Wednesday 29 June 2016

PES 2017 is Better Than FIFA 17 'Hurray'

Much has been spewed about the rivalry between Konami and EA Sports for the best virtual soccer game. Now, the debacle enters another year. After recent releases, we now look at the ensuing battle between Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 and FIFA 17.

FIFA for the very first time introduced females to the game and the ongoing development of FIFA Ultimate Team has been an hallmark of the series. Now, we will have the first ever Story Mode for FIFA 17, featuring Alex Hunter. Everyone understands that FIFA is the gaming mogul, but things seem to be on the upturn for PES.

Since 2015 Konami has made stride to rebuild the series and now, the new release will feature an adaptive AI that adjusts your formation, puts extra markers where they’re needed and pushes your wing backs out wider, adapting as you play. Best of all, though, the goalkeepers aren’t useless this time around.


PES 2017 also introduces a revamped passing system that’s more context-sensitive, and about how the player receives the ball. Connecting up for a killer pass has been made to be as satisfying as possible, and being able to deftly flick the ball on an extra yard to set up a striker is easier than it’s previously been. The ball physics have evidently been improved, while a feature called ‘Real Touch’ determines the way in which different players control the ball. An increased level of control across the board is what Konami is angling for, and on the strength of this first hands-on with the game, it certainly seems to be on the right track.

The game simply feels smoother and more fluid, the Fox Engine coming into its own with some lovely visuals and excellent player likenesses. PES 2016’s physicality lives on too, with jostling and fighting for the ball on the ground or in aerial challenges an enjoyable, integral part of the game. As ever, the atmosphere of match day is present and correct too, in the roar of the crowds and how they react to the action on the pitch. Whether the commentary team will be up to the same standard is unknown, as it’s not in place yet.

Visual improvements, more player animations and improved goalies that aren’t nearly as clumsy and cavalier as they were in the previous game are all welcome additions for PES 2017, and the new adaptive AI could indeed be a game changer. But how does the new game fare in the licensing department? Well, this year’s Premier League team is Arsenal, while a great deal of European club teams will once again make the cut. Our demo features both the Gunners and Club Atlético de Madrid on the club side, as well as France and Germany on the international side, so that’s those squads confirmed at least.


FIFA 17 might have licensed Premier League managers on the sidelines and a new ‘The Journey’ story mode to go with its Frostbite Engine, but PES 2017 is seemingly looking to score where it counts, delivering in the areas where the recent previous entries in the series were lacking. Rubbish goalies have been addressed, players not making proper runs into space have been nixed, and it all seemingly comes down to that new, much-vaunted adaptive AI. ‘Total Team Control’ will also enable you to change your attacking and defending strategies in the middle of a match. There’s no shortage of options.

It seems that both FIFA and PES are pulling out all of the stops this year then, but I think for 2017, my money’s on PES. We’ll find out whether I’m right or not later this year.

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