Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 may not release for over a month, but Konami isn’t stopping players from getting their fix in with the release of the free beta on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Konami released the beta to stress test the updated online servers. A pre-released demo will follow in the coming weeks.
For Xbox One users, you will need an Xbox Gold membership to download the game. On the contrary, you don’t need any subscription if you wish to play the game on your PS4.
The game requires about 5GB of space in order to install, so be prepared to wait a bit if you don’t have a fast broadband connection. Take note, the game does a thorough job making players aware of possible dangers with a series of warning screens. Although annoying, it’s good to know the devs take seizures, motion sickness, etc. serious.
PES 2018 Beta: The Features
With the online beta, you have a choice between France and Brazil. While you cannot change the stadium, you do have a choice in terms of weather and pitch conditions. You can play one-on-one or co-op three vs three. Unfortunately, the matchmaking process is incredibly slow. It can take up to three or five minutes to find an opponent. However, Konami is aware of the problem and has already announced that it will be fixed for release.
It’s easy to see the good and the bad in the PES18 beta. Graphics are decent. There visible differences between the depth of rendering between top and middle-of-the pack players. However, this shouldn’t be a problem for the players who prefer a more realistic simulation rather than just good graphics.
The raining weather condition is beautiful. There are great contextual animations when players hit an area with plenty of water. This also translates into a limited effect on the gameplay.
With intuitive controls, PES18 offers a lot of moves you can execute. When you aren’t controlling the players, the AI does a decent job in your own zone. Especially regarding the coverage of the surface. Although it’s certainly better to switch to manual control for the defensive side.
You can have fun in the beta, especially if you find good opponents or teammates. You can also change many tactics aspects, just don’t expect to be playing Football Manager.
Players aren’t always fluid or fast enough. Sometimes a player takes forever to gain position, take the ball and turn. It makes it a bit frustrating if you’re attacking, or a bit easy to steal the ball if you’re defending. There are similar outcomes when it comes to the tackles and interceptions. Sometimes the ball bounces too much between players and players themselves seem to be made of concrete with regards to ball’s physics.
Goalkeepers are a strange beast. The game attempts to mimic real-life situations where goalies can make great saves or big errors. However, considering that both teams’ net-minders are top-notch, a bit more consistency would have been appreciated. In a game I played, I was facing France and my opponent got Paul Pogba crashing in from the right side.
As the midfielder beat my defenseman one-on-one and moved towards the goal line, Brazilian goalie Alisson decided to challenge Pogba. Not the best decision, considering how close Pogba was to the net, and the fact that I had at least four men into the box. However, it wouldn’t have been that terrible if Alisson didn’t end up to jump to his left, gloriously finishing out of the pitch, letting Pogba enough space to kick the ball 10 feet forward for the easiest of the tap-ins by striker Olivier Giroud. With that being said, such a debacle happened only once. Goalies are good, but they can be a bit inconsistent.
The refereeing is decent. Some reviewers claim that they are too strict, but I disagree. The only thing I noticed is that sometimes the ref won’t allow the active team to play the advantage even after a minor foul at 200 feet from the net. You can try different plays for set pieces, being them corner kicks, goal kicks, or free kicks. There is some depth in the strategy, but you will need a few attempts to find your ideal setup.
The Bottom Line
All in all, PES 2018 left me with mixed impressions. The game lacks fluidity in the gameplay. Players are slow on multiple occasions and controlling the players while on the defense is puzzling for some aspects. The game is however, still in an early beta stage. Therefore, I am sure that many of these problems will be ironed out for the release.
On the bright side, you have a lot of freedom and options to control your players and team. Graphics and animations are good, although there is room for improvement.
PES 2018 will be released on September 12 in the USA, September 14 in Europe and Asia on PS4, Xbox One, Steam, PS3, and Xbox 360.