The football match between Konami and EA Sports goes way back in time – and both have taken turns sitting on the throne. During the Playstation 2 and Xbox era, Konami’s PES series dominated, while FIFA had its heyday when the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 were in vogue. In recent years, however, the struggle has been so even that the two game series have in principle been equal, and where taste and liking have had to decide. Already last year, we saw that the pendulum was about to turn over in Konami’s favor. PES 2016 had its problems, but was overall a really brilliant football game. This year, Konami has wisely retained the foundation from last year’s edition, and instead concentrated on filing the details.
But let’s start from the beginning. Even when you start PES 2017, you will notice that this series is not directly about framing. The menus look shamefully old-fashioned and it is also difficult to navigate through them. As it should be, the licensing flora that FIFA 17 can boast of is also missing. In the usual PES order, it is clearest if you are a Premier League fan, where the team is called things like London FC instead of Chelsea. It should be mentioned that there are options in the form of community-created files to download, but if you are licensing, PES 2017 is hardly the right choice.
However, it is not completely bare-scraped. Unlike FIFA 17, PES 2017 offers Champions League, Europa League and various other leagues, complete with the right intro music. In addition, there is always the addictive Master League – where it is important to take control of a team, and hopefully play it all the way to the top. However, it is on the pitch that PES 2017 will come into its own. For starters, it looks really good. Both current animations and player models do Fox Engine a brilliant job – to the extent that the worst competitor FIFA almost has to stand in the corner. The game in general is incredibly polished. The AI is fantastic at reading situations – they run into gaps, adapt their style of play depending on their skill level and generally act very true to nature. Thankfully, the goalkeepers have had a thorough review. In PES 2016, they were often far too bad, especially with shots. Although they still release some strange returns, the difference is still like night and day.