Rating : 90/100 Publisher – Konami Reviewed on – PlayStation 4Platforms – PlayStation 4/Xbox One – ₹ 2,999 PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 – ₹ 2,499 PC – ₹ 999
It is that time of the year when you decide which football simulation game occupies you for endless hours. Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 and FIFA 17 are both out and choosing one over the other is the most difficult decision of your life. While EA’s FIFA series overtook Konami’s PES in terms of sales and popularity on PlayStation 3, the latter has clawed its way back on current gen consoles.
While our every review starts with the best things about the game, we start this with the bad. Even though Konami has acquired licensing of Barcelona, Liverpool (Thank God) and Borussia Dortmund, PES 2017 has less licensed teams than the 2016 version. There are no licenses for teams in Spain except Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, while in England only Arsenal and Liverpool are licensed. Juventus fans will also be disappointed as all the other clubs are licensed except the club from Turin. Here is where the bad ends. Two days after we got the game, the PES community released option files which takes care of all emblems, kits and competition logos. After using the option file, PES 2017 gets a new leash of life. Patching the game will take just an hour. We also added Bundesliga to the game with a different option file.From the minute you start playing PES 2017, you realise you have a refined PES 2016 on your hands. The transition from last year’s game to this one is smooth. New features like Precise Pass, Real Touch and Total Team Control are evident in the first game itself. For pro players, Real Touch is a fantastic way to take the ball away from on-rushing defenders. There were many instances where we beat defenders with just a good first touch. Some touches, turns and passes by graceful players like Iniesta, David Silva and Mesut Özil are exquisite. Passing has always been the franchise’s forte and this game takes passing to another level. With Precise Pass, Konami has struck the balance between highly assisted automated passing and manual passing. Moving the ball around is a joy.Along with the regular formations, Konami has added ‘Advanced Instructions’ to the tactical board. Under that feature, you can give your team separate offensive and defensive instructions. Under attacking, you have instructions like Tiki-Taka, attacking fullbacks, False 9 and more. Under defensive, you have tight marking, swarm the box (park the bus Mourinho style), false fullbacks and more. One defensive feature we really liked was gegenpress. It was fun to watch your team hunt down the ball like hungry wolves after they lose it. But we quickly realised that required lot of stamina which left your team vulnerable in the later stages of the game. These advanced tactical additions really bring out the football manager in you. Add to it small tweaks like choosing how you to defend corners. You can man-mark strong headers of the ball or defend zonally as a team. Even as an attacking team, you can choose to attack the 6 yard box or far post. In PES 2017, you can never let your guard down.Other improvements in the game include intelligent AI, better goal keepers and referees and a new replay system. The AI in PES 2017 is the most intelligent AI we have seen in a football game. Firstly, it is difficult to get behind the AI’s defence when you play on ‘Super-star’ level. Even if you manage to score a goal or two, the AI will tighten their defence and find ways to hurt you on the attack. The way this AI adapts to certain situations during a game is highly impressive. If there was one negative aspect about PES 2016, it was the goalkeepers. Beating them with well-placed shots or finesse shots was easy. Try that in PES 2017 and you may probably end up with a compilation of best saves ever seen on a football pitch. These two factors make games in PES 2017 low-scoring ones and that is how it should be. We cherished every goal we scored and that makes PES 2017 a really enjoyable football game. Referees are a lot smarter and we have seen a massive improvements in their decision-making.Konami started using their proprietary FOX engine since PES 2015 and that has made massive visual improvements to the game. Player likeliness is a standout feature in PES 2017. Different weather conditions are highlighted very well. Commentary is an important aspect when watching a real football match on television or playing a simulation game. In PES 2017, that is big let down. Most phrases and statements are repeated and get boring after a while. That is something Konami should revisit next year. Collision system feels a little off in the game and we hope Konami fixes that soon. Different gameplay modes in PES 2017 can keep you glued to your console for hours. Master League is enjoyable, while official Champions League and Europa League tournaments are a must-play. myClub is fun, too.
Any football simulation game is judged on how well it plays on the pitch and Konami has nailed it with PES 2017. PES 2016 was a very good game and this one is a polished version of that. PES players and football tacticians will love the small tactical additions to the game. If really want to play football without stepping on the real pitch, PES 2017 is highly recommended.