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PES 2018

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Summary

Hands-on with the latest in the beloved football series.

PES 2018 release date

PES 2018 launches 12 September for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC

PES 2018 gameplay - Hands-on impressions

Konami is making big promises about PES 2018, and from what I’ve seen playing the latest build at E3 2017, it looks set to deliver on them.

Having finally upgraded from the slightly dusty Fox engine used on PES 2015-2017, the 2018 football sim feels ready for the next generation of 4K consoles.

The upgrade brings with it with it a number of subtle, but important changes to the game’s core mechanics, that even a rookie like me can appreciate.

The most important changes related to the game’s on-the-ball gameplay. The first and most notable of these are improvements to close ball control. This is a big deal, and means you're able to do more fine movements while in possession of the ball. Of course, you've been able to do that in PES for a while, but in 2018 the right analogue stick feels like a more precise tool to use alongside touches of the left stick – though be warned it still doesn't feel quite as precise as FIFA's close control.

PES 2018

This change works in conjunction with improved ball physics and it interacts with the players. The way the ball bounces off players' bodies and feels much more realistic than it did before, and more predictable as well. When an absolute screamer of a shot deflects off the goalkeeper's hands, it bounces away for a corner in a way that feels like real life.

The players who aren't on the ball and aren't under your control are also more intelligent. They put themselves in the right place and accurately predict where passes are going to come from while also avoiding opponents effectively. I can't think more than one move ahead, but I found my optimistic long-range passes completed more often than they did in PES 2017.

Related: FIFA 18 vs PES 2018

And when you're on the ball, your players will do more to protect themselves from other players heading towards them, making it slightly easier to defend from physically stronger players. This is done, for the most part, automatically, so you can concentrate on the rest of the pitch.

Other minor gameplay changes include a reworked penalty system (that I only tried once so can't really comment on) and new set pieces. Corners and free kicks offer a lot more freedom for both the attacking and defending sides to set a strategy before a kick is taken.

PES 2018

On-the-ball changes combine with significantly better animations for a much smoother and engrossing replays. The transitions between animations are silky smooth, thanks to better motion capture and a greater number of animations than ever before. The game feels on-point, and the players are starting to feel like they operate in the real world, instead of a clunky video game. PES 2018 has come a long way in this regard.

Compared to FIFA 18, PES 2018 still feels faster-paced, but player-to-player contact still isn't as smooth and realistic as it is in FIFA 18, and tackles are much more clumsy, which leads to more free kicks and yellow cards in PES, at least in my experience.

Graphically, things have improved as well. Real-world players look more lifelike than they ever have before, with proper facial expressions that accurately portray what's going on in the game. If they're bursting through the defence and taking knocks, they look suitably intense. After a goal, the smiles don't have a feeling of uncanny valley, and the transitions between facial movements look genuinely quite realistic.

pes 2018

Konami says the PC version has been enhanced, and the developers have worked with Nvidia to use the GPU company's finest graphical eye-candy. The PC version will undoubtedly be the best-looking way to play the game, which hasn't always been true.

In terms of multiplayer, random selection matches have returned, and 2v2 and 3v3 co-op has also arrived. And you can play co-op in the MyClub game mode. If you have mates who play PES, the 2018 edition will be a big step up in what you can do together.

Early impressions

As a football game non-enthusiast, the battle between FIFA and PES has never been on that's interested me much. Given how different the games feel, it really is going to be down to your own personal taste, as it's always been. I really like PES 2018, though, and with its raft of under-the-hood improvements and multiplayer additions, fans of the series surely won't be disappointed.

NextGenFail

June 15, 2017, 5:51 am

I have yet to play this years version of PES, but nevertheless I think you are somewhat misrepresenting the identity of PES. The tackles and player contact are the strongside of PES, whereas Fifa is too soft and avoidant, specially around the midfield. Ball-handling is not always perfect in real life, and PES simulates that better than Fifa. If anything there should be more "clumsyness" and bouncy balls then in previous years, at least for those who prefer offline play and longer games.

Spectrum

June 16, 2017, 3:53 pm

The only fault I have found with PES 2017's gameplay is that when the ball is played long, it almost always goes to an opposition player. Very annoying, as you know what will happen if you do so. It tends to make you alter your play slightly as a result. It's not a big deal, but it shouldn't be there, and someone needs to report this so that it is more random.

NextGenFail

June 19, 2017, 5:19 am

If it's a long ball from the keeper, try charging the bar almost to max, but not at max. Then the center forward will move towards the ball and have the advantage. Also try the R2/RT version of long balls. I agree though that there should be more variety in outcomes, for instance that both players misses the header.

Spectrum

June 19, 2017, 6:54 am

It's not just when the keeper kicks it, it happens when ANY of MY players hits it long. Receiving the ball in this situation should be a 50/50 outcome at least, as in real life, but every time the ball goes to an opposition player. Test it for yourself.

It's a glitch that needs to be fixed, but it's by no means a game breaker. Just annoying. ( I'm on the PS4, play solo against the A.I. and use manual passing, but it happens when on assisted passing too ).

NextGenFail

June 19, 2017, 7:42 am

I play both Master League and League with West Ham and Andy Carroll on top. The long ball does not always go to the opposition player, but it requires more precision and practice than playing it low. Height and weight on your target man is important.

Spectrum

June 19, 2017, 2:56 pm

Yes, but in a real match, when the ball is hoofed forward, it falls randomly to players of either side, or into open space. In the game, nine times out of ten it doesn't. "Precision" "height' and "weight" ? Hoofing the ball long isn't intended to be accurate mostly. It's to clear it out of defence or to initiate a quick counter attack.
Another flaw that never gets addressed by Konami, is that A.I. players rarely IF EVER, slide tackle you. Some users must have alerted Konami to this, but version after version it never gets rectified. Again, not game breaking errors, but they shouldn't be there.

NextGenFail

June 21, 2017, 6:24 am

Do you play Master League? In my ML I get slide tackled all the time, yellow cards in every game. It's my second season so maybe the difficulty was turned up, not sure. Maybe it 's related to which team you play, many people play only the best teams which are faster and therefore harder to tackle.

Spectrum

June 21, 2017, 12:44 pm

No, I don't play Master League. I play ordinary league, and the official cup competitions that are in the game. I only play offline - just me against the computer A.I. And it happens with whichever team I play as.

I hardly ever see a slide tackle on my players. Maybe they overlooked the need to include them outside of Master League ? If so, you'd have thought someone would have reported this obvious bug by now. It's been in every version since PES 2014 at least. Wakey wakey Konami !

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