After a few years in the doldrums, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) has once again roared back into life. Last year’s instalment, the first to be released on next generation consoles, was named the best sports game of the year. This was a promising sign for Konami. This time, Konami cannot rest on their laurels. They did that whilst they were dominating in the late-2000s and as a result were soon overtaken by EA Sports’ FIFA. Throw in the bad press that FIFA, as in the football governing body, has garnered recently and this really could be the return of PES to the big time. The recent E3 Convention certainly gives the impression that PES 2016 will not disappoint. So what do we know about the upcoming soccer game?

Playable leagues

Licensing has always been PES’ Achilles heels. They simply don’t have the money EA Sports possesses, meaning that they cannot acquire licences to major leagues. The Premier League has always been the biggest annoyance, with the game only ever possessing two permitted clubs. Working on the assumption that the upcoming game will feature the same leagues as the previous instalment, you can see that PES does have some problems. For starters, they will probably be unable to acquire licensing for the Bundesliga, meaning that gamers will have to make do with a limited repertoire of Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Dortmund, and Schalke. More worrying is the lack of Scottish football clubs. Historic and well supported clubs like Celtic, who are generally 1/33 for the SPL title in the Scottish football betting when this article was produced, will most likely be absent.

As is always the case with PES, the lack of realistic leagues is a huge pitfall. However, the game does boast the Champions League and does have plenty of other things going for it, so it is very much salvageable.

Graphics

Many forget that PES has always been the game with far greater graphics. This year’s instalment has seen the graphics improved tenfold. Compare players faces from FIFA and PES and you will be left surprised. PES is without question the clear winner.

Gameplay

Gameplay on PES has always lagged behind that of FIFA, but PES 2016 has cut that gap considerably with it becoming far more realistic. Additions include a new heading engine as well as a new stumble animation, giving the game a much more natural feel. Other innovations include dynamic weather, advanced motions for individual players – Totti’s “selfie” celebration is the bee’s knees – and ball physics have been brought up to next generation spec. The “Perfect Defence” system will aid all those defending attacks while the new one on one controls will make attacking even more fun.

In-game features

The hugely popular Master League has undergone a facelift. It is now the proud owner of a new user interface and an engrossing player transfer system.
myClub has also seen upheaval. On the upcoming game, there is a new player level system and exclusive players. You can use your GP or myClub coins to select your manager, coaches and strategy as you hope to leave a lasting legacy with your virtual club.

Although not an in-game feature, the fact that PES is going to come out on September 18 is a huge step in the right direction. That release date is a whole seven days before FIFA. PES doesn’t usually hit the shelves until October, long after FIFA has done the rounds, and that could see Konami steal a march on EA.