For many avid football gamers PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) remains the best football simulation game. EA Sports’ FIFA franchise is still widely considered the more refined of the two. With PES 2017, Konami has finally given the series a long awaited graphics overhaul. But the real distinction can be made only after the FIFA 17 is released too, which is expected to be closer to 29 September, with pre-orders already starting on Amazon.in for Rs.3,999 for Microsoft XBox One, Xbox 360, Sony PS4 and Sony PS3.
PES 2017, on the other hand, is available right away on Amazon for Rs.998 for PC, Rs.2,949 for Sony PS4 and Rs.2,990 for Microsoft XBox One. You can also download it online from the XBox Live or PlayStation stores directly on to the console.
The PES 2017 looks a lot more refined than its predecessor, PES 2016. The stadiums look more colourful, player faces and physical attributes look a lot more realistic. Even the game interface, which looked a lot archaic and cluttered compared to FIFA series has been improved. The major tournaments including the UEFA tournaments such as the Champion’s League and Europa League or the Master League and the regular leagues mode are a lot easier to find now.
Konami has the licenses for all UEFA leagues, but it still doesn’t have the license to use the real player names and teams from the Premier League, except Arsenal and Liverpool. These are the only teams where you won’t have to go to manually change the team names from the fictional names that Konami uses for all the unlicensed teams. The big highlight in the PES 2017 is the exclusive rights it enjoys over FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium, which means you won’t get it on other football games and that includes FIFA 17.
When it comes to gameplay, PES 2017 looks like a replication of the PES 2016. It is based on Kojima Productions’ Fox Game Engine, which also runs in Metal Gear Solid V and PES 2016. The controls in the PES 2017 are pretty much similar to its predecessor and you can modify them as you see fit. The game offers six difficulty levels, and even at the basic difficulty level the game doesn’t feel too easy. As it gets tougher the opponent feels a lot more on your face, tackle become heavier and more aggressive, yet you won’t feel left out of it at any moment.
Overall, it impresses with its ball control and player movements, but none of it is actually new. We have seen these in the PES 2016 as well.
The big highlight of PES 2017 is the option where you can manually edit the team names, jerseys, player attributes and even their skill levels. You can move Lionel Messi out of FC Barcelona into Leicester City without actually going through a transfer process or paying up with real cash like in FIFA 16 Ultimate Team. While this sounds exciting, it can be a bit tedious and time taking. The big benefit of this is that you can change the made up names used by Konami and use the real team names.
PES 2017 is an interesting addition to the football genre. The visual facelift puts it at par with EA Sports’ FIFA series. But if you already own the PES 2016, you can give it a miss until its price drops or you can hang around until the release of FIFA 17, which promises some major improvements in the gameplay in terms of player controls and movement. The PES 2016 is currently available for Rs.1,590 for Sony PS4, Rs.565 for PC and Rs.1,999 for XBox One, at which it is still a better bet than a game that is only marginally better.