The best football game is getting too sanitised.
The eternal question FIFA or PES? The consensus seems to suggest that the pendulum has swung back in the favor of PES this year. Going by hands-on time with both I can only agree. FIFA despite all the presentation and trappings plays a heavy-handed and inaccurate game. It remains to be seen how this changes in the final product. PES, on the other hand, is like a surgeon’s scalpel. Every movement on the pitch feels precise and under your control. However, by creating the beautiful game have they left the reality of football behind?
The point I’m making here is PES2018 is as close to the football of your dreams that you can imagine. even the default Master League Players can be made to dance and skip their way around the opposition. If you can think of an accurate passing move chances are PES 2018 will allow this to happen with minimal effort. I may be being harsh, I know the ‘feel’ of PES. The shape of the player’s body before you hit the pass or shoot button is as important as the actual strength you put into the kick. It just all feels far too nice this year.
Starting the Master League with Default Players is usually a difficult and punishing grind where you make the best of signing wonderkids and aging legends until you make your way to the top. This year the players all feel too capable, even on the most difficult level. While this makes for a great spectacle and makes you feel very overpowered, it does have an effect on the longevity of the game. As Master League is usually a year-long obsession for PES fans, check out the excellent peschronicles blog the lack of the dirtier side of the game is starting to take the shine off the polish.
It is possible to go through five competitive matches in the Master league, with the default players and not see a single free kick for foul play. It’s not that the mechanic isn’t there if you target an opponent and hack them down the referee will give a free kick and probably a booking. The main issue is the actual situation where players get close to each other, doesn’t come up enough. It is played almost like an exhibition match. The computer closes you down but in your head, the players are doing things one step ahead of them. If miscontrolled and underhit/overhit passes were more prominent the situation would change. It seems that in the effort to create the most amazing football experience possible the developers have left too much of the human element out of the players.
In some matches you want this to be the case. If you are playing as Barcelona or Paris St. Germaine with their plethora of superstars, you should be able to string flowing moves and passes together to destroy lesser opposition. I should not find this easy to replicate with Aston Villa and especially not with the default players. Some matches should be a grind, you should be hanging on for grim death while a superior opponent rains shot after shot upon your goal, hoping for the chance to catch them on the break and knowing that any loss of concentration will be punished. In PES2018 these matches happen far too rarely at the moment. The odd amazing unscripted scramble happens in the course of a match but generally, you feel that your superior skill will play your way out of this.
I am reluctant to sound so negative but the reason for this is how spectacular the game is when it gets things right. You literally have full control over any football situation your mind can conjure up. Hitting the ball up to your striker, he holds it up and plays the one-two with a midfielder, the striker sets off on his run but the midfielder plays it to the fullback first who then hits the striker with a pin-point cross to score. The moves roll off the tongue as they do in your mind. If you think it, you can do it. If only there was a more untidy element when it made sense to do so. There should be fouls, in fact depending on the teams there should be many fouls in some matches. There should be mistakes and there should be players making poor positional decisions. At the moment this only seems to happen to the opposition as you slice through them with ease.
The actual game itself off the pitch is continuing to evolve, the master league is still as it has always been but now the online play is beginning to catch up to FIFA standards, up to three a side can now take control of matches and this has always been a fun way to play EA’s game. With the ability to add option files from your provider of choice, I’d recommend pesworld, you can have official kits that are of a higher standard then FIFA. Players faces are vastly better than EA’S game but the stadium atmosphere is a step behind. It is as you were, a little bit closer to FIFA presentation every year.
But there is an unknown quantity on the horizon. EA are bringing a hybrid version of their game to Nintendo Switch. It will be between the PS3 Xbox360 versions and the current gen consoles. The added bonus of it being playable on the go may mean it is the balanced football game of choice. It will also have the FIFA Ultimate team on board and all the addictive trappings that go with it. While PES2018 Remains king of the current gen football/soccer games the lowly Switch may just have a version that feels more like actual football because you need some dirt to balance up what PES2018 is. The most perfect and glorious version of football you can get albeit without the dark side.
Get your copy here