Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 PS4 Review

October 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, PS4, PlayStation

Publisher: Konami  Developer: Konami  Genre: Sports  Players: 1 -4  Age Rating: 3+

Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One

It’s difficult coming up with new things to say in an opening paragraph of an annually released sporting series, so I can only imagine how difficult it is for a developer to invent some new features every year to set it apart from the game that came before it. In reality, it’s not always possible, particularly if your game is already close to perfection, and a developer messing around with something that isn’t broken can lead to disaster.

Luckily, Konami haven’t messed with the winning formula of Pro Evolution Soccer with the latest instalment in the series. With the improvements last year, we had something very special on our hands, and Konami really didn’t need an overhaul with Pro Evolution Soccer 2018.

The biggest, most obvious change this time around is the slower and more measured pace, which makes each match feel a little more like a thinking man’s game. Matches also feel tighter because of its slower speed, and the dribbling of the ball also feels more reliable and responsive because of its more realistic pace.

Visually, the game looks wonderful.

The Real Touch feature of PES 2017 also makes its return, but in an improved form. It’s now possible to use a player’s entire body to bring the ball under your spell, giving you even more options to control it. Like the pace of the game, this makes PES 2018 feel all the more realistic. In motion, the deeper animation system shows itself, and it’s a joy to view the more varied ball control animations.

There’s also a greater emphasis on individual player stats this time around, which has top quality talent really standing out. This obviously makes the game feel all the more realistic, and if you are a football fan, you’ll more than likely know exactly who to get involved when out on the pitch, displaying their talents and hopefully creating some fantastic flourishes of flashy play. If a specific game plan works in real life with a team, then expect it to work when you try it in PES 2018.

So far so good, but flaws include some rather embarrassing goalkeeper mistakes, some dodgy refereeing decisions, and repetitive commentary. When it comes to the keepers, they aren’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination and are capable of some excellent saves, but they do sometimes knock the ball away when a catch would be a lot safer and more logical, and this can lead to a continuous attack and even a goal. There was one instance in which I viewed my own keeper knock the ball away up to five times in a row in a display that looked more like a tennis match. This was admittedly exciting to watch, but I also had my heart in my mouth as I really did want the athletic and energetic keeper to end the threat by catching the ball. As for the referees, I have had completely fair tackles result in yellow cards, which is realistic to a certain extent, but it happens too often to be very true to life. Then there are the decisions which see nasty tackles being completely ignored. Finally, the commentary from Peter Drury and Jim Beglin is overly repetitive, and some of the lines are rather silly to say the least.

When it comes to options, PES 2018 has the return of favourites such as the Master League and MyClub, which have both seen subtle improvements. Another return is Random Selection mode, although this option has actually been absent from the series since PES 2006. This single player or local multiplayer mode has you and your opponent being given a random selection of players pooled from specific teams, leagues or countries, and through up to three rounds of trading it’s possible to steal players from your opponent by selecting one, choosing one of your own players to hopefully protect from being snatched, and finally selecting a player whom you’d be happy to let go, then hoping that you come out on top before the match begins. It’s a welcome return for a feature that has been missing in action for so very long, and it’s nice to see offline multiplayer getting some acknowledgement from Konami.

Here, the keeper obviously isn’t making a catch. It might be a spectacular save, but the keepers can cause problems when they refuse to hold the ball.

The game now also features a new 3v3 and 2v2 co-op mode, which can be played online or with guest players on the same console. Obviously, it can be rather scrappy to play the game this way, particularly if no one knows exactly what they are doing, but it’s still a very enjoyable way to play the game. There’s certainly much satisfaction to be had by playing efficiently as a team, but also laughs aplenty if things don’t quite go according to plan.

PES 2018 isn’t hugely different from PES 2017, but did it really need to be? Of course it didn’t. In spite of a few flaws here and there, the improvements and reintroduction of features are still all going to be warmly received by fans of the series, and the added realism with the slowed down pace and extra emphasis on individual stats will have certain players glowing with enthusiasm.