I really, really liked Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 when I played it earlier in September and I stand by the statement that I think it’s one of the best football games released to date.
It taps into the minutiae and minuteto-minute gameplay that is almost impossible to replicate in a sports game.
No game football game has so accurately encapsulated what it’s like to travel away for a mid-week cup tie against hardy opposition or the perfectly-weighted through ball after long bouts of possession.
But it’s also no FIFA.
While those who don’t play it every year are quick to write the game off as “just another roster update”, there’s a reason it’s the only video game millions of people pick up every year – it’s pretty damn good at what it does.
Having a team’s players and licenses with no compromises (even if it’s something of a relatively small fix in PES) is nothing to sniff at, but it’s all the other things it just does better than PES that begin to add up.
It has faster load times, a better soundtrack, a wider array of game modes, and now with the new Frostbite engine you could argue it looks better too.
Add to this a story mode that actually works (in a sports game – a fact that should be applauded in its own right), and the behemoth that is the crazily-addictive FIFA Ultimate Team and FIFA 17 becomes the game to purchase, almost as if against your better judgement.
Konami doesn’t have the resources of EA and the effort it puts out every year should be acknowledged, and quite frankly EA should do some things much better (like fix their broken servers).
As a friend so eloquently put it as we sat down for a session in front of the couch, “PES 2017 is that plucky Tratorria next to a 5-star Michelin restaurant FIFA 17 – just on a quality and quantity level they can’t compete, even if you love their Rabona.”
FIFA is a game that’s become infinitely more commercially interesting than PES and while some may think of that as a negative, it’s something to be applauded, especially as a video game.
FIFA may not be able to hit the incredible beauty of the on-the-pitch football that PES 2017 does, but it does everything else at such a high level it doesn’t matter anyway.
It’s the best FIFA game yet, which means it’s also the best football game this year, bar none.