PES 2017 | Game Review

This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 41 January 2017.

Every year, virtual football fans get at least two options to strut their skills on the virtual pitch, and every year, the Pro Evolution Soccer series seems to place second to the FIFA franchise. This year however, the choice is a lot more difficult.

When it comes to the most important part of a game – the gameplay – PES 2017 is a real winner. If you enjoy your pace a little faster than recent FIFA titles, then this is the game for you. Thanks to the game’s animations, the passing feels satisfying and fluid. On attack, the passing can decimate an opponent’s defence but does require you to not become over ambitious or clever. Skill moves are (rightly) more difficult to achieve so a considered passing attack is key.

If the passing culminates in a goal, the sense of satisfaction is unrivalled while the bitter disappointment of not succeeding will drive you forward again. In defence, the game is equally adept. Tackling feels a little more forgiving than in FIFA but you still need to put in the hard work to snatch the ball from your opponent.

While the gameplay is on point with PES 2017, it does feature a number of deal breakers for some fans of football. There are very few officially licensed teams, kits, stadiums and leagues. Fans of Manchester United will need to make do with Man Red, while a few fans will be happy to see Liverpool and Barcelona make official appearances. The unofficial teams have been an issue with the series for a lifetime now but those with patience can go and manually edit them or download community versions.

Where the game really does fall down is in presentation, graphics and commentary, and this is where FIFA 17 climbs head and shoulders above PES 2017. While the latter has made clear strides in improving its menus, it still feels clunky and slightly confusing. Graphically, the game looks a little underwhelming. Some of the characters are beautifully animated, but if Konami really wants to take control away from EA and FIFA, they will need to work on the series’ graphics. The official blurb talks about more “natural” sounding and fluid commentary, and while this is by-and-large true, it does repeat a little too frequently.

PES 2017 offers the usual array of match types and tournaments including comprehensive player and manager career modes, along with online multiplayer and MyClub which is essentially FIFA Ultimate Team for PES 2017. Any football game should be measured on how it is playing another human opponent and in a live one versus one environment PES 2017 wins again.

With PES 20017, Konami is making a clear play to win over football fans with realistic and rewarding gameplay that sets their stall for the future. What you have with PES 2017 is (unexpectedly) the best entry to the franchise yet but it might still only (just) be the second best football game of 2016. It probably just depends on what you demand from your virtual football game.

Score: 8/10
Available for: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC
Distributed by: Ster Kinekor and available at all retailers of games

About Zombie Dredd

Wannabe gaming journalist. Wannabe zombie. And sometimes clan leader of OAP. Clint O'Shea when in his human disguise.