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Last year, I said that PES 2016 might well be the best football game ever made. I also said that think it was too early lớn say that with absolute confidence; that it would be some time before its standing could be properly measured. Over months of play, a few small cracks appeared in the façade – nothing that could convince me that this wasn’t the finest simulation of the beautiful game I’d played in quite some time, but enough khổng lồ make me wonder if I’d been a little too generous in my early assessment. So it’s with no small amount of trepidation that I say this: PES 2017 is better.

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As with last year, PES 2017 the kind of game that benefits from a host of incremental improvements that have a collectively beneficial effect. These are the kind of tweaks that it’s hard to lớn talk about on the bachồng of a game’s box or its online store page, but it demonstrates a commitment khổng lồ the basics of the game that goes beyond adding features for the sake of having something that can be easily promoted with a flashy name.
For me, the pace seems just a shade more measured than last year. That doesn’t mean it’s sluggish, by any means – passing, for example, is as responsive as it was last year. But, together with the adjustments to lớn defensive sầu AI, I found myself having lớn be a little more patient và methodical in breaking down opponents. You can still play more quiông chồng và direct football, as long as you’re set up to bởi so, but by and large you have to lớn work a little harder for your openings. I think it’s still a little too hard for pacey players to get clear of opponents they should be able khổng lồ have on toast, but there is a tangible difference with the quickest of the quick – you’ll notice the difference when controlling the likes of Pierre Emeriông xã Aubameyang or Leroy Sane. Further efforts have sầu been made khổng lồ distinguish individual players, và the playing styles of the game’s biggest stars are instantly recognisable, from Antoine Griezmann’s speed of thought and feet lớn the flashy technique of Neymar who can also remove his shirt in a unique goal celebration (for which he’ll rightly be booked).

Elsewhere, the recovery time after losing the ball seems lớn have been shortened; certainly, I found myself winning the ball baông chồng after conceding possession a little more often. Collisions, too, now feel more authentic – I no longer experienced that strange phenomenon whereby two players would occasionally come together and then both suddenly bounce off in opposite directions. You’ll still encounter the occasional bit of weirdness, but that’s true of almost any game with so many variables and moving parts, and such oddities are relatively scarce.World Class 'KeepersThis year’s goalkeepers are one feature Konangươi really should be shouting about. They will make mistakes, yes, but they’re more convincingly human ones rather than the kind of blunder you can predict before it happens. They’ll rarely drop the more straightforward catches, và will more frequently hold onkhổng lồ softer shots rather than spill them into lớn the path of onrushing strikers. The best stoppers will react quicker to lớn deflections, too – perfectly illustrated during one game where a fortunate ricochet forced David de Gea lớn change direction, twisting to shovel the ball out for a corner. Later, he acrobatically flung himself across his goal khổng lồ tip away a thunderous 20-yard half-volley from Fernandinho – a moment that also served to highlight how good the shooting feels. Long-range strikes won’t always find the top corner, but the connections you make when the ball sits up perfectly feel crisp & clean.The same could be said of the passing, but that’s always been a PES strength. But this year, Konangươi has made a change that might upset a few of the purists. Essentially, it’s a system that will, under the right mix of circumstances, gently mas sa the trajectory of a pass to pinpoint precision. It depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the passer, the space in which they find themselves, & the position of the receiver relative sầu khổng lồ their markers. Once or twice, it felt to lớn me like defenders had slowed up slightly lớn allow a runner lớn receive a ball on his instep và burst clear. But for the most part, it’s handled expertly, convincing you that you were wholly responsible for that perfect clipped through-ball. You found the right moment và the right type of pass, sure, but it was Konami’s invisible guiding h& that changed a good ball into lớn a thing of beauty.

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It handles the uglier moments well, too - though it’s slightly ironic that jostling at corners should be more noticeable at a time when referees have sầu been told lớn clamp down on pushing & shirt-pulling in the box. Goalmouth scrambles feel frantic and faintly comical, just as they should, while AI opponents concede more fouls – one of my favourites saw Raheem Sterling pull off a sharp turn on the edge of the box and the defender’s trailing leg hooked his right foot. Free-kicks are still a relatively infrequent occurrence, but you’ll rarely go through a game without a handful of fouls, and if the ref blows, it rarely feels lượt thích he’s being too fussy. Replays will always highlight when you stepped in & got more man than ball with a standing challenge. The flipside of the coin is that they won’t penalise you as often for clean sliding tackles, no matter how loudly the crowd roars. And when the whistle does go, you’ll find set-pieces are more flexible, with a welcome ability to lớn tinker with a variety of dead-ball strategies.Konami’s made a concerted effort to improve the online game, too. Already, the squad updates are in places, so you’ll see Paul Pogtía in midfield for Man United (or should I say Man Red) và Claudio Bravo in goal for City - though at the time of writing, you’re still unable lớn buy MyClub dollars. So far, an average of one in every five or six games we’ve played online has been noticeably affected by lag - though if that’s becoming a problem, you can choose lớn search for a higher connection rating - with unique ranging from one (poor) to five sầu (excellent). Most of our games at three và above ran very smoothly - though Konami’s decision lớn implement region-locking means you won’t be able lớn play with any friends in the US, for example. You can also refine your tìm kiếm by the class of opposition or their màn chơi of pass tư vấn - & there’s an option to have the game gradually widen the parameters lớn accommodate a greater range of skill and/or courtesy levels if it can’t find anyone within your specified conditions.
I’ve sầu noticed a few little idiosyncrasies while playing online that weren’t as obvious against the AI. I found Manuel Neuer a bit of a liability as my MyClub goalie, thanks khổng lồ his tendency to automatically come out for any high ball pumped towards the edge of the box - on two occasions, he headed a clearance straight inlớn the path of an opposition player. And though the keepers are a marked improvement on last year, they can struggle to lớn hold onkhổng lồ headers. It also seems more important khổng lồ make sure you’re phối up properly for corners. The most reliable approach for me was to select the option lớn have runners attacking the baông chồng post & cross it deep khổng lồ bypass the opposition defence. The fact that obstructions tkết thúc to lớn go unpunished can occasionally be frustrating, too. Besides that, it’s every bit as thrilling & varied as the offline game. I’ve earned scrappy last-minute victories, clung on desperately against better players thanks to lớn a combination of good fortune and excellent goalkeeping, and won two games with less than 40% possession thanks khổng lồ superior counter-attacking play. You’re allowed one ‘free’ goal celebration that your opponents can’t skip, so make it count.
Despite the inability to lớn pay real world cash for MyClub money, Konami’s FUT equivalent has seen a host of small changes. Minor tweaks lớn the interface make it more readable, & you’re now able lớn scouts with specialities in certain areas, giving you a better chance of finding the type of player your squad desperately needs. If it’s still not quite as sliông chồng as EA’s equivalent, I’m a big người of the way new recruits are handled - the gradual seems deslongmon.vned lớn highlight the excellent facial models. Some, like Neuer và Carlos Tevez, khổng lồ name but two examples, are uncannily accurate.Given how cthua trận it gets khổng lồ the sport in both look và feel, the moments where it falls short feel all the more jarring. The commentary from Peter Drury và Jlặng Beglin feels much more fluid and organic, yet obviously canned soundbites from previous years remain, and there are still too few comments for individual players - if I hear “And the lead is three!” or “That is classic Kun Aguero!” again, it’ll be too soon. And in a game where so much attention has been paid to animation, it’s odd lớn find players looking so robotic when anticipating a throw-in. The laông chồng of licences is an obvious drawbaông xã that persists and may never be resolved – at least not for the foreseeable future – but while it’s something we’ve all grown lớn expect from PES, it’s disappointing to see the likes of Real Madrid & Juventus unable to use their real names. Still, with continued support for option files, that’s a fixable problem in a game that otherwise doesn’t have much khổng lồ remedy.


With smarter AI opposition và an altogether smoother online experience, PES 2017 is cthua to lớn the complete package. FIFA’s new story mode might be the most headline-grabbing feature of either game this year, but it’s clear Konami is in no mood lớn relinquish its title as king of the virtual pitch.