PES 2017 has a lot to live up to after last year’s 2016 iteration revitalized the soccer series. The 22-year-old franchise was losing the battle to EA’s FIFA series in the last few years.
However, 2016 brought a renewed focus and much improved gameplay. Some of it came from the Konami developers finally figuring out the Fox Engine and getting it to work for them. The game had its problems, but it was several giant steps forward from where it had been and performed much better than its competitor.
At a hands-on preview during E3, it appears that Konami isn’t resting on its laurels. A number of new features have been announced for 2017. Some of them are cosmetic, like the revamped UI in Master League and MyClub. However, our focus here is just on the new features that directly affect gameplay.
One thing we noticed right away was the new Real Touch addition. Global Product & Brand Manager Adam Bhatti describes Real Touch as slowing the game down to a more real-life speed. In practice this means that players actually have a first touch when they corral the ball via trapping or picking up a teammate’s pass.
We noticed that Real Touch added a physicality and weight to the game. Players actually felt like they were pausing or catching the ball in stride based on their first touches. And it does slow the game down in the sense that it gives user’s the opportunity to take a half-second to consider their next move.
PES 2017 is introducing a couple of new ways to control the entire team before and during the game. The new Gameplan allows players to set how conservatively or aggressively the offense or defense plays. You can set the defense line as far back as the top of the box or nearly to the half line.
We liked seeing players actually play aggressively on offense and push into the opponents half every time they had the ball. On defense, the aggressive defense didn’t feel as noticeable but when we switched to more of a turtling defense in the final 45, the lockdown was obvious and immediate.
In game, you can set Total Team Controls to the D-pad and change how your team is playing overall. If you want the ability to quickly switch between aggressive offensive to a more conservative playstyle, it’s easy just tapping whatever directional button you set before the game.
We didn’t notice much appreciable difference, but a few other players with us said that they could immediately see their team style change. We used the Germans, so we’ll blame them.
One of the new bits that Konami is pushing is the Adaptive AI. The computer is supposed to respond to how the player actually controls their team. For example, if you’re playing with Barca and the AI notices that you keep pushing the ball to Messi, the defense is supposed to start collapsing on Messi.
With the Germans we played with a tight passing game while feeling out the Real Touch, and did notice that as the game went on the AI started to stay closer to the German players and played a much tighter man-to-man defense. This allowed us to open it up a little bit more and let our speedier wingers bomb down the pitch. Still. we’ll have to spend more time with the game to see how adaptive the computer truly is.
Outside of the gameplay, the other big adds are focused around MyClub. We didn’t get a chance to dive into this during our hands-on time, but it sounds like Konami is adding a lot of little changes.
First, the team is adding an auction house to help players actually get players that they want instead of waiting to see what the game assigns them.
One of the more interesting features that we’re curious to see in action is the inclusion of data tracking. PES 2017 is supposed track performance data on both upcoming opponents and the player. We were told that the goal is to allow players a rudimentary way to scout out upcoming opponents.
We know that Konami isn’t bringing out an Xbox One version of PES 2017 to Japan, so we’re not surprised that they’re only including the next feature on PS4. Sony users will be able to upload, share and create various items, including kits, and share them online. We didn’t see this in action so we can’t comment on how it will actually look in game.
Otherwise, Konami is overhauling the UI, the in-game HUD, replay mode and adding a new lighting system to the game.
Currently, PES 2017 doesn’t have a release date, cover star or even an official trailer. We saw some unfinished film that showed incomplete graphics, so we know that the game is still deep in development.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the game gets closer to release. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned for more news on PES 2017.