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PES 2017: A step closer to all-round evolution

LiveMint logoLiveMint 02-06-2017 Vishal Mathur

Even though football is indisputably the most popular sport in the world, even a cursory look at the traditional football game titles for your smartphone platform makes for dismal reading. The biggest case in point is EA Sports’ extremely popular Fifa franchise, which didn’t make the best impression when making the switch from consoles and PCs to the smartphone platform—even the Fifa Mobile Football title (Fifa Mobile Soccer on Google Play; free on iOS and Android; optional in-app, or additional features, purchases) with reconfigured player controls couldn’t make up for the somewhat less exciting gameplay experience.

Now, rival Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer franchise is trying to make amends for years of disappointment with the PES 2017.

Comparisons are inevitable.

To put it simply, PES 2017 is a full-fledged football management simulation for iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) and Android phones or tablets. You’ll have to manage your team’s training sessions, schedule practice matches, manage campaigns around the club, sign up and manage sponsors and pretty much run the day-to-day affairs of the club and the team.

Both games, PES 2017 and Fifa Mobile Football, are free to download and play. But these follow the freemium method, where you make in-game purchases to unlock progress, get access to more tools that will help you with the gameplay or add more capabilities to your arsenal. In PES 2017, the in-game purchases range from Rs80-7,900—you buy in-game currency called myClub coins. Fifa Mobile Football’s in-app purchases are in the same price range—you can buy in-game currency or spend on player packs, such as the Gold Defenders Pack which costs Rs400.

In previous iterations, EA Sports had reconfigured the gameplay controls to simpler swipes and gestures to control, for instance, player runs, dribbles, pass and shoot. Konami has improved on this—the on-screen swipe and tap controls in the PES 2017 are simple and easy to master. Passing requires a simple swipe in the direction you want the player to run in. However, you will need very quick reaction times to keep up with the speed of the match. The only shortcoming of the game’s swipe and tap controls for controlling player movement and ball play is that it can be hard to pull off intricate movements, such as flicking the ball to your teammate or playing a cheeky scoop of a pass to another teammate who might have managed to escape the attentions of a rival player.

It’s in the on-pitch action that the PES 2017 scores over its rivals. The game for your smartphone is built on the same graphics engine as the versions for the Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 consoles. This translates into an enticing mix of realism and amazing graphics. Player movements are comparatively more fluid and real than they have ever been—the runs, sprints, even the way they dribble or pass, are very realistic. The biggest testament is the way players receive a pass and retrieve the ball under pressure. Ball physics is much better too.

And perhaps this explains the large download size. At around 1.6 GB to download, you’ll be better off setting this up for installation on your phone or tablet when you’re connected to a fast-enough Wi-Fi network.

There are shortcomings, however. There is the headache of managing in-game currency. Coupled with the need to make in-game purchases, progress can be a bit slow. Second, player transfers aren’t easy, and this is where the Fifa Mobile franchise scores. For one of the biggest charms of a football game is the ability to set up a dream team of your favourite players.

What we have with the PES 2017 is perhaps the slickest football game thus far for smartphones and tablets. The graphics, easy gameplay controls, the realism of players, and the licensing to use original club data for top clubs such as Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Arsenal, Roma, AC Milan and more, all stack up in its favour.

Mind you, the Fifa Mobile franchise is expected to come up with a contender later this year. We hope it will be able to give the PES 2017 a run for its money. In the meantime, football fans would do well to prep their iPhones, iPads and Android phones and download the PES 2017.

PES 2017

Developer: Konami, PES Productions

Publisher: Konami

Platforms: Android and iOS

Tested on: Apple iPad Pro, LG G6

Price: Free (optional in-app purchases)

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