PES is on the offensive.
After a couple of lacklustre showings, Konami’s flagship football series hit form again in PES 2017.
It pushed FIFA 17 all the way, even managing to convert some die-hard fans of EA Sports’ offering in the process.
PES 2018 will be another leap forward – here’s what we can expect to see.
Will the game look better than PES 2017?
Yes and no.
PES 2018 will once again be powered by FoxEngine – the same powerhouse behind the recent Metal Gear Solid games.
Whilst PES 2017’s visuals looked great up close, general gameplay lacked detail while crowd animation was incredibly basic.
Expect Konami to address this, improving and tweaking aspects such as lighting, crowd detail and – especially – player model likeness.
Whilst Barcelona players, and those from licensed teams, looked impressive in PES 2017, other well-known players didn’t quite hit the mark.
Animation was sometimes clunky, too – especially during in-game cinematics – so expect this to be smoother this time round.
We’d also expect PES 2018 to capitalise more on the PS4 Pro – with a 4K mode available from the off, and closer visual parity with the PC version.
Xbox 360 and Ps3 versions will feature – and provide a decent experience, given that FoxEngine can scale up and scale down easily.
As was the case last year, it’ll be a much more attractive offer than FIFA 17 on last generation console – which offered a massively parred down experience and didn’t include The Journey.
The last game was plagued with server issues at launch… will Konami fix this?
Yes – and they’ve already gone some way to address the issue in PES 2017.
When last year’s game came out, it sold 40 times fewer copies than FIFA 17 – and many blamed this on dodgy servers.
Games were riddled with online stability issues, lag and frequent game-breaking disconnection errors – knocking consumer confidence.
Konami won’t be making the same mistake twice.
Expect them to invest in higher quality servers and put all efforts into combating lag – with the ability to pick matches based on connection strength returning refined.
Will gameplay still remain the same?
Yes – PES 2017 was praised for its gameplay, with critics praising how responsive and simple it was to pick up and play.
The last game featured an adaptive artificial intelligence (AI), which makes the AI adapt to gameplay styles of each player.
Just like chess, it’ll be able to read your moves before you even make them – making for some thrilling matches.
Expect this to be developed further in PES 2018 – with CPU opponents better guessing your movements and playstyle.
How about tactics? Will there be more depth in PES 2018?
Without a doubt.
The last game featured attacking and defensive philosophies such as the Gegenpress, Tiki-Taka and False 9.
However, it didn’t take long for gamers to master these different techniques and for tedium to set in.
Expect to be able to craft your own tactics in PES 2018 – allowing for truly personal experience.
Will there be more licenced teams?
Hard to say.
The last game included the likes of the likes of Liverpool, Dortmund and Barcelona – but in doing so, absentees became even more noticeable.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to download official kit mods from the PES community.
Yes, it’s a pain, but it won’t change in PES 2018.
On the plus side, Konami have an exclusive partnership with the Brazilian Football Confederation, which gives them full rights to all 20 teams in the Brazilian domestic league.
How about the commentary?
Commentary will be delivered by Peter Drury and Jim Beglin.
PES has never been known for it’s commentary, and this year won’t see that change.
But as per previous incarnations, expect it to be more fluid and organic – with thousands of more lines added.
Who’ll be on the cover?
Without a shadow of doubt it’ll be a Barcelona star – either Lionel Messi, Neymar or Luis Suarez.