It’s fair to say that PES has had a re-birth of sorts the last few years, after a number of poor releases. PES 2017 was released in September and is seen by most as the best PES in the series. Konami are at the top of their game but as history has shown, they must not rest on their laurels!

This rise to the top and claim to the throne has mainly been down to the fantastic Fox Engine. Made specifically for Metal Gear Solid, the PES team used the engine’s values in order to give PES a much needed boost, a boost that has been very successful in the most part. Reviews for PES 2017 were the best that Konami have had since the PlayStation 2 days, and deservedly so. Konami could easily rest on this, releasing the next PES iterations with only minimal changes. However, Konami have a team in place that care about the product, and a tweet from PES’ Global Product & Brand Manager Adam Bhatti proved that that resting on good reviews is something that isn’t on their mind at all:

The PES Team will be going all out to not only make sure that PES stays at the standard it is right now, but surpass it with PES 2018 and beyond. This isn’t any easy feat due to how good the game plays right now, but no game is perfect. PES 2017 is not perfect but the good thing is that Konami embrace that, want feedback in order to create something special with PES 2018.

I think one of the main things Konami have to do with PES 2018 and going forwards is drastically work on their net code. PESLeague is something that continues to evolve, with the World Finals itself this year having a huge $200,000 prize to the eventual winner. Winning that, of course would be lovely. It works with an online format where players must play a number of online games each month in order to get to a regional online final, and then an offline final to try and get your place secured for the World Finals. It’s a format I like, a format that’s fair, but playing the online games in the first place are sometimes too much of an obstacle to get over, because of the net code in place.

Don’t get me wrong, you can have games where the connection is smooth, but from my experience in the last few months, they are too and far between. Fair play to Konami, they have tried to implement connection filters to improve the ratio of good/bad connections, but for the most part, it’s something that tries to hide behind bad netcode overall. If PESLeague is continue to go through the growth spurt in the coming years, Konami have to get it right online. I’m not saying or expecting that people in the UK should have lag free games against people living in America, but it has to be improved overall.

I genuinely hate to compare PES to FIFA as for me, they are totally different games, but credit has to go to EA SPORTS as for the most part, connections are very stable. Whether Konami can afford to implement dedicated servers is a decision that will have to be taken internally, but they have to get up to 2017 standards and deliver a great online experience. It is something that needs attention and something the PES team have admitted themselves need attention. Expect a lot of work to go into PES 2018’s netcode overall, another reason why the team do care and want their product to go from strength to strength.

There is no doubt about it, PES 2017 plays an absolutely gem of a game offline. It’s gameplay shines above any other football game on the market. Player ID is as strong as it has ever been, each and every player truly feels different from each other. I love playing exhibitions or a play through of the Champions League……

You’ll instantly notice that I didn’t mention the likes of Master League or Become a Legend. If you know me personally or have followed my work in the past, you’ll know that I absolutely love Become a Legend. I love the idea of taking my created player on a journey, right to up to winning the coveted Ballan d’Or (Yeah that’s right Ronaldo, Neaves wants your throne!). The problem is, Become a Legend seems to have become a forgotten mode. Master League too. Yes, it has been improvements here and there, but for me personally, nothing that the PES community can really sink its teeth into.

PES is at its strongest place at the moment, due to the tireless work of the entire PES team and the community overall for their constant feedback. PES can dominate this generation of consoles for years to come, only if the hard work continues. I’ll have more articles coming up where I’ll go into detail on specific gameplay things I’d like worked on, but this piece was just to highlight just a couple of things Konami need to work on in order to keep at the top of their game. I am confident though, as having the likes of Adam Bhatti and Asim Tanvir in and around the team prove that Konami care about PES. They are dedicated fans of PES just like ourselves, and will not rest until PES is perfect.

Will PES ever be perfect? Not in my eyes, no. No sports game can ever be perfect. However, as long as Konami strive for perfection, you can guarantee a strong and brilliant future for PES in the years to come.