Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 in the test - The PC gets what it deserves
It pops and bounces
Konami cites "Gameplay Masterclass" as the first and most important feature of the new PES with good reason. The series has always been convincing on the pitch and the 2018 version is no exception. Passes, crosses and shots feel heavy and the realistic ball physics is second to none - including strange ping-pong goals .
PES 2018 has even increased in this regard. The ball now moves even more freely and also bounces off other parts of the body than the head or feet.
The free ball movement also ensures that simple sprints and zigzag dribbling are less effective than in the previous one. A defender puts his leg in our path too quickly and spits the ball out of the way. Clever build-up play and sharp passes into the free space, on the other hand, are the best means of cracking a defense. All in all, PES 2018 lost again noticeably at speed, which should not be understood negatively.
We particularly like the fact that the players' physique now has an even more noticeable effect. A stocky defender shields the ball almost effortlessly against smaller opponents who can swirl around him. In particular, header duels become more understandable and appear less random.
Despair worth seeing
So the feel of the game is right and the same applies to the optics. Pro Evo 2017 already played at an extremely high level in the areas of animation and player models, and the 2018 version goes a step further. The goalkeepers in particular are now jumping even more smoothly towards the ball or when shooting at close range they desperately raise their hands in order to somehow steer the pill over the box.
And finally, finally, these statements also apply unreservedly to the PC version. When one speaks of "significant PC improvements", it means in plain language that the PC version is finally 1 to 1 of the PS4 and One version . A long overdue step.
Because Konami has a separate license deal with FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, the teams and their stadiums look particularly chic. When the Borussia enter the Signal Iduna Park and thousands of fans form a BVB logo on the south stand, it creates goosebumps. If only that were the case everywhere ...
Cops instead of Bavaria
The Bundesliga, on the other hand, shines as in previous years due to its complete absence. Only Dortmund, FC Schalke and RB Leipzig were able to secure Konami as individual teams. Despite official Champions and Europa League rights, not even all participants are there, FC Bayern and Hoffenheim are missing . The expanded license agreements with various South American leagues do not comfort the German football fan. After all, it is again relatively easy to install fan-made license patches on the PC and PS4. This is very commendable, but does not completely negate the point of criticism of the lack of licenses.
Before we get to the new modes and features, two words about the German comment: better turn it off! Practically nothing has changed here, the voice samples by Hansi Küpper and Marco Hagemann always sound choppy and rarely really fit the situation on the pitch.
Now to more enjoyable topics. The new game modes (online) co-op and random selection game are not a PES revolution, but they are nice additions. The 3-on-3 co-op differs from conventional joint gaming primarily in that it has separate ratings for the individual players. Successful actions give points, for bad passes or missed opportunities there are deductions. A clever idea. However, we cannot always understand the ratings. As goalkeepers, we get a bad pass taken into account if a player loses the header duel after a high tee shot.
In random selection games, we get players drawn and can then try in several transfer rounds to steal our opponent's stars before the teams go onto the pitch. But we would have liked more setting options for this amusing mode. About more than the maximum of three transfer rounds, or the possibility of not stealing just one player at a time.
To improve the online modes, Konami went to great lengths this year and held a beta test before the release. It is currently difficult to assess whether it really brought anything. The connection quality showed a mixed picture in our trial games. Sometimes we played completely without any noticeable delay, other times there were heavy slowdowns and stutters. The online beta was not available on the PC, by the way, with extremely annoying consequences: On the release day, the servers are not accessible for PC gamers, the problem can only be fixed one day later. Real own goal , Konami. A decisive step does not seem to have been achieved on any platform.
For the most part, there are actually noticeable improvements behind Konami's advertising phrases, but PES 2018 is again aimed more at football purists, for whom the experience on the pitch counts more than everything around it. The Japanese win our hearts with it, but most players should end up with the competition again.