Pro Evolution Soccer 2017: Okay let’s kick this off. Pro Evo was published and distributed by Konami. Seriously if you don’t know anything about Konami, then I am unsure why you are reading anything gaming-related unless you are new to this whole gaming scene. If that is the case please check out their site, and buy pretty much every game you can get hold of to understand the true power of computer games.
Okay, so let’s have a little bit of background. First of all, I like to think that my favourite football game is Sensible Soccer. I remember being about eight years old and always playing with a good friend (eventually became one of my best men) and I’m sure I used to always win, meaning I probably lost. I remember the results being 13-1 or something wild, and I remember the names were completely made up and always gave me a giggle – not that I knew their real names.
However, I have to admit that my favourite football game actually must be Pro Evolution Soccer 2004. Firstly, I remember changing all the club names and, potentially, all of the player names. I remember spending many a uni night with housemates playing this special game. I remember being Inter and having Adriano (the tank) and Obafemi Martins (the runner) get assisted by the sweet left foot of Recoba. I remember loving this game so much that I wanted to reconnect my old Xbox. Since then, I haven’t really got into football games. I mean, I have probably bought every FIFA since. I’m not sure why I moved over to FIFA, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who made the change. Now I have enjoyed the FIFA games, but I have always ended up spending too much money on Ultimate Team and then re-evaluating my life. So, I went into playing this game with excitement.
First impressions: Okay I hate that you can’t play games for about an hour whilst you wait for it all to load. However, at least you get a little taster at around 28%. So, I switched on the game and was greeted to that bloke singing Hold Back the River (okay, I can’t lie, I know it’s James Bay, and I like this song, so a good first impression). I was then given the choice whether I wanted to be Barcelona or Arsenal – obviously I went for Barca… And so, the game loaded.
Then I was in the tunnel with the computer generated players, and wow did these players look good – I mean I honestly could recognise every single player perfectly. I was taken aback not only by the graphics, but also taken aback by their names being real… I mean, this is a Pro Evo – names shouldn’t be real. Anyway, I began to play the exhibition match that followed and was slightly annoyed there was no commentary, although, if any of you have played ISS 98 on the SNES, you would understand the pain of commentary and like the idea of there being none. Quick things I noticed whilst playing my first two matches: a 1-0 loss and a 2-2 draw – Neymar can finish. This game pretty much feels the same as it did in 2004 – it reminded me of the saying: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It felt wonderful to play. Secondly, the graphics held up as well in play as they did in the cut scenes. Oh and thirdly, I couldn’t find a place where it would tell me what each button did. Maybe this was me being stupid, but it was annoying nonetheless. Then that notification popped up… I could play the actual game and it was time to explore this fully.
Switching the game into ‘real mode’, it asked me if I wanted to play with simple settings. Surely there is a simple answer to this: YES. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a Sensible Soccer-style player. Football games can be too confusing nowadays. I just want to get that ball down, pass it around and score some overheads. That’s all. I started the game playing what was the Champions League mode; I thought that would be a good way in and I choose MD White. If you haven’t realised, that is Real Madrid. Few things to note: graphics seemed decent and the gameplay held up. However, I really felt it a little annoying that I was playing as MD White and not Real Madrid. Maybe I shouldn’t have been bothered about this, but nowadays I am a man about small things. I pay extra for Sky because it’s easy. I only buy real things because I’m a stickler for the little things, nowadays so something so small as not seeing the real club name really peeved me off.
I am happy to say that this game offers you a large range of different game modes. All that give you a unique and personalised experience of what is essentially just a football game. You can work through the MyClub mode, creating your own legacy by building your own club. Using scouts and analysing your oppositions far beyond the need of any football game, however, I do appreciate that this may not be for everyone, but it is also for others. You can also work through a Master League, which gives you the opportunity to sign players etc. As well as all of this, you have a range of different modes, where you can be a player and get them signed and develop them, plus where you can play a range of different cups and even win the Champions League (this was one of the first things I did), and you can play the online mode which I will talk more about when it is out (servers not online at the time of posting, but the review will be updated when they are). You can also work through a number of different leagues, as well as just playing with mates. I, mean I remember when you had the choice over a made-up tournament or a friendly with a mate, and now you have so many choices that this game’s non-online play could keep you playing for hundreds of hours. I must say though… I missed Ultimate Team.
For gameplay, as I have previously mentioned, this game feels the same as Pro Evo did when I first played it. Its greatest attribute is the fluidity. The game seems to flow. All your passes seem to feel right and when you control the different weights on your passes the ball seems to move exactly how you would expect it to. What is also really good about this game, is that it offers so much more realism than most football games. You can’t just magically score from anywhere and if you send a dodgy bouncing ball back to your goalkeeper, he won’t often control it with great ease. This is how I scored my first goal against my mate. Similar to most Pro Evo games, it isn’t very easy to use loads of skill moves. You can’t just perform hundreds of step-overs with every player on the pitch, and you can’t just flick the ball up over every player when they come to tackle you. This is something I have become accustomed to in recent football games that I have played and I was refreshed by this.
The controls are what you want them to be. I have to say something that annoys me nowadays is how complicated some football games can be nowadays, and for those who enjoy that element of things, then you will be pleased to know that you have plenty of options/tactics/formations and players to mess about with than anyone would ever need. Personally, however, I really couldn’t be bothered with half of those things, and I just played the game to have fun. At the start, when I played it, I found it quite challenging to score, but as I got to know the players (Hatem Ben Arfa), I started scoring loads of goals. The controller felt right, and the buttons finally had me naturally shooting with the button I used to use so many years ago. Overall, I have to say that once again, Pro Evolution has given us a great gameplay experience, although I never did quite sort the player-changing. Damn players running away from the ball all the time!
All in, I am quite happy to say that I would give the gameplay a 9.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on this game…