Monday 20 June 2016

PES 2017 - Gameplay Details - Defending

PES 2017 Defending

Here we will discuss the defensive improvements needed for PES 2017. Tackling, and defending in general, is nowhere near as polished as the attacking elements. Defending in PES has changed dramatically over the years, usually for the better. Unfortunately whilst it has improved there are still flaws. An example of a renowned flaw, especially in the earlier versions, is the ease in which players could exploit the though ball. This along with others will be discussed. We will analyse the various forms of tackling and the effectiveness of off the ball defending.


Let’s start with conservative tackling. The evolution of this has ranged from running into the ball to tackle, putting your body across the player to take possession to double tapping tackle to put your foot in. We currently stand somewhere between using your body to take possession and the double tap technique. Whilst not great, tackling certainly isn’t bad. Using your body to steal possession is actually very effective and is in line with players’ abilities. Fast, strong ball winners such as Mascherano are able to take possession more often than a player like Cazorla. Not so effective, and more annoyingly inconsistent is putting your leg out to take the ball. This form of tackling is probably as effective as it has ever been but can still provide moments of infuriation. If timed correctly it’s great. However, there are times when the tackle does seem to be timed correctly but the ball is missed and the defender is unable to recover. To add to this the better players are able to run through defenders at times. I’m sure all of you at some point have been defending resolutely against a higher ranked opponent or superior team and out of nowhere Ronaldo has been able to unjustly run through a defender and score.

The COM pressure tackle allows you to make a computer controlled player tackle the player in possession of the ball whilst positioning another player elsewhere. This is a great technique to press the ball whilst defending a run. It certainly allows advanced control of your players and stops basic through balls. This control has been around for years and when used correctly has given PES the advantage in tackling over FIFA. The one downside of this technique, and it is just one, is when the computer controlled defender actually gets sight of the ball the player with the ball is able to run through him far too often. In this situation he should be able to comfortably make the tackle. If this small adjustment is made then the COM controlled tackling will be effective and well balanced.

Finally everyone’s favorite – sliding tackles! Generally they are pretty well balanced and rewarding when implemented at the correct time. The biggest failure with this form of tackling is the ease in which it can be abused because of the referees. When PES 2016 was released it was immediately clear that referees were too lenient with bookings, and specifically red cards. What’s more disappointing is this wasn’t rectified in a subsequent update. Some players abuse this and will hack players out on a counter attack or anywhere away from goal knowing the worst punishment they can receive is a yellow card. There needs to be a lot more red cards produced for blatant hacks and the occasional really poor tackle. This will cause players to think twice about sliding in (as they would be in real life) and add some variation and therefore excitement to the game. I actually know players that have stopped playing PES 2016 due to this very reason! Aesthetically the sliding tackles are great but the referee issue needs to be one of Konami’s number one priorities going in to PES 2017.

Off the ball control:

The second element of defending is off the ball control. One of the primary strategies of PES players over the years has been the through ball. The effectiveness of controlling your players off the ball is the main method of counteracting this. Currently you flick between players using the cursor change button (L1 for most) or by flicking the right analog stick. L1 will change to the next player but flicking the analog allows you to more accurately choose the player. Unfortunately it is just that, more accurate and not fully accurate. This can be frustrating when needing to change to a certain player at a particular time. Simply put the game needs to be able to distinguish whether you want to change to your last man or the player closest to the ball. However, this is the only gripe with off the ball defending. If the right analog stick method of switching between players is made more intuitive then this will be another element of defending Konami have nailed down.

In summary defending in PES is great. Elite players sometimes being able to literally walk through defenders needs changing as well as a few other small adjustments for PES 2017. Overall though there can be no complaints.

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