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PES 2017 Review

Every year we wait for the next iteration of our favourite football franchises and whether it is PES or FIFA, these games have gotten so realistic that you wonder what area the improvements will focus on. While FIFA has always turned its attention to authenticity and the glitz and glamour of football, for me at least, Pro Evolution Soccer has always been about the gameplay and this year, Konami takes that one step further than ever before, providing what is likely one of the best football games you’ll have played in years.


If your focus is on what takes place on the pitch then you’ll be in your element here. There have been so many tweaks to make PES 2017 feel like the complete football game that it’s hard to see how any other football game will top it’s quality. From the minute you kick off you’ll appreciate the subtle differences, with your player holding up the ball until teammates find space and defenders doing their upmost to stop you having a shot at goal. Just trying to run at defenders and let off a shot has never been more difficult. The defenders always seem to be one step ahead, thanks to the Adaptive AI, which seems to learn your style of play and think of ways to counter this. Of course you’ll do what you can to penetrate those stubborn defences, either by heading into the menus and choosing from a wide range of advanced tactics or even by tweaking the position of your players on the park to your own liking. Thanks to the advanced tactics you can choose your play style, be that the building from the back passing game, or the more ‘hoof it and hope’ long ball technique. You’ve the option to press high up the field and try to get the ball back or try a more defensive approach in order to win the day. Advanced Tactics means that defences can and will be unlocked, and even better, it’ll be thanks to your own decisions.

If you opt for a passing game then you’ll be pleased to know that a new Real Touch system has been introduced, seeing players make space to receive a pass. You can even control the weight and speed of every pass you make, allowing you to float a long ball from one side of the pitch to the other. You’ll be playing like Barcelona before you know it. Given that keeping the ball and playing from the back is becoming a real thing in football these days, it’s nice to be able to carve teams open with precision passing and PES 2017 really seems to have captured this perfectly. One thing I’ve noticed and really love about passing is that the animation seems to have stepped things up a notch, players will try cheeky flicks, back heels and all manner of other tricks in order to get that pass to you, it really is a joy to watch, especially when it results in a goal.

"PES 2017 is one of the finest football games I’ve ever played."

Speaking of goals, the animation is stepped up a notch too, meaning that spectacular and cheeky goals are sure to happen. Within just a few games I saw an overhead kick, diving header and even a neat little back heel into an open net. Of course you’ll still bundle one over the line, but the variety is there for everyone to see. Of course, in order to score you will need to get past the keeper and you’ll be pleased to know that the space between the sticks is well protected. Thanks to huge improvements to the goalkeepers, there will be one spectacular save after another, with the goalie reading what your attacker is planning to do next and doing his upmost to stop him. There doesn’t seem to be silly mistakes anymore, although I’d like to think that there will be one or two on occasion, after all, that’s football.

The developers seem to have went out their way to ensure that there really is a fantastic amount of options on offer, with even corners becoming more interesting too, thanks to the option to play short in order to keep the ball and try to force an opening, while defending corners gives you the quick option to go Zonal, Man Mark or even a mix of both. Man Marking will see you put a player on each post, while the opposition players in your box will be tightly marked; Zonal sees players assigned to certain areas of the penalty box, while Mixed gives you the best of both options, with the near post being guarded for good measure. Thanks to this and other on-pitch tactical options, you can defend and attack as you like with the simple touch of a button.

Sticking with the action on the pitch, it must be said that PES 2017 is almost in a league of its own when it comes to player likeness. Not only do the players look authentic, but they feel authentic too, with every touch and reaction making it feel that the likes of Ronaldo and Messi have come alive within your hands. If I have one criticism of the presentation on the pitch, it’s that the commentators don’t really feel like they are part of the match to me, instead it feels like they are speaking their lines straight from the recording studio, whereas in FIFA it really does feel like they are part of the action. It’s not a massive deal, but it did take away from the spectacle a little for me.

The Menus

Heading into the menus is where things get a little more interesting. PES 2017 seems to have more options than ever and a pretty decent soundtrack too. Of course you have the usuals such as Quick Match, League, Cup, Master League, UEFA Europa Cup, AFC Champions League and of course Be a Legend. 

Master League, for me, has always been a brilliant way to play. There’s nothing like taking your favourite team and starting from the bottom league, trying to uncover a gem of a player, while developing your current squad and maybe, just maybe, making a name for yourself amongst the big boys. Unfortunately for me, Konami has opted not to include any Scottish teams this time around, therefore seeing Glasgow Rangers posted missing. Thanks to the return of the Edit mode though, that’s something which I will soon be putting right, either on my own or via some talented individual somewhere on the internet who has decided to make an option file.

Of course the game is packed with Online Modes too, although unfortunately the servers were not live at the time of writing this review, meaning that I can’t really comment on matchmaking or even the MyClub Mode, both of which are likely to use up a lot of people’s spare time. Of course since we can’t mention these modes for now, we’ll be sure to make a video with our thoughts on the online modes and bring you plenty of gameplay from these too. These videos will be added to the review and posted separately once we’ve had a good amount of time with the online element and feel satisfied that we are able to form an opinion.


PES 2017 is one of the finest football games I’ve ever played. The action feels both authentic, innovative and really too addictive to put into words. The passing, keeper improvements, stunning animation and countless amount of tactical options all come together to make what is a really stunning football experience. If Konami had the FIFA license then there is no doubt in my mind that this would be the game to beat in terms of sales every year, but at least Konami can take comfort in the fact that when it comes gameplay PES 2017 is king.

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta

(Version Tested: PS4/Xbox One)


+ Unrivalled gameplay
+ Looks stunning
+ Fantastic tactical options
+ Good soundtrack


- Commentary feels a little lacking

Edited On 14 Sep, 2016

( 8 )
Anonymous user's avatar
Alex 4 months ago
Would like to know how you can say it is king without having played a full version of Fifa 17
paulaw's avatar
paulaw 4 months ago
Ok its been years since I took PES serious. I think the start of last GEN killed the series but it seems they are making a come back. I used to spend ages editing the premier league teams on PS2 so how are people going about that issue in the newer versions? Can we import badges / kits / names etc?
Anonymous user's avatar
Jason 4 months ago
Its miles better than FIFA, no contest great game great review. I been on it all day so much fun. The menus are up to a par with FIFA too which was my main gripe, now it looks ace
lethal1984's avatar
lethal1984 4 months ago
Hope pes does a come back but will be buying Fifa 17.
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 4 months ago
Yeah, I'm really pleased with the menus as that as my main gripe for a few years. Pleased option files are back too. Waiting on a SPL one. I do think FIFA 17 will outsell PES by miles, it always does, but from what I've seen of FIFA I just think PES has better gameplay. I am a big fan of FIFA too tho.
Dean Demon's avatar
Dean Demon 4 months ago
PES just gets better all the time, may be weird to say it but it just feels like "football" compared to FIFA which i hardly play these days.
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 4 months ago
Totally agree. So awesome.
Anonymous user's avatar
Jason 4 months ago
Getting acclaimed as the best football game ever and rightly so its just total perfection. Played all last night and it just makes you want more and more and more.

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