I am of the opinion that the 2017 version of Pro Evolution Soccer, despite being announced by many as a significant evolution of the franchise in terms of gameplay, was one of the weakest games in the series. The intention of Konami was good, to turn the game into a more authentic simulator, but the truth and that end up making an experience something frustrating and not congruent with reality.
A football simulator should revolve around the fun and feel of watching a real football game, though in a virtual world, and last year's entry removed the same key element from the game. I remember with very little regret the frustration that filled me every time I took command to make a match against the computer or against friends, where everything seemed too forced, mechanical and even bumbling. The game consisted of a set of lost balls, missed passes and shocks between players, not to mention the unforgettable mistakes of goalkeepers.
Obviously, each one's experience is shaped by their style of play. Being an adept of fast, incisive, straightforward football and without big flowers, it was inevitable to feel that the game prevented me from playing my football and pushed me into a standardized style that I did not like very much. So much so that after a few weeks, the game stayed against the shelf.
However, here comes the new version of the Konami simulator, and everything seemed to transfigure. Konami built PES 2018 based on seven essential pillars, which revolve around the Real Touch +, an evolution of the system introduced last year, but that resolves all the defects of gameplay of its predecessor. If formerly the most imposing and strong players dominated the game, preventing the most creative players from playing football, since the ease with which they lost the ball was too much, in PES 2018 players have a clear sense of everything so that they can anticipate the opponent's reaction and use the body to defend themselves against defenses once practically insurmountable.
More technical players are now able to place their body between the ball and the opponent in an intelligent way, which contributes to ball receptions oriented and more suited to their technical quality - this is achieved through the use of various areas of the body, such as chest, belly, thighs, shoulders or all parts of the feet, including the heels. That is, in an era dominated by Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar or other players with a technical domain well above average, realism stands out, and in what way. Unlike PES 2017, there is now a chance for imperfectly executed passes to arrive at their destination, eliminating the inevitable interceptions if the accuracy of the pass was not millimeter. Obviously, everyone who likes and watches football matches knows that often a poorly executed pass in technical terms still has a chance to reach his team-mate in the unpredictability that makes football so appealing.
The players' interactions with the ball, teammates, opponents and other elements of the game add a palpable layer of drama to the game, something everyone expects from a football match. The show is now another, filled with touches with "artistic note," which can be performed even by less experienced players. Obviously, there are moves that are performed more naturally by the best players in the world, with or without a ball, which makes the game much more exciting to follow, even for outsiders. PES 2018 is a different game from all the previous ones of the series, and this is noticed from the first touch in the ball in the first match that we played, where one feels the weight of the attention given to the physics of the ball.
Konami's ball control this year translates into the way players move, race, play ball on the pitch or in the heights, with even visible changes to how they use their weight to change the direction of their run , which increases the likelihood of defenses making mistakes, something that looks like a detail that offers a much more pleasant visual spectacle that best translates a real football game. Nothing is as watertight as before, the game is much more fluid in all aspects, and this makes it possible to override, in a way, the difference between top teams and second line teams, if, of course, who holds the command also has the ability to do so.
Another aspect of the game that, fortunately, has undergone major changes, is the quality of the goalkeepers. Not only are their animations different, as for this iteration, Konami has resorted to 3D scans of the players, especially the best known of each team, or those who are part of the team partners of the game, such as Barcelona, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund or Inter Milan, in order to use the greatest realism possible for the animations, but the goalkeepers now have at their disposal a greater variety of ball replacement movements in play, either with their feet or their hands, besides being capable of executing so-called "impossible defenses" much more frequently.
Now it is a pleasure to see a goalkeepers, especially the top ones, defending their goal, with incredible flights, stretched out impossible and defenses to goalkeeper Handball with feet. Especially in the higher difficulties, if you want to score a goal against a Buffon or Manuel Neuer, you will have to apply it in depth. However, we can not fail to point out that keepers have some difficulty in dealing with weaker shots, occurring more often than desirable that defense that seems easy but that ends up placing the ball in the foot of the closest opponent, who only has to " pull over. "
If the game, on the pitch, is radically different from what Pro Evolution Soccer has accustomed us to, few news exist regarding the sterile look of the game menus, and more importantly, new game modes. We continue to have the possibility to control a team that starts weak but we have to improve over several seasons of a Master League, with the new option 'Challenge', which increases the difficulty in hiring, the discontent of the players when things do not are doing very well, and the likelihood of us risking our position as coaches. Moreover, we have the possibility to play the Champions League, Europa League and the usual competitions of selections. Perhaps this mode is more interesting than Become a Legend, whose premise is to lead our avatar player to stardom, which has never seemed very interesting and even annoying.
PES 2018 is not a perfect game, no game is, there is always scope to improve some aspects. However, Konami seems to have agreed in essence that it was a fundamental change to the gameplay formula, which makes this the most attractive PES title in recent memory. As the audience's participation in the game (whose image now takes advantage of the 3D models of the players for realism), since the songs and incentives become background noise after a few hours, do not take anything away from the fun of making a match in this Pro Evolution Soccer, but something that could be spent more time for next year's entry, as well as the introduction of new modes.
NDR - A reference still to the fact that this analysis does not consider the MyClub mode, since the functionality is not yet available, as well as all other online strands. We know there will be plenty of historical players from world football and sprinter Usain Bolt, but unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to test the mode and the potential news that can present. There is also the addition of a 3v3 mode, which implements an element of greater competitivity among teammates, with the presentation of individual statistics regarding the percentage of successful and failed passes, losses and recoveries, among other things, so that you can blame your colleagues for a defeat or use that data to improve your performance.
PES 2018 is a pleasant surprise in visual terms, giving a giant step forward in relation to its predecessors, as far as gameplay is concerned. The virtual football offered by the Konami title is fluid and much more interesting, leaving behind all the previous games of the franchise. PES fans will surely love the 2018 version, which still has the potential to captivate new players.
+ Improved Gameplay
+ More faithful portrait of Sport King
+ Graphic fidelity
+ Improvements to player appearance
-Participation of the public in the game
-Lack of really interesting new modes