Note: Since I previewed PES 2018 at gamescom 2017, GameGrin has now reviewed the game and it was certainly put in the right hands of someone who knows the franchise better than me. So now, this my opinion on the game and my time with Konami at gamescom 2017. For the full review, check it out here.
Let me first begin by saying, that I am awful at football games. And while I have played FIFA and previous PES titles around friends and at parties, I’ve never really been interested in them. So, when I arrived at the Konami booth to see the first title of the day, Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, let’s say I wasn’t the most enthusiastic. This wasn’t because it was Konami, the company everyone loves to hate, but actually due to my knowledge of the last couple of PES titles being terribly underwhelming. Regardless, I was open-minded, and I was interested to see just what has improved.
To begin, me along with others, saw a presentation that detailed out the major changes for this year's release. This was very exciting for the Konami rep, as they were eager to explain that this year's release is bigger and better and that they have listened to the feedback from the community.
Carrying on from last years’ entry, PES 2018 builds upon the impressive FOX Engine to craft a more immersive experience. The game has received an overhaul of both gameplay and presentation. This began with the improvements made to the gameplay, the team at Konami have focused on finely tuning and refining the gameplay with the Real Touch+ controls, which enhances the authenticity of the sport, with realistic player speed and control of the ball. Strategic Dribbling was also another focus, which further advanced how players can contextually protect the ball.
The visuals had also received an improvement thanks to Konami’s Real Capture technology. This recreates authenticate, true-to-life stadiums, crowds, and lighting right down to the fine details. I certainly was most impressed by this thanks to the FOX Engine. And on top of this, the player animations and body features have also received a realistic overhaul — including advanced facial scanning of players from partnered teams.
When it came to online and local play, PES 2018 supports 2v2 and 3v3 online co-op, as well as a new dedicated game mode which includes support for local guests. Which I’m pretty sure was a first for a major football series having 3v3 local and online play. This also ties-in with the myClub and PES League features as well. Lastly, one thing that was promised for sure, the PC release of PES 2018 will be the superior release. This time round, it’s built off the PlayStation 4 version and will offer more visual fidelity similar to the PC release of Metal Gear Solid V.
How does it tie together and play then? Well, my skills at the beautiful game were atrocious. Scoring a terrible 2 - 0, I was awful, still a good laugh though. Overall, it’s not my type of game, but I know that fans of the previous entries will be pleased about this next entry.
Despite these improvements, however, Pro Evolution Soccer is still a franchise which will be overshadowed by EA’s FIFA series, which has bigger production values, more sponsors and of course, team licenses. Nonetheless, it’s a competitive market and there are certainly fans out there who enjoy both, so why not more to the people?