Pro Evolution Soccer 2017

Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Always the bridesmaid. That’s how it must feel for Konami and their annual footie release. If it wasn’t for that pesky FIFA, Pro Evo would clean up. Konami however, can’t compete with the sports bags overflowing with cash that EA have at their disposal.

fans are all about the badge on the shirt, so if that badge says North West London Club, and doesn’t feature any recognisable real life talent, they will more than likely take their support elsewhere – in this case, FIFA. EA’s footballing juggernaut has all the teams, leagues and players a fan of the beautiful game could ever possibly ask for. PES, well, doesn’t.

This has always been Pro Evo’s Achilles heel. And they are clearly trying to appease some fans; this year they have the licenses for Arsenal, Barcelona, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and Club Atlético River Plate and their players, which is great if you happen to support one of those five clubs. If you don’t, you’re a little bit buggered. Actually, if you don’t, you probably play FIFA.

But despite not having the licenses to all the clubs and big stars, PES has always been an entertaining alternative to FIFA, and this year’s incarnation is no exception.

boom reviews - PES 17
I'm so glad i put sellotape on the end of my gloves now.

The one stand out difference between the two has always been that FIFA is more simulation and PES has a more arcade feel. But even that distinction is blurred in recent years. For us, it’s down to one thing: speed. If you want to get a ball from one player to the next, a pass in PES zips deliciously across the pitch; with FIFA you could pass a ball, go and make yourself a cup of coffee, enjoy a bread-based snack, think about cleaning up that mess you made earlier, write a novella, and come back to the game just as the ball reaches the player you passed it to.

The ball doesn’t quite ping like it was on a pinball table, but not far from it. You can change the speed in many of the hundreds of sub menus in FIFA, but life is too short quite frankly. With PES you can just jump into a game and enjoy a fluid game.

Obviously PES is constantly trying to keep up with FIFA in other areas too, like with its interface for example. Unfortunately, despite vast improvements over the years, it is still on the clunky side; its gameplay may be cutting edge but its menus still look like something from the eighties.

The only main issue with the game has to be the inability to buy players. With FIFA’s FUT system, you can bid on players that you want and build a team up around them. With PES however, no such luck. You can’t buy any player directly, you can only pick up new team members through scouts and agents. Even then its more down to luck than anything else. The choice of buying a new team member shouldn’t be a lottery, especially as you have to pay for the privilege, using the in-game currency. So if you’re paying 10,000 GP for a player, shouldn’t it be for a player you actually want?

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What's that round thing again?

At one point the option to use the special agent was offered, who only has the best players on his books allegedly. We coughed up the 10,000 required, expecting a Bale, Messi or someone of that standard. We ended up with some Welsh centre back we didn’t really care for. And unlike FIFA, where you can sell your rubbish on, PES gives very little back on your investment, so you’re best off keeping that donkey, perhaps even turning them into a trainer.

Even though MyClub encourages you to create a great team, the reality is, it’s nigh on impossible using the system in place. This alone gives FIFA the upper foot.

To add insult to injury, PES has a dreadful soundtrack; it appears to have a small handful of artists on board, but the two you will hear the most are Ellie Goulding and James Bay. Really Konami? No Konami, just no.

For us, the on-pitch experience that PES offers is just more fun than that of FIFA’s; everything off of the pitch however makes FIFA the clear winner.

If you want a game with an agreeable tempo and silky smooth moves then this bridesmaid is for you.

we give this four out of five