Calling all football fans, it's the time for kick off again. PES 2018 is expected to be released in September but Konami is giving all PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players a chance to experience their online Beta to challenge other players in a quick match with either France or Brazil at the Neu Sonne Stadium. If a quick match isn't enough for you, the Coop mode might be, giving you the chance to group up with 2 of you friends (or 2 strangers) to compete against 3 other players.
This game mode is very interesting and exciting, besides having the option to join your friends and play together, there is also an in depth stats system that lets you see who is performing well on your team and who is bringing the team down. At the end of the half, each player's stats will be highlighted from passes completed to shots on target, this gives you and the rest of your team an idea of how well each of your team mates is performing in the game, creating a new competitive edge within the team. Players also get ratings in the match which go up or down depending on how you perform, for example, shots on target and completed passes will reward you while things like fouls and bad tackles will result in a decrease in your overall rating.
The overall gameplay felt as smooth as it could get for a Beta, as I played a few games I picked up on a few things, both good and bad. One of the things that I found to be impressive was the drastic change in how accurate you can be when attempting a shot at goal, from my previous experiences with PES games was when scoring goals they all seemed very similar to one another and could get repetitive at times. The mechanics lacked the depth which is now found in PES 2018.
In the beta, there seems to be more variety in your shots, and it's no longer the case where being one-on-one with the goal keeper will almost everytime result in a goal. More must be done in order to slot one in the back of the net whether it is chipping it over the keepers head, or precisely placing your shot in the bottom corner. Secondly, defending feels very different and will be a bit harder to get used to, I struggled at first to actually make tackles in a one-on-one situation (taking latency into account), but once I managed to get my timing right I felt more confident in making those tackles.
While the defending can be a bit tough at first, it gives the player on the ball the advantage if he is the faster player of the two, which gives the game a real feel to it. Unlike past cases where no matter which player had possession of the ball they could have been caught and tackled to lose the ball. I had a few problems that I ran into while playing the beta, one of the biggest I experienced was the goal keeper mechanics. Konami has a handful of keeper issues, from assisting the ball in the net, to randomly running into the goal leaving the goal line empty. All we can do is hope that these bugs get ironed out closer to release.
Another issue was the accuracy of passes. I had cases where I kicked the ball in a specific direction and instead the aiming system automatically targeted the nearest player instead of going in the intended direction.
Overall the player control in the game felt fantastic and was much more fluid than I experienced in the past. Konami has worked hard to make sure that everything is more polished than last year's entry and you can feel it while playing the game. Visually the beta was also outstanding and the engine is better than ever.
We also have the MyCluub feature to look forward to in the final release as well as the new improved co-op mode that will surely add a few hundred hours to your PES career. All we can hope that the minor connection issues that I experienced are ironed out when the game releases, but I suppose that is what we get when we play a beta.
Take a look at the gameplay below as I played two matches and lost one of them, but won the other. I need to work on my PES skills a little more before the game arrives. PES 2018 is due for release on PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on 12 September 2017.