PES 2018 has its work cut out if it’s to beat FIFA this year – but if anyone can do it, Konami can.
Despite critical acclaim, PES 2017 couldn’t keep up with FIFA 17’s sales.
While EA Sports’ footballer sold 1.1 million copies in its first week in the UK, PES couldn’t manage more than 50,000.
Konami will want to turn things around fast.
We go through some key changes needed to give PES 2018 a fighting chance against FIFA 18.
OutFox FIFA on visuals
PES 2017 may not have Frostbite powering it, but it still looks stunning in motion.
This is thanks to Fox Engine, the same powerhouse behind the recent Metal Gear Solid games.
However, Fox is capable of so much more than what gamers experienced in PES 2017.
Lighting was flat and lifeless compared with FIFA, while player models ranged from the hyper-realistic to the comically bad.
Fox Engine can provide stunningly realistic movement, perhaps more so than Frostbite’s slightly ‘robotic’ animation (the latter often revealing its shortcomings during replays and celebrations).
Thankfully, Konami has totally overhauled player animation in PES 2018, making movements much closer to real life.
Plan the attack
The last game featured attacking and defensive philosophies such as the Gegenpress, Tiki-Taka and False 9.
However, it didn’t take long to master these and for tedium to set in.
PES 2018 promises even more tactical freedom – allowing for a truly personal experience.
Protect and server
One of the major negatives to come out of PES 2017 was the servers – with thousands struggling to find a game from the off.
Konami must boost server quality as well as refine matchmaking to allow lag-free online gaming.
FIFA is far from perfect, and is often criticised for speed-up lag and input delay when played online.
If Konami can improve their online offering, PES 2018 will win back some players.
However, none of this really matters if there are no compelling online modes.
FIFA Ultimate Team is by far the most popular part of EA’s game – offering depth and bags of replayability.
The PES Become a Legend mode was practically unchanged from the 2016 version, while the Master League and MyClub modes just had minor tweaks.
Thankfully, PES 2018 will go way to put this right.
Full 11-Vs-11 online options are joined by a co-operative 2-Vs-2 and 3-Vs-3 modes with support for local guests.
The ‘Random Selection’ match also returns with all-new content, while the Master League implements pre-season tournaments, a new transfer system and pre-match interviews.
Sadly, Konami confirmed a Nintendo Switch version will not be happening this year – which gives FIFA 18 a big advantage.
Speaking to Eurogamer, PES global product and brand manager Adam Bhatti, said: “The fact is, we’ve announced all the platforms that PES 2018 is coming to.
“But as I’ve been saying to a lot of people, we have a great relationship with Nintendo – we’ve obviously brought out Bomberman which has done fantastic for the Switch. So as a company it’s a platform that we’re looking at, for sure.
“So for PES it’s just – we never want to say no, we never want to close the door. Let’s see how it goes. Personally speaking, I love the machine. We think it’s definitely performed amazingly well. And we really hope that it continues to do very well.”
Voice of reason
PES has never been known for its commentary, which could be an easy way to claw back some points.
Peter Drury and Jim Beglin will be returning this year, but we’d like to see the pair deliver lines in a more organic way.
Konami confirmed thousands more lines of commentary will be added, so there should be a noticeable improvement.
Game of Champions
Konami’s title only has a handful of licensed teams – but they do have the Champions and Europa League licenses.
Expect PES to continue to exploit these – with bags more detail during pre-match / post-match build up.
Konami also has an exclusive partnership with the Brazilian Football Confederation, which gives them full rights to all 20 teams in the Brazilian domestic league.
Plus, it’s never been easier to download Option Files from other players that include all the official kits created by the community with File Sharing.
Keep gameplay the same
While FIFA is slow and considered with an emphasis on build-up play, PES is fast-paced and frenetic.
Konami’s effort best captures the beautiful game – through crisp passing, responsive shooting and simple, rewarding set pieces.
PES 2018 will see this facets refined even further with Real Touch+ increasing the ways your player can take control of the ball.
There’s also ‘contextual shielding’ to help hold the ball up.
So, who’s the cover star?
Luis Suárez will grace the cover of PES 2018 – not Lionel Messi, as many would have expected.
But Messi fans shouldn’t be too disappointed.
The Argentine, 30, will feature on a more expensive ‘Legendary edition’ of the game – along with Neymar, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Roberto.
“I’m a big fan of PES, so it’s a real honour for me to be on this year’s cover,” said Suárez.
“Every year this game gets better and better and the work put into making PES 2018 really shows. I can’t believe how real, and lifelike I look in this year’s game. It’s simply amazing.”
The 30-year-old heads up PES 2018 after scoring more than 100 goals for Barcelona, helping the club secure a spot in the upcoming UEFA Champions League competition.
“Luis Suárez is to us the best and most complete striker in the world with a history that speaks for itself – we expect to see him break top scoring records in the upcoming season,” said Konami’s Jonas Lygaard.
“We’re really excited to be working with him and have invested a lot of resources to properly recreate his skills and movements in PES 2018.
“We’re going to debut a new build of the game at this year’s Gamescom and can’t wait for gamers to get a chance to see a new benchmark of gameplay and the realism of Suarez!”
<img class=”size-thesun-article-image wp-image-244401″ src=”https://www.dreamteamfc.com/c/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/06/a.jpg?strip=all&w=960″ alt=”” width=”960″ height=”540″ /> PES 2018 promises more insights into life behind the scenes
PES 2018 will be released on September 14<sup>th</sup> for PS 4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Notably, there will be no Nintendo Switch version this year.
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