We all can agree that the massive addiction to the game has also brought in many developers simulating real competitions and letting players have a test of it. It all started a few years ago and now the latest has certainly come so far. Let’s take a look at how it has developed. The new generation of consoles has not been kind to soccer simulators, which reached the glory in the era of PlayStation 2. On Xbox 360 and PS3 lived the decline of the Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) saga of Konami, while its Rival Electronic Arts’s FIFA rose several positions ahead, regaining ground.
And so we get to the 2017 versions of both simulators. In the framework of the video game fair E3 2016, we were able to access beta versions of the expected games, talked to the developers and played for several minutes, with a pleasant feeling, but that in no case supposes a revolution.
The case of the Konami title is the most extreme. After the criticized version of 2014, it is notorious how the changes and improvements in the graphic quality and gameplay have advanced by leaps and bounds. Executives know that the main problem of PES 2016 had to do with the little updating in the alignments, and take charge of it. That is why from day one and every Thursday, there will be free downloads with local and online modes of all the changes that are made in the different leagues in the world.
As for the gameplay, the game maintains its arcade feature but without sacrificing realism. The available demo, developed in 70% of the final game, showed France, Germany, Arsenal and Atletico Madrid in a single stadium. It is simple, intuitive and effective, with many variants of game control and multiple options to develop attack and defense schemes, all easily accessible with a couple of control moves. Even so, at first glance the changes announced by Konami are not perceptible, unless one of the developers mentions it.
There will be hundreds of new animations, 100 of them only focused on the goalkeeper’s reactions. The movements of the players are elegant, loose and gives the feeling that what happens on the field of play is totally unpredictable (as it should be), and totally credible. The passes are somewhat slow, but accurate, and as expected, each player has his skills and weaknesses, which are much more marked than before. For the analysis, Konami indicates that they are based on the large amount of statistics provided by clubs, TV matches, analysis of heat flows on the field at the end of the match, etc.
Another interesting point is artificial intelligence, which shows the most active players and to deliver options if we attack. The referee is more permissive not to frustrate situations of goal, although in some cases they were shown many warning cards.
According to Konami, for now do not plan to release a final trailer until the game is completely finished and so there is only one teaser starring Alexis Sanchez. It is expected that in the final version we can listen to the coach and our partners through the speaker of the PlayStation Dualshock controller.
As for the local content, the company is always attentive to the requests of the fans, even when it comes to commentators, as is the case of the well-known rapporteur Claudio Palma. It still seems far away to see a Chilean stadium 100% recreated in the game, as it involves licensing costs and a catch job of at least four months.
Somehow, we know that what is seen in the game is an improvement and remains to see how much it will impact the final result, although the positive thing is that after playing PES 2017, you will not want to return to PES 2016.
The Electronic Arts simulator was also present at the event. We were able to play freely for several minutes, and the feeling continues to be pleasurable and realistic, though more tactical than its competition. The generous catalog of equipment available in the demo includes Manchester United, PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Juventus, L.A. Galaxy, Liverpool and Manchester City.
The new version is marked by the use of the graphic engine Frostbite created by DICE and used in sagas like Battlefield, Star Wars or Need for Speed, and it does not remain in a simple change. The demo was present on a PC and with screens of high quality, and the improvements are impressive. The quality of the animations, the atmosphere in the stadium and all the tension that surrounds a party are maintained in the new game, as if it were the DNA of the title, without any perceivable failures at first sight. The pace, as always, is slower than its competition, but also gives the feeling of seeing a real game, something that in each version is more present, more with the power of this generation of consoles.
The positive thing is that we should not only stay with the atmosphere and the beauty of the visual game, but also considering the options of the party. We will have a new game mode called The Journey, which as a story mode will show us the career of a fictitious player from its first days until its arrival to the summit. The character, Alex Hunter, is not editable and we will see how his life is changing depending on the decisions he takes, since we will take control not only within the field but also outside of it.
On the side of gameplay, FIFA 17 wanted to exemplify the improvements in four young players: James Rodriguez, Eden Hazard, Anthony Martial and Marco Reus. The Colombian is the “image” of the stopped ball, which tells us that from now on we will be able to control the actions like never before, whether in free throws, corner kicks, where the old system was changed, and the possibility of creating lab; Hazard of Chelsea exemplifies the playable change that shows us the fight for the ball and the different interactions between the players; Reus del Borussia shows the spaces, clearances and movements of the AI that will give us more possibilities of scoring; And Martial Manchester will be the example of the possibilities with the ball, such as the shots, dribbles, etc., with the novelty of the passes to space with effect, throw a level shot or tricks of skill.
Of course, all this along with a noticeable improvement in the movements, animations, “personality” of the players, control when running or capture the ball and even being more human failing in some countries. Maybe this will take a little bit of rhythm from the game (although we can accelerate it in the options), but clearly it is a matter of taste. After the minutes we had access to the game, there are things we will have to get used to, but all are for the better. In conclusion, a transient step worthy and outstanding to what is expected to be an improved version for the PlayStation Neo and Project Scorpio consoles by Microsoft in 2017.