First and foremost, I would like to thank Graham Day and his Jelly Media team, Asim Tanvir, Adam Bhatti and the rest of the Konami crew for giving myself and the rest of the PESUniverse team the opportunity to play the early E3 code of PES2018 at the world tour event held at Anfield.
This Early access version (E3 Code) of PES2018 is a piece of art. There I said it.
Everything you have ever played as a football game is practically redundant going into this edition. That is a bold statement, I know, however, it is entirely justified.
In this article, I will go through my own personal opinions and experience of what I found whilst getting a full 5 hours of game play under my belt. To be honest though, I feel robbed I didn’t get longer and that for me is a huge statement.
Getting right into it, we set up our capture cards, laptops, cameras and any other gadgets we could either get our hands on or what we already brought with us for us to get the highest caliber of collateral possible to share with you all.
First point I will make is player movement is nothing like you will have experienced before. The body shape your players have when going in for a stand-up tackle or simply passing the ball 5 yards is something so fluid and new that it will leave you finger snapping, something I don’t think I have done since the late 90’s! It’s difficult to try and put into words on how you use the players but I find it easier being said like this. Imagine your left analogue stick is the body shape of your players, your pushing the stick in the direction you want the players to head in, an opponent is running towards you and you want to move away from them and change direction to move into space, so you just roll the same left analogue stick in a 90 degree angle to the direction you want to move in to and bosh, you have evaded your man providing they haven’t rinsed you or mistimed the initial tackle. It’s really that simple. Using the Brazilians who are historically and currently one of the most technical able teams on the planet it was easier to skin other teams apart simply by using the left analogue stick, it may sound easy but timing is essential. If you don’t time it right, you aren’t beating you man and chances are you will have egg on your face and a counter attack to defend should you think its ok to try it in your own half.
Moving swiftly onto tricks, well, I’m not the most skillful of players when it comes to delivering the MEGNUTS! #SoSweet or a tidy roulette into space. My best skill move and the one I think I have mastered is the fake shot. It’s neat, tidy and super effective should you have someone who has high dribbling and the “tekkers” to pull it off. However, when playing against someone like ItsDavidFish who seems to have grown up with the trick stick in his hand, he was consistently grilling me with the ball at his player’s feet. Below is a video of me getting palmed off so badly that I had to put the pad down and let out a little tear whilst the rest of the lads were laughing watching a 10-minute replay of the video. Its currently doing the rounds on twitter so if you do come across it, please stick up for me. I haven’t slept since it happened as I don’t want nightmares! One of my huge gripes about last year were that should I want or try to pull off a trick, no matter who I used the chain of tricks and the quickness of the trick I tried to pull off wasn’t fast enough. Something like a step over into space took move that 6 steps to pull off which easily gave a fast defender time to get back into position regardless of whether you roasted them or not. This however didn’t feel the same as from the video you can clearly see Coutinho attempt the trick, complete the trick and even when the ball got stuck under his feet, he did a tiny Ronaldo chop to get the ball from under him, to in front of him which then let him get another trick under his belt to evade two more of my defenders.
— ItsDavidFish (@ItsDavidFish) June 23, 2017
Set pieces… the camera angle is a huge upgrade, you can see the full box now when taking a corner whereas last year it was hard to see past the first 3 men at the front post in some stadiums as the cameras were too low to the ground. Gone also are the guide lines so it’s back to the training ground to fine tune where you think you want to aim your free kicks. In the games, I played in there were no penalties awarded, however, from PESEP’s experience as he took one were there was no major changes and it felt the same as every other year. Again, I didn’t take one so I won’t go into too much detail on that subject. Free kicks felt class, I found it easy to get over the wall but I couldn’t get the direction or “swaz” on the ball to make it count like I have seen people doing on Twitter.
I now hear you crying out for how shooting handles? Well, it’s great. The ball feels open and free and doesn’t feel like it’s on rails, however I did only use PA1 which I have used for the last 3 PES games. This however felt like it did on 15/16 where the ball doesn’t have a guide or anything, it goes where you want it to go. This helps shooting out a lot as when you go to strike the ball, it doesn’t seem to get stuck under your feet so you don’t end up blasting it into the top of the stand once you have laid someone off for a dig. The trajectory is also a huge improvement as the balls no longer feel like they have helium in them and don’t float all over the place, once they are hit, they stay hit. One thing I will say I was impressed with is, if you players body shape isn’t great when setting up a strike, you won’t score. Whether you sky it or it ends up being a daisy cutter, it won’t do any damage. I was trying to bend them in and lace them when I wasn’t facing the goal properly and even with full bar the ball rolled to the keeper. As a striker for a Sunday league team, I found this to be very realistic as once you attempt to hit the ball whilst off balance etc it won’t go anywhere near the place you want it to go in regardless of if you see your name up in lights.
Now here are some “badish” points I will make regarding the game.
The changing of the players seems quite slow to me. Sometimes when I wanted to select the LB once I was controlling the CB it would almost every time select the next CB regardless of where the ball was on the pitch. This quite often would leave me super exposed at the back as I would have made two strides with both my CB’s before I had the chance to select the LB and try to stop the ball from getting closer to my goal. With the assisted player swap I found this to be a nuisance too but much to my delight I could change that in the menu so I didn’t have to keep on being told who I should pick next when it’s my turn to defend. Something else which won’t make me popular is the amount of headed goals in the game. Last year it was a running joke that if you crossed the ball in, you would 9/10 times score a goal, even if your Messi against Kompany, height didn’t matter, it just went in every time. We played over 20 games between us and we scored 1 header… yes 1 header. It seems we have gone from one extreme to another. The last gripe I had was the amount of injuries, sometime I don’t think PES has ever delivered on. There were some proper tasty challenges thrown out yesterday, especially in our 2v2 games and the players just bounced back up. I dont wish to end anyone’s professional career in game, but sometimes, it’s nice to have the choice if you want to let your striker know you’re their early doors!
Leaving my 2 favourite points till last.
NO SUPER CATCH UP!
Yes, ill shout it again
NO SUPER CATCH UP!
It seems, should you have a striker who can run faster than the defender chasing him, the defender will maintain that distance between the two players should their speed be different. This is only good news as so many times we have seen incredibly slow defenders catch the likes of Bale, Ronaldo, Aguero etc who was 4 yards in front of them. Lord help those who must defend such pacey strikers.
My last and most favourite part of the game. Strength counts this time! Yesterday Gini Wijnaldum made a mess of my defense. His power and height caused chaos every time he had the ball. At one point, he threw himself in front of my CB whilst pushing off me to create 1 yard of space to which he punished me with a strike into the bottom corner. Any striker who has any body strength, in fact any player who has strength, will cause even the best defenders problems.
My overall feeling of the game is that it is a huge step forward in the right direction for PES. It rewards players who thing about playing football rather than just abusing aspects of the game which were missed in development. As I stated early, we only got to play 5 hours, we tested and captured what we could in that time so there may be things we missed whilst playing but I’m sure when it comes to the beta, everyone will have an opinion. And until then, I honestly can’t wait for you all to play it so we can have a proper discussion.