Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 Review: Must-See Details & Screenshots

PES 2017

With consistently excellent efforts from rivals Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA slugging it out on the pitch every year, this is a golden age for video game soccer. The last couple years have seen huge leaps forward in visuals and intricacy of control, with developers on each team going all out to top each other. Pro Evolution Soccer 2017, powered by the Fox Engine of Metal Gear Solid fame, is more than up to the challenge, topping last year’s entry in just about every meaningful way, scoring an impressive breakthrough that will be tough to match by FIFA 17 when it debuts in a couple weeks.

Game: Pro Evolution Soccer 2017
Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PS3
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Release Date: September 13

One of the main points of emphasis this year is the all-important first touch, in which a player thinking several steps ahead is already angling to shoot off a breakaway pass, pivot and drop it off for a give-and-go or stutter step on the way to a run at the goal. Individual stars shine with distinctive motion-captured animations that separate them from the pack, allowing them to get an edge on the competition by initiating their plans the instant their insoles connect with the ball. You’ll find yourself thinking more like a player than a button-mashing gamer, more tuned to the flow of the game and needs of the moment.

Passing and goaltending also get considerable upgrades, with precision controls allowing you to angle through balls or shade spin on corner kicks or crosses to lob the ball into the ideal spot for a net-shredding header or bicycle kick from a teammate. AI-controlled keepers are more proactive, aggressively snuffing out scoring chances and allowing you to initiate counterattacks with well-timed punts and passes. On-the-fly strategy adjustments allow you to tinker with the tendencies and priorities of your players to adapt to your overall purpose, whether it be going all-out for an equalizer or parking the bus to protect your lead as time winds down.

Players look and move more effectively and convincingly than before, bolstered by an array of new animations that convince you that actual physics determine the outcome more than behind-the-scenes dice rolls. Taking a cue from fighting games, counters and physical violence can cancel an elegantly moving player out of an ongoing animation — for instance, a defender jarring the ball loose from a fancy-footed forward — and shifting momentum on its ear. The attention to detail flows into th efranchise mode-style Master League allows control freaks to take command of all aspects of financials, transfers and master plans for their squads.

The shimmering on-field product, combined with an overwhelming slate of enhancements on the production and presentation side, make Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 a no-brainer pickup for any serious soccer gamer. While the game may lack the slate of authentic licensed teams and players that FIFA scores, you’ll often find yourself so engrossed in the match at hand that you’ll gloss over the generic window dressing PES settles for. Above all, this game captures the passion and energy of the game, coming as close to an authentic spiritual translation of soccer — and one capable of teaching you about the finer points of the game that only come with obsessive lifelong study — as gamers have yet seen. This is a clear evolution of video game soccer, and yet another dizzying screamer that its rival can only try to equalize. Your move, FIFA.

ORDER: Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 here

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 Reviews Around The Web:

“Arguably among the greatest in the series full stop.” –PlayStation Universe

“The title is not perfect, but its gameplay is so natural that it feels like there’s little between you and what happens onscreen.” –Game Informer

“Lays the foundations for an all-new footballing empire.” –GamesRadar

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 Screenshots

The publisher provided a review copy. 

Order Phil Villarreal’s novel, Zeta Male, here.

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