Konami has fired the first shot at goal in next season's virtual footy title tilt, announcing Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 for release the autumn.
The news is hardly a surprise – FIFA 17 is also set for an official reveal over the coming weeks – but is nonetheless exciting, thanks to a handful of new features revealed for this year’s game.
Real Touch gives individual players the ability to control the ball in ‘unique and different ways’, while Precise Pass uses retooled physics to improve the speed, accuracy and – most importantly – feel of balls whipped between midfielders or driven down the flanks.
We’re also promised the most agile goalkeepers in Pro Evo history, thanks to a gamut of new custodian motions and animations. In truth any sort of improvement in this regard is an improvement; netminders have long been considered the series’ achilles heel.
One particularly noteworthy improvement is Advanced Instructions, which enable you to specify Tiki Taka or Tight Marking as a tactic. You could 'fake' these approaches using sliders in last year's game, but it feels more direct to do it this way. Online, the game is less a battle of reactions, and more one of systems. In PES 2016 you rarely meet anyone online who doesn't utilise the full 120-second allowance for the pre-match tactics tinkering and subs, so this is a welcome addition.
Then there’s perhaps our favourite addition of the lot: Total Corner Control. Here you can select options such as Zonal or Man Marking, and define attacking options such as ‘specific player movement’. This sounds like – at long last – the ability to dictate which members of your team go up for set pieces, and if that deduction is accurate we’ll party harder then the Leicester squad after that Chelsea vs Spurs draw.
Desperate to hear exactly how new PES handles? We'll have much more on features such as Adaptive AI (where it apparently reads how you play, then adapts its tactics organically) in a lengthy hands-on piece next week.
PES 2017 is coming to PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC this autumn, and will be officially revealed during this weekend's Champions League final.
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