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Review - Pro Evolution Soccer 2018

Thursday 5th October 2017
It is that time of year again when the two giants of football video gaming go head-to-head, but three weeks after Pro Evolution Soccer 2018's release or (PES as it's known by fans), how is the game shaping up?

10 years ago PES was the purist's football video game, for me and many others it was the most anticipated game each year. However, as the game declined I have joined the FIFA fanbase where I have stayed ever since.

However, after playing the PES beta and demo earlier this year, I found myself tempted enough to buy the game upon its release with the hope that it had returned to its glory days. In fact, this is a game that last year received very good reviews and many have considered it to be the superior football title on the market in 2017.

Gameplay



Having not played the full game for such a long time, jumping straight back in it felt like home, passing is slick, whilst dribbling is smooth.

One of the downsides of Pro Evolution Soccer is that unlike FIFA it does not have the licenses for official teams, meaning they mostly have different names and very basic kit designs. However, in a weird way, it felt like home being back playing Man Red against Madrid White and for those players that it does bother with there are plenty of option files available for download with the correct kits in the game.
It has taken a lot of play over the first few weeks to pick up on the finer points, but I can see myself improving game on game, which is an excellent learning curve for players who are wanting to get better.

With deflections and set plays, there is a random element which adds to the realism of the game without it becoming too much like an arcade game.

The new collisions and tackles are a good touch, but at times the ball runs away with the attacking player seemingly froze for a second meaning you are guaranteed to lose the ball.

Modes available



The modes for the majority match up with those of its greatest rival with plenty of options regardless of if you are playing on or offline.

Offline you have the options to play through various real competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League, as well as the new random match selection which works very well and if you have a few friends round will have an endless lifespan.

The staple Master League has its place as the main offline mode and more than holds its own. Personally for me with the quality of the gameplay days can still be lost in this mode, over a decade after I did the same on PES5 and PES6.

However, the Become a Legend mode leaves a lot to be desired and despite getting a fair way into it, I really struggled for motivation to persist.
Online there are a lot of similarities with the gameplay modes available from FIFA, My Team is the rival of Ultimate Team and while overall, I prefer the later the random chances of getting a player with percentages works so well and is a very good feature to the mode.

A downside online though is there always feels to be a slight delay after pressing your button, which given how challenges now work can be infuriating.

Particularly online I have found that the slight delay when trying to pass out from defence can make the difference in a game, with the defender being too slow given the ball away and leading to an easy goal for the opponent.

Numbers online too are a concern, even on the opening weekend, I found myself having to wait a few minutes to be matched up with somebody else.

Overall



Despite the lag elements, it is a cracking game and if people are wanting a change from FIFA it certainly provides it.

For Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 anyway, it depends on what you want to do with the game. Offline, fantastic, online if it works fantastic, if not it may not be for you.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 is available now on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC
Simon Hahn

Lifelong sufferer following Darlington FC from League Two to the Northern League. Freelance Sports and data journalist. Living for 3pm on Saturday.


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