly lovers of the English Premier League.

Look and Feel – Foxy Engine

This fact is about to make many of you turn against me in an instant! I’m a Liverpool fan, sorry Chelsea supporters.

This being said, I was utterly overjoyed to find that LFC were going to be the Premier League team that was officially licenced. I also love some Spanish football too and that is where the heart of the game really lies, particularly in its presentation.

Right away the FC Barcelona support is everywhere to see with the Camp Nou front and centre.  The amazing (and often peckish) Luis Suarez the focus along with Neymar and Messi are all there, amazingly rendered. Not a bad frontline to represent the game!

pes 2017 review barcaBut the best thing about the graphics and presentation of PES 2017 is the attention to detail. The faces on the licenced players are hauntingly realistic. Skin tone, facial structure and even (god awful top-knot) hairstyles are rendered perfectly. It’s really something, and you don’t even see it most of the time watching the game from afar. But it really does strike you during the highlights as you play the game, and often stopped me skipping them.

More detail can be found in the animations as you play the game. Little touches are just everywhere and really do make the game feel more real than ever. Players look for each other, both team mates and the opposition as they attempt to keep the ball or play passes. Attackers use their body positions to protect the ball, holding off defenders as they use their physical dominance to get past and put in a crucial tackle.

It all looks great.

With the sleek menu system and cool soundtrack thrown in, this really is one of the best packages around visually.

Gameplay – World Class

At its heart, PES has almost unbeatable core gameplay mechanics, even from the early days of the series. The flow of passing and movement in a game of Pro Evo back in the PlayStation 2 days was revolutionary. And that feeling is still there now, and perfectly balanced.

pes-2017-review-game-1Konami often change emphasis of the games from being more “pass” based or being more dribbles based. With this game being very Barcelona inspired you can see how it focuses on fast, one-touch passing that really puts the focus on good team play and tactics. While allowing for individual player skill to shine too.

Mixing up passes feels more realistic than ever. Often I used to avoid long ball until getting into a crossing position. But here you can switch play from one side to the other with the grace seen in real matches. Through balls are glorious to watch too when it all goes right, but these defenders are no mugs.

Football is not all about attacking. The defence here is really quite sturdy, with more freedom to get your defenders body in the way. Slow down progress of the opposition and, put in some big blocks. Even the goalkeepers in this years edition are really solid.

Make no mistake, the gameplay here is world class.

Game Modes

There are no real changes here from last year more little tweaks here and there that make a big difference. You have got the two competition modes that take you through the Champions League with your chosen team (the only way I enjoy LFC taking part these days). Plus the Copa Libertadores also gives you a flavour of South American football too.

pes 2017 review lfcBecome a Legend is similar and not a mode I personally enjoy but it’s there if you like it, I’m more a Master League person. With the face lift continuing from last year, you’re going to get very addicted to growing your team here.

Online play has been working for a week or so as this was published but I didn’t experience any major annoyances more than you get in other games. They have had their issues with servers before but things seem very stable so far.

An update has also been released with the latest player transfers following the last minute business of the window and adding some new players.

Limitations

I feel bad making a new heading for this one, but it does need to be said that this game is held back once again by its lack of official licensing and quantity of teams & players when compared to its rival FIFA.

And what’s so annoying about saying that is, it’s the only thing that holding it back.

There is nothing else to say against getting PES 2017, it’s one of the best football games ever made once you get playing matches. You can score some amazing goals, see some fantastic animations and even enjoy being a great defender too. Everything about it as a gameplay experience is top class. It’s a real shame people rely on the creation of third party option files and data in order to get a replica of fully licenced teams.

Even the commentary is not that bad this year, although Jim Beglin really needs to cheer up!

It’s a shame that what is clearly an exceptional game to play is going to not be good enough in the eyes of some.

Overall – Running Riot

Quite simply put, this the best football game I have ever played. Everything is top class from its graphical presentation, gameplay that is a joy to experience and addictive game modes. Everything in PES 2017 will keep you coming back for more, and more, and more, AND more.

(Play a while and you’ll know what I’m referencing there.)

You have everything you want out of a football game here. And if you are able to see past the lack of licensing for the EPL then you will be in for some very long nights just playing that one more game. It’s exceptional if not revolutionary to last year’s addition, but the right tweaks and adjustments have been made and I personally feel it’s a must buy.

It’s a shame its lack of official licenses really does continue to hold the game back in the eyes of some gamers but that really doesn’t matter that much when you get playing and scoring some screamers.

About this PES 2017 review

Game Reviewed: PES 2017
Review Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC
PEGI Rating: 7

Games & Series: ,
Developers & Publishers:
Gaming Platform: , ,
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