Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 Review

There’s always that old argument between gamers who play football games, and has been the case for as long as I can remember: Which is better? Pro Evo or FIFA? I’ve had friends who switch every few years or so between the two. But up until recently with last years iteration, Konami had scored some great goals and improved the game immensely and brought life back into the game, but has there been any improvements to Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 to keep their player base from switching to the ‘dark side’?

The first thing you’ll notice about PES 2018 over last year’s version is the new lick of paint it’s received. There’s a much more organised layout which makes for easier navigation. In fact, it’s almost identical to last year’s FIFA layout. Not that it is a bad thing mind you, we always welcome ease of access over scratching heads. The second thing you’ll notice is the abundance of pop ups asking you to join the Konami mailing list, applying live updates, and tutorials you can’t skip – for those who already know how to play and want to get straight into the action, you’re going to have to endure it all again.

There’s not a lot of additions to this title, where last year we saw the introduction of myClubs and a shed load of other features that definitely gave FIFA a run for the money. This time around, they’ve kept what made everything great about last year, and fixed some nuances and added some Legends into the mix. A nifty little feature, and something that all games should do as standard, is the ability to see all the patch notes. Nothing major, but it’s handy for those who like to see what’s changed.

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Let’s talk about gameplay: As a FIFA player generally, I decided to change up my control scheme to match that of FIFA; gone are the days where you struggle to remember which button is to shoot – X or B? As far as gameplay graphics go, I must admit, they do look good. Everything from the expressions on the footballers faces to the lights of the stadium. However, the grass hardly looks realistic at all which makes it one of the first things you notice when playing a match. This is a HDR supported title so that may have had something to do with it. We tried out an online match and something that we realised after playing the first match, was that it didn’t lag at all. Every single time we played a FIFA match online, somewhere down the line, and usual at the most critical of moments, the game would lag for a few seconds which caused the gameplay to speed up to catch up on what lagged out. We didn’t notice any on PES 2018.

Konami has managed to maintain the brilliance of last years much-needed improvement, but it hasn’t exactly improved much more from there

Getting back on track: passing to other players was fluid and hardly ever resulted in passing to the wrong player. Shooting for the goal however, just seemed all too easy. Especially when playing solo matches. Even turning up the notches of the AI, we didn’t struggle as much as we would with FIFA. We’re not entirely sure that that’s a good thing or not as if you’re playing the career in myClubs, a lot of the factors in helping you become top manager are random and luck-based. For example, when you scout for players, even though you’ll be using scout cards to combine to aim for a particular type of player (Goalkeeper, midfielder…etc) you’ll end up getting the one you really don’t need. The commentary is something that needs greater work. Many times we heard the commentator repeat the same phrase over again during the same match, which took you out of the immersive-ness. It became too annoying, which is a shame since hearing the commentator seems like standard audio when playing a match in football games and gives it a more realistic experience.

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Overall, whilst Konami has managed to maintain the brilliance of last years much-needed improvement, it hasn’t exactly improved much more from there. There’s some new quality of life additions but hasn’t set anything ground-breaking to keep fans from straying away from this game, especially since its competitor is approaching its second season of the story mode, this doesn’t have anything near as good as that. What it does have though is certain licenses, but let’s face it, it still sucks to see Yorkshire Orange for the team name of Hull City, yet I get to see Arsenal FC up there. Being able to play in the UEFA champions cup is nice though. But again, without those team licenses, it will never be as realistic as it’s competitor. With the licenses they do have though, they sure do like to plaster them about everywhere when playing the game. With FIFA, the advertisements on the banner boards can be ignored quite easily, but in Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, they can become obtrusive, especially when you’re taking a free kick as Barcelona and all you see right in front of you is “Follow us at FCBarcelona.com” – There you go Barcelona, some free advertising for you.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 is available from retailers and can be downloaded digitally from the Xbox Store priced at £54.99.

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