With the recent PES 2018 announcement dropping online with a teaser trailer and a few details about some new additions and improvements from last years game, I share my thoughts on everything that has been shown so far. To read my feelings on what we know so far, scroll down below…
We’ve finally been teased with PES 2018 and from the press release, we’ve been given snippets of where the future of the series is heading and for me personally, its an exciting one. Before I delve into my thoughts on feelings on what we’ve seen and read so far regarding the next instalment into Konami’s football juggernaut, I just want to share my thoughts and feelings of last years iteration in the series that is PES 2017.
I had my issues with PES 2017 as an overall package, but the gist of it regardless of if I hated some aspects within the overall package is that the game is a very good one and just as importantly, its an extremely solid base for Konami to build on for the next game.
Moving on to PES 2018 and starting with THAT teaser trailer. Something struck me almost immediately while viewing it was just how much more realistic it looked compared to last years game thanks to a variety of lighting elements and also much improved and natural looking body types and animations. From a graphical standpoint, it didn’t have the ‘over-saturated’ look that I personally didn’t like from PES 2017 in both daytime matches but mainly the night matches that looked like day matches with the floodlights on. The lighting popped in the very short clip we see and looked how an evening match should look.
PES has always had fantastic body types and generally better than what the competitors have in their game, but the series still needed improvement in this area as some players still looked like they had one too many protein shakes before hitting the gym. One example is Neymar. In PES 2017, he had a slender build but it still needed to be toned down somewhat as it wasn’t perfect. Neymar in the real-world is renowned for having a very slim build and as soon as I see him in the teaser trailer for PES 2018, the huge improvement was evident from the outset and his slender frame had been executed perfectly which says to me that the development team has focused on improving the body types for this years game. The same goes for Suarez as well who’s body type has always been pretty good in PES but from what can be seen in the extremely quick clip of him in the PES 2018 teaser trailer, his bulky frame looks so close to his real-life counterpart, its scary. With so many different body types in world football, the improvement could not only change the game in terms of looks, but also when adding in stats like strength for example. Lets not forget the tattoos that also feature on the Barca players bodies as well which take the realism to another level even further.
PSG players that can be seen in the background seem to give away another new animation and body type improvement as well. Gone is the ‘slouched/slumped over’ animation that has been ripe in the series for as long as I can remember and it seems like the new animations has given the players the ability of having different movement types along with differentiating between a slow walk and a jog for example. It all looks so much more natural and organic and thats huge news for all us animation lovers that want improvements in that department.
One thing that came from the teaser (that I never expected to see) was what was shown in the form of the inside of the tunnel structure at the Camp Nou. When side by side with a real-life photo taken inside the tunnel, the similarities are staggering. Again, like the lighting in the night match between Barcelona and PSG, the lighting within the tunnel section shows just how much craft has gone into creating the tunnel in so much detail. Floor and ceiling lights glow, metal reflecting from the bannisters, the mural on both walls show incredible detail and its all topped off with a glow of lighting from the foreground of the tunnel. Its a small thing within the grand scheme of things, but PES has always been famous for its little details and they’ve done it again in this regard. Its another nice addition to add even more realism to the game.
One interesting section of the teaser trailer was the camera angle for the penalty where the crowd are situated. It was a great shot and added a cinematic viewpoint that looked fantastic alongside the hugely improved crowd. Im not sure if this was a camera angle just added for the trailer (to get that cinematic feel) or its an actual camera angle that you can use while taking penalties but either way, it looked fantastic (more on the penalty and free kick improvements later on).
Lets move on to the what Konami are calling the ‘Super 7’ in terms of 7 major changes that are planned for PES 2018.
1. Gameplay Masterclass
Here, Konami focus on the main portion of any game and thats the refinements to the gameplay. The biggest plus point for me is where they talk about a more realistic game pace. While many enjoyed the game speed of matches in PES 2017, for me, it was too frantic at times and felt more like the type of end to end play you’d see in basketball and because of this, it felt like the midfield would get bypassed far too often. With a more refined game speed in PES 2018 and a contextual shielding introduced and the ability to wrong foot defenders with small movements using the stick, it all sounds perfect for midfield battles and possession play. Add that together with what Konami are calling Real Touch+ (an improved version of PES 2017’s ‘Real Touch) alongside new animations and it get me super excited for whats to come in PES 2018.
Also new for PES 2018 is a new FK and PK system. Ive never been comfortable with the free kick system in PES since the PS2 days and the system that has been used before now in PES 2017 for example just felt loose and essentially a little ‘hit and hope’. Hopefully its a more advanced version of the old system from the PS2 PES titles that gives us the ability of setting up set-piece plays that have been absent from the series in the past. As for a new PK system in PES 2018, this is a much needed and welcome addition. Getting a penalty and actually scoring it in PES 2017 was like trying to open a beer with a cotton bud, so anything new means it’ll be better than what we had previously.
2. Presentation Overhaul
PES 2018 will see a brand new redesign for its Ul for all menus throughout the game. I didn’t really have a massive problem with the Ul within last years title, but it did feel a little tedious at times and if the new improvements to the in-game look get rid of these issues and make it more streamlined for example, then this is a good thing. Alongside the new design for the menus, Konami have stated that real player images will be added to the gameplan screen rather than the in-game generated ones we have currently in PES 2017. While its only a small addition, its still a nice little touch to give the game the added realism that so many of us crave.
3. PES League Intergration
Any integration and making PES League more accessible to the masses is fantastic and now PES League can be played throughout new modes like myClub, Random Selection Match and also within the Online co-op mode as well which is great for those that want to get involved with the competitive side of PES. For me personally, Ive never been into the competitive side of PES (because Im nowhere near good enough), but for those that are, this is perfect and as long as the servers are up to scratch (more on this below), then this is always a positive addition.
4. Online Co-op
Online co-op is something that Im extremely happy about but like I mentioned earlier, it all depends on the servers. PES 2017 has been improved since release, but its still not perfect and for a dedicated co-op mode that lets you play 2v2 or 3v3 online, the servers will need to be top notch for this mode to be a success from the get go. Fingers crossed that Konami will be working on making the online side of PES 2018 have better stability as this is a fantastic new mode for the ardent PES players and newcomers to get stuck into.
5. New Modes & Features
PES 2018 sees the fan favourite Random Selection Match make a welcomed return with all new presentation and features. Back on PES6, I used the mode a ton and its a mode that fans have wanted back in PES for a very long time and finally this September, it’ll be back. Its a mode that offers so much to the game and with Konami stating that its coming back with ‘new features’, this makes its return even more exciting.
Master League is getting a welcomed revamp as well and for me personally, this is the news that I was hoping for. PES 2017’s ML felt flat and lifeless at times and in need of a refresh and with Konami announcing that PES 2018’s ML will have pre-season tournaments, a better transfer system (which is needed massively), new presentation and the chance to be a manager in ML, its a step in the right direction for a mode that so many PES players (myself included) absolutely adore. I would still like more added in ML, but I know that its a ongoing process of improving the mode and resources are probably focused on improving other aspects of the game first. Its a great first step and one that will hopefully bring me back in ML.
6. Enchanced Visual Reality
I go into detail about this above when talking about the teaser trailer and how much the visual side of the game has already impressed me with just a small snippet to go on but it generally surprised me just how vastly improved the look of PES 2018 is compared to its predecessor. Konami say that as well as improved lighting, everything from the grass to the player tunnels has been recreated from over 20,000 pieces of data collected from the Camp Nou and Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park and it shows. Yes, this attention to detail will only be done on partner clubs, but thats to be expected and even so, its still an incredible achievement and one that gets me excited for the future of PES with the potential of signing up more exclusive partners in the future as well and in turn, seeing this happen to more stadia within PES. Alongside the improvements to the stadiums, motion capture in conjunction with the animation system have given the game an even more fluid and realistic feel with players core movements all getting upgraded and this is something that will bring the series to the next level. PES 2017 did a good job with its animations but with these new elements all working in tandem, this year could be something really special. Another new feature for this year (which you can briefly see in the teaser trailer) are tattoos. Konami say that ‘partner teams’ will have these on the players bodies and Ive seen people getting excited on social media expecting all ‘non-partner’ players to have them but I doubt this will be the case as a lot of players tattoos are owned by the player (original design) so unless Konami get permission to use them, its not going to happen. Also, that will cost a LOT of money.
7. Significant PC Improvements
Im not a PC player personally, but this is MASSIVE news for those that are. PC owners have wanted a version of PES that is on par with the console versions since time started (slight exaggeration, but you get my point) and they finally have that with PES 2018 through Steam. The one thing that needs to happen once the game is out in the wild though and its something that Ive spoken about before, is that PC players need to support the game as if not, I would be worried about seeing the same type of parity for future versions of PES on the PC platform. The PC version of PES 2017 sales in its first week on sale weren’t great and it actually sold less than it did on PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 with only 1% of sales across all platforms. This was probably to do with the PC version not being on par with say the PS4 version, but this year, there is no reason for sales to be as low as they were last year with PES 2017.
PES 2018 is shaping up to be an incredible sports title and one I cant wait to see more once the trailer and impressions come out of E3 2017 this June. Last years game was a fantastic base for Konami to build on and from whats been said even at this early stage, the series is going in the right direction and a direction that Im excited about. With more announcements to come throughout the months leading up to its release in September, its an exciting time for the series. With a few more improvements to gameplay from PES 2017 and focus elsewhere, this could be the PES that sets a benchmark not just for a football video game, but for sports games in general.