It’s the news long-standing fans have waited years to hear: PES 2017 is shaping up to finally recover the series’ PS2-era form. In fact, it’s better. Licenses remain a big question mark, but otherwise Konami has nailed football’s fundamentals expertly, and in a manner that will immediately satisfy fans both new and old. PES 2017’s release date is set for September 13, two weeks ahead of rival FIFA 17, and the game will again run on the Fox Engine. Clubs already confirmed include Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, and Barcelona, with France and Germany the first two national sides announced. Wondering what else is new? Check out GR+'s extensive PES 2017 FAQ.
PES 2017’s first trailer, launched at E3 2016, showcases its new ball physics, improved keepers, variety of passing options and close-quarters dribbling. Sadly, however, you only get to see two of the above teams in action: Arsenal and Atletico. In July, Konami also released an official Barcelona trailer.
For the fourth consecutive year, Konami’s footballing series makes use of Hideo Kojima’s Fox Engine. PES 2017 runs in 1080p and at 60fps, but the seamlessness this year isn’t just visual: there’s a beautiful rhythm to how the game controls, too. New ball physics eliminate the stop-start dribbling that hamstrung PES 2016; while shooting and passing feels almost effortless, with the game having an innate sense of what you’re trying to do and – more often than not – acting accordingly.
Based on two separate hands-on in July and August, goalkeepers have undergone the most significant transformation. Fumbling, flapping monstrosities between the sticks are a PES tradition, but mercifully it appears they’ve been consigned to the past, with a wealth of new animations and AI upgrades improving netminders’ decision-making and shot-stopping abilities. For instance, they almost always look to shepherd the ball wide when making a save, if possible. It all adds up to a game which should finally stop people harking back to those PS2 wonder years – PES 2017 has a very real chance of being the series’ most accomplished entry.
Want to see footage of those hands-on sessions mentioned above? Then take a look at GR+’s video preview:
Rumours abound of a PES 2017 demo dropping shortly before release – some sites even claim a release date for it of late August – but a Konami spokesman tells GR+ there are no concrete plans for one as yet. GR+ will update this page if and when that changes.
Who’s going to win this season’s virtual footy face-off? It’s too early to say conclusively – that’s what reviews are for, after all – but PES 2017 is in with an excellent shout. There’s an immediate playability to this year’s version which other recent instalments lacked, and it’s making strides where licenses are concerned; for instance, a new partnership with Barcelona means Camp Nou is exclusive to PES 2017. Even so, many fans see official strips, stadia and presentation as a critical factor in their choice of football game, and on that front FIFA 17 is always going to triumph comprehensively. Something that can be stated without doubt: both kick-‘em-ups are shaping up for successful seasons.
Global product manager Adam Bhatti insists the mistakes of last year, where some big transfers were omitted from PES 2016’s intermittent updates, will be corrected: “Lessons have been learned and we rightly took a lot of flak for the rosters being so out of date. There will be a day one update to bring all transfers up to date, and it will be updated on a weekly basis with all transfers within that time implemented and will also reflect the performances of players within that time. Individual skill is vital in PES 2017, so it is important that we make sure that our players are as close to those of their real life counterparts.”
A major feature of the PES 2017’s tie-in with Barcelona is rescanned player faces – take a look at this video to see how the likes of Lionel Messi, Luiz Suarez and Javier Masherano compare to their real selves.
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