Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 Review – It's a keeper

In life you will often find people’s opinions split right down the middle on certain subjects, with each side defending their opinion passionately. Things like how to make a cup of tea, Apple or Android, Dogs or cats are all great examples. Heck there are even enough people in South-Africa that think those inedible, cheese-covered discs in a giant box from Roman’s are Pizzas.

FIFA or PES has become one of those types of arguments. The reality is that if you enjoy FIFA there is not much PES can do to change your mind. Konami just need to make sure they are at the top of their game when EA slips up or when someone is brave enough to take the plunge and discover something else. If that year was 2017 would the new PES be good enough to make those who try it for the first time change their mind?

Gameplay has always been the cornerstone of Pro Evo’s success, and over the past few years that has been no different. Konami has slowly been coming to terms with the Fox Engine and have improved year-on-year since it released. What they have managed to do with the engine this year, has in my opinion, resulted in the best football experience I have ever had in a digital football game.

The beautiful game is a sport filled with many micro battles. Can the quick attacker turn the strong defender? Can the playmaker thread an eye of the needle pass through a tight defence? Can the defender use his body and anticipation to outmuscle an attacker? Can the goal keeper get his finger tips to a perfectly struck free kick? I’m happy to say that all of these little battles play out extremely well in PES 2017. The major change that makes all of these very different battles play out is the new collision system in the Fox Engine.

The ball feels like a completely separate entity to the players, it never seemed to be sucked on to a player because they were near the ball. This makes the tackle area scrappier, much like it is in real life. This enables stronger players to be able to effectively use their strength to shield balls or to ease other players off the ball – and also make executing a perfectly timed tackle much more rewarding. I know what you are thinking, “Great now everyone will just fill their team with the strongest players because they are unstoppable!” Thankfully I can say this is not the case, the fluidity, 360 degree range of movement and new first touch system provides all the tools to be able to get around a defender or find some space to execute the perfect pass.

The passing is once again crisp, and the ball physics have been improved particularly when completing aerial cross field balls. You still get the option to change what type of through balls you would like: from assisted settings to fully manual passing.

After creating all that space and getting past opposition players we move into the business end of the pitch: time for some goal mouth action. Konami have definitively worked on the shooting, and shots on goal definitely seem more realistic than before. The collision system also plays a part here. Trying to get off a perfect shot while under pressure from opposition is a rare event, making finding space and putting a bulge in the old onion bag all the more rewarding.

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