PES 2018 review: KONAMI nails latest edition as realism and new controls unite to form serious FIFA contender

PES is ready to cause a fuss with the latest edition in the franchise

For a series that has always had a realistic edge over its mainstream competitor, FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer hasn’t always made the most of it.

That changes this year.

KONAMI’s latest addition combines a refreshing freedom with complete controls to produce a genuine experience.

Everything about the movement of the players – from the timing of runs to intricate flicks – is a breath of fresh air.

Indeed, ‘Where Legends Are Made’ is PES 2018’s slogan, and it’s simple enough to see why.

In the new, revamped ‘Become a Legend’ mode, players can create themselves and work their way up to the top.

With a team that – at least as a forward player – centres its play around your 17-year-old avatar, it’s extraordinarily enjoyable to propel a team to victory, or try and rescue it from defeat.

Supporting players can pick you out with inch perfect passes, flicks and tricks, while the limitless freedom ensures you learn to make perfect off-the-shoulder runs in a way FIFA has yet to replicate.

The mode also carries realistic elements which its mainstream brother has failed – as yet – to bring to the table in the form of being able to issue a transfer request.

Obviously, any professional footballer’s – or at least someone pretending to be a pro – dream.

Boasting more new additions than any previous PES title in the last decade, control is one of the top features which KONAMI has focused on.

Authenticity is at the heart of the game and that is replicated in the form of matches played at realistic pace as well as an honed dribbling system.

The new ‘REAL touch + process’ is the driving feature behind a lot of the great gameplay  which enables players to lay the ball off, or score a goal, with a classy flick using any (legal) part of the body.

It all combines to make a genuinely great experience.

Visually, the stadium experience in PES is in brilliant, enlightening detail. From Camp Nou to Signal Iduna Park, nothing is left wanting.

When playing a Champions League or Europa League campaign in these grounds it feels like you’re watching a live broadcast.

That attention to detail extends to the very players too – with KONAMI’s agreements with partner clubs seeing tattoos recreated on players.

PES 2018 also returns with 11 vs 11 online options, a boosted myClub challenge and traditional co-op modes, while Master League has been revamped for this year.

Masimo Saso, president of Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. said: “PES 2018 is a title that finds the series at the very top of its game.”

He’s absolutely right – ‘Pro Evo’ is finding top form. Can FIFA answer?

PES 2018 will be released on Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 14. The game will also be available on PC via Steam.

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