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Out Today: PES 2018 - Footy Headlines Review

Over the past few weeks, we had the chance to give the new Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, which is out today, an extensive run, first with the Demo and later with a test sample that Konami was kind enough to supply us with.



Gameplay


First off, for all those who have played the Beta and Demo before it, it's safe to say that not too much has changed in regards to those two early versions of PES 2018 in terms of gameplay.

Evaluating the gameplay is a bit tricky we thought as everything felt too restricted and rigid on the default passing assistance level 1 - putting it on zero, which is more manual but not 'full manual' makes it a pretty different affair altogether. So, if you felt similarly about the default setup, it might be worth giving that a shot.



In more general terms, PES 2018's gameplay feels like a clear improvement over its predecessor, with a lot of new, more realistic animations and added unpredictability. It's a game which can be played successfully in a lot of different ways, from counter attacks to possession football or a long ball tactic - something that definitely could not be said about most recently released football simulations and recalls Pro Evo's mid-2000s heydays.



Unfortunately, a lot of the bad points from years past haven't been eradicated. These include the odd tactical awareness and defensive positioning, both with human and CPU controlled teams, as well as the rather strange and too often unrealistically playing CPU. Often it felt more difficult to play against the smaller teams, a sentiment shared by many PES players in recent years as well. At least for those that find the highest difficulty level too easy, Konami added in another tier called 'Legend', which unlocks after five wins against 'Superstar'.

Smaller gameplay-related improvements include the new freekick and penalty system. Shooting has also been revamped and feels a bit less rocked-like than before - a step in the right direction but by not pefect or on par with FIFA's still.



Modes and Licenses


Looking at modes, it's clear that Konami's priorities lay with gameplay this year, with Master League, MyClub and Become a Legend receiving just cosmetic updates for the most part.

A big problem with PES ever since it's been included has been the online mode, which we've unfortunately not been able to test yet. We'll possibly have another look at it once those servers are up - the Beta offered more than just a glimpse of hope in that department back in July.

Something totally new is the return of the 'random selection mode' in an improved way which sees options expanded and online functionality added to iconic mode from many years ago. It's a fun little addition that allows to mix up things with randomly selected teams - the pool of players the game chooses from can be adjusted to include only certain teams, leagues and more.


Licensing and graphics wise it's similar. There are some additions and changes, generally towards the positive and of the scale, but nothing out of the ordinary can be noted. For a full overview, check out this from Konami.

Thankfully, the edit mode has only been improvement, and thanks to the changes introduced last year, a number of high-quality patches supplying correct kits for Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga should be out on release day or shortly after. We'll soon follow up with an overview over the best ones.

Verdict


PES 2018 is an easy choice over FIFA for anyone who enjoyed its predecessor, but FIFA regulars should probably have a good look at both demos before making a final decision. 3.5/5.

This review was conducted on the PC and PS4 versions of the game.